About the Meze Audio Rai Solo
Well-constructed in-ears from a rising star in personal audio
The Meze Audio Rai Solo in-ear monitors are packed with a hard shell case, detachable cable, and 8 pairs of ear tips.
Well-constructed in-ears from a rising star in personal audio
Meze Audio is relatively new name in the world of headphones, but I've quickly become a big fan. So I jumped at the chance to audition their Rai Solo in-ear monitors (IEMs). I could sense the company's high level of care and craftsmanship as soon as I removed the lightweight stainless steel earbuds from their packaging. But while the Rai Solo unboxing experience was impressive, the real treat came when I popped them in and took a listen.
Special driver design for clear, powerful sound
Each earbud includes a single driver that uses what Meze calls a "united pistonic motion" diaphragm. Instead of attaching a separate voice coil to the diaphragm, the Rai Solo diaphragm acts as a conductor itself. When it receives positive and negative signals, the diaphragm moves back and forth in a smooth, quick, and symmetrical manner. There's no herky jerky movement that could result in distortion — I heard a refined sound with especially clean vocals and deep, detailed bass.
Plus, by removing the need for an adhesive, Meze eliminates an extra element that could disrupt the purity of the audio signal. This makes me chuckle a bit because I've met founder and lead designer Antonio Meze. He comes from an engineering background, and one of the first things I noticed about him — along with his good nature and genuine passion for headphones — was his aversion to glue! He told me over and over again that Meze Audio simply doesn't use the stuff to build headphones.
My listening impressions — mid-range magic and potent bass
The Rai Solo are packaged with a hard shell case fit easily in my laptop bag and jacket pocket, and had enough room inside to hold the earbuds with their included cable and 1/4" adapter. Plus I could slip an AudioQuest DragonFly® portable headphone amp/DAC and DragonTail adapter cable in the case, so I had a nice little portable rig I could take with me wherever I wanted to go. When I connected the DragonFly to my phone or laptop, I could get full high-resolution audio using the Amazon Music HD streaming service.
I really enjoyed these IEMs, and I would put their sonic capabilities up there with some models that cost twice as much. The soundstage isn't especially large like some other IEMs in this class, but it certainly wasn't stuck between the ears. It hit a sweet spot for me, and the imaging was spot on — most important for my taste. Everything sounded like it was right where it should be, and there was breathing room between instruments.
Speaking of my taste, the Rai Solos were tuned just like I like them. Well-balanced, with strong mids and nod to the low end. They have an incredible vocal presence, and I tested them with some of the most powerful singers out there from Otis to Gladys Night. I could hear the full breadth of their vocals with great clarity.
I even put them to the test with some Minnie Ripperton. Minnie can expose the best headphones and speakers, when she hits those extra high notes. The Rai Solo IEMs were up to the challenge. The drivers reproduced her voice smoothly without any harshness, but I never felt like the highs were rolled off or muted.
This exploded view of the driver shows the special diaphragm (second to left) that acts independently for more symmetrical, uniform movement.
The most comfortable in-ear monitors I've tried
Here's something I probably shouldn't admit as a high-end headphone enthusiast: I don't always like how IEMs fit and feel. I know, shameful right? I should always be willing to sacrifice comfort for sound. But I can't get past the strain some of these monitor-style earbuds put on my ears. Sometimes it's how the ear tips fit into the canal and sometimes it's how stiff the cord wraps around my ear — it feels like it is constantly tugging at me or in the way.
Not so with these Meze in-ears. When I found the right ear tips, they slid in easily and avoided pressure points. They stayed secure and didn't move around. Most importantly, when I draped the wrap around cord behind my ears, I didn't feel the dreaded strain.
Plenty of ear tips
Of course, when we talk about fit, it is not all about comfort. There are major sonic advantages to getting a tight, secure seal that doesn't move around. It helps ensure vocals are clear, soundstaging is on point, and the bass is reinforced.
So Meze includes 8 pair of silicone tips than span three different sizes and three different styles. I found the more traditionally shaped ear tips worked best for me, but Meze also includes two types of double-flanged tips that fit deeper to further isolate noise.
- in-ear monitor headphones
- single 9.2mm dynamic micro-driver tuned for clear mid-range with extended bass
- "united pistonic motion" diaphragm design keeps driver movement smooth and symmetrical
- helps lower distortion and reproduce low frequencies
- durable stainless steel earbud housings help reduce resonance
- detachable 51" braided cable with 3.5mm miniplug for wired listening
- silver-plated MMCX earpiece connectors on each earpiece
- cables are designed to wrap over your ears for added security and to keep dangling wires out of the way
- includes 8 pairs of ear tips for proper fit and comfort:
- 3 sizes of soft silicone ear tips
- 3 sizes of double-flanged silicone ear tips
- 2 sizes of deeper-fit double-flanged for optimal noise isolation
- zippered hard case included
- 1/4" adapter included
- frequency response: 18-22,000 Hz
- sensitivity: 105 dB
- impedance: 16 ohms
- warranty: 2 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # RAI SOLO
What's in the box:
- In-ear monitors with attached 48" cable (right angled 3.5mm plug)
- 3 Pairs of silicone ear tips
- 3 Pairs of double-flanged silicone ear tips
- 2 Pairs of deep insertion double-flanged silicone ear tips
- Hard zippered storage case
- User Manual
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More details on the Meze Audio Rai Solo
Features & specs
|Earcup Width x Height||0.667" x 0.863"|
|Mic For Taking Calls||No|
|Frequency Response||18-22K Hz|
|1/4-inch Adapter Included||No|
|Parts Warranty||2 Years|
|Labor Warranty||2 Years|
Overview: The Meze Audio Rai Solo in-ear monitors feature an ergonomic design and premium materials to provide a solidly-built and affordable IEM. The Rai Solo has a removable braided cable and 8 pairs of silicone ear tips for the best fit. The IEMs and ear tips can be stored in the included hard leather zippered case.
UPM Drivers: The Rai Solo in-ear monitors are equipped with a new driver with Unified Piston Motion (UPM) technology that provides outstanding reproduction of low frequencies, clear midrange, and low distortion. Traditional drivers have voice coil lead wires glued to the back of the membrane, resulting in unbalanced motion and distortion. The new 9.2mm UPM driver uses a 9µm thick, electrically conductive membrane instead of wires for balanced pistonic action and lower distortion.
Ear Bud Shell: The Rai Solo IEMs feature an injection-molded stainless steel shell. Stainless steel is extremely rigid with low resonance to effectively dampen any vibration from the driver unit. The ear buds are anatomically designed with rounded edges to comfortably fit into the natural curves of your ears for long listening sessions. The outer surface of the stainless steel shell is individually hand-brushed by craftsmen for an elegant look. The machined nozzles are color-coded in red (right) and blue (left) for easier cable connection and ear placement. The ear buds have industry-standard MMCX connectors, so you can easily replace the cable at any time.
Ear Tips: The Rai Solo in-ear monitors come with a total of eight pairs of silicone ear tips to help you find the perfect fit and best seal. There are 3 pairs of standard silicone ear tips (S, M, L), 3 pairs of double-flanged ear tips (S, M, L), and 2 pairs of deep-insertion double-flanged ear tips (M, L).
Cable: The 48" braided, silver-plated copper cable has a coating that keeps it tangle-free, and standard MMCX connectors. The cable is designed to wrap around your ear, and includes a wire that helps it to hold its shape. The cable terminates into a right-angled gold-plated 3.5mm plug.
- Frequency Response: 18Hz - 22kHz
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Sensitivity: 105dB (+/- 2dB) 1mW/1 kHz
- Total Harmonic Distortion: <1% at 1mW/1kHz
- Ear Bud Dimensions: Width 0.667" Height 0.863" Depth 0.782"
- Weight: 0.7 ounces
Q Crutchfield asked: Why did you buy this?