Meze Audio send me their balanced 2.5mm rhodium plated upgrade cable. Let’s see how much of an improvement this is over the stock 3.5mm single ended cable…
I have not been paid by Meze Audio for this review.
The views in this publication are unbiased and my own.
Alexandra and Meze Audio kindly sent this cable my way to review.
The Rai Series balanced 2.5mm cable retails at £125 at the time of this review.
You can pick one up here:
Astell & Kern AK70.
Meze Audio Rai Solo.
Meze Audio Rai Series silver plated cable.
Michael Jackson: Dangerous.
ZZ Top: Audiophile Collection.
Depeche Mode: Violator.
Altern 8: Full On Mask Hysteria.
In the box:
Meze Audio Rai Series silver plated cable.
- Braided cables made of SPC (silver plated copper) custom wires.
- MMCX termination.
- 1.2 m (3.9 ft) long.
- 20 strands per wire and a total of 80 strands per cable.
Build and finish:
Meze Audio are up there in my top ten brands for sheer craftsmanship, premium design and value for money. Yet again Meze have sent a product that goes above and beyond.
The cable is a noticeable upgrade over the standard single ended item, yet I wouldn’t go as far as calling it an improvement, or at least not in the aesthetic or finish department.
No, what this is, is an upgrade that offers improvement in audio and use.
I’ll get into the audio later in the review, however as far as use goes, this cable enables you to use a 2.5mm balanced output of either a player, amplifier or dongle.
Again I’ll get into the benefits of a balanced connection later in the review.
The connectors and cable have a luxurious finish and look the part!
The left and right mmcx connectors aren’t as clearly marked as the single ended standard cable is, but the red ( right channel ) strip is visible when you look close enough.
The upgrade cable is thicker due to the increased amount of strands which is visible in the pictures below.
We also find the cable near to the mmcx connectors has a flexible sleeve similar to the “ear-sleeve” found on the standard version.
It comes well packaged and comes in a neat little presentation box with a pleather draw string pouch.
Setup is simply a case of disconnecting the standard cable and replacing it with the upgrade cable. Plug the 2.5mm connector into the correct balanced output on your device and you’re done.
Where the cable isn’t really an upgrade aesthetically ( The stock cable is grand enough in and of itself ), it does give an improvement in sound.
Now if you’re not a believer of cable upgrades or balanced circuits making a difference you may as well stop reading now, however if you are in the camp of believing and experiencing improvements as small as they may be, then you’ve come to the right place.
Before I go further, let’s revisit my thoughts on the Rai Solo in stock form in my previous review:-
“What we have here is an IEM that easily punches above its weight due to an impressive dynamic range and low impedance.
Starting with a wide soundstage and great imaging the Solo put you right in front of the stage or behind the mixing desk.
Instrument separation is excellent squeezing out every little detail, and remaining so in busier sections of music.
Vocalists and instruments are clearly positioned creating an almost 3D image.
Lows and mid bass are articulate and on point with great extension and presence. They have a controlled sound with form and plenty of reach into the lower frequencies.
Mids and Mid highs are neutral and have an organic sound. Vocals come through beautifully with air and body without sounding exaggerated.
The Solo have a fair amount of upper frequency sparkle which is immediate with detail and accuracy that I have rarely heard in an IEM at this price.”
So we already have an IEM that performs extremely well and leaves little room for improvement.
That being said, what the Meze Audio RAI Series silver plated cables do offer is a wider soundstage with more headroom.
The signal is as quiet as you could want and instrument separation is more refined.
As for tonality, the lows are tighter with the bass having more texture and a higher level of control than previously heard.
Mids and mid highs see no significant change, however I would say they feel lighter and airier.
The higher frequencies sound crisper and otherwise retain all of their sparkle and accuracy.
With the addition of this cable and the reduced price of the IEM’s the Rai Solo become a £299.62 balanced IEM.
What you end up with is a sub £300 balanced IEM that delivers a very clean accurate delivery, with a wide soundstage, natural sound and lots of clout.
I could not recommend the combination of this cable with the Rai Solo’s enough.
Therefore I give the Rai Series cables The Audiophile Cafe’s Editors Choice award!
I would like to thank you all for your continued support of the blog and ongoing patience as I eek out my reviews until the current pandemic and brexit situation becomes easier to work with.
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