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Is the Grado RA-1 a CMOY? - Page 3

post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkvedam View Post
Back from the dead, woooo... creepy.
Funny thing is, this back-from-the-dead thread still contains the same old debate about the Grado RA-1. Not much point in reincarnation if you come back same as you were before.
post #32 of 44
hey guys... Do not mistake the M³ for the Mini³!!!
the first is a desktop amp and the latter is a portable!

Cheers!
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by marios_mar View Post
Is the RA1 kind of like an improved and a tad more complicated CMOY as I read at some post here?
I'm not an engineer but . . . yes and no.

There's a kind of hierarchy to amping. The pinnacle of the pyramid is full of expensive tube amps. Audio freaks love their tube amps. Some of us have an aversion to these hot, expensive, testy, fire-starting mother$%^^&ers and their 1950s-era nostalgia. (I have a feeling I'm about to be flamed.)

John Grado listens to his cans through a Melos.

The next step down are the discrete solid states. These use capacitors, resistors and transistors, with no cheapo parts. There's a running feud between tubists and the SS, as the tubes cause eargasms but are technically slower while the SS's are faster, but stereotypically "colder." There are endless debates over the virtues of seamless, velvety bliss, on the one hand, and crisp, analytical, detail, on the other. A great example of this is the AMB Beta 22.

There are also hybrids that try to get the best out of both worlds. A prominent example is the Millet Hybrid.

Then, there are the mixtures of solid state and opamps. These use opamps but supplement them with a PCB board full of high-end caps and resistors designed as buffers. My M^3 (which cost me $300, not $100) is a nice example of one of these.

Then there are the basic opamps, using a minimal number of caps and resistors to supplement an integrated circuit. The Mini3 and the Pimeta are good examples of the higher end (Both have active third-channel buffering). The low end is the Cmoy, which does little more than generate greater volume.

Is an RA-1 a Cmoy? Yes and No. I've seen schematics of both. They are not identical in the sense of using the exact same caps and resistors, but they are equally simple and perform the same task. The Cmoy is named after Chu Moy, who invented a brilliantly basic, stable, cheap design, then published it to the world, inviting others to copy and modify it to their hearts' content. John Grado invented another basic, stable, cheap design, but instead of offering it to the world, he put it in a block of mahogany and sold it for as much as he could get. That doesn't make John Grado a bad person. Grado got there first and was making money for his family. It's just that the RA-1 and the Cmoy are two very basic, simple and extremely similar designs.

It's not that the RA-1 is a Cmoy, or that the Cmoy is an RA-1. It's more like two guys independently inventing wheelbarrows, both of which do the same thing. I'll leave it up to the engineers to tell me if one is actually better than the other, but if you look at the schematics, it's hard to imagine any substantial difference between these two. The cap and resistor values are probably not sufficient to make a noticeable difference between the two. I'll even stick my neck out and say you'd be hard pressed to tell them apart, since they're both minimal designs that do little more than amplify the volume of the input.

You could get a bigger difference from rolling opamps. The Opa 2227, for example, has one sound; the AD 823 has another. What's hilarious is the difference in price. Regardless of how cheap you get an RA-1 on the street, the average Cmoy costs between $30 and $50. Some who have tried both will swear the RA-1 sounds better; I've read reviews from those who've tried both and swear the Cmoy sounds better.

The fact that such a discussion exists means that the RA-1 is not the perfect amp just because it says "Grado" on it. Does that make it a ripoff? No. First, you've got a nice little amp, a Grado amp, one built by Grado and designed with Grado cans in mind. Second, you've got the costs of that block of mahogany as well as the costs of keeping the Grado enterprise in the black.

Lest we forget, the original critic of the RA-1 was John Grado. Grado did not design this amp to be the world's best amp. Grado didn't want to go into the business of making amps. Grado has shown remarkable focus, sticking carefully to high-end phono cartridges and high-end phones. If they make other items (or have them made), it's because their customers need cables, adapters and some kind of amp for the bigger cans. Grado designed the RA-1 to fill a niche.

But John Grado doesn't even use the RA-1. He listens to the Melos, a high-end tube amp. He could have gone down a different road, and started designing tube amps, but he didn't want to do that.

If Grado doesn't feel married to the RA-1, you shouldn't feel married to it, either. On the other hand, if you're looking to make a minimal investment in a basic amp, something as basic as a Cmoy, but you'd like it in mahogany, with that Grado style, there's nothing wrong with the RA-1.

In the interest of candor, I'll admit that I do not own an RA-1. I own two Cmoys, two Pimetas, a Mini3 and an M^3. To be perfectly honest, all but the M^3 simply raise the volume of my music. Beyond that, they aren't particularly useful. Until I got my M^3, I kept feeling like part of the crowd watching the emperor parade past in his "new clothes."

I don't believe in magic beans or audio mysticism. I don't mind opening my wallet but I'm not here to chase rainbows. The M^3 was the first of my amps to remove all doubt about the value of a headphone amp. That's why I'm currently building a Beta 22.

I've known people who love the Cmoy precisely because of its simplicity, and I've had many hours of joy with my Cmoys, especially opamp rolling (I really love that AD8599). That's why I'm hesitant to laugh at owners of the RA-1 and call them chumps for buying a design that's practically identical to a Cmoy. For all the goosestepping and chest-pounding about who has the better amp, there's something to be said about simplicity. But given that I already have two Cmoys, I see no reason to buy an RA-1.
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilavideo View Post
I'm not an engineer but . . . yes and no.

There's a kind of hierarchy to amping. The pinnacle of the pyramid is full of expensive tube amps. Audio freaks love their tube amps. Some of us have an aversion to these hot, expensive, testy, fire-starting mother$%^^&ers and their 1950s-era nostalgia. (I have a feeling I'm about to be flamed.)

John Grado listens to his cans through a Melos.

The next step down are the discrete solid states. These use capacitors, resistors and transistors, with no cheapo parts. There's a running feud between tubists and the SS, as the tubes cause eargasms but are technically slower while the SS's are faster, but stereotypically "colder." There are endless debates over the virtues of seamless, velvety bliss, on the one hand, and crisp, analytical, detail, on the other. A great example of this is the AMB Beta 22.

There are also hybrids that try to get the best out of both worlds. A prominent example is the Millet Hybrid.

Then, there are the mixtures of solid state and opamps. These use opamps but supplement them with a PCB board full of high-end caps and resistors designed as buffers. My M^3 (which cost me $300, not $100) is a nice example of one of these.

Then there are the basic opamps, using a minimal number of caps and resistors to supplement an integrated circuit. The Mini3 and the Pimeta are good examples of the higher end (Both have active third-channel buffering). The low end is the Cmoy, which does little more than generate greater volume.

Is an RA-1 a Cmoy? Yes and No. I've seen schematics of both. They are not identical in the sense of using the exact same caps and resistors, but they are equally simple and perform the same task. The Cmoy is named after Chu Moy, who invented a brilliantly basic, stable, cheap design, then published it to the world, inviting others to copy and modify it to their hearts' content. John Grado invented another basic, stable, cheap design, but instead of offering it to the world, he put it in a block of mahogany and sold it for as much as he could get. That doesn't make John Grado a bad person. Grado got there first and was making money for his family. It's just that the RA-1 and the Cmoy are two very basic, simple and extremely similar designs.

It's not that the RA-1 is a Cmoy, or that the Cmoy is an RA-1. It's more like two guys independently inventing wheelbarrows, both of which do the same thing. I'll leave it up to the engineers to tell me if one is actually better than the other, but if you look at the schematics, it's hard to imagine any substantial difference between these two. The cap and resistor values are probably not sufficient to make a noticeable difference between the two. I'll even stick my neck out and say you'd be hard pressed to tell them apart, since they're both minimal designs that do little more than amplify the volume of the input.

You could get a bigger difference from rolling opamps. The Opa 2227, for example, has one sound; the AD 823 has another. What's hilarious is the difference in price. Regardless of how cheap you get an RA-1 on the street, the average Cmoy costs between $30 and $50. Some who have tried both will swear the RA-1 sounds better; I've read reviews from those who've tried both and swear the Cmoy sounds better.

The fact that such a discussion exists means that the RA-1 is not the perfect amp just because it says "Grado" on it. Does that make it a ripoff? No. First, you've got a nice little amp, a Grado amp, one built by Grado and designed with Grado cans in mind. Second, you've got the costs of that block of mahogany as well as the costs of keeping the Grado enterprise in the black.

Lest we forget, the original critic of the RA-1 was John Grado. Grado did not design this amp to be the world's best amp. Grado didn't want to go into the business of making amps. Grado has shown remarkable focus, sticking carefully to high-end phono cartridges and high-end phones. If they make other items (or have them made), it's because their customers need cables, adapters and some kind of amp for the bigger cans. Grado designed the RA-1 to fill a niche.

But John Grado doesn't even use the RA-1. He listens to the Melos, a high-end tube amp. He could have gone down a different road, and started designing tube amps, but he didn't want to do that.

If Grado doesn't feel married to the RA-1, you shouldn't feel married to it, either. On the other hand, if you're looking to make a minimal investment in a basic amp, something as basic as a Cmoy, but you'd like it in mahogany, with that Grado style, there's nothing wrong with the RA-1.

In the interest of candor, I'll admit that I do not own an RA-1. I own two Cmoys, two Pimetas, a Mini3 and an M^3. To be perfectly honest, all but the M^3 simply raise the volume of my music. Beyond that, they aren't particularly useful. Until I got my M^3, I kept feeling like part of the crowd watching the emperor parade past in his "new clothes."

I don't believe in magic beans or audio mysticism. I don't mind opening my wallet but I'm not here to chase rainbows. The M^3 was the first of my amps to remove all doubt about the value of a headphone amp. That's why I'm currently building a Beta 22.

I've known people who love the Cmoy precisely because of its simplicity, and I've had many hours of joy with my Cmoys, especially opamp rolling (I really love that AD8599). That's why I'm hesitant to laugh at owners of the RA-1 and call them chumps for buying a design that's practically identical to a Cmoy. For all the goosestepping and chest-pounding about who has the better amp, there's something to be said about simplicity. But given that I already have two Cmoys, I see no reason to buy an RA-1.
Damn... great post!
post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilavideo View Post
I'm not an engineer but . . . yes and no....
When you're answering a question posted 5 years ago, it's not to answer the OP. And while I agree with the overall point you're trying to make, theres so much things wrong about that post that I won't get started into.
post #36 of 44
Here we go again!
post #37 of 44
Why we don't find the reason why the Ra-1 is suitable for grado headphone( may be only with grado). I already think that Grado headphone have a low impedance so another low impedance(not grado) can be suitable ?.
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilavideo View Post
The low end is the Cmoy, which does little more than generate greater volume.

Er...I thought that was the idea. Straight wire with gain?
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilavideo View Post

Is an RA-1 a Cmoy? Yes and No. I've seen schematics of both. They are not identical in the sense of using the exact same caps and resistors, but they are equally simple and perform the same task. The Cmoy is named after Chu Moy, who invented a brilliantly basic, stable, cheap design, then published it to the world, inviting others to copy and modify it to their hearts' content. John Grado invented another basic, stable, cheap design, but instead of offering it to the world, he put it in a block of mahogany and sold it for as much as he could get. That doesn't make John Grado a bad person. Grado got there first and was making money for his family. It's just that the RA-1 and the Cmoy are two very basic, simple and extremely similar designs.
Uh, no. The original circuit was not a John Grado invention. The original version was the HPA-1. It was designed for Joseph Grado by the late Sidney Stockton Smith, who did many of the high-end Marantz designs. That is the circuit that was modified to produce the RA-1. The HPA-1's were advertised as all having been built by Joseph Grado and another gentleman whose name I'm not remembering, but who was in production at Marantz.

I'm guessing here, but I think that there was likely little commercial potential in the HPA-1. It was priced around $800, with another $150 for a wall wart power supply if you didn't want to use batteries. What John Grado did was to strip the circuit to its essentials to make it economically viable to produce and sell at a price customers would pay.

As of a few years ago, the HPA-1 was still in use at Grado Labs.

So, the actual circuit was there before the RA-1 or the CMOY. Both of them are derivative of Mr. Smith's design.
post #40 of 44
they sell AUD600 in Aus which is about 450 us dollars. it is over priced
post #41 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
Here we go again!
... on our own. Going down the only road we've ever known!
post #42 of 44
I own the grado (ra-1 batt) and the creek (obh-21, used to have a obh-11) and years ago I owned the audio alchemy hp amp. they are more different than better/worse. I find the creek more powerful and dynamic, while the grado is darker, especially when paired with the rs-1. I tend to agree that the ra-1 is not going to blow anyone away at its price point, but the battery power option makes it great when traveling.
post #43 of 44
Wow, my practices of thread reanimation added two pages to the thread. I guess it wasn't a bad thing that I did it then ;D

Here in Canada, you can DIY a M^3 for $100, but I guess it's more costly in other countries for whatever reason...

Really, just get a Cmoy and enjoy it if you don't already own an amp. If you want a big step up, amp-wise, then go for a tube.
post #44 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darksyde View Post

Here in Canada, you can DIY a M^3 for $100, but I guess it's more costly in other countries for whatever reason...
No, you can't.

You can DIY a MINI^3 but not an M^3.
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