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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. audioot
    Regardless of the unique display quality that you should appeal to or not, I wonder how the price development of this headphone will proceed if competing brands with ribbon-driven models come on the market.
    I personally think that the current model comes across as an incomplete concept with a price and luxury finish for this price range.
    I think a fall in prices in the longer term is realistic.
  2. sm500
    If anyone is curious about cheaper amps: The Raal's actually sound fine with a cheap single Icepower 125asx2. I tried dual 125asx2's bridged so it's like 400 or 500w at 4 ohms/channel into it and it wasn't that much different - a bit more power but nothing huge. I was planning on picking up an expensive amp but actually like how they are with just a single $100 125asx2. They still sound better than any other headphone I've owned/heard.

    I'd rather have these and a cheap power amp than ESL's and an expensive ESL amp when it comes down to it.

    I mix music and these are the best mixing headphones I've ever used! Without any EQ they sound flatter than any other headphones I own - even if they have Sonarworks calibration or are eq'd to measurements.

    If you're just casually listening for fun - some cheaper planars would probably fit the bill and may be your preference but I think for analytical professional type work these are hard to beat.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  3. Torq
    As much fun as I am having with the "production qualifier" Schiit Jotunheim R (easily the best I've heard the SR1a driven until we're talking ~$5,000 in amps) ... there's a definite old-fart-audio-society part of me that wants to grab one of these to run the SR1a as well, "just because":

    MA352 (1024).jpg

    I didn't feel the MA252 really had the grunt to get the job done here, though the tone was nice and the feel of the thing was lovely. This new MA352 ($6,500) has twice the balls, and McIntosh-blue Vu-Meters. I could easily see stuffing this into a cubby, hiding the interface, and just enjoying the raw blue/green-ness... even if a number of other (much) cheaper amps might outresolve it w/ the SR1a ...

    Definitely one I am going to try, even though I'm not looking.
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  4. Darthpool
    ...just because it is a beautiful looking bit of kit!!! dang I've always liked the McIntosh look...
  5. thomaskong78

    I had used this monster tube amp from 2000 to 2002 for 2 years.

    Jadis 500 consists of 4 pieces with weighing 80 pounds each.

    It produce 350 watts.

    B&W Notilus 801(15 inch woofer) driven by Jadis 500 gave the most powerful and deep bass in my listening room.

    But with too much heat and some tube popping out, I had swtiched to 300B SET amp with 8 watts.

    I also replaced B&W Notilus 801 with full range high efficiency speaker.

    What a downsizing from 350 Watts to 8 watts.

    Ha ha

    If I still have Jadis 500, I may try Sr1a with it.

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
  6. TSAVAlan
    I love the MA252 and the MA352 looks to be like a beast. My favorite pairings with the SR1a have been with a lot of the McIntosh so far. Can't wait until we get our showroom MA352 to compare with the Jotunheim R coming soon also.
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  7. nishan99
    I don't like reading that on any headphones impressions :slight_frown:
    Those who write this kinda of stuff tend to use headphones with mediocre dynamics at low or medium SPL, like most estats and some planars.
    Is that the case with the SR1A?
  8. Darthpool
    ? I’m trying to understand what your Statement is getting at? Are you inferring that “I”use “mediocre” headphones? Or that I listen at low levels? Also the last question is confusing in that are you trying to ask if the SR1A has poor low level dynamics or are you asking if it is a mediocre device? Also this is me assuming you are referring to my comment about turning it up to harmful levels?

    I’m Going to attempt to answer as best I can with the limited understanding for what the questions are. First to be clear, I find the SR1A to be the best “headphones” I’ve heard to date as far as technicality goes, enjoyment wise I tend to grab either my ZMF Verite opens/closed or Aeolus. Another thing to be aware of is that my normal listening levels are usually within the 75-85db range. When imbibing, I can at times get “into” the music and turn the volume up too high, into harmful territory, and with the SR1A I’ve noticed that because I haven’t heard any spikes in treble or elsewhere to my ears, it tends to scale in volume well without sounding “piercing or harsh” hence the comment, and need for a dB reader to keep my ears safe (which I use for all my headphones and listening sessions). I’m not a technicality type listener and tend to just go with what I like, measurements and everything/one be damned lol so as far as the technical (going into measurements, for spl, dynamic range, etc) aspect outside of knowing these are fantastic at critical listening and also showing capabilities in source both the music and equipment (I.e. hearing the difference between different amps, lossless streams, etc, which I’m not, an expert at, nor pretend to be), I couldn’t off the cuff, answer technical questions without doing the research first, which honestly “I don’t have time to explain, why I don’t have time to explain” ~ The Stranger. I’m a, for enjoyment listener, which I’m assuming all of us are. But some like to pick things apart...not my thing really.

    I’m driving the SR1A with dual mono Vidars and the RME ADI-2DAC (currently using the Cayin Ha-1a mkii as a preamp to add some tube flavor and volume control). Using Qobuz studio streaming as Spotify can at times sound “wonky” with the SR1A.

    Hopefully, that answered your questions or informed on what you were looking for. Not gonna lie, was mildly irked by what your comment implied, but I’m going to be willfully ignorant and assume that was not the intent =) anger management has been engaged :wink: lol *dusts shoulder, goes back to listening to SR1A*

    p.s. I still love you :wink:
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
  9. Zhanming057
    The SR1a doesn't exert as much positive pressure on your ears because there is no "enclosure". And that's what people usually associate with excessively high volume, not the actual damage to ears. That's why you can be at a rock concert and consistently take in 105+ db and still feel fine, but the same volume on headphones is uncomfortable.

    Most of us listen to music at levels that are detrimental to hearing in the long term. If a pair of cans can't do dynamics correctly at the buyer's preferred evaluation volume, that's the headphone's problem, not the buyer's.
    nishan99, thomaskong78 and Darthpool like this.
  10. FLTWS
    I'm finding the SR1a to be the most transparent listen ever because;

    1. As Zhanming057 says; There is no ear cup (closed or open type) coloration to the sound, the flip side is, so far and in my use with my current equipment, there's no loading of bass at the lowest frequencies to give that extra oomph, that I get in the concert hall or with other phones. The information is all there and can be heard, just not at levels I think most of us are accustomed to, or prefer. including me. But with really well recorded music it is so close. I'm confident that will improve with better amplification in my case.

    2. It eliminates the room interaction issues associated with my speakers.

    3. Imaging is solid, but sound stage is still a lot more headphone like than speaker like to my ears. It would still require some circuitry to introduce L channel info to the R ear, and R channel info to the L ear, all properly timed as in real life, to get that forward projected sound stage. But then the additional circuitry could introduce its own coloration's to the sound so....But it would still be fun if something like that were to come about.

    This design is also an answer to my age old problem with phones of heat build up, I can listen for hours without having to let my ears get some fresh air, no part of the phone other than the vertical pads can be felt by me and even the feel of those are negligible. I've never noticed the horizontal pads at all, still got enough hair left I guess. Weight is not an issue for me. And I don't work on doing other things while listening so stable positioning of the phone on my noggin is not a problem for me. But I am working on fabricating a larger leather back strap to see if I can improve it anyway.

    And yes, the mids and highs are so clean and un-distorted it is very easy to listen at higher volume levels than I usually do, so be aware if this. My other phones all have a crunch point with wide dynamic range recordings where the sound just becomes too harsh and congested to listen to, so I have to back off on the volume.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
  11. Darthpool
    Thank you @Zhanming057 and @FLTWS You both explained it perfectly, and much more detailed then I was able to from my phone and without looking up references lol! @nishan99 These answers above should be your go to. This community is coming through for everyone =) Cheers everyone!
    nishan99 likes this.
  12. guitardave
    I have a pair of SR1a’s coming Wednesday, and need an amp. I would like a Jotunheim R when they are available but need something for now. I did order a fosi tda7498e amp from amazon to use temporarily. I do have some tube amps (ref75se, audio note) but nothing with the requisite 100 wpc. Any other throw Away amps I should consider? Or is a good high quality amp used with the impedance adjustment box a better option? The reviews seem to say just go with the jot R. Either way I will be running from a Hugo 2 or metrum pavane.
    If these phones really blow me away I will invest in something good but for now I am just sticking my toe in the water...
    For those that have heard both, is a Vidar plus the impedance box better than a jot R, or or equal, or worse? If it is better with my h2 then I can get one ordered now.
    Thanks for your thoughts.
  13. dieslemat
    so? Selling your other headphones now? Cause they are gathering dust right? :)
    Darthpool likes this.
  14. FLTWS
    Depends on how things go with Jotunheim R. I don't need to sell anything and its all paid for so... It will be interesting after some time to go back and re-evaluate. I've actually not listened to anything else since the SR1a arrived 10/28. Just from memory (of my other HP's) I could hear the considerable strengths of the SR1a as well as its only weak spot (to my way of hearing it). I'll start comparisons when I get over 200 hours on it. Quick back and forth comparison's with new gear isn't as telling with me as really immersing myself in a transducers sound world so I know it like the back of my hand. When I do get around to it, it makes the comparing so much easier and definitive. But, I do dust the others off occasionally, I like to keep my equipment like new. :smile:
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
    dieslemat and Darthpool like this.
  15. nishan99
    LOL I love you too .

    All I meant is headphones with poor or mediocre dynamic range can be heard without fatigue at high SPL simply because there are no big swings in volumes to bother you. Also some of them have poor or mediocre dynamic range at low or medium SPL, they need to be driven loud enough to present good and realistic dynamic range and that's why I asked.

    Sorry If I was unclear about my question
    Darthpool likes this.
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