Just like some of you, my audiophile journey started with in-ear monitors specifically a Sennheiser CX200. At the time I thought “hey what’s wrong with earphones?” Plus they’re not as expensive as headphones.
Fast forward to today, about 97% of what I own and have tried are headphones, and earphones have taken a backseat for the last 7-8 years or so. So whenever I can get my hands on one like this gorgeous Rai Solo from Meze Audio, I get a little excited and nostalgic at the same time. Let’s go check out this earphone.
Shout-out to our friends over at Meze Audio for sending this out for review. They aren’t paying or influencing me to say good about this product and all thoughts are mine.
The Meze Rai Solo is a dynamic driver earphone costing $199 which is actually down from their introductory price of $249. The Rai Solo is the little brother to their five-driver top-of-the-line IEM, the Rai Penta.
One of the main selling points of the Rai Solo is their unified pistonic membrane motion technology which, unlike most dynamic driver earphone designs, doesn’t make use of wires in the diaphragm. What it does is make the motion of the driver more symmetric throughout which in theory gives better overall control and lesser distortion since you don’t get any disturbance from the wires.
My amateurish photography skills doesn’t do the Rai Solo justice in the looks department.
Packaging & Build
The Rai Solo comes in a relatively small box with a transparent upper part allowing you to see the earphones right away. The accessories are plenty but I’d say they are (or should be) standard for in-ear monitors.
The hard carry case is absolutely beautiful and surely protects the earphone from the harshness of the outside world. The silicone tips are in abundance having a mixture of single and double flange ear tips in varying sizes. The cable itself is a nicely-braided MMCX connector that is 1.3m in length. It looks durable without being tangly or stiff. It’s also in white which matches the housing of the earphone.
The housing is gorgeous by the way. The stainless steel coating makes it durable but at the expense of being slightly heavy. It’s not too big at least for me but the shape of our ears vary so maybe it is for some.
Comfort & Isolation
I’m actually quite surprised at how comfortable this earphone is. My experience with these types isn’t the best as they either tend to be too clunky or the strap-on nature of the cable feels unnatural. None of those were the case for the Rai Solo for me. But again, your mileage may vary here depending on your ear structure and subjective preference.
Another surprise is its exceptional passive noise isolation. The Rai Solo has a shallow insertion which means they don’t really go super deep like the Etymotics for example. Still, you get that nice seal that just isolates you from the outside world provided you get the correct tips. For me, I did find all the medium tips to work well but I specifically opted for the double flange.
So with its touted UPM technology, how does the Rai Solo sound?