When you are interested in trying high quality IEM’s first thing you realize is that there’s no perfect solution. Or an option that is perfect for everyone. Meze Rai Solo is a great example for this topic. Let’s see what makes a great consumer Hifi audio gear.
Before starting on Rai Solo I want to introduce the Meze Audio quickly. I know most of the audiophile users are aware of this brands unique offerings. But what they might not be aware of is their vision. You see everything you buy is a way of consuming something. Be it physical or virtual. And when a lot of people consume something frequently this causes a lot of issues. First you get a lot of waste. And also this behavior promotes the manufacturers to produce more products. There’s nothing wrong with that. Except when a large scale of manufacturing happens you face with quality control issues.
Meze Audio is a company that prefers the low volume to poor quality. Every product they design usually takes years to perfect. And they have a relatively low amount of manufacturing volume. But in return what they are offering is something that you can use for many years to come. something that becomes a natural part of your life. In this way their products are very similar to musical instruments rather than consumer focused products. They have an organic characteristic, something that you can’t get with most consumer electronics.
Now lets focus on this reviews star; Meze Rai Solo. This is a mid tier budget offering from Meze Audio. It’s a 200$ single driver IEM. It has a dynamic driver that is designed by company.
It’s a little different than the usual dynamic drivers. Normally you would have wires that attached to the voice coil. This is located on the middle of the diaphragm of the driver. These wires sometimes can cause problems like distortion. Or they causes the diaphragm to slow down.
UPM technology that the company designed brings a new innovation to this field. Basically what you are getting with this design is a diaphragm that is made of conductive materials. With this technology you don’t need wires on the surfaces of the diaphragm.
With this design you are getting a very fast driver. It almost feels like a Balanced armature but has a very distinctive flavor.
Presentation and unboxing
This is a Meze product. And you can be sure that they are always going to provide you with all necessary accessories. You are provided with all the necessary elements. Aside from IEM’s you are getting a 130 cm long 4 core SPC cable. High quality double and single flange wide bore eartips. And also a very high quality case.
Design and fit
These IEM’s have a great design and construction quality. Design is something that feels really premium but also natural. They feel like a medieval furniture that is designed by hand. And they pretty much feel like they can survive for centuries.
And fit is also a result of great design. These are one of the most comfortable IEM’s that I have used. Earpieces easily sit flush on my ears. And they don’t move a lot.They are surprisingly warm despite being made of stainless steel. And block outside noise pretty efficiently. But I wouldn’t want to use them on public transports. They are just too great for casually plugging on your ears on the street.
They have the house tuning of Meze; a very detailed, smooth yet engaging sound. This tuning is meant to be a consumer focused tuning so don’t expect an analytical or reference grade approach for tuning here.
Bass has the bigger footprint in here. It’s fast but also delightfully boosted. It’s smooth, warm and very engaging yet also comfortable. It feels great to listen medieval themed songs with this bass quality. It’s like you are in a log cabin, besides of a fireplace.
Mids are very detailed but slightly recessed. It’s not like V shaped sound signature. But you are getting that V shaped feeling. Along with the vast details on the mids. Vocals have a warm and sweet timbre. They are not exactly natural. But it feels amazing to listen slow vocal focused songs with this tuning. It’s like sipping a hot cocoa or sahlep.
Treble i very detailed and sparkly but not exactly suited for those who want a more analytical and airy presentation. It has a great resolution and position
Soundstage an seperation are just great. UPM technology is definitely paying off. The seperation is great for a single driver IEM. Although there might be better performing hybrids on the vocals I don’t think you could get the same cohesive sound quality from them.
The overall tuning is amazing for listening folk music for hours and hours. Songs that have traditional instruments like leather drums, strings like lute or harp and flutes will be sounding amazing with this IEM. Not exactly perfectly natural but definitely great. This is a matter of preference and I personally don’t think that this is a bad choice.
There’s one thing that you have to keep in mind. This IEM performs best with a little bit more powerful source. Sure you can use it with your phone but you will not be getting the best out of it. And the nozzle opening is something you have to be careful. The dust screen is so thin, you can actually see the driver inside. You need to be careful with it.
A meal that is cooked within a clay stewpot or coffee that made with a copper coffee po will have a distinctive flavor. Meze Audio’s approach to the audio gear is exactly like that. The flavor that they add to the sound is definitely unique. Although I enjoyed all of my music collection with Rai Solo I realized that it’s sound signature is created a more addictive experience with folk music. The upper mids doesn’t shine enough to give proper energy to the electronic music. Although it provides a cozy atmosphere when you are watching a movie it’s not exactly the perfect partner for watching a live performance recording. Pairing it with a bright source and using a balanced cable would probably improve your experience in these areas. As far as I know Meze 99 classics has a similar behavior to this setup. All in all I think this is a great option for those who want to stick to an experience in the long run. It provides a very sweet experience out of the box and it can vastly improve via upgrade cables or different sources.
You can check the latest price on their website