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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. Seth Warshavsky
    Are you guys all running them as monoblocks or as a single in stereo? I'm running it single in stereo, do you think I need a second one?
    BreadMaster likes this.
  2. llamaluv
    Mine and the two other systems I've heard the SR1a on have all been on stereo amps. But would love to understand if and what improvements and changes a monoblock configuration could bring.
    BreadMaster likes this.
  3. Seth Warshavsky
    Are you talking about the SR1A or the AHB2?
    BreadMaster likes this.
  4. llamaluv
    Oh sorry, I thought you were asking about stereo versus monoblocks in a general sense. I've not heard the AHB2 specifically...
  5. llamaluv
    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.
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
  6. Seth Warshavsky
    I want to know how much the AHB2 improve with burn-in, if anyone has first-hand knowledge, and if one should drive the SR1A well or if I really need 2?
    BreadMaster likes this.
  7. BreadMaster
    Seth have you tried any of the PS Audio power amps?
  8. Thenewguy007
    So which did you like better without the M-scaler in place?
    Audiobacon.com comparison gave the impression that Dave was warmer vs the cooler sounding Terminator as the biggest sound difference.
    BreadMaster likes this.
  9. Zhanming057
    The Dave is warmer than a pure R2R with selectable OS? I find that incredibly hard to believe and not at all in line with personal experience.

    I'm not a big fan of either DAC - the Dave is very redeemable with the Mscalar, although once you get to that price point there are lots of world class DAC's.
  10. WilliamWykeham
    I liked the DT without mscaler more than the Dave without mscaler in blind testing. This result surprised me.

    I would not call either dac warm at all. llamaluv saw a little more warmth in the DT if I remember correctly. To me they seemed about equal in this aspect.
    Thenewguy007 likes this.
  11. Jozurr
    Yes the question of whether a pair of AHB2s improve performance (or degrade it due to higher dampening) is still to be answered by someone who has compared a pair to a single AHB2.

    Also, how much of a step up/down is a 150.8 for example, compared to an AHB2? Perhaps @llamaluv can help with that one.

    Im very curious on how much improvement can be had over the AHB2 and the effect of diminishing returns - considering a used ABH2 can be had under $2500, how much of a performance gain can be had adding a few grand more to the equation?
  12. Jozurr
    Can you please share what DACs you think are better than the DAVE in that price range

  13. Seth Warshavsky
    Well I really want to know if the AHB2 improves dramatically with burn in too or if a single is just not enough, because out of the box the M22 V2 is sounding substantially better to me (far more resolving with better dynamics), and I don’t think that should be the case. It has me quite perplexed. Both the Bryston and the NAD are quite a bit better than the new single AHB2. I don’t know if it just needs hours or if I need another.
    BreadMaster likes this.
  14. Jozurr
    Power wise I believe it has enough power for the SR1a and since the SR1a was developed using the AHB2, its surprising that other amps sounds so much better to you than the AHB2. Im assuming you have the appropriate preamp pairing, as well as sensitivy and gain settings on the AHB2? quite a bit of discussion on that in the past few pages.
  15. Zhanming057
    The Dave + Mscalar with US pricing is about $17,000 US. That's about a grand more than the Nagra Classic DAC, about the same as a Berkeley Alpha DAC reference 2 without the MQA, and more than street pricing on the MSB Premier with a couple small accessory upgrades. All three DACs I would consider (weakly) the superior of the DAVE+Msc. Personally I went with the Nagra over the Alpha DAC because the Alpha DAC's detail rendition was a bit too aggressive for my tastes. The DAVE is similarly a bit cold and etched, but the Mscalar helps.

    At a cheaper price point, I like the DCS Bartok over the stand-alone Dave but the DAVE pulls ahead on detail. The Merging NADAC's street price is just a hair more than a DAVE used, and while the tuning is distinctly different, it's a very, very strong DAC that I've seen used for less than $5,500.

    We're all splitting hairs in this price range, but high end Ring DAC's are their own world of great, organic tuning with more than enough detail, and something like the Alpha DAC ref 2 handily outpunches the DAVE in sheer in-your-face detail. None of these DACs have a headphone out, though, and most are not global voltage.

    If we're going by HK/Singapore street pricing, that combo is much more competitive since you simply won't be able to find any of the super-good Ring DACs at that price point. The Merging is still awesome for the money, though. And of course there's the king of summit-fi value DAC's, the Linn Klimax Renew. I would be using a Klimax Renew, but audio over ethernet is a dealbreaker for me.
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
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