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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. Torq
    The pre-amp side should do nothing audible, as its simply passive-pot attenuation between input and pre-out. No buffer or gain stage that I'm aware of.

    Comparisons on the headphone-drive side of things to other headphone amplifiers don't really make any sense. Which leaves how it sounds vs. other speaker amplifiers via the interface, which I've talked about already.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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    Darthpool likes this.
  2. DelsFan
    A complete aside, but part of my argument against double-blind A-B testing: One has to really concentrate, and have essentially trained oneself to listen for small differences, in order to even halfway compare two pieces of equipment (or two recordings of the same song). Just the tip of the Iceburg: one can listen for and compare the differences in relation to general frequency spectrums, then types of instruments such as strings and horns and keyboards and drums, then all the variations within that form of instrument (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, bass, upright bass... dobro, national steel (bodied) guitar, harp, cello...).
    I could go on and on, but anyone who's tried to do any kind of rudimentary comparison understands the progression, and after a period of time (10 minutes, or 30 minutes) with the same track my mind gets tired or numb or wanders (should I be calling a guy about some personal business rather than typing this!?, yes, so, make a decision, OK: back to concentrating on music?). Double-blind testing with me as the listener could take a week or two at the least, just to maybe get a scientific result. It isn't because I can't hear a difference, it's because my feeble brain can't solve an "equation" with 50 variables and 50 unknowns just because I sit down and concentrate hard for 15 minutes as someone else switches in and out pieces of equipment.
    guitardave and Bertel like this.
  3. thomaskong78
    Nice detailed review.

    What is your opinion between Sr1a and Abyss Phi with CC pads ?

    If you live close to me, then it would be very nice to visit you.

    I am living in Northwest of Washington State.

    Darthpool likes this.
  4. kingcro
    Has anyone tried some Balkan music since these were made by a Serbian company? I am sure that they tested atleast few songs from this region while tuning the headphones.

    These would seem like the best summit-fi headphones for such a thing as they are the only headphone company from this area of the world.
  5. Darthpool
    Great write up!!! I feel like they are on another level, and not quite speakers or headphones but something in-between. My problem is it is easy to turn up the volume to what would be potentially harmful dBs to my ears due to them not sounding harsh or even "painful", but this is why I keep a sound level meter on my desk to ensure safe listening levels. I am definetly sold on the Jotunheim R, after hearing it! I have said it in other posts but I was going to wait on more reviews after it's release, but after hearing it in person and the form factor! Day one sale for me!
    nishan99 and thomaskong78 like this.
  6. FLTWS
    I'm 90 minutes +/- drive from the Atlantic Ocean.

    Comparing Abyss Phi CC versus SR1a? That's a tough one. It's not apples versus oranges. It's more like apples versus avocados.
    Ears enclosed, ears in the open. SR1a vs MySphere vs K1 would be a better comparison. (But I have never heard either of the other two.)
    It's like comparing a box speaker design to a dipole design. Two different approaches, two different sound presentations, and I've never heard one design type that sounded like the other.

    Both the 1266 Phi and SR1a are great headphones with different sets of plus and minus as I hear them. Very different tonal balances. There may be other aspects to the sonic presentation of each but that comparison will be down the road for me to tackle, or not.

    It is still way too early in the game with the SR1a to come to some sort of "final" conclusion for myself other than its not going anywhere and I do believe a better amp can solve my desires in the bottom octave. And that amp appears to be not too far off on the horizon. I do believe at this point my Ragnarok 1 is keeping the SR1a from delivering its best and what I want, coupled maybe with the SR1a needing more break-in.

    My history with the Abyss is; I spent 10 days in home with the original in Nov 2016 and didn't care for it. Nov 2017 I spent 2 weeks at home with the Phi and the improvement in sound over the original had me purchase it then because to my ears it was doing so many things so well and better than the original, and I got comfortable with the fitting and adjusting for best sound. I spent 2 weeks in home with the TC earlier this year and the improvement to sound, to my ears, was more incremental over the Phi as I compared the two side by side. But for me personally the dollars and sense difference to sell my Phi and buy the TC didn't have me springing into action.

    I've listened to only the SR1a since it arrived and will continue to do so for the rest of this second week, maybe more. I want to burn its sound characteristics into my memory. I will do some focused comparison with my other phones at a later date. Not with an objective of concluding good / bad, winner / loser, but more of an exercise to recognize what's special about each one and what they bring to the listening experience for me and my preferences and which may have the best balance of those things I like when listening.

    One area where both the Phi and the SR1a are similar. Weighting. With both phones the supporting head band structures of both are very light compared to the transducer housings which are heavy enough that I feel their inertia leading to where my noggin is headed when I lien one way or another. (Like I said in my write-up, Wayne and Garth will not be able to keep either phone on their head).
    Both 800's are so light it's like they are not even on, the Utopia somewhere in between the two extremes.I never listen lying down or perform other tasks so I'm reasonably sitting still. I typically listen only 2 to 3 hours a day on days I can listen, except when I'm evaluating, then I do spend more time. I don't wear any phone all day long for background / elevator muzak. I have no comfort issues with the Phi or SR1a due to weight and its distribution. The lack of heat build up with the SR1a is a plus for me that I do prefer over all my other phones. Now that winters on the way its not as bad as from April thru October, which is air conditioning season for me.

    I do listen to all my phones over time (well, the Phi, Utopia, HD800 and HD800S) for variety and a change of pace. I'm focused on the SR1a at the present as its new and shiny,
    nishan99, DelsFan and thomaskong78 like this.
  7. FLTWS
    Darthpool likes this.
  8. thomaskong78
    Thanks a lot for your kind and detailed reply.

    Fortunately, I found nice pal who live 80 miles from my home. He will let me audition both SR1a and Abyss Phi tomorrow.

    I use Chord Dave as amplifier to drive HD800S and KGSSV Carbon amplifier to drive Stax 009s.

    HD800s is good for casual listening. I can listen to it for several hours.

    But Stax 009s driven by Carbon with Chord Dave and HMS in the chain is one league above hd 800s in nuanced details and bass texture.

    I will also give my impression later tomorrow.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
    Ham Sandwich, Darthpool and FLTWS like this.
  9. Zhanming057
    My review talks a bit more directly regarding the Phi/SR1a comparison, the link is in my signature.

    There is value in keeping both but if you have the budget for one system, the SR1a is the clear winner.
    FLTWS and thomaskong78 like this.
  10. Darthpool
    I can think of only one person that might match who you are visiting with, but I could be wrong =) have fun, and prep your wallet, either fortifications for blocking removal of payment options, or give in and just have payment options ready to go lol...
  11. Torq
    You're not ... :wink:
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  12. KaiSc
    Double blind testing is not limited to running a single piece of music over and over again.
    Anyway this would not yield sensefull results as you need a variety of different music to check all aspects.
    And no need to concentrate on certain instruments or something.
    Just compare which one you like better all over, or, in case of amplifiers, e.g., if you can hear a difference at all.
    Most important for this type of A/B/X tests (or even simple A/B tests) is highly precise level matching, which can not be done by listening, but only by using a voltmeter and sine wave test signals.

    For anyone want to have fun with a simple test which will show astonishing results and can be done just very easy look here:

    And then we start talking about the sound of different cables:dt880smile:
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  13. thomaskong78
    Yesterday, I auditioned Raal SR1a and Abyss Phi CC headphones at home of my pal.

    I brought 3 CDs that I am familiar with to test tonality, focus, soundstage and dynamics.

    I started with SR1a using Chord Blu2 and Dave as source and Chord Etude amplifier to drive it.

    It remind me of Apogee Duetta Signature driven by Krell KSA 150 from 1989 to 1999 which use ribbon as well as Sr1a.

    It sounds fast and open.

    One may adjust the soundstage by moving headcup around.

    But I feel comfortable with headcup in the middle.

    The only nitpick is that it did not go very deep.

    Duetta also went around 35hz but with enough impact.

    The same thing apply to SR1a.

    Schitt had made dedicated amplifier for Sr1a called "Jotunheim R. " priced at 800$.

    My pal tested Jotunheim R. to give more full bass than Etude.

    I will try out Sr1a and Jotunheim R. next year at my home.

    I also tested same CDs on Abyss Phi CC connected directly with Dave.

    This is my first encounter with Abyss headphones.

    It gives excellent transparent sound with well defined spatial cues and nice timber.

    But Dave is under powered to drive Abyss Phi CC with not much bass slam.

    As I searched the thread of Abyss Phi CC I found that it need nice amp which may cost 5k$ or more.


    Updated Abyss Phi TC is known to give more details, clear bass than Abyss Phi CC.

    I will try out Abyss Phi TC on 2021 after setting enough budget on it.

    After being back to my home, I had listened to Senheiser HD 800S and Stax 009s driven by KGSSV Carbon amplifier.

    My source is Chord Dave and Mscaler almost similar to one in my pal's place.

    HD800S is not in the same league as Abyss Phi CC not matching transparency.

    But after eq with Lyngdorf 2170, it come close to Abyss Phi CC almost 90%.

    Staxt 009S does not give sharp placement of instruments in 3d soundstage as Abyss Phi CC.

    But Stax 009S is more musical than Abyss Phi CC with nuanced details and excellent bass slam driven by KGSSV Carbon amplifier.

    I have 41 years of audio history back to 1978.

    Some people ask me what is the best speaker that I had heard.

    It is the vintage Western Electric big horn speaker driven by restored Western Electric amp owned by my rich friend.

    But it is unobtainable and priceless ( worth more than 2 million $).

    I had been happy with Lansche 4.1 since 2007.

    Lansche 4.1 driven by SET amp give spooky vocals.

    Also its active bass give enough impact.

    It is hard to have several speakers at home with optimal sound.

    But it is rather easy to have headphones with different flavor.

    I can listen to HD 800s headphone several hours without feeling discomfort.

    When I go out of town, I bring Empire Zeus IEM which can be driven by Galaxy cellphone.

    I also enjoy musical sound of Stax 009s driven by KGSSV Carbon amplifier.

    Next year I will try out Raal Sr1a which remind me of Apogee Duetta that I had used happily from 1989 to 1999.

    On 2021 I may add Abyss phi TC to my collections of headphones.

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
  14. thomaskong78
    Both SR1a and Abyss Phi CC give very excellent soundstage matching hd800s or better.
  15. dieslemat
    Hi folks.
    I posted my initial impressions of the Jotunheim R
    at the Schiit thread


    dit. Reposting as a quote also

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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