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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. FLTWS
    I just posted this on Jason's Schiit Happened thead;

    @Jason Stoddard I just ordered a RAAL- Requisite RS1a, should be here by end of week. I’ll be breaking it in with Yggdrasil 2, Ragnarok 1, Loki – for special occasions, and alternating with my PrimaLuna EVO 400 with a fresh set of Gold Lion KT88’s and 12AU7’s.

    If you’re looking for a Jotunheim - R Beta tester I’m ready, willing, able, and retired.:smile:
    dieslemat likes this.
    So not a single dealer in NJ/NY has these for demo?
  3. dieslemat

    No need to demo. Just buy it you wont regret it.
    BreadMaster likes this.
  4. dieslemat
    Let me know your impressions when you pair it with a prima luna evo.
    FLTWS likes this.
    I don’t have anything that can power this beast. I’m still waiting on the Schiit amp/dac to release.
  6. Jozurr
    You can power them easily with an amp like a Vidar or a used MCA20 for under $500.
  7. johnjen
    Ok so I'm lazy and don't want to scan all 100+ pages to find out if these Raals have been measured in any way shape or form, with particular interest in their step/square wave response.
    Specifically their amount (or lack therein) of overshoot.

    I have found that this single aspect has a BIG impact on listener fatigue along with other consequences.

    Thanks for any help in my sleuthing this out.

  8. dieslemat
    I have the Raals paired with Freya+ and a pair of Aegirs and I can listen for hours. No fatigue.
  9. Torq
    You're welcome to swing by and try them for yourself (and I no longer live way out in the woods, so its less of a trek).
    nishan99 likes this.
  10. johnjen
    Oohhhhhh yeeeaaaahhhh.

    I seem to remember you have one of those downtown over the waterfront views to die for… (as hinted by the pic of the Jot-R).

    That would be grand.

    But still, no one has taken any measurements yet?

    Darthpool likes this.
  11. Darthpool
    @Torq was generous enough to weather my presence yesterday, I am now positive that I will be picking up a Jotunheim R when it is released, I can’t give details on the sound or on anything outside, I’m amazed it performs so good in this form factor! But in the short time with it, that I had, I knew it was something that I would benefit having in my SR1A chain. Once I get one, I’ll do a more thoughtful listen and comparison between it and my current dual Vidar setup.

    edit also: that view of Torqs is amazing!! Got to see the sunset last night over the bay with the Olympics in the background...just amazing!
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
  12. FLTWS
    My SR1a arrived late yesterday. I unpacked it this morning and note no manual. No serial number either but a piece of green tape on the bottom of the carrying case had some handwritten numbers on it, and there is no registration form on RAAL’s site so I guess the sales receipt is all. Adjusting the leather straps, stainless steel headband and ribbon wings was easy enough. But I have a question for those who use or have used the SR1a with Ragnarok 1.

    I am using Ragnarok 1 (or EVO 400) for driving amps until Jotunheim “R” is available or I try a Vidar. The Ragnarok 1 has an unusual arrangement for changing inputs and choosing between; A. speaker & headphone outlets live, B. speakers only, and C. HP's only. And it’s all done with the same button. While the inputs have LED indicators there is none for the speaker / headphone combinations outputs. From the manual;

    upload_2019-10-29_11-52-26.png And also, upload_2019-10-29_11-53-9.png

    I normally disconnect my headphones when done listening and hang them up. In light of the above I wonder if there is an issue with the Ragnarok 1 driving the interphase box without the phones connected in those cases where I’m driving a different pair of phones and amp outputs are live? A search for "Ragnarok" on this thread produced no answer.

    I’m guessing no problem but better safe than sorry.

    Thanks for any input.
  13. Torq
    I had teased a bit about this here ... but for those that have been interested in the SR1a and not wanting to deal with a speaker amplifier, or that have been aware of "Weldenheim", now formally called "Jotunheim R", I've now had, with @Jason Stoddard's kind indulgence, almost a full week with one of the "production" qualifier units.

    This is a direct-drive amplifier; this means you do not need a speaker amplifier, nor the RAAL-requisite "Amp/Ribbon Interface"!

    JotR + SR1a - Oblique (1024).jpg

    What is a "production qualifier"?

    It's a production-intent build of the unit, using all the same parts, processes, and suppliers/manufacturers, with final tuning etc. In essence it is the final step in qualifying a product before saying "go build more of these, just like this one". Absent any issues cropping up with a "production qualifier", its the same product that'll ship (note the sticker near the IEC socket):

    JotR - Back (1024).jpg

    I'll do a full review of this, as well as include it in the amp comparisons for my pending full SR1a review, but I did want to share a few thoughts here and there ahead of that.

    First 24-48 Hours:

    First, this unit benefits from somewhere between 24 and 48 hours burn-in/break-in. It sounds great fresh out of the box, but there were occasional hints of added bite and aggressiveness with some music (mostly things that tend to excite that sort of behavior in the first place). The SR1a can be quite aggressive and "bitey" anyway, so this is a minor thing, but the hint of extra aggressiveness here does go away in the first day or so of running the unit.

    The other fresh-out-of-the-box observation of immediate note is that the profile of the "Jotunheim R", especially in the low-end, is a lot more compelling than most amplifiers when they are running with the interface. There's more bass, and sub-bass, presence and impact here than with, say, a Vidar or an AHB2 and the interface box. This will, I expect, be quite welcome for most listeners, due to the native tonal profile of the SR1a.

    High-Level Impressions (48 hours and beyond):

    I would swear there is more detail in evidence and the micro-dynamics are more nuanced with Jotunheim R direct vs. running via either a single or dual-mono Vidar configuration, or from several other amps, via the interface box.

    Bass and sub-bass level/presence seems slightly elevated over Vidar, and a bit more so vs. the Benchmark AHB2. I like this. It yields flexibility in where you put the drivers, and puts things more on a “neutral” footing vs. “studio neutral”.

    Higher treble feels like it has a tad more energy than via Vidar too, whereas Jotunheim R vs. AHB2 sounds so close in the treble as to be indistinguishable to me. And the Benchmark piece sounds leaner overall where as both Vidar and Jotunheim R have more body and weight to their delivery, with Jotunheim R having the most weight (if not by much vs. Vidar).

    Vidar, in single or dual configuration, has a slightly darker signature (but certainly not dark … I’m not sure it’s possible to get the SR1a into “dark” territory without EQ).

    There’s a TON of headroom here …

    Even with dual Vidars, fed from the XLR outputs of a Phonitor X, quality source material, with the EQ I was initially running with (bass/sub-bass lift primarily), was not leaving a lot of room on the volume dial for more spirited listening. With the Jotunheim R, even with the quietest source material, the half-way mark on the volume dial is further than I dare take things.

    Resolution and dynamics are superlative. No idea if that’s because the interface box isn’t involved or if it’s just the raw performance of the Jotunheim R. Overall, it bests 1x and 2x Vidar and 2x Aegir, the Benchmark AHB2, so far, for me, and may worry other solutions as well.

    More comparative listening required, but very impressive so far.
    DougD, skypillow, 565hunter and 7 others like this.
    Sounds amazing.
  15. FLTWS
    That is good to hear about the bass when used with Jotunheim R as that was the only area that is a little reticent with my Ragnarok 1. Mids and highs I've not heard this good with any phone. Right out of the box I noticed no sibilance or metallic flavorings in loud passages with massed strings and in the the mid-range voices are extremely clear and intelligible. I may stick my Loki in the line and see what a touch of the 20 Hz knob can do. They can't RTM this R too quickly for my ears.
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