Before starting this review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details.
Also, I would like to thanks to Meze Audio for this great opportunity. Here is the link of Penta: https://mezeaudio.com/collections/all/products/rai-penta
Driver: PENTA-HYBRID DRIVER
(4 x Customized Balanced Armature and 1 x Dynamic
Driver working harmoniously together)
Frequency Range: 4Hz – 45kHz
Sensitivity: 110dB SPL/1mW Sensitivity
Max Input Power: 30mW
Stock cables: MMCX connector ending in 3.5mm, Rhodium plated
Upgrade cables: MMCX connector ending in
2.5mm TRRS balanced and 4.4mm balanced as extra accessories
MMCX braided cables made of silver-plated copper
Custom wires ending in high quality 3.5mm
Hard Case: protective EVA case with Meze Audio metal logo
4 pairs of soft silicone eartips XS, S, M, L
1 double flanged eartips
2 deep insertion double flanged eartips
1 pair of comply foam eartips
3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter
Airplane 2 pin adapter
THX AAA 789 & D50S
Let me start from the package. Rai Penta comes with fairly big size box which feels premium. When you open the box, premium atmosphere continues and gorgeous Rai Penta earphone and beautiful made carry case welcomes you. There is a plenty of sizes and types of ear tips included in the box. Leather case is so beautiful in hand and I really love its design and build quality. It looks like a little precious purse and you may want to carry everywhere you go. Rai Penta comes with high quality silver-plated copper cable. Cable itself is so soft and ergonomic and there are no microphonic issues at all. And, the most important part of the package is Rai Penta earphone. It is so elegant, premium, screams quality and has top notch finish. This might be the best-looking aluminium earphone I’ve ever seen. There is only one dark blue color option and it is so beautiful. When I received the package, I’ve just inspected Rai Penta in my hand very closely like 10 minutes. It has so many details in every corner and I really impressed by its look. This thing easily can get award from beauty contest. Meze Audio prefers MMCX socket with their earphones. It feels secure and robust when you attach the cable.
Rai Penta is fairly small sized earphone and it provides pretty good seals in ear, and I haven’t faced any discomfort issues while using it for long hours. It doesn’t have sharp corners or edges which is great for ergonomics. It provides good isolation but not the best to be honest. It still blocks outer sounds but it can be better for sure. I always use silicon tips with my earphone but foam tips are better for isolation.
Meze Rai Penta’s natural, and slightly warm presentation doesn’t exaggerate any sound. It’s not a reference earphone, but I would say it sounds very accurate without coloration. The instruments play in a very natural tone, detailed and clean. It is very pleasant that no other frequency dominates each other and all frequencies play in beautiful harmony. The treble is extremely well extended, and it has a presentation that is worth its price in terms of detail and resolution. The clean and clear form of the treble makes it easier to hear micro details and also helps distinguishing the instrument better. Mid frequency is neither too recessed nor too forward, well positioned between the bass and treble. The vocals are simply amazing. Natural, understated, and very clean. Basses are not very large in quantity and impact, but they still have strong beats and fill the sound overall well. The bass is also tight and has a good speed ratio. Especially in fast passages, they do not act as muddy or uncontrolled. The stage is quite large and spacious. The instruments spread out on the stage and offer a comfortable sound.
Treble is smooth but well extended, resolution and detail level are good for the price band. Treble is not sharp and bright, there is absolutely no sibilance. I don’t have lots of MMCX cable wires so I didn’t have a chance to try it, but I think some silver wires will sharpen the treble. I listened to the Le Trip jeobran – Masar album from beginning to end and I liked stringed instruments sounds, especially oud. It sounds clear enough to hear even the tiniest timbre of the instrument.
Mid frequency is one of the surprise areas of Penta for me. Frankly, I looked at the FR before receiving and I expected the mids to be a little boring, but I realized how wrong it was to judge by looking at chart. The mid frequency is not far behind other frequencies, nor is it too in front of it, so it doesn’t make you feel bodyless while listening. The lower mids have sufficient body in quantity, which prevents mids from being thinner. Brightness in the upper mids helps the mids to expand while giving a clean air. I loved the vocal performance of Penta. I know I used this word a lot, but I believe Penta has a crystal clean vocal performance and it makes many users happy in this sense. The vocals are slightly forward, but there is no face to face presentation, they are positioned in the center of the stage in front of the instruments. The detail and resolution level of the mids are also very successful and you can feel this when you listen to the first two tracks. I really liked the overall mid performance of Penta.
Penta’s clean sound presentation continues on the bass frequency. The bass is tight, and the amount is sufficient. It’s definitely not at the bass-head level, which is not its purpose anyway. Still, Penta has deep bass that delights in EDM like genres. The texture of the bass and the decay level are again as good as expected from the price. Another good thing about the bass is its tightness and good in control. There is absolutely no muddy presentation with fast passages. Likewise, there is no bass presentation that squeezes the mids and chokes the stage either. The lack of that bulky and lazy presentation of the dynamic driver makes a serious contribution to the bass quality of Penta. Overall, the bass is tight, controlled and has clean impacts.
The stage definitely has a very wide feel. I think the physical port on the shell also has an effect on this. The stage is wide, airy and able to position the instruments well to keep the distance between them. It is good at stage association and at a price level in imagining. The background is not completely pitch black, but I can easily say that it is clean.
Rai Penta vs Oriolus Reborn:
Oriolus Reborn is one of my favorite hybrid earphones and it has same drivers’ configuration with Penta. Both earphones material and build quality are top notch. Although they share similar driver counts, they are differing in sound type. Reborn is mid forward, lush and warmer earphone while Penta slightly warm earphone. Trebles are more prominent and forward on Penta which provides slightly better details and resolution while Reborn has smooth, relaxed, tamed trebles. Reborn also provides pretty good details on trebles but Penta is more successful to bringing it surface. Mids are more forward, organic, romantic on Reborn while Penta is recessed, and laid back with natural timbre. Reborn has better tonality and vocal performance but of course if you like face to face presentation, otherwise Penta would be better choice. Penta is slightly recessed and details are more prominent, and maybe technical level is slightly better on mid area. Reborn has much more bass, it goes deep, hits hard and has more impact. On the other hand, Penta is better in control and it is tighter at bass performance. It is less in quantity but it is not bass light if I would like to highlight. Soundstage is wider and airier on Penta but soundstage depth is better on Reborn. Reborn is more excited, fun, and colored earphone while Penta has better technical performance with natural presentation.
Rai Penta vs Campfire Atlas:
Both earphones are metal and their build quality is fantastic. Penta provides better seal and comfort but there are no issues with Atlas either. Atlas has 1 dynamic driver per unit and it is known as bass monster in the community which it deserves. Atlas has typical V-shape fun sound signature with great details. Trebles are emphasis and prominent on Atlas and they are almost par in quantity. Atlas trebles are smooth and warmer while Penta is brighter and slightly more extended. Detail levels are similar but Penta shows clearer present in this sense. Mids are bolder, thicker and darker on Atlas and it is slightly recessed. Penta is brighter, natural and clear. Vocals are more organic and has warmer atmosphere in Atlas but it is also so thick, especially with male vocals. Penta has airier and clearer vocal presentation with closer to the right tonality. As expected, bass is huge on Atlas, it is more in every way. Fun and excited presentation is great, and really joyful with Atlas but it is hard to listen for long hours. Atlas’ bass doesn’t dominate all frequency but it pushes lower mid and feels hump on that area with some bassy tracks and also it is slow when I compare with Penta. Penta is less in quantity and it is tighter, controlled, and quicker. Both earphones are great in soundstage but Penta feels airier and wider.
Rai Penta vs Final Audio B1
B1 is 1 balanced armature + 1 dynamic driver hybrid earphone from Final Audio which I’ve reviewed before. Like Penta, B1 is also great looking earphone, its material and built quality is high level. Both earphones provide great ergonomics in ears. Sound wise, they are two different animals. B1 has smooth, lush and creamy sound signature overall while Penta is slightly natural and bright. Trebles are more extended, shrill, and prominent on Penta and it is also more detailed. Instrument separations are more distinguishable. B1 is smooth and tamed when I compare with Penta. It is so relaxed but also detailed, not as good as Penta but it is detailed. Mids are more forward and thick on B1 while Penta is more on natural side, brighter and airier when I compare with B1. Vocals are forward and lush in form while Penta is slightly laid back. B1 has more in bass quantity, and impact. Sub-bass reaches deeper and hits harder. Also, it is slower too. Penta is better on speed, control and tecture. Penta has wider and airier soundstage, instrument placements are better.
Rai Penta vs Fearless Roland:
Fearless Roland is interesting earphone. Some people like it some people not, which I am in the first group. It is dark in tonality and presentation but is detailed and fun to listen. Both earphones great in build quality. Roland shell is acrylic and slightly bigger than Penta, but it provides really good seals and isolation. Roland has darker sound but when you get used to it, its sound becomes less dark, and you can hear every detail at the background. Trebles are brighter, extended and prominent on Penta while Roland has laid back, not rolled off but slightly relaxed smooth in trebles. Mids are darker, colored and recessed. Its lush and warmer presentation literally opposite of Penta. Penta is clean and clear in mid presentation and details are much easy to hear. Roland has more bass quantity and impact, its bass performance is better for EDM like genres. Also, sub bass has more rumble and goes deeper. Penta takes advantage from its tight and controlled bass. It is quicker and better in recovery time. Penta has better soundstage; it makes instrument placement better in stage.
Before received Penta, I was skeptical about it’s sound due to some impressions, reviews and FR chart, but when I put it in my ear, pretty surprised by the sound and all my skeptical thoughts are disappeared. It doesn’t have bone shaking bass, with crazy extended detailed trebles, and it is not the best earphone for resolution, but is has beautiful natural tonality with clean and clear sound that you will love it. And it is gorgeous looking earphone and hard to beat in terms of design. Overall, Meze Rai Penta is great earphone for most genres and it deserve much more attention at this price.