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Raal Ribbon Headphones - SRH1A

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by once, Oct 7, 2018.
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  1. manueljenkin
    Hi Alex,

    Are you sure the third order distortion measured is due to the headphone and not due to the measurement chassis vibrating. I've seen a wierd pattern on all innerfidelity charts of some tactile feeling headphone like Skullcandy crushers. If a driver breaks the thd needs to keep rising. But in those charts thd stabilizes down. Which leads me to believe that the measured distortion is more into the measurement system rattling than the headphone distorting. In a normal human head, this tactile sensation will be felt on the cheek through earpads.

    I care so less about "harmonic" distortion. Were you able to measure transient envelopes and intermodulation distortion?

    Also, I had earlier sent you mails regarding a different drive schematic for these if you were to be interested. Not sure if it reached you. Currently going through knowledge bases for a while now.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  2. nishan99
    Hello everyone

    I have a simple question about these headphones, do you see them when you put them on (are they in your field of view)?
  3. David Aldrich
    No, can’t say I’ve ever noticed any part of them in my field of view. I do wear them as far back as reasonable because that sounds best to me.
    Darthpool and nishan99 like this.
  4. Aleksandar R.
    Hi Manuel,

    The way I measured is that I stick an electret capsule mic into my ear canal and put the headphones on.
    There could be all sorts of problems with that setup, but it's the closest to what would be the usage scenario, so whatever is happening with parasitic vibrations, it would probably happen in use.

    Sure, I measured bursts and IMD, just for fun. It follows the falloff towards 500Hz just like THD does, so it doesn't give more usable data.
    In transducers, the IMD will show no surprises as with amplifiers, as there is no increasing non-linearity as you go towards small signal (crossover distortion and such), so it is very strongly correlated with THD and it is mostly governed by the same mechanisms as THD.
    Anyhow, there are several standards for measuring IMD and I still don't know how IMD reflects in what is audible as a problem with transducers, so I don't publish such stuff.
    It's great for RF, though, when you need to directly express the number for selectivity of a radio receiver, for example, but I don't see much use for it with transducers. For Amps that depend on lots of feedback, maybe, as you can see how the noise floor looks like, if it's random noise or not, but in transducers, the THD is large enough that noise floor is never just a random noise, so it won't tell nothing new as THD mechanisms will govern the behavior if IMD.
    Anyhow, digging deep with measurements is good when you need to solve audible problems with the transducer you're making. Because to my ears, the SR1a has the cleanest midrange I've ever heard on speakers or headphones, I consider that part of the work done. Having midrange THD better that 0.25% at 100dB, along with the cleanest impulse response in headphones ever, attests to the non-problematic midrange.
    Simply, there was no reason to try to explain anything with IMD, as it follows THD, or burst envelopes, as they follow the Impulse response.

    Speaking of audibility of distortion, I did a lot of testing for distortion in low frequency.
    What I've learned correlates very well with what Axiomaudio published:
    The explanation is here: https://www.axiomaudio.com/blog/distortion

    There we see that below 40 Hz, the noise can be louder than the tone and we'll have trouble detecting it.
    Also, up to 280Hz, the noise can be just 12-13dB lower than the tone and we'll have trouble detecting it.
    Now, this is done with noise that doesn't correlate with music, so it's not THD. THD should be harder to detect.

    In any case, I've managed not to do go that high with distortion, but had to stop reducing it somewhere to make a feasible product.
    The goal was to get inobtrusive (if not inaudible) levels with 100W/8Ohm amplifier.
    As you go higher with power, things will become progressively more audible until you reach the point of demanding more excursion than the mechanical limit is.
    For Classical, acoustical Jazz, I'd say 150W is safe and modern stuff is safe up to 100W.

    For driving the headphones, the requirement is simple. You have 0.4 ohms with the cable and you need to use EQ that will flatten the open baffle cancellation.
    I think all that has been discussed before page 80 or so, of this thread.


    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  5. Stuff Jones
    Any update on the the timing of the Schiit custom amp for these and whether they will be available as a package without the interface?
    PeteSTRADAMUS likes this.
  6. Zan.Tiago
    Great news, thank you for the information!
  7. Zan.Tiago
    Thank you so much for share your experience in such a great way!
    nishan99 likes this.
    Yup, what he/she said.
    Zan.Tiago likes this.
  9. Aleksandar R.
    I'm not sure about the timing for "weldenheim". I know what Danny tells me and we didn't pick up the subject the last time we talked.
    All I know is that I want one and I'm eagerly awaiting to get it!

    About the package sans interface, my position is that we always send the set with the interface. That way, if anything happens to "weldenheim", you can plug the headphones into any old amp and be operational. Without it, you're risking having "dead" headphones because of dead accompanying electronics, and that is not the case with any other headphones out there. Even with stats, you can plug them in another amp for stats and get on with listening.

    Danny's position is still unsure.

    In any case, as long as the customer is aware that dead amp means dead headphones until the amp is replaced/repaired, I'm OK with the idea of offering SR1a sans interface.
    If that's OK with you guys, we can do that and write a warning that explains this when making a purchase.
    dieslemat likes this.
  10. Jozurr
    If a situation like that was to happen, a customer can simply buy the interface from your website, which is a better option, than to mandate customers to pay for a box in advance that they are not going to use and is going to sit idle, until they decide they don't want to use the weldenheim or something happens to the weldenheim, both of which should not be assumptions to start off with.
  11. Stuff Jones
    Not to speak out of place, but if you could offer an all-in-one end-game headphone experience at ~4k (sans interface) that would be super appealing. You could always offer the interface as a separate.
  12. Tugbars
    maybe it's a good idea to sell box & headphones for 3500$.(bundle deal). Headphones alone can be sold for 3000$ and the box for 700$.(the numbers are totally random) If something happens to the "weldenheim" customers can purchase the box.
  13. Aleksandar R.
    All good points, thank you!

    I just talked with Danny and he's also for "everything optional", so there it is.

    However, it's too early to say the exact numbers before some qty of Weldenheims is made to see the cost of the run.

    Also, if we sell you the SR1a without interface but with the Weldenheim, we would have to use a larger case and a different foam cut to fit the larger Weldenheim and keep that in stock, but in general, the numbers you guys mentioned are in the ballpark.
    Stuff Jones and Darthpool like this.
  14. WilliamWykeham
    Taking a break from the land of Weldenheim, I've got an update on AHB2 impressions. @llamaluv and I combined forces this weekend for a deep dive comparison of bridged mono vs single amp. I had hoped to hear dual mono sounding just the same as a single AHB2. This hobby -- the endless upgrades, product comparisons, the bleed of cash into highly depreciating electronics - why can't I just find my TOTL setup, and let that be that? So with this hope for a null result we set them up in dual mono and gave it a listen. Result: my hopes were dashed.

    Comparing dual mono to single amp, it's as if this mushiness and congestion gets cleared up and I'm hearing such fantastic separation of instruments - that was the main difference I noticed, much more distinct instrumentation, along with slightly improved soundstage. @llamaluv can potentially describe his own impressions but I think for him it was more a matter of a denser, rounder tonality.

    We also tested out his Susvara in this setup and it was the first time the Susvara has ever spoken to me (I used to own an HE-1000 and liked that one a lot). It was like, OK I get it now.

    In my opinion, if you're not going dual mono with the SR1a, you're missing out on heaps of performance.

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
    DelsFan, nishan99, negura and 5 others like this.
  15. llamaluv
    I am in agreement with these impressions. I also wish I could have cleaned things up a bit before you snapped this pic without saying anything (keke).

    I wasn't particularly invested in the outcome of this test, but was pleasantly surprised at how apparent the improvements were to me. The best way I can describe it is that the bridged mono configuration sounds more "M-Scalar-like": More "rounded" transients, a more composed and relaxed presentation. While simultaneously more dynamic. I also sometimes noticed that certain music sounds "slower" than I was used to, if you see what I'm getting at. Another way of putting it is that the uplift in "transparency" (oh well, I try to avoid using that word) allows the qualities of the M-Scalar to become more apparent. I've been listening to this setup continuously for the last several hours (thanks @WW!) on the Susvara and Utopia and have been loving it.

    In terms of "value", I think the improvements are line with what you could expect from a $6000 amp versus a $3000 one. And I'm therefore pretty sure I know where my next 3-grand of disposable income is going.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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