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RAI Penta -- Meze Audio's Flagship IEM with Penta Hybrid Driver Technology

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  1. Blackberry Jack
    Thanks! If you can do a quick comparison of Solaris vs Rai, and which one would you prefer - that would be wonderful.
     
    IneffableMusic likes this.
  2. singingbee
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    ag18


    New Head-Fier

    Joined: Feb 11, 2018
    Location: New York City
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    I can only echo everyone‘s good impressions of the Campfire Solrais. Amazing IEM. Probably the one that has come closest to sounding like my full size headphones at home.

    But the one I ended up taking home was the Meze Rai Penta. Amazing sound for the size and price. Just the right amount of kick in the bass and separation across the full spectrum. Added benefit: it works for side sleepers. The shell doesn’t protrude much from your ears and you can lay down with them. Perfect for travel.
    (Thanks, Jim, for reminding me of this little detail during our hallway chat!)

    Also impressed by effect audio. The cables were amazing, the team at the booth was great. I ended up picking up a new cable for my existing JH Audio 16v2s — so much more soundstage and sparkle in the highs...

    Overall once again a great CanJam.

    [​IMG]

    szore


    100+ Head-Fier

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    audionewbi said:
    Any impression about Meze Rai Penta is greatley appreciated.
    I went to their room, and everything I listened to sounded amazing! Can't go wrong with any of those...

    [​IMG]

    ag18


    New Head-Fier

    Joined: Feb 11, 2018
    Location: New York City
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    audionewbi said:
    Any impression about Meze Rai Penta is greatley appreciated.
    I find them to be warm but not soft or muffled, if that makes sense? Full-bodied but not heavy and dark. For info, I’m using them with silicone tips, and currently driven off a Mojo. And for comparison, my references are my DT-1990 (the Rai Penta are obviously a bit less airy than those) and my JH Audio 16v2s (the Rai Penta sound brighter, which I appreciate). Test tracks are e.g. Mark Knopfler‘s 5:15am

    One thing that matters to me is how well they deal with speedy bass drums (I listen to a lot of death metal) and I’m often surprised by how badly many high-priced headphones and IEMs perform on that. These have superb kick and differentiation. (Example track: Tarot by Aether Realm)

    Hope this helps a little?
    some rai penta impressions from nyc canjam.
     
  3. NovaFlyer
    Went back to the Meze booth to compare the Rai Penta to the Solaris. To put things in perspective for my comparison, I used an A&K SR15, stock cables for both the Rai Penta and Solaris, and the same silicon tips on both IEMs (got them at Meze, T400, and they fit me very well). I listened a combination of Tidal regular and MQA files; and some 24/192 files.


    Both IEMs are great and I think anyone would be happy with them. However, they are some differences from both an ergonomic perspective and a sound perspective.


    Ergonomically, the Rai Penta is the better of the two. The fit for my ears is great and very easy to get in / out of my ears and I don’t need to move them, etc. after the initial insertion. They are a lot smaller than the Solaris, and fit almost fully in my ear. Enough so that I think could sleep in then on my side - perfect for long haul flights. As everyone knows, the Solaris is a fair size IEM and on my they do stick out a good amount. Fortunately between the tips and the memory wire on the stock cable, once I get them set properly, they are good to go and I don’t need to fidget with them.


    On to sound, the Penta has a more neutral signature as compared to the Solaris, but there is bass and you know it’s there. However, the sub-bass that I get with the Solaris isn’t there. There are some songs I listen to that I can “feel the bass” on the Solaris, but not to the same level with the Pentas. “Unstatic” by Manu Katchè is a great illustration of this. There’s also a slight difference in the highs. The highs are more separated on the Solaris. With the Solaris I can easily discern cymbals in a track while drums are being struck. While I can here that on the Penta, it’s easier to hear on the Solaris. The track I used here is the live version of “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins on Face Value (Deluxe). Another good example of is “Lunatic Fringe” by Red Rider, at the 24 second mark, there’s a back ground vocal of “See you on the other side.” It’s very discernible on the Solaris. While I can hear it on the Penta, it’s not as clear. The other key difference is the soundstage. The Solaris has a greater soundstage over the Penta, it’s a small difference, but still noticeable to me.


    I think the Penta is a great IEM, the Solaris is just better. For home use, the Solaris is my choir of the two since I have time to get the fit correct and don’t plan on sleeping on a plane with them. For travel and out and about, I would choose the Penta, since I can easily insert them, there’s no fiddling with adjusting, and they are smaller - fitting fully in my ears so that I could even sleep with them in. As a side note, I tried the new Westone UM50, specifically with travel and sleeping on a plane in mind. The next CanJam I attend I’ll spend more time with the UM50 to compare it to the Penta. I’ll stress here that one of my key requirements is size, sound isolation and the ability to use a bluetooth cable - pure audiophile specs take a backseat since I’m in a noise plane at altitude.


    Had a great conversation with @ag18 outside the Meze room on this topic. I know he bought the Pentas and it would be good to hear his thoughts, especially after using them and since he has CIEMs.


    Would I buy the Penta, yes. Would I buy the Solaris, I did at CanJam NYC.


    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Giraku
    I tried RAI Penta at CanJam NY yesterday. I really liked it. So I went back to Meze booth today and auditioned for another 20 min or so.
    Then I ended up walking out with RAI in my ears. I got the last stock they had.

    Quick impression: It has a nice laid back sound signature. Mid and bass sound full and rich. Good quantity of bass, but a bit slow. You may feel like treble lacks sparkle, but the resolution is not bad. Actually, separation is pretty good. I have Kahn for near perfect technical performer. RAI Penta is a great match for my AK SP1000K Gold for more relaxed listening session.

    Quick comparison against Solaris: I was also interested in Solaris, so I auditioned them quite extensively at CanJam. Technically, Solaris is slightly better than RAI Penta, especially in more neutral and revealing treble section. However, Solaris was too bulky and did not fit well to my ears, which was the deal breaker for me. RAI Penta is very well designed and fits so comfortably in my ears. Thinking about $400 difference in price (RAI Penta $1099), I am very happy with this purchase.

    After burning in for 100 hours, I will post more detailed impression.
     
  5. HiFiDJ
    Anybody compared these to the sony ier m9? Any thoughts are appreciated!
     
  6. bambamfc
    When is it available in singapore?
     
  7. audionewbi
    I'm looking forward of testing this against my IER-Z1R, N5005, Ultrsone IQ, K3003 and XBA-N3. Yes I got a thing for hybrid.
     
  8. Blackberry Jack
    Would be really great! I currently cant decide between the n5005, Solaris and Rai Penta. I have the n40 and I really like its sound signature, however I'm just a little afraid that the n5005 won't be a serious step up. Solaris is decent but little expensive for my pocket. My hopes were for Rai Penta to be more or less on the same level as Solaris.
    By the way, how does n5005 sound in comparison to the IER-Z1R?

    PS. Thanks for all of your impressions guys, really helped me.
     
  9. audionewbi
    I just got the Z1R, please give me time. Funny story I wasn't suppose to keep the Z1R, but somehow I ended up keeping it. I can say early on treble detail of the two have a very similar tonality, bass on Z1R is bigger, larger body, but N5005 in no way bass shy.

    Until I hear the rai for myself, I can't comment. I would suspect one can purchase the N5005 rather cheap, if one looks for it. If you can get for 500-750 USD mark it is a perfect deal and I dont think you would be disappointed.
     
  10. Blackberry Jack
    By the way, is it a retail price or that was just a special offer for the CanJam?
     
  11. Giraku
    Retail price.
     
    Blackberry Jack likes this.
  12. ag18

    My thoughts match yours. I did try out our theory of sleeping on the side with them -- works great! (Just make sure you have a semi-soft pillow on those planes :wink: I have not yet tested a Bluetooth cable with them, but running them off of my usual on-the-go device, a Bluewave Get, works great as well.

    I agree that the Solaris is better, if (like me) one likes brightness and sparkle. Slightly better separation, slightly wider soundstage, just a tiny bit more of everything... but the Rai Penta is SO CLOSE, that with the added benefit of smaller size and a discounted price on the demo unit it came out on top for me, by a wide margin. Like @NovaFlyer, would I buy the Solaris? Sure. Would I buy the Penta? I did.

    Oh, one more thing regarding the sound: another post here (sorry, can't find it right now) mentioned that the bass was slow. I don't find that to be the case. I often deal with not-particularly-great recordings of fast bass drums or bass guitar runs and I find the Rai Pentas to be better than most at separating these. In fact, let me just say that these are great headphones for heavy metal.

    Now, on the subject of comparing them to my CIEMs... I was very hesitant to even buy these. "Once you go custom, you never go back," I thought. And I don't actually know yet how these will fit into my daily usage. I will try them for a few days on subways and commutes, on flights and at home. I think it matters a lot to what you're used to, what you personally find comfortable, and what your intended use looks like. I did already realize that no matter how comfortable they felt -- after a few hours I noticed them in my ear, whereas even after 8 hours constant use on a plane, my ears are still loving my JH Audio customs. So it may become an issue, it may end up making them better suited for shorter engagements for me. I don't know yet.

    And I may end up not getting to keep them at all because my girlfriend, who until yesterday seemed very content with her Campfire Lyra IIs, has already shown interest in these... so... y'know...
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  13. Giraku
    I said that the bass was a bit slow in my previous post. After 24hours+ burn in, now the bass is faster than the brand new condition. But compared to my Khan, it's still just a hair slower. Nonetheless, I really enjoy RAI Penta. It was a great buy.
     
    ag18 and singingbee like this.
  14. Lurk650
    @singingbee just an FYI, you can go to any thread and click Quote then go to another thread and choose Insert Quotes...a lot easier and cleaner
     
  15. IneffableMusic
    Also any comparisons to the electrostatic hybrids are appreciated as well.
    Can you compare the rai to the Khan more?
     
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