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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. Bill13
    Appreciate the update/clarification in your post.
  2. Maxx134
    The issue was that it was dependant also on positioning, and I was able to increase sub-bass with closer placement, which also change the whole sonic image as well.
    So although I could get more bass to almost match the others (except Phi), to keep the wide sound I didn't put it too closed and had it about 30-45 degree out.

    You really not notice all this stuff about sub-bass on alot music.

    What makes you grab these over the others is not the sub-bass anyways, it is the sheer overall resolution.

    Some would say an HD800 has sufficient bass, while others need an Abyss Phi bass. Most headphones lie somewhere in the middle, as is this one.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
    Bill13 and llamaluv like this.
  3. Bill13
    I mostly listen to classic music on CDs and internet including YouTube (such as small instrument ensembles & chamber music - and solo piano) - & occasionally watch action movies with explosive bass-slam.

    Based on what I've read so far, currently feel that if I were forced to make a decision today without audition, for me the RAAL Requisite SR1a seems preferable to the Abyss Phi (Phi more expensive & heavier ~620 gm vs 425 gm).
    Cannot audition SR1A here without first buying from RAAL Requisite on a trial.

    However, I read reports that the SR1a might be way too resolving for less than stellar recordings. Concern is that the SR1a is not the best all-a-rounder for general purpose listening(?). Therefore, not really a TOTL candidate(?).

    I hope that I got the wrong impression about SR1a being a 'secondary' headphone -- for headphone collectors.

    Somehow, I still really want this ribbon headphone -- just want it to be OK for everyday general purpose.

    When in doubt, wait.
  4. Zhanming057
    The Vidar seems like it's going to be fine, and my experience with cheaper speaker amps on the SR1A isn't too bad at all. But keep in mind that you're going to get the performance of a $600 amp and it's not going to be as good as the INT150 or other amps in the INT150's price range. Power wise 200w @4 ohms is definitely enough, although driving them at the limit (which you mentioned you won't be doing) might cause cheap amps to go into protection.

    There is a used Esoteric I03 on USAM for $3,500 and I've always had a soft spot for their top tier Class D's, they really go all out on materials and workmanship, and prices are low stateside because people see "Class D" and run in the other direction...they are amazing amps that have no problem stacking up to pure class A's in their price range. Just a thought :)

    The SR1A is much more comfortable and that's what keeps me away from listening to my 1266 phi's, they're too heavy on the head and you have to wear them really tightly to get the bass right. I just can't handle the Abyss on my head for more than about 2 hours.

    Resolution is a bit over-the-top, as you've said. At the end of the day, it'll depend on what you listen to. Youtube will show compression artifacts, and some classical recordings, especially older recordings are going to be flawed as well. I listen to very poorly recorded stuff - tracks my friends put together in a literal garage with maybe a $300 recording setup. And that stuff is not really tolerable on the SR1A's. For me, it's important to have something like the Mysphere's (or the Diana Phi which I'm thinking about buying) to round it out, something more forgiving of recording and mastering defects because a plurality of the music I listen to is poorly engineered. But you could run an Ether Flow or even something like the original Beyerdynamics T1 in that position and do very well, and the combination will still probably be cheaper than the Abyss (or even the Mysphere's).

    If more than half the music I listen to is poorly recorded, the SR1A's would be my secondary headphones. I still have enough good tracks in the mix for me to use them 70-80% of the time, but YMMV.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
    Bill13 and llamaluv like this.
  5. Bill13
    A 'bang-for-the-buck' candidate high power amp for driving the RAAL SR1As.
    Stereo amp utilizes the compact class-D Hypex NCore NC502MP twin Channel Module with self-contained power supply (uses usual 120/240 VAC). Rated up to 92% efficiency.
    Stereo, 2x500 Watt/ch; 11 amps into 4 ohms (or 15 amps into 2 ohms), unconditionally stable into a 2 ohm load.

    New, assembled in case, with the AC & in/out connectors, etc. to order for $825, from an eBay seller in NJ - there's some optional upgrades, like extra $30.00 for Cardas panel mount RCAs..

    I currently use Hypex Ncore amps (with NC400 modules, 400W 4ohms) to drive my speakers using RAAL 140-15D ribbon tweeters with passive crossover.

    IMO, Hypex Ncore amps give some of the best sound I've heard - and I have heard many different amps including high-end tubes & solid-state.
  6. Zhanming057
    @Bill13 @PeteSTRADAMUS @cradon @Maxx134

    After much trepidation, mostly related to my own scheduling issues and desire to travel light, I've decided to bring the production version of the SR1A's to Canjam NYC and then figure it out from there. Send me a PM if you want to give these a spin - the best would be to actually give me a number.

    I'm going to give Benchmark a call tomorrow to see how they feel about me just staying for an hour or two at their booth with the SR1A's plus the AHB2+DAC3 on Saturday. They've been pretty helpful to Danny and Alex in the past and I don't want to overstay my welcome. Otherwise, maybe the Schiit booth might have a Vidar. They'll definitely have a Rag which is underpowered, but not severely so.

    I can't bring an amp myself, and if anyone here has anything man-portable that's powerful enough, if would be great if you can bring it over. I'm not expecting it though.

    I'll be around all day Sat, and Morning on Sun. I should note that this 100% my decision to help out fellow head-fi'ers, and not related to Raal Requisite and should not be interpreted as an official event demo. Basically don't be mad at Danny or me if it doesn't work out or if my Amtrak is really late or something.

    I'll also have the Mysphere 3.2 with me, which should be a lot easier to actually demo on anything. Might be an easier option than the official demo session at the Woo booth.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
    Lord Rexter and Bill13 like this.
  7. Maxx134
    I was there today and saw the benchmark outside in the isles.
    There are 3 rooms on the left side which are quiet enough, but the rest of the place is very open and so may not be ideal, due to noisier environment.
  8. lambdastorm
    I was there as well. Surprisingly the show floor wasn't as noisy as last year but those 3 rooms still made a welcome change.
    javertim likes this.
  9. llamaluv
    I'm getting radio silence from the RAAL Requisite U.S. contacts (two emails in the last 5 days, no answer on the 818 number over the same length of time, and the voicemail box is full).

    If a RAAL MOT is on this thread, could someone please give me a PM?
  10. Zhanming057
    I assumed that Danny was off for the long weekend - haven't called him myself in the past 4 days either.

    I do want to give him a call tomorrow about buying an extender for the headphones, and I'll ask him to give you a call back ASAP.
    llamaluv likes this.
  11. Aleksandar R.
    PM sent!
    llamaluv likes this.
  12. llamaluv
    Thanks all, I had a very informative chat with Danny and have a unit scheduled to be shipped tomorrow.

    It may be a short while until I find a suitable amp on the used market (unless I get too impatient, that is!), but am definitely looking forward to being in a position where I have some useful feedback to contribute on whatever pairing I land on.
    Zhanming057 likes this.
  13. anach
    Gonna try again. What about availability and price in Europe? Thanks!
  14. lambdastorm
    Just talked to Danny over the phone. What should be a 20 minutes talk spans well over an hour and in the end I was more than glad I made the call. Before this call I've called their dealer Ray Scott 2 times, guess he's only responsible for sales in LA areas.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
    Zhanming057 and llamaluv like this.
  15. Bill13
    My SR1a was shipped FedEx Tues with scheduled delivery Friday (looks like fast shipping from CA to NJ) -- per tracking info looks like a fairly large package = 17 x 14 x 7 inches, 12pounds.

    I was also considering the Abyss AB1266 phi CC or the just released new TC model, but decided the Abyss $5K price, and its 620gm weight, was a bit much for me.

    Power amp: I'm going to have to borrow my loudspeaker amps (btw, speakers have impressive RAAL ribbon tweeters). Speaker amps are two mono Hypex NC400 Ncore amps, 400wpc.
    The Hypex NC400 amps will suffice until can buy another dedicated amp for these headphones.

    --- was hoping to buy the eBay "NEW GEN2 DESIGN!! Hypex Ncore NC502MP DUAL 500W HIFI Amp" listed at $825 (NJ eBay seller), but so far this seller has been unresponsive to my offer and my questions about his extra options like RCA jacks, etc.
    HoloSpice and Zhanming057 like this.
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