Raal Ribbon Headphones - SRH1A
Apr 19, 2020 at 1:50 PM Post #2,177 of 7,695
Mine arrived yesterday. I hooked her into the system early this morning. Couldn’t resist the urge to listen a little even while playing a random list. Playback is Roon Nucleus+—>MSB Select 2–>HSA-1a. (Same as the Jot R and the other headphones, except that a couple of amps require the Hattor Passive Pre in front of them due to only having two sets of outputs from the MSB and not all of the amps having pass-through loops.)

Now, this is my first time listening to the SR1a in over a month, since before some international travel. Back then, while COVID-19 was news, it wasn’t the only news, and it didn’t seem as though the world had fallen apart. Life feels different now, and if you’ll forgive the philosophizing, so does headphone listening. I didn’t listen to headphones to escape anything, though I did listen in private (sometimes at family request :wink:), but pleasure was the primary purpose. Today, I confess a sense of relief and escape was almost palpable when I put the headphones on my head and started the music. I share that because I think it could affect listening impressions.

As for initial impressions? Physically, it’s a Serbian brick of unassuming design. Looks more like a piece of test bench equipment than high end audio. It’s not going to win any beauty contests. But it doesn’t have to; sonically, with all of 30 minutes of brain/burn-in, it sounds superb. All I’ve listened to so far is Fiona Joy’s Signature-Solo in DSD128. To my memory only, depth and detail seem significantly improved. I’ll have to reconfigure the rack so I can have both Jot R and HSA playing at the same time and so can switch the SR1a back and forth to make any remotely fair comparison. But before I do that, I want to spend a lot of time listening, and then some time comparing the T2/009S combo.
Please share with us the nuances between the JOT-R and HSA. There is a hugh price differential so the comparison would be very helpful.
 
Apr 19, 2020 at 2:30 PM Post #2,178 of 7,695
This bloody thing (HSA-1a) has made me fall in love with the SR1a all over again … and I was never “out of love” with them in the first place … they’ve been utterly magnificent since the very first listen.

Had it all out on the deck, fed from the Hugo M-Scaler/Hugo TT 2 this morning … and probably should have taken pictures (maybe I’ll do that again here in a bit, if the weather holds … skies and water are very pretty right now, if heading towards “threatening”).

The HSA-1a/SR1a combination really does turn the SR1a up to “11”, maybe even “12”.

Due to all the virus-related lockdown stuff, our (work/lab) anechoic chamber is free this coming week, and I am seriously contemplating taking this rig into that and doing some super-critical listening (will likely take the Jotunheim R too if I do it at all). After all, it’s one thing listening in my now-unusually-quiet home (amazing how much quieter it is with NO traffic), and another entirely when the ambient noise level is <0 dBA …

With the Jotunheim R, and even the Chord Étude/Interface, I had contemplated, occasionally, adding a tube-buffer for some specific pieces/moods. I have NO desire to do that with the HSA-1a driving the SR1a.

Completely awesome …
 
Apr 19, 2020 at 5:17 PM Post #2,180 of 7,695
I also thought the Terminator and Dave sounded very similar when compared side by side with a number of different tracks, especially those with a big, full sound. From my limited exposure to the Terminator yesterday, I thought it sounded great. I just got the Dave a week ago or so and am still wrapping my head around its sound. At the multiple-thousand-dollar price level, DACs aiming for reference level tuning and performance better sound pretty similar!

Having said that, and to immediately contradict myself, I agree that the Pavane differentiates itself with its full and engaging mid-range. And that it sounds more different than the other two in a direct comparison. I love it for acoustic jazz and vocal-oriented material, and generally for the type of listening where microdetails aren't the most important factor. And by the same token, it's never really spoken to me when it comes to electronic music compared to some other DACs (nothing related to "EDM", mind you). I was afraid of this outcome, but I'm almost tempted to keep the Pavane along-side the Dave (gulp!).

And to amplify WW's impressions on the custom cable from Triton Audio Cables with the Neotech silver wire... And not to enflame anyone else's finely attuned sense of upgraditis but yea... IMO, sticking with the stock SR1a cable is like leaving performance on the table, full stop. :imp: The resulting sound differences between this cable and stock eclipses the change resulting from swapping between similarly (or even not-so-similarly) sounding amps or DACs. Whether this is a positive or negative change based on preference is naturally a separate question.

Also, in my initial write-up on this cable, I was careful to note that I thought it might end up being too bright for my preferences but wasn't sure yet. After 100 hours of burn-in (both physical and psychological no doubt), I no longer have those reservations about it. It also sounds a lot more relaxed now, too.
I didn’t see the Triton Audio Cable with Neotech silver wire on their website for the SR1a??
This bloody thing (HSA-1a) has made me fall in love with the SR1a all over again … and I was never “out of love” with them in the first place … they’ve been utterly magnificent since the very first listen.

Had it all out on the deck, fed from the Hugo M-Scaler/Hugo TT 2 this morning … and probably should have taken pictures (maybe I’ll do that again here in a bit, if the weather holds … skies and water are very pretty right now, if heading towards “threatening”).

The HSA-1a/SR1a combination really does turn the SR1a up to “11”, maybe even “12”.

Due to all the virus-related lockdown stuff, our (work/lab) anechoic chamber is free this coming week, and I am seriously contemplating taking this rig into that and doing some super-critical listening (will likely take the Jotunheim R too if I do it at all). After all, it’s one thing listening in my now-unusually-quiet home (amazing how much quieter it is with NO traffic), and another entirely when the ambient noise level is <0 dBA …

With the Jotunheim R, and even the Chord Étude/Interface, I had contemplated, occasionally, adding a tube-buffer for some specific pieces/moods. I have NO desire to do that with the HSA-1a driving the SR1a.

Completely awesome …
It’s a major jump in price compared to the Jot-R and wondering if bass and sub bass are significantly better so at least no need for a Schiit Loki or additional digital equalization boost? Doesn’t that amp cost more than the SR1a itself?
 
Apr 19, 2020 at 5:28 PM Post #2,181 of 7,695
It’s a major jump in price compared to the Jot-R and wondering if bass and sub bass are significantly better so at least no need for a Schiit Loki or additional digital equalization boost?

I have no Loki anywhere in my chain (as nice a little box of tricks as it is for those that need/want it).

Doesn’t that amp cost more than the SR1a itself?

Yes.

But it'll drive the SR1a, efficient speakers and, with a coming update (available to existing owners at no cost), conventional headphones as well.

And, as things go ... my most expensive headphones cost a FRACTION of my favorite amplifiers, so that's not really a "new" thing.
 
Apr 19, 2020 at 7:04 PM Post #2,182 of 7,695
I have no Loki anywhere in my chain (as nice a little box of tricks as it is for those that need/want it).



Yes.

But it'll drive the SR1a, efficient speakers and, with a coming update (available to existing owners at no cost), conventional headphones as well.

And, as things go ... my most expensive headphones cost a FRACTION of my favorite amplifiers, so that's not really a "new" thing.
So far what are your thoughts regarding bass and sub bass with the HSA1a???
 
Apr 19, 2020 at 7:09 PM Post #2,183 of 7,695
So far what are your thoughts regarding bass and sub bass with the HSA1a???

It's neutral.

If you're a quantitive basshead, and won't/can't use EQ, then you might be better served with the Jotunheim R.

Qualitatively ... the HSA-1a takes it.

Unless you want to invest in high-end Chord, ancient Krell or Dan D'Agostino level amplification, I'm not sure the SR1a get any better than this.
 
Apr 19, 2020 at 8:29 PM Post #2,184 of 7,695
I didn’t see the Triton Audio Cable with Neotech silver wire on their website for the SR1a??
It was a custom build. You can email David from Triton Audio and he can order and make custom cables to your specifications. I'm sure you could also just ask him about @llamaluv and @WilliamWykeham's SR1a custom silver Neotech cable builds, too.
 
Apr 19, 2020 at 10:53 PM Post #2,185 of 7,695
Can I ask what he is charging for the 8 footer? Is it silver wire? Copper?
Silver. I got it a year ago; it was $800 and change.
 
Apr 20, 2020 at 9:25 PM Post #2,186 of 7,695
Please share with us the nuances between the JOT-R and HSA. There is a hugh price differential so the comparison would be very helpful.
Absolutely. I will have much more to share soon. Right now, mine is en route back to the shop for some upgrades, along with the installation of some Stillpoints Ultra in black. The differences are not subtle. The price differential is significant, and like much in high-end audio, it costs a fair bit to get those last incremental bits of improvement, but it is worth every penny. I think the Jot R is an incredible value; this is just better, and not merely by a little.
 
Apr 21, 2020 at 1:20 PM Post #2,190 of 7,695
Schitt had shipped the Freya this morning and I expect to receive it on Wednesday with two day Fedex shipping.

I also ordered GE gray glass which has a reputation of warm and lush sound.

I will report my impression of Jot R and Freya by this coming weekend.


How will you connect the Freya to the Jot-R?
To the output connections & then have the Jot-R at max volume & then adjust the Freya volume from the lowest setting? Is that correct?
 

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