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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. P.Car
    My good friend should have his pair early next week.

    These are attainable right now.

    I WANT THEM!!!!!

    (even if they look funny - I just want them to sound amazing - better than Utopia and other cans in that price range - I've got my fingers crossed)
     
    HoloSpice and Zhanming057 like this.
  2. Bill13
    I also want them!

    If I order these RAAL Headphones ($3500 list price on their website) do I have to pay extra import duty to USA? -- or is there a USA distributor (now, or in the future)? Service to be available in USA in the future - or must the customer ship these headphones to RAAL located in Zajecar (Zayechar), eastern Serbia? Be wonderful if purchase/shipment could somehow be handled from/within the USA.

    I'll be at Canjam NYC, 16-17 Feb 2019 - Is it possible to get a chance to audition?

    I built DIY (homemade) loudspeakers using RAAL 140-15D ribbon tweeters. Very impressive. These ribbons are the best tweeters I've heard -- better than my pure beryllium dome tweeters, or other audiophile drivers, IMO. Extremely clever design. The RAAL ribbons have been very reliable -- even when I accidently drove them directly without the crossover (loudspeaker's high-pass filter provides protection against excessive excursion). The aluminum ribbon in the tweeter is user-replaceable - but so far haven't needed to replace any ribbons.

    Bill
     
    BreadMaster and HoloSpice like this.
  3. Sound Trooper
    These look Super interesting! I would love to audition them first before I snag a pair. Would Raal be showing these at Canjam Singapore?
     
    BreadMaster and HoloSpice like this.
  4. Bill13
    Alex,

    You mentioned that the headphones ribbon sub-bass SPL is excursion limited:
    What is the lowest bass frequency that the headphone can produce 100 dB SPL at 'low distortion' (say, under 1% 3rd harmonic )? Does the headphone bass frequency response measurement start to roll off sharply below say, 30Hz or 40 Hz?

    As an owner of RAAL tweeters, I wonder if continued high excursion of the ribbons, due to bass-slam in music & movies, will cause the aluminum ribbons to stretch - thereby requiring a way to re-tension the ribbons -- or do you have some kind of ribbon-tension maintenance-mechanism built-in?
     
  5. Zhanming057
    Hey Bill,

    No, you won't need to pay any duty - these will ship directly from CA via UPS and you can pay with a credit card/Paypal/check. Danny is the guy to talk to about order and shipment. You won't ever need to send these in to Serbia for service unless they got run over a car or something - the cushions, drivers, cables are entirely user-replaceable just like the tweeters. If they need warranty service, you'll get a fresh pair of drivers.

    Canjam NYC is unfortunately out - NAMM took up a lot of time, and scheduling just didn't work out. Danny really did everything he could to make it happen, but two big shows back-to-back is always a logistical nightmare. I'm not sure if I want to bring my pair to Canjam, but if there is sufficient interest, maybe I can hang around the Benchmark booth for a bit with mine for people who want to try them.


    Canjam Singapore is happening - you'll get to hear them directly there.
     
    Bill13 and WilliamWykeham like this.
  6. Sound Trooper
    Can’t wait to experience it. Any thoughts of driving it with a Schiit rag?
     
  7. Zhanming057
    That would be on the very weak side - 100wpc @8 ohms is practically the least viable power output. But you could use the Rag as a preamp and get a dedicated power amp for those.
     
  8. Bill13
    You mentioned that the headphone's midrange:
    I understand that the SRH-1a adds frequency compensation to their resistive-load box in order to flatten the inherent rising response (SPL Vs. frequency).

    So, perhaps this midrange softness could be addressed in a future update to the headphone's FR compensation circuitry? I wonder, why not?
     
  9. Bill13
    Ordering from CA (California) is great - addresses my biggest concern about ordering. My experience with RAAL design expertise, and product reliability gives me confidence.

    Wow! - a five year warranty?

    Hope I can see you (don't know how to recognize you at Benchmark booth), and get to hear these RAAL phones at NYC Canjam -- 16-17 Feb. Booth environment will be noisy though ..

     
  10. Maxx134
    That's a smart idea for the headphone end.

    That box stays impressively cool for a headphone box.

    I think the SRH1A primary strength is resolution, in which case the
    SRH1A is now the king.

    I did not hear this.
    I did notice the Abyss perspective is a bit layered further away, while the SRH1A had a closer yet larger presentation.

    SRH1A>Stax>009>Susvara>HD800>Utopia...

    Technicalities of the SRH1A are both liquid and delicate without the need of usual treble boosting that other headphones may employ to try achieve similar levels of detailing, but still don't reach this level of resolve. The timbre of the trebles is especially realistic. No "etch" or fatigue. Cymbals resonate and decay with utter transparency and realism.


    I also compared a similar stax 009 setup today against the SRH1A, and I found the Stax mids to be bit smaller and a touch shouty in comparison.

    I did not have your problem with bass on the 009, because I lifted the rear of the pads to break the seal and allow the driver to excursion more.

    Bass impact was then very impressive, but not as "clear" as the SRH1A.
    The SRH1A bass, although impactful, large & well extendid, was also fairly neutral to lean in amount, and benifited from a bit of EQ to put more "meat on the bones" to gain more of the Abyss quality, instead of an hs800 airy quality, which this SRH1A type bass seems to have a bit of both.


    Sure.
    Although the SRH1A has the largest image of any headphone, it does not give you the same perspective.
    The SRH1A is liken to being in a second row, while the HD800 (& Susvara) are like your placement is at the rear of the venue.
    The HD800 will also have a bright boosted treble and diffuse air, while the Susvara eliminate any diffuse and treble boost while keeping that stage.
    Neither headphone will be at the level of overall realism of the SRH1A due to its speed and neutrality of timbre, while being effortless, delicate and smooth in the trebles.
    It can produce a nicer low end over the Susvara, but the Susvara does its best also with a speaker amp.

    You can bet, regardless of sonic perspective in the soundstage (which can also be slightly adjusted) , you WILL grab these headphones first, over any others regardless which one is next to the SRH1A. .
    Simply because the level of realism and "hearing more" in your music than used to.
    You will want to grab just to experience that "something more" and just a shocking level of realism over the others.
    The Stax offered a similar level, but the image size was just a bit smaller and not as true in timbre.
    The SRH1A simply very convincingly places you there at the event.
    The Susvara with a speaker amp will give you a more organic presentation, but the speed of both the stax & this SRH1A simply places them a bit more nuanced detailed even though the resolve and/or realism is still close with the Susvara, just the technicalities are most evident with the SRH1A.

    Remember that your satisfaction may be quenched with any of these mentioned units, but the presentation will differ.

    The closest (not size, only placement) would be the Utopia, then stax009,then SRH1A, then Abyss phi, then Susvara, then HD800.

    The hieght would be smallest to largest:
    Utopia>HD800>stax009>Susvara>Abyss phi> SRH1A

    The overall "mid" bass amount (level) high to low :
    Abyss phi>SRH1A>Susvara>Stax009>Utopia>HD800

    Sub-bass impact:
    Abyss Phi>Susvara (speaker amp)>Stax009>RH1>Utppia>HD800

    Bass quality (resolve), High to low:
    SRH1A>Susvara>Stax009>Utopia>HD800>Abyss phi

    One last thing to put in perspective, is that any of these headphones is far and away more superior to anything else out there and so can be a preference.

    Also not to be confused with midfi gear, and I intentionaly did not mention the only closed can that can also be placed in this catagory (Denon AH-D9200) and also did not mention HEKV2 which is borderline not in this elite catagory, and did not mention any I feel are a notch below this catagory.

    I always seem to tell too much when I tell it like it is, but IMHO that's how I see it and I only post headphones I heard and/or know.

    Anyways, there is a new "King" of headphones, and that is the SRH1A.
    Simply astounding level of realism.

    These are my own summarized impressions, your impressions may ofcourse vary, but I truly doubt anyone would disagree with the impression that the SRH1A is the new King.
    :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  11. Zhanming057
    That's something I now attribute to the recordings that I tried and not the headphones - the SR1A's have a razor-like way of exposing the recording and mastering flaws in your files, which I didn't fully appreciate until I put them through some extraordinarily high-quality mastering vocal files.

    The best midrange structure that I have tried IMO is the Mysphere 3.2 - and that's a free-floating driver design that's basically optimized for precise vocal-range performance. The SR1A's are uncompromising to a fault and very lean, and the Mysphere's are both lush and manages to still stay extremely precise.

    Send me a PM and let's see if we can figure something out. I really want to bring the Mysphere's instead of the SR1A's since I have a couple headphone amps I want to demo, but if people really want to try these, we'll make it work :)
     
  12. Zhanming057
    Was this the pre-production sample that I sent?
     
  13. Maxx134
    That one was the pre-production sample you sent my friend, member "Cradon".
    :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
    Zhanming057 likes this.
  14. Zhanming057
    Glad to know that they arrived safely and that people are enjoying them! Was this on the INT150 and what do you think about the amp? The production version is much more polished and comfortable than those, I don't know what they did to the headband but now they just want to stay on your head. Amazing comfort.

    Would love to hear @cradon 's thoughts as well!

    BTW, there was a name change of the headphones from SRH1A to SR1A, since Yamaha has a power amp that's called the SRH1A. The one you have is from before the name change.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
    Maxx134 likes this.
  15. Maxx134
    The amp is extremely neutral and powerful.
    We tested the amp on the Abyss & HD800 to see how it performed.
    It drove both of them effortless.
    * The fickle HD800 had stable mids & low end which was telling, because it can get deficient in that range, and prefers high impedance tube amps.
    Also of note is that the HD800 can reveal how some speaker amps do not have as great soundstage depth, but this amp did.

    * The Abyss Phi had good low end control, instead of being a bit loose, which was telling because the Abyss phi bass can get a tad sloppy with other gear.

    So the amp performance was a key factor for compliment the headphones, being very strong and neutral.
    This made the SRH1A perform amazingly well.
     
    ineztia and Zhanming057 like this.
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