1st real setup. My new RS-1 and RA-1
Mar 2, 2006 at 5:33 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 36

jkotorman

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I just received my new RA-1 and RS-1 today. It's my first real setup and I am not sure if the Grado sound is for me. I have hooked up the combo to 2 standalone Set-top CD players and my computer setup and listened a good 3-5 hours on each setup.

Here are my thoughts and first impressions. Vocals, guitars, and trumpets in my music are very pronounced in a very good way. Very warm and intimate sounding. Unfortunately the drums and bass feel somewhat lacking. They sound distant and in the background. The bass reproduction seems accurate and tight sounding but I feel I have to really focus my ear on it in order to hear it.

On my computer I can use the equalizer in Winamp to get the music where I want it to sound with the Grado combo but that introduces distortion. Would utilizing a different amp (Tube Amp?) allow me to get a better bass response and bring it more into the forefront? I'm thinking about purchasing DT770's to see if that will remedy the situation. I have also reversed the bowls on my headset to bring it closer to my ears. Any other recommendations for headphones with good bass extension/impact? Please share your thoughts if you can. Ideally, I'd like to keep these cans to A/B. I can see now why ppl have invested way too much into this hobby.

UPDATE: 3/8/06
Now that I have had more extensive listening with my setup I feel I'm ready to make somewhat reasonable conclusions based on the music I listen to. First and foremost, the vocals and guitars are very intimate, warm, and welcoming from the RS-1's. The peaky highs that I experienced when I first posted have come down quite a bit due to that fact I recieved them with a lack of burn-in time. Easily 100+ hours is needed to hear these headphones in the proper state. As for the RA-1, I feel they are a bit overly polite driving these RS-1's. It's almost as if the RS-1 is a beast waiting to be unleashed but the RA-1 keeps holding it back :p. I guess I can be called a basshead for asking for more of the low-end. It's mainly because everything from the mids to highs have such a great impact and the low end seems recessed. The drummer and bassist sound as if they are in the background with respect to the vocals and guitars. Because of the impact the mids and highs have, the music seems a bit unbalanced. Maybe it's the fact this is what the Grado impession is supposed to be but I'm suspecting a better amp would remedy my situation. Can anyone give an answer to that and reaffirm my suspicions?

To those who have the Singlepower PPX3 Slam. Does the amp contribute to improving the presentation of the Bass Drum, Snares, Hi-hat, and Cymbols as well as the Bass Guitar? That's what I'm mainly looking for in terms of sound improvement.

Also of note, because headphones bring the user so much closer to the music, I can really make out distortions/ringing (mainly the highs but some bass as well) in some of my music. Is that due to my source? I wonder how much of a difference the Vinyl counterparts of my CD artists would sound. Are these mainly cabling/interconnect issues or the source itself?

Any help to my questions would be greatly appreciated again. I'm looking for my taste of musical heaven just like everyone else here so all input would be welcome. Thanks again to the Head-Fi community for all the info and making my pockets empty!
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 5:40 AM Post #2 of 36

jtevol1

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You have to let headphones burn in much longer than 3-5 hours before you can conclude about the quality of the sound. In addition, your amp needs to burn in for a lengthier period. I'm positive the sound will change to your liking after the breaking/burning in period.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 5:46 AM Post #3 of 36

VR6ofpain

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jkotorman
I just received my new RA-1 and RS-1 today. It's my first real setup and I am not sure if the Grado sound is for me. I have hooked up the combo to 2 standalone Set-top CD players and my computer setup and listened a good 3-5 hours on each setup.

Here are my thoughts and first impressions. Vocals, guitars, and trumpets in my music are very pronounced in a very good way. Very warm and intimate sounding. Unfortunately the drums and bass feel somewhat lacking. They sound distant and in the background. The bass reproduction seems accurate and tight sounding but I feel I have to really focus my ear on it in order to hear it.

On my computer I can use the equalizer in Winamp to get the music where I want it to sound with the Grado combo but that introduces distortion. Would utilizing a different amp (Tube Amp?) allow me to get a better bass response and bring it more into the forefront? I'm thinking about purchasing DT770's to see if that will remedy the situation. I have also reversed the bowls on my headset to bring it closer to my ears. Any other recommendations for headphones with good bass extension/impact? Please share your thoughts if you can. Ideally, I'd like to keep these cans to A/B. I can see now why ppl have invested way too much into this hobby.



Wow, you think the RS-1 is low on bass huh? Strange. Your best solution would be buying the Flats from TTVJ. $30 and you will have more than enough bass to enjoy. I love the flats with my HF1's.
If you find the bass lacking, never buy an AKG K501/K601, you will think they don't even produce bass...and yes you will probably like the DT770.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 5:49 AM Post #4 of 36

kramer5150

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Out of the box the RS1 sounds like cats in heat... screechy, and annoying. Midrange sounds are piercing, and completely unlistenable. Not unlike an MDRV6.

I spent 30 minutes max with my RS1 out of the box, and placed it in the closet for 6 days 6 nights playing loud bass heavy music. Taking advantage of that nice long Grado extension cord
biggrin.gif


Whole different animal after ~150 hours.

I think they continue to change even after that point. My earpads are softening nicely. Overall I would say they are just a hair brighter than my HF1. IMHO they are warmer and more resonant than my MS2.

Give them time to settle down. IMHO they sound much more natural and "flow" the music more easily into your head with age. New, they really force certain sounds down your ear canal.

Garrett
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 6:01 AM Post #5 of 36

jkotorman

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I forgot to mention I purchased these used on Ebay and the previous user I'm guessing has over 100 hours on them before it got to me. I'll shoot him a message and ask him and I'll be sure to burn this combo in myself over the next few days. This set came to me looking brand new and was thoroughly surprised. So far I have a total of about ~30 hours of listening time on the headphones. I wrote that post yesterday but didn't want to post until giving my setup a fair chance. I do like the RA-1/RS-1 but am now curious as to what else is out there.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 6:38 AM Post #6 of 36

cansman

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Congratulations on your purchase! Your RA-1 / RS-1 combo is very transparent. If your source is bright, you will certainly hear it. Don't forget a good set of interconnects, if you haven't already got one.

This setup requires high quality ancillaries to sound its best.

All the best!

cansman
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 12:45 PM Post #7 of 36

swmtnbiker

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Quote:

Originally Posted by kramer5150
Overall I would say they are just a hair brighter than my HF1.


Interesting. To my ears my HF-1 is easily brighter than my RS-1. No contest.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 1:05 PM Post #8 of 36

BluesDaddy

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I would also say that it takes more that 3 to 5 hours to really *hear* the qualities of a system. Also, to what are you comparing the sound to? IOW, what is your reference in stating this combo is "lacking"

I would suggest one's impression of a trully accurate system is dependent upon past listening experience. Someone used to low-fi audio and/or systems with deliberately exagerated characteristics in particular frequency ranges will find systems with clarity and tonal accuracy "lacking".

I keep harping on this, but most listeners today have not trained their ears/brains to accurate musical reproduction. Rather, they are used to HT systems set for optimum movie reproduction (nothing wrong with that) and/or car stereo systems which truly do nothing quite "right".

May not be the case here, but is something to consider. Throwing money at equipment when the issue is educating the ear/brain is a waste of money and, ultimately, will be quite frustrating.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 3:59 PM Post #9 of 36

panda

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one of the only things that i thought were flaws in the rs-1 was that it had too much bass. if you want fat bass get the flat pads, they will give you that additional fill you are looking for.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 4:23 PM Post #11 of 36

kramer5150

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dpippel
Interesting. To my ears my HF-1 is easily brighter than my RS-1. No contest.


Funny... this is why everyone needs to hear before they buy.

To my ears the RS1 has just a hair more treble sparkle, and is a small notch up in detail resolution. The RS1 has more soundstage and image too. To my ears the HF1 is a little less 3-dimensional, in terms of space and image.

edit... my HF1s are modeded too. So I dont think were listening to the same thing.

Garrett
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 5:40 PM Post #12 of 36

swmtnbiker

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Quote:

Originally Posted by kramer5150
Funny... this is why everyone needs to hear before they buy.


Right-o on that one!
icon10.gif


Quote:

Originally Posted by kramer5150
To my ears the RS1 has just a hair more treble sparkle, and is a small notch up in detail resolution. The RS1 has more soundstage and image too. To my ears the HF1 is a little less 3-dimensional, in terms of space and image.


I agree with most of what you say here. To me the HF-1 is pretty heavy up top compared to the RS-1 and doesn't have near the spatial resolution, image, or soundstage. The RS-1 is a warmer headphone as well. This isn't to say that the HF-1 is a slouch because it certainly isn't and is a fantastic can for the money. It's more an endorsement of the RS-1.
rs1smile.gif


Quote:

Originally Posted by kramer5150
edit... my HF1s are modeded too. So I dont think were listening to the same thing.


D'OH!!! Guess I should have read your entire post before expending the effort comparing apples and oranges. My "test bed" is a pair of stock HF-1's and a pair of stock RS-1's, both with bowls.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 12:20 AM Post #13 of 36

jkotorman

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Just got word on how many hours these cans were used before me. It's practically brand new at less than 10 hours of listening time with the previous user. I've listened for maybe 30 hours total so far and left my CD player looping for the past 10 hours while I was at work. I doubt the sound will start settling in till the 100+ mark. I can honestly say what I was describing earlier didn't give merit to what these probably can do.

As for being able to audition different cans. I wish there were a place here in Las Vegas that sold them. If anyone can point me in the direction of where I can find Hi-End Headphones to audition in this area I'd be happy to take a looksy. Unfortunately, trolling these forums for over 6 months in need of headphones, I had to make a first choice. And the Grado's seemed to be the best based on what I listen to.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 12:24 AM Post #14 of 36

jpr703

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My RS-1s have always had plenty of base. I've never used the Grado amp but they worked well with the Gilmore Lite and are superb with my MPX3. I did notice some increase in bass going to the MPX3 and Grados definitely seem to love tubes.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 12:46 AM Post #15 of 36

mrarroyo

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jpr703
My RS-1s have always had plenty of base. ... Grados definitely seem to love tubes.


You are correct, my RS-1 sound their best out my tube amp. If driven by a SS amp they like a warm one.
 

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