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GRADO RA-1 amp, what the heck is this all about? - Page 5  

post #61 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clony View Post
what? dont get it
Exactimundo.
post #62 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
I guess ignorance is bliss, in your case. It'll look pretty,anyway.
You know there's not much evidence that it sounds crap. If it sounds good, then who cares if the circuit is simple?

Of all the gear that I've played with, i've come to the conclusion that a complex circuit is not better than a simple one.

PinkFloyd (a MF fanboy) comes along and says he doesn't like it, and suddenly its the worst amp in the world.

Heaps of people use the RA1 with their RS1s and love it. The amp is certainly made to be used with the RS1. Pinky didn't use the RS1.

The circuit is simple, but tweaked for the RS1 so they sound good together. If it sounds good, then who cares if it costs a lot for a small amount of parts. As long as the sound is worth the price.
post #63 of 158
[QUOTE=hugz;2547506]Heaps of people use the RA1 with their RS1s and love it. QUOTE]

Not many on Head-Fi apparently.
post #64 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7;2547512[QUOTE=hugz View Post
Heaps of people use the RA1 with their RS1s and love it. QUOTE]

Not many on Head-Fi apparently.
Hehe, you realy dont like the RA1, do you?
post #65 of 158
[QUOTE=Pete7][QUOTE=hugz]Heaps of people use the RA1 with their RS1s and love it.
Quote:

Not many on Head-Fi apparently.
Oh please

do some searching. The vast majority of the hatred for the RA1 comes from people who know what it looks like inside. People who base their impressions purely on sound (and with the RS1) tend to love it. I was just reading a thread when a guy compares the x-can v3 with a RA1 and finds the RA1 to be far superior to the XCAN in sound quality

And someone responds
Quote:
take a look at this http://www.h-navi.net/b/img/img/1076686092210.jpg
...and re-consider things.
How is looking at the inside of an amp supposed to change it's sound? People are judging the sound quality of the RA1 NOT on its sound, but on it's insides.

A guy says it sounds good and someone basically responds "you just THINK it sounds good, because look inside!"

The reality, as i see it, is that the RA1 sounds good with the RS1 (maybe not the BEST amp for it, but one of the better ones), yet people dont care about this because it has a simple circuit. The RA1 probably doesn't sound good with many other phones than the RS1. but it's not supposed to.

edit: This is HIFI. Sound quality is #1. Stop worrying about Mr Grado's business, and start LISTENING to your music

double edit: just so you know i'm not a grado fanboy... i listen mostly to my speakers, and then my sennhesiers, and then i listen the least to my alessandros (grados). I dont own an RA1 but i have auditioned one for over a month.
post #66 of 158

random

I don't think I've posted in several years. At least, it was long enough ago that none of my current email addresses still register in the system (hence the new name).

A few semi-unconnected thoughts/responses.

The markup on the RA-1 is at below the average markup when compared to most "hi-fi" accessories. While I cannot comment on their selling practices in the UK, in the US, it's no treasure trove. At least for the retailer.

Given what a dealer pays for the RA-1 and what I know of Grado's manufacturing, I doubt that the markup there is anything to scream about.

Also, given what I have seen, both in margin and in build quality, for a lot of "hi-fi accessories" I think the RA-1 is the last piece of gear I'd call out for being a poor value.

Of course, none of the above impacts the sound of the RA-1. I was just posting another view in response to some I've seen in this thread.

As for the sound, that's a much more subjective matter. As someone very astutely pointed out, simplicity by no means is in an indication of poor quality. The analogy I would make, however apt or otherwise, is that it's a hell of a lot more difficult to write a brilliant short story than a 700 page novel.

Over the years it's been my experience that there are two groups (well, more than two but two large groups) of audiophiles. They are, to use a gross over-generalization, the engineers and the tweaks.

One group wants to disassemble everything, the engineers. They know solid state. They udnerstand parts and components. They appreciate the products for the what goes into them.

The other group, the tweaks, they aren't nearly as concerned with the physcial properties of a component (however familiar with them in excriciating detail they might be). No, these folks are looking for a more experiential, dare I suggest, transcendental connection to their gear. They listen. They adjust. They change different components. They listen some more. The idea of disassembling something is repugnant to them because the proof is in the experience.

Neither camp is right or wrong. But a lot of what I am seeing here seems could be explained by the difference in points of view of these two camps.

Then again, maybe it's just your average forum flare up.
post #67 of 158
I own the EAR HP4 and a one of a kind Melos, both amps said to be at the top of the heep in terms of synergy with Grados...yet I use the RA-1 every day with my RS-1's. The synergy is remarkable and honestly...with those other two amps there, it's not as if I have to suffer through using the RA-1.

What is ironic about the other two amps I own is that they are both known to have mediocre parts in them (pre-mods, though my EAR is stock) and yet are continually branded as the best of the best. Most "big time" manufacturers cut corners on parts but tweak the sound at least until one jumps up into the stratosphere in price but then notice that what one can plunk in an amp (black gates, auricaps, silver wire etc) come out with multiple 5 figure price tag. What is the reason?

As already stated, R&D, cost of office space, cost of work space, cost of wages, cost of employee benefits, cost of warehouse space, then comes profit, profit for manufacturer, profit for distributor and finally...profit for dealer. Many many variables, so those $30 black gates end up costing the customer $300+. This is one of the driving forces behind 3rd party modification. Outfits like Parts Connexion, Modwright, Empirical Audio etc...they can do things on the relative cheap to cheaper players and often times, transform them into beasts that compete with the top tier. The reason? The circuits are often very much the same in the units but the parts are not and/or the benefits of the tweaked super circuits of the top tier are no longer far outweighing the lesser circuits of the cheaper models when those models have uber parts.

Grado is certainly not the only manufacturer pricing their amps in the 300-500 category and using only about $50 worth of parts. Yet he is the only one with a massive network where everyone not only wants but demands a cut.

Still, all this aside, it comes down to the sound...if the RA-1 has something special about it when paired with Grados....and the Reference series in particular...then is it worth paying $500+ for an amp that has more under the hood but does not sound as good? Therein lies the rub, what do you want? Boutique parts? Or the sound? Some will argue that Grado could have boutique parts too...but then the price jumps. For someone like Grado the situation is FAR different than the Head-fi-only manufactures or predominantly Head-fi manufacturers. That is, most of the guys who sell direct to Head-fiers and/or have Head-fiers as the vast majority of their clientele sure don't rely on the intricate network that Grado, Musical Fidelity, EAR, RKV etc...depend on.

For any of these companies to make a profit not only do you have to consider all I wrote regarding expenses above...but you have to consider the cost of employees/benefits + store space/utilities THEN profit for each level!

For folks working outta their home and/or with 0-few employees selling direct via the web...their costs are vastly less than the bigger companies. They can afford to undercut and or outbuild, the choice is left up to the customer. No one forces their hand. The reason the amps from these bigger companies continue to sell are:

1) they sound good!
2) they sound good!
3) the company has built up a reputation around reliability
4) they have demonstrated staying power in this very volatile niche market we call hi-fi.

Not to knock the smaller guys, because everyone has to start somewhere, but when dealing with a company like Grado who has last more than half a century, has tackled the hard times, succeeded and then pulled themselves up by their socks and become more successful than any other point in their history...it says something. There is a perceived safety net when purchasing a product from a company that has demonstrated longevity.

How many have purchased the latest hot item and then found that 6, 12...18 months down the line the place has closed up? It happens all the time in the bigger world of Hi-Fi and it has happened numerous times here in our own sub-sub-niche at Head-fi.
post #68 of 158
hugz, russellfrost, and Zanth all said what I wanted to but I'll contribute nevertheless.

What would you have Grado do? Throw lots of expensive gear into a blender and see what comes out? Charge you 10 times what the RA-1 already costs because he inflates prices better than Bose does? Like the last three posters said, it's about the sound. Grado has put in his time, and made it so his headphones match his amp as closely as he wants them to.

Consider another situation. Suppose you bought a non-Grado/Alessandro headphone. What's the cheapest way to find an amp that best suits the sound signature you want for that headphone? Buy lots of amps and return them and spend loads of shipping dollars? Attend every meet you can and spend those airfare/car rental dollars? Spend every spare minute with the search function, attempting every combination you can or cannot imagine of "best," "non-Grado/Alessandro headphone," "amp," and "pair"? Grado has done it so that the Grado fan can have a great match between amp and headphone at a relatively cheap price. Sure, it's not GoVibe or PA2V2. If he sold the RA-1 for those prices, you'd then complain that he isn't charging enough. OTOH, neither is the RA-1 a B52. Either way, it just works.
post #69 of 158
Whatever Mike (PinkFloyd)'s view of the sound is - he's fixed it for me. For that, I thank him greatly. I have just hooked up my only phones at present (Shure e4c) and the Heed Canamp does sound better to me (for these phones). I can see what Mike is getting at with the comments on sound, but it's a different presentation rather than a bad presentation.

As you have commented, I shall reserve judgement until my Grado BDGS-1000s arrive! It will be an interesting comparison with the Heed.
post #70 of 158
KISS.
post #71 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugz View Post
my new suggestion

if you dont like it, dont buy it. quit the whining. grado makes a product and sets a price point. those who think its worth the money buy it, and those who dont think its worth the money dont. who cares?
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Monkey View Post
It's a free market. If people will pay it, charge it. That's how John stays in business. The educated consumer has plenty of options here and should exercise his power by choosing not to buy the RA-1 if he believes it to be overpriced. If Grado can get $350 for an amp, then more power to him. There is nothing unethical at all about that. Unless of course, your suggestion is that there is something misleading about the RA-1, which I think would present a different analysis.
Here Here! Now let's apply this idea to BOSE products as well!!
post #72 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azure View Post
Here Here! Now let's apply this idea to BOSE products as well!!

This idea applies to all products.
post #73 of 158
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
Whatever Mike (PinkFloyd)'s view of the sound is - he's fixed it for me. For that, I thank him greatly. I have just hooked up my only phones at present (Shure e4c) and the Heed Canamp does sound better to me (for these phones). I can see what Mike is getting at with the comments on sound, but it's a different presentation rather than a bad presentation.

As you have commented, I shall reserve judgement until my Grado BDGS-1000s arrive! It will be an interesting comparison with the Heed.
Just noticed this, glad it arrived safely Cuppa It was just a broken switch, no big deal man, happy to help.
post #74 of 158
While my PPX, Gilmore Lite, X-cans v.3 and Melos (modded) do audiophile things better with my RS-1s and GS-1000s, the RA-1 has the sweetest and most addicting sound with those two phones. The battery operated RA-1 was never meant for the power hungry Senns, so I don't think people should be judging the RA-1 for other phones (at least not the battery version).

Perhaps the glue is to keep the wires from moving around and cross talking on each other like my X-can has had issues with (maybe they should be using glue too) or it could be to hold the wires stable and along with the gel feet on the RA-1 there may be some vibration control going on. Who knows, but I have yet to hear of a RA-1 clone that can match what the RA-1 does with the RS-1/GS-1000.

Either way, the fact that there isn't a lot of extra circuits and electrical toys inside for people to geek on is irrelevant since its primary function is to sound good with the RS-1 - and it does.

As Pinkfloyd said, the price oversees is more than I would pay, but there is nothing at or under $350 that sounds better with the RS-1 to my ears, so... stop with "the man is keeping us down and pulling a fast one on us" drama
post #75 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by robm321 View Post
While my PPX, Gilmore Lite, X-cans v.3 and Melos (modded) do audiophile things better with my RS-1s and GS-1000s, the RA-1 has the sweetest and most addicting sound with those two phones. The battery operated RA-1 was never meant for the power hungry Senns, so I don't think people should be judging the RA-1 for other phones (at least not the battery version).
Why not? One of my first rigs was the RA-1 driving a Senn HD-580. Unless I wanted to blast my ears out, the RA-1 had plenty of power for that. In fact, I posted years ago that I felt the Senns had a better synergy with RA-1 than the RS-1 did. If using rechargeables, go with a 9.6v battery, though.

The Joe Grado HPA-1 used a similar circuit, but better parts. Incidentally, the Joe Grado circuit was potted also. There's a bit of grain to the RA-1 that's goes away with the HPA-1. The HPA-1 also retailed for $795 US, with optional AC power supply for $125.
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