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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. WilliamWykeham
    I may need to amend my review - I went back and listened to a bunch more of my albums marked H1000. It's possible I am just getting more used to these cans, or maybe there's some burn-in - any case, I'm hearing several albums that immediately present a huge soundstage (Nelsons recent recordings of Shostakovich symphonies) and are quite pleasing to listen to, while several recordings sound trebly, tinny, and compressed in space - like Atlantis Trio's recording of Schubert's Piano Trios. The amount of variation I'm getting from recording to recording with this headphone is astounding.
    Christer, HoloSpice, Bill13 and 2 others like this.
  2. Bill13
    In addition to DPST toggle switches also have some DPDT toggle switches. As I recall, DPDT is a "center off" switch -- like two separate SPDT switches operated by the same bat-lever. A single DTDP switch can give the listener a choice of three de-emphasis options: the DPDT switch center-off position could be say, a default "-1R" for the very best recordings.
    Optional DPDT switch bat- lever UP position could be could select "-2R" for very good recordings where the listener wants to cut the treble a bit. The DPDT switch DOWN position (most de-emphasis option) could select "-4R" for lower quality recordings with excess trebles.

    Alternatively, could use two DPST switches.
    For me, mounting one DPDT switch, or alternatively two DPST switches, on the back panel of the SR1a amplifier interface box looks good.

    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
    Aleksandar R. likes this.
  3. Aleksandar R.
    Yes, everything is on the table right now.
    The problem with DPDT with center-off is that in center it could only be -4R and -1R (or 0) could be top and -2R could be down.
    I don't like it as it's not intuitive. Top is highest, center is lowest and low is median...it'll look like a mistake.
    Danny has something in mind, as he's been dealing with switching schemes for ages, but we couldn't get a hold of each other yet to thoroughly talk about all this.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
    Bill13 and Zhanming057 like this.
  4. Bill13
    I agree. You're right, DPDT would not be good for users (too confusing).

    I'll wait & see what ideas you and Danny come up with.

    Maybe for now I'll just snip a couple of wires and listen.
  5. WilliamWykeham
    For those who have the SR1a - try removing the long cylindrical pads which allow the headphone to rest next to your ears (you can put them back on). For my money - sounds even better. This is allowing me to place the drivers closer to my ear canal - right on my ears with the fins closed all the way - giving me more midrange and bass but without the degradation in soundstage I noticed when I first tried this. I've only listened for about 10 minutes with this setup, but each album so far --- wow. The bass...
    Bill13 and llamaluv like this.
  6. Christer
    Hmm more signs of a revealing headphone I guess?
    The more differences one hears between different recordings the more resolving it could be. Interesting that you mention the Nelsons Shostakovich recordings.
    I have the two first issues in that series and like the Tenth a lot musically. But the more recent 5,8th and 9th with the Hamlet Suite has a tendency to sound a bit "metallic digital" and overbright with an almost rbcd like hardening of tone at times ,in typical DGG manner via all the systems and dacs I have heard it via.
    The best most realistic recording from the BSO/Nelson team was imho the still BSO in house production of Sibelius's 2nd and Wagner's Tannhäuser overture.

    Even via Chords' M Scaler and with my HD800 I find those two DGG Shostakovich recordings a bit too overbright.
    But as you say with a nice big hall sound captured.
    PS how are you amping your RAALs and which dac are you using?
    Cheers Controversial Christer
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  7. APK000
    I am interested in this but to drive it well, I will have to get another set of preamp and power amps which is pretty costly.
  8. Bill13
    Good idea. Agree that the SR1a sounds even better when positioned closer to the ear canal - It's a bit surprising that, for me, the imaging is not compromised, although (I understand) other people may not agree,

    Have you found that removing the long cylindrical pads decreases your wearing comfort?
  9. WilliamWykeham
    It’s a trade-off - plus for me is reduction in pressure on my face with removal of the pads - negative is that the metal cage in which the drivers are held now touches my earlobe and that doesn’t feel great - but a trade off I think I’m willing to make. Need to try some more and see if it still appeals to me a few days from now
    Bill13 likes this.
  10. Zhanming057
    That's interesting. For me, the imaging overlaps unless I have the drivers in a very "open" position more than 45 degrees of rotation away from my ears. But I do have really big ear canals and a big head. Maybe the db spl is higher when the drivers are closer to your face? Was the listening volume compensated when you moved the driver positions?

    That said, I've noticed that I do the same thing with the Mysphere and K1000 (i.e. my optimal driver position is further out than that of most people).
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  11. Bill13
    Your post was interesting.

    For several days I've been wearing the SR1a headphones both with the long pads and with the metal cages touching my earlobes -- perhaps for me anyway, the shape of my head & face allows the headphones to fit (very) comfortably -- It initially took a bit of fiddling with the headphones getting them to fit nicely. I don't mind the metal cage touching my earlobes at all.
    -- far preferable to conventional headphone pads which are comparatively hard to get used to. Can wear for hours.
    ---- Still plan to try removing the cylindrical pads just to see if there's further improvement(s)..

    The open 'free-air' design of the SR1a will be especially welcome this coming summer (say goodbye to sweaty headphone earpads!).
    HoloSpice likes this.
  12. llamaluv
    I've been trying out the Schiit Freya preamp going before my power amp for the last couple days and wanted to mention that I tested the tube mode, and it actually does a lot for the soundstage for the SR1a. I got the Freya primarily to try its active (solid state) buffer mode, but I'm finding the tube mode to be pretty intriguing. This is just with the stock, unbranded tubes, with just 15 hours on them at the moment.

    More "holographic" is the word that instantly comes to mind, clichéd though it is. The soundstage opens up forwards and backward for me. Also, subtle more dynamic bloom in the upper-mids (and treble). Treble toned down just a shade with a little less edge, bass toned down as well (which is unfortunate but probably unavoidable). Typical tube characteristics and tradeoffs, I guess you'd say. More "musical" is another hand-wavey term that comes to mind. Which, I think, is really working with the SR1a.

    I was pretty surprised and impressed because with various headphone tube amps, I've never found imaging/soundstage enhancements to be terribly pronounced, despite how I've always heard others describe it. That, and I've read some people report that the Freya's tube mode does nothing in particular for them. So I'm inclined to interpret, preliminarily, that the easily discernible differences between its tube and buffer modes* I'm hearing to be in large part due to the qualities of the headphone.

    * The tube mode has 8dB gain, but it's easy to volume match between tube and buffer mode by adjusting the digital volume at the same time.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  13. jwbrent
    Hi Alex,

    I’m intrigued by your ribbon headphones. My question is whether a 50 watt/ch, KT88 based tube amp will be sufficient to drive these headphones. My Luxman MQ-88 is conservatively rated, and since we’re only talking about a 3dB difference in output compared to the 100 watt/ch recommendation, I’m wondering what your thoughts are.
    HoloSpice likes this.
  14. Thenewguy007
    50 watts is a pretty big gap between the recommended 150 watts. Unless your amp goes into class A/B after 50 & is able to put out more than a 100+ watts in total.
    BreadMaster likes this.
  15. P.Car
    Tube watts and solid state watts don't feel like they are the same. My 75 Watt tubed monoblocks power my speakers like 150 / 200 Watt solid state monoblocks.

    I bet it will be close.

    Especially with KT88s...

    Can your amp accommodate KT90s or KT120s? If so, that may tip you over the edge.

    I plan to run the SR1a with my 75 wpc tube monoblocks as well as my 200 wpc stereo amplifier.

    You can always try it and then adjust accordingly...
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