CanJam SoCal 2019: Meze, Dunu and Beyerdynamic

Meze made quite a splash with their Empyrean headphone, a top-tier planar magnetic model from the company that put out the 99 Classics was certainly something I had never expected to see.

Now though, I think Meze has got another surprise hit on their hands, not because it’s surprising that they can put out serious high-end gear, but because I was surprised at just how good it turned out to be. The Rai Penta is Meze’s newest IEM, and a big break with their classics IEM series. The Rai Penta is priced at $1,099 USD and should be shipping later this July.

The sound out of this IEM was some of the best I heard at show, not just form an IEM, but period. It was among the FiiO FH7 and MoonDrop A8 as one of the three best IEMs I tried there. It had a lightly more relaxed sound than either the FiiO or MoonDrop, and a gentle yet very rich and macro dynamic sound that reminded me somewhat of the Campfire IEMs, but with a slightly more neutral bass tuning. They were also showing the currently unreleased Rai Solo which has a TBA price somewhere in the $200 USD range. These shared clear familial sonic resemblance, though with a bit less resolution and dynamics. Still, I found both IEMs seriously compelling, and people should definitely be on the lookout for more, as the folks at the Meze booth mentioned a whole lineup of IEMs. If these first two are anything to go by, I would expect the rest to be quite compelling for the price.

The Beyerdynamics booth was my next stop, and I listened briefly to the Lagoon ANC headphones. These are the first headphones I’ve heard where I felt the quality of the noise-cancelling actually exceeded the Bose QC series headphones. Switching between heavy and light Noise-Cancellation, I detected nearly no change in the very balanced frequency response, transient response or dynamic quality. Very impressive work from Beyerdynamic. They were also demoing their new MOSAYC noise-personalization technology which comes with all their wireless headphones.

This is actually a full blown left/right hearing test quite similar, though a bit shorter than you would get at an audiologist. I tested this out and found it surprisingly good, though it was a little tough to perfect results in the noisy showroom environment. I’m interested in seeing what this technology can do when properly setup in a quiet environment. Overall, I felt the tuning on the Aventho, Xelento and Lagoon were more to my preference than Beyerdynamics typical audiophile headphones, with much smoother treble and more present mids than Beyerdynamic is known for. Definitely worth checking these out even if you aren’t normally a Beyerdynamic fan.

Dunu and their line of IEMs was up next. The Titan series of IEMs and their spin-fit tips have been quite popular in recent years, but I’ve never had the pleasure of actually trying a Dunu IEM. I sat down with a version of the Titan-6 which will soon be available in Beryllium, and the DK-3001, which is a more expensive, high-end balanced armature design. Both headphones had a family sound; dark and very forgiving. They weren’t super bass heavy and I actually didn’t find them overly warm, rather the darkness seemed to be more a gentle tilt in the midrange, rather than a massive preference for midbass over mid-treble.

The result was great clarity, and what I found to be a fairly pleasing deviation from neutral compared to most gear that I typically think of as being ‘dark’ or ‘warm.’ At $139 USD for the Titan Beryllium, I think this is an IEM worth listening to if you’re in the market for an affordable on-the-go choice that will play nicely with all of your music.

Coming up: final thoughts and takeaways.