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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. minibox
    I used to have a Bryston 4bsst2 driving my Magico S3's but upgraded to the Constellation Taurus about a year ago. The difference in tonality, soundstage depth, width and detail was significant. The Bryston was a workhorse and tonally not bad, but the Constellation was a major step up. I only have about 50 hours of break in on my Sr1a's but I'm already very impressed. I do a lot of listening in the early morning and evening after my son goes to bed and the Raal's have been a great substitution for my magico's. The S3's are a very transparent and revealing speaker and the Raal's follow suit. A very neutral and transparent set of ear speakers. I can clearly make out the sound signature of my Chord blu/dave combo and the Constellation. I used to prefer my hd1000 v2's out of the Dave but doing an a/b between them and the sr1a's makes the hd's sound boomy and inarticulate. I appreciate the speed and detail of my BHSE sr-009 combo but always felt it lacking in the low end. The raal's have the same or perhaps more speed and clarity but execute the low frequencies in a way that the former combo cannot. I still have a lot of tracks to throw at the Raal's but up to this point I'm very happy.
     
    P.Car, yates7592, lithiumnk and 2 others like this.
  2. Christer
    Hello, unfortunately basically everything large scale classical sounded a bit congested at climaxes.
    The first time I auditioned the SRH1A I did not bring any music ow my own and only listened to what the shop had on their server and apart from some very nice sounding tracks I mentioned in my post they also had Mahler's 2nd symphony from the SFF series. I know the whole series from SFF/MTT both as SACDs and some as 24/96 downloads and also several other hi res recordings of Mahler's symphonies and I was quite surprised how harsh their Mahler 2 sounded compared to how I am used to hearing it .
    In fact none of the classical they had sounded very good that first time around so I decided to bring my own reference material next day.
    But unfortunately my masters did not sound as good as I am used to hearing them either.

    And with some of them I have direct reference not only to how things sounded live in the hall during recordings but also as mic feed and raw DSD 64 and in some cases PCM up to DXD.
    I am very aware of their potential to sound SOTA with SOTA equipment.
    I suspect the server ROON and or the amp was not set up properly or at worst that the SRH1A does not play hi res classical as loud as I need it without audible distortion setting in?
    Cheers Controversial Christer
     
    yates7592 likes this.
  3. llamaluv
    Would it be possible to find out how many hours of playtime the headphones have on them? Could be an important factor (possibly).
     
    Zhanming057 and yates7592 like this.
  4. Zhanming057
    What position did you have the "flaps" at? Imaging gets constrained if the drivers are too close to your ears. It's a very personal preference thing, I've talked to a bunch of people and optimal positioning can be anywhere between right next to your ears and nearly horizontal.
     
  5. Aleksandar R.
    This has nothing to do with SR1a.
    Granted, I don't use more than 100W/8Ohmp amp with them and never run it into clipping, at which point they make about 111dB of SPL.
    It is terribly easy to run amps into clipping with SR1a, as they won't give you any hints of compression or distortion that you can assess loudness with.
    Basically, you can use amps with more that 100W of power, but having clipping indicators will tell you whether it's the fault of the headphones or you're hearing the amp getting into trouble.
    That is, if you are sure of what the source does.
     
  6. bluesaint
    @RAAL requisite Alex so i see this Bryston 4B at 300WPC/8Ohm with no gain switch works fine. Thought the attenuator can only disperse 140w? Are there any concerns with 300WPC+ amps on the durability of the attenuator box?
     
    BreadMaster likes this.
  7. Zhanming057
    My understanding is that you only reach 150w when engaging the bass, and of course you could potentially damaged the box if you plug it into a strong power amp with full output, but the amp, assuming that it's not very old and has modern protection features, will go into protection long before you can actually load 300w into the box.
     
    yates7592 likes this.
  8. Christer

    Hello I experimented with lots of different angles from flat straight into my ears as you mention. And with the Jachinta Jazz tracks she sounded as she was singing in the middle of my head so I angled them gradually out and with all my classical tracks I used an angled open setting.
    But since I was quite disturbed by the fact that I could hear distortion I did not expect to hear, I stopped my experiments much earlier than I had wished.
    Good soundstage but bad SQ was too tiring to hear after a while.

    I really hope the problems I encountered have nothing more to do with the SR1A than that thery are difficult to drive?

    Or that the server streaming quality was sub optimal.

    I remember that my native DSD masters were converted to pcm by Roon.
    And there were also some other confusing issues with the streamer like the Krell 300ki showing the message waiting for music but still playing music.

    And the phone used as control unit sometimes displayed the cover image of one track while playing another.

    I am not in Singapore any longer, but I hope to get a chance to hear the SR1A under optimal conditions back home in Sweden.
    In spite of the problems I experienced there were definitely things I really liked about it.
    It would be especially interesting to compare it to the new Jecklin Float electrostatics.
    Cheers Controversial Christer
     
  9. P.Car
    As Alex pointed out earlier, if you feed the SR1a a poor signal, it will give you a poor presentation.

    It sounds like the demo equipment was sub-par on several levels.

    This headphone is brutally honest and will tell you that you have some issues in your system (if there are any).

    It's a great voicing tool for the rest of your gear.

    If you get poor results while listening, look downstream of the SR1a as that's your culprit. The SR1a just sound like what's in front of them.

    I really like this aspect but some may not.
     
  10. dieslemat
    Just wanted to post a quick write on my experience with the Raal SR1a.

    First off about me: I started getting serious in this hobby in 2017 buying my first amp/dac + an HD650. Moving up to a Schiit Yggdrasil A2 + Ragnarok + Mjolnir 2 + Mr Speakers Ether Flow Open. Kef R300 for my speakers. I have little knowledge on the technical jargons being thrown around in this forum but for me when I hear a sound that I like I can really tell why I like it. I am not a professional reviewer. Just a normal guy who likes to listen to most popular genres. Apologies in advance if my write up is a bit here and there.

    Having the EFO for a little over a year (doing the mods kits, pad rolling etc etc) I've always felt that there's not much I can do about this sort of veil I notice with the pair that I have. I've auditioned the Focal Utopia extensively but couldn't bring myself to buy it even though I read what people are saying about it. Maybe because of the price to performance ratio?

    I've also tried electro stats (specifically the Stax L700 and Mr Speakers Voce + Blue Hawaii) and again the issue with the price to performance ratio really let me down. I mean they are good but not that good for my wallet.

    At Canjam Singapore 2019, I tried out the Raal SR1a. But before I go raving about it let me just say one thing that I think can be improved on: the way it fits. If I'm feeling the music, I like to rock and shake my head a bit. Although, that's just a very very small thing.

    Now on to with what I really think when I first put it it on, and this is the conversation I had with myself:
    • Huh? Is it turned on? How come I hear a speaker playing in the room?
    • Huh? Oh wait it's the SR1a!?
    • Wow
    • Wow. What the F.....

    At this time I know nothing about the price. Honest to goodness. I know nothing about the price of it. Obviously, I had to ask how much it is at the show (CanJam) but I assumed it would be in the double the price of the Utopia/Voce. Cause the sound in my opinion is double the performance compared to the Voce/Utopia. I was surprised that its around the range of the Utopia! I had to ask again and to be clear of my question: "How much is this brand new?". Sean from SLT laughed and said that is the price brand new (of course its in Singapore dollars).

    Then I looked at the setup where the SR1a was connected to. Infront of my was an Yggdrasil and an integrated amp (which I think was expensive) but I double check. The SR1a was, in fact, only connected to a Schiit Vidar + Hiby Pro. And that to me was the second amazing thing. I initially thought it was connected to the yggy + amp.


    Long story short:

    Will I buy the SR1a? Of course. Soon.
    What's keeping me from buying it now? I have a Mjolnir 2 (+ expensive tubes) and the EFO that I still want to sell to fund the SR1a
    What am i doing now to prepare for the SR1a cause it needs a speaker amp? Sold off my Ragnarok. Got the Freya and 2 Aegir. I think at 80 watts the SR1a can still be driven out from it. But if not I will just get another Vidar. But with the monoblock Aegir the SR1a should sound really sweet. I know my Kef R300s sounded way way better compared to the Ragnarok.


    Additional info:
    Music I listened while auditioning the SR1a Strive by Amber Rubarth, Get your Lies Straight by Terry Evans.
    I also took some time to listen to the SR1a at SLT's office when I picked up the Schiit Freya I ordered.

    57101639_2189103597801960_4059121519266103296_n.jpg

    Adding pics of my Freya and Aegirs also. Cause I think, not yet confirmed, that these would be a good match for the SR1a


    IMG_1904.JPG IMG_1890.JPG
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  11. ctemkin
    Christer,

    I have listened to a lot of classical music on the SR-1A and have had a few sessions where I switched back and forth between it and my Stax 009/BHSE combination. The amp I am using with the SR-1A is 200wpc into 8 ohms.

    I have experienced none of the difficulties you mention. In fact, the SR-1A has been holding its own with the 009 on some aspects and bettering it on others, such as soundstage. This morning I listened to the beginning of Das Lied von der Erde (SACD version of Living Stereo recording of Chicago Symphony), which has a full range of instruments as well as voices, and it sounded great.
     
  12. Christer
    Hello, that sounds very comforting to hear.
    I also expect the SR1A to perform in the class of Stax and other highend headphones next time around.
    And thanks for reminding me to give the classic Reiner/CSO DLvDE a spin tonight.
    I consider that work one of the most important in the entire classical catalogue and especially the last Der Abschied still sounds stunning via my electrostatic speakers in spite of being from the late 50s!!!
    Simple miking at its best.
    It is an old gem that among basically all the others from RCA Living Stereo is in my SACD collection too.
    This morning I played the 1962 Karajan BPO Beethoven 9 SACD.
    But instead of via my SACD player I played the rbcd layer via optical and Qutest /Hugo M Scaler and it sounded very nice indeed, actually much better than their 1984 digital remake.
    Wonderful bloom and acoustic and a very nice huge soundstage via my HEK V2.
    And still one of the very best performances of that symphony imho.

    But both of those have a dynamic range of maybe maxiumum 50-55 dB, while some of the material I played are modern non compressed hi res master recordings with a much bigger dynamic range than was possible in those days.
    Recordings that may stress a system's power capacity quite a bit more than anything recorded in the analogue days except some direct cut LPs.
    As an example the first relatively medium loud climax in Channel Classics Mahler's 2nd needs more than 250 watts of power via my speakers to sound both clean and powerful.
    And the really big climaxes peak out at over 400 watts.

    Cheers Controversial Christer
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
    BreadMaster likes this.
  13. WilliamWykeham
    A note on fit: llamaluv showed me how to bend the frame, and now it’s perfect, I don’t even need to use the rear head strap. You have to sort of rotate the cages, (left cage clockwise, right cage counter), and then also bend inward. Probably need to see it being done.
     
  14. llamaluv
    +1 for Freya in tube mode :D
     
    BreadMaster and dieslemat like this.
  15. manzano804
    Hi guys, i was very happy when i knew the SR1a was tested using the Benchmark AHB2 since i bought that amp 6 months ago . I was ready to order the SR1a but after reading this thread my impression is that even though they use the AHB2 it doesn’t seem to make enough justice to the SR1a since most of the time i read that to deliver its full potential it needs diferent amps ( Bryston , Pass Lab , Schiit…)

    I don’t like to feel i am missing something when i buy new gear and don’t want to constantly feel the need to upgrade ,since i live in Colombia ( South America ) and have to buy blindly , only based in reviews and opinions.

    That’s why i like to know if someone has had the chance to listen to this combo SR1a/AHB2 and could tell me its impressions about it . I will appreciate it a lot .

    Thanks in advance,

    Carlos
     
    BreadMaster likes this.
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