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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. Aleksandar R.
    I don't know what you mean by "clipping headphones", but if we're talking about clipping amps then all is just fine with the Benchmark.

    AHB2 has 3 sensitivity settings:, 2V, 4V and 9.8V (balanced).
    Whatever the general recommendation might be (which is fine, BTW, as all standard balanced outputs should provide 4V output), just use the AHB2 with the input that corresponds to the output voltage of your source.
    It goes without saying that if your source can not provide 4V, you would not use it at 4V setting, but at 2V setting.

    Nagra Classic DAC would not bring the AHB2 to full power, as it will be 3dB short of that at 2V setting.

    In studio environment is not unusual to run 20V signal lines as what cables pick up with hum and buzz is your noise floor and having a high voltage signal increases your S/N ratio.
    That is why AHB2 has 22dB level input and if your source can deliver that, it should be used at that setting to decrease the noise that's picked up with cables.
     
  2. Aleksandar R.
    AHB2_Rear_Top_VP_2000x.JPG
     
  3. Jerseyboy


    Ok so it makes perfect sense that with the Vivaldi DAC set at 2V output it needs the 2V top setting on the AHB2 as my listening tests verified ? However, in terms of cable noise, would it be better to select the 6V output on the DAC and reduce to the 4V middle setting on the AHB2 (there is no 4v setting on the DAC) ??
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
  4. Aleksandar R.
    Yes, your ears confirmed it and now you got the full power swing available...

    Sure, I'd definitely set the DAC to 6V and set the amp at 4V. That will bring the noise floor 6dB down.
    You just won't need to crank up the volume control as high as before and you'll have reserve for recordings that are quieter, as not all recordings are peaking at 0 level.
    Not only that you're bringing down the cable pick-up noise, you're also bringing down the incoming noise from the source electronics.
    That makes the background quieter and lets the low level detail come out easier, like recording room decay etc.

    The last, but very small, part of why this is better is that usually, the output voltage setting in DACs is made by changing feedback at buffer op-amps, changing their gain from unity to more than unity, and op-amps though unity gain stable, really like to work with some gain, making less ringing on impulse. In your case, this is 10dB so you'll probably be knocking off 10dB of feedback somewhere.
    This may not mean anything in Vivaldi, but as a knee-jerk reaction, I always let op-amps work with some gain if possible. I feels better when I know that I'm letting them move away from possible instability issues. It's probably just a trip I have and again, may not mean anything with Vivaldi.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    Jerseyboy likes this.
  5. Jerseyboy

    Alex - thank you for that fantastic and clear response. I will set the DAC at 6V and reduce the amp to 4V as you suggest. Your advice has really helped and has educated me at the same time. Thank you.
     
    cradon likes this.
  6. Aleksandar R.
    BTW, I mentioned recording room decay as a merit because it has very dense spectrum which is wide in bandwidth. Basically, it is noisy in nature.
    It is much easier to distinguish from the noise floor (in other words -hear) a signal that is discrete in frequency and has sustain. For example a Triangle is heard even if it's level is on par with the noise floor.
    Room decay, however, is noise and it is very hard to distinguish noise from noise floor if their levels are on par.
    Clearly hearing a recording venue decay is a very rewarding listening experience, giving a sense of reality when listening to the music, so whatever helps in bringing the noise floor down is most welcome.
     
  7. Aleksandar R.
    You're most welcome and I'm glad that you find it helpful!
     
  8. bluesaint
    What gain setting are you using on the M22 V2?
     
  9. Seth Warshavsky
    The M22 V2 has to be on High Gain or it sounds dull and lifeless, but once you put it on High Gain it really sounds very good. My AHB2 is in customs now so I’ll compare tomorrow, but if you try the M22 definitely use High Gain.

    S
     
    BreadMaster likes this.
  10. Christer
    BreadMaster and W S L like this.
  11. BreadMaster
    THIS!!!
    upload_2019-5-25_22-5-43.png
     
    Aleksandar R. and Christer like this.
  12. Zhanming057
    It's by popularity voting - gold went to a pair of IEM's.

    I wouldn't read too much into it either way, but people definitely seemed to like them at Fujiya
     
    Christer likes this.
  13. Seth Warshavsky
    Did your AHB2's improve a lot with burn-in? They aren't doing it for me. Not sure why.
     
    BreadMaster likes this.
  14. llamaluv
    A very emphatic yes. I've listened to two other owners' pairs aside from my own, and have heard each of them get better with more burn-in time -- when directly compared to my own set which had 300+ hours on them. See, eg, post 846 and 847.

    Edit: Actually, make that three, including Zhanming057's production pair back in February (plugged into my own system). His unit was relatively fresh out of the box at the time, and while it still impressed un-burnt-in, was bright and harsh compared to a fully burned-in set.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
    Zhanming057 likes this.
  15. WilliamWykeham
    Some observations including those from a listening session with @llamaluv at my place this weekend - four dacs, an mscaler and two amps -

    Dacs: Chord Dave, Chord Qutest, Denafrips Terminator ("DT"), Metrum Pavane
    Amps: Luxman 505u integrated, Bryston 3bsst2
    Preamp: ifi ican pro

    One of the things I love about the SR1a is its ability to reveal differences between components, something I find more challenging in my two channel setup. Do my expensive Wireworld XLR cables beat out my three dollar Radioshack RCA cables when transferring a signal from the dac to the preamp? Nope. Does the Terminator improve with a Wireworld Aurora 7 power cord vs. a cheap generic cable from Amazon? Most definitely.

    To start with the dacs, I had spent many, many hours listening to the DT compared to the Pavane and the Qutest - the DT readily beat out the Qutest, which by itself is a nice little dac, greatly improving soundstage. The process by which I came to this conclusion was especially tedious, a result of my using different inputs on different listening sessions, which completely changed the sound. It took me a while to discover that I preferred USB inputs (using an ISO regen and LPS) over optical with both the Denafrips and the Qutest. The USB implementation was smoother and darker, and I found myself more relaxed over long sessions. Once I started comparing both dacs using USB, the superiority of the DT was evident. Next, the DT vs Pavane - these are both exceptional dacs which have completely different sound signatures. I gravitated to one or the other day by day. The Pavane's wonderful, easy listening, analogish, musical, warm low-to-mid end does wonders with pop music from the last few decades. I had to admit to myself that for pure enjoyment with this genre I preferred the Pavane over the DT. Also with orchestral, where I prefer more mid-to low emphasis over treble, I loved the Pavane. The DT won out with things like solo classical music, and for some reason 60's pop. DT vs. Dave - this is where things get very interesting. In blind testing of high resolution classical, I liked the DT more than the Dave sans mscaler, but liked Dave with mscaler more than the DT by itself. The sound of the mscaler with the Dave was just more lifelike; I heard more dimensionality and a rounder tone to each instrument. It was surprising to me, however, how close the Dave and DT are, and how very different both sound from the Pavane. One test I wish we had done is the DT with mscaler vs. Dave with mscaler. However, with string quartet music I find the mscaler to add a lot to the DT, making the sound rounder, more full bodied, more enjoyable than direct to DT.

    The extra power of the 150W per channel Bryston 3Bsst2 enhances the SR1a to my ears over the 100W per channel Luxman. I'm now wondering if I should get a 4B. The two areas I notice with the 3Bsst2 are overall clarity and low-end presence. For these virtues I'm trading away the Luxman's appealing warm tonality.

    Lastly headphone cables. We compared @llamaluv 's custom built silver cable to the stock cable. The difference was immediately apparent to me, and a huge step up. We both heard better instrument separation, improved details and just an overall better listening experience. I'm very likely to upgrade myself.

    IMG_0527.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
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