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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. Mikey99
    I have been auditioning the Raal headphones but have a couple of issues.

    One is positioning. I find the sound is dramatically affected by positioning. I struggled to find a good position. When fully angled out they give a wonderful open soundstage, but bass is anemic. When I angle them in more the bass improves, but I lose that open feeling. There is also a significant effect from moving them forward and back. I will keep trying to see if I can find a position I like.

    The bigger issue is comfort. The pads press on my temples with a fair amount of pressure. I quickly developed a headache, and couldn’t wear them for more than a half hour or so. I didn’t see an obvious way of relieving the pressure. And even if I think they would not stay in place - they move around as it is. Has anyone else had this issue?
  2. Bertel
    Yes, I can relate to this, similar experience here.

    Regarding the pads pressing on your temples, you can try adjusting the headband i.e. by adding additional holes so that the band gets shorter and the pads come a bit higher, resting more on your skull bones than your temples. That‘s where they sit in my case, yet I‘ve got quite a big head so the standard headband/holes work for me. Comfort-wise I do agree though, the pressure has caused me some slight headache too occasionally.

    Finding the right positioning both horizontally and in terms of the opening angle took me 2-3 days. I have settled on a ~30 degree angle as good compromise, I think that‘s what others here had reported before as their preferred setting too. When moving the SR1a a bit now I do clearly hear the differences still (one could also see that positively as fine tuning of focus and tonality :wink: ) but quickly find the sweet spot and have no real issues with that anymore.

    Most importantly: it took me personally about 4 days until ai finally ‚got‘ the SR1a‘s specific presentation, its special characteristic of precision and speed with crystal clear high frequency extension. Until that point I found it all too bright, too anemic, too artificial, often kind of out of phase with tonal balance substantially off, but I sat through it for hours with brief rests, using a wide variety of different music material, in order to train and re-calibrate my hearing (a ‚burn-in period’ of sorts :darthsmile:), and as said there was the point as I had expected where I finally ‚got‘ it and both tonality and a much more easy and relaxed listening experience settled in. I‘m very happy now with the SR1a‘s speed, transparency, detail and soundstage, and don‘t really have any fit and wearing issues even in longer sessions.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  3. QueueCumber
    Jesus, that’s an awfully long period of adjustment/calibration. Doesn’t sound like it would bode well for someone that switches headphones and stereo speakers a lot.
  4. Bertel
    Well, I do continue to switch too, e.g. to IEMs when the SR1a‘s heavy sound bleed just isn‘t reasonable at night, or when I prefer a warmer signature for more casual listening, or speakers of course. That works fine now, don‘t have to recalibrate for 4 days every time :wink: Haven‘t seen that reported before, so guess that‘s just me not having been used to something similar before and generally being a bit overly sensitive in this regard.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  5. Zhanming057
    You can open up the headband itself, the metal band is designed to be flexible and user replaceable too.

    Playing around with positioning is unfortunately part of the experience of open baffle headphones. Part of the bass deficiency can be made up by using a more robust amp, my experience is that cheaper amps simply can't power delivery sufficiently at low frequencies to get optimal bass on the SR1a's.
  6. thomaskong78
    While I am happy with Stax S009s and Carbon amp, I was also curious about SR1a with claimed faster bass.

    But I had decided to wait for SR2a which may work well with tube amplifier under 100 watts.

    Although I have three excellent tube amplifiers, I am not sure they will work well with SR1a.

    One 300B SET 8W, the other 805 SET 48W, the last one KT120 Pushpull 100W which may work marginally with SR1a.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  7. ctemkin
    In regard to positioning the SR1a, I have found that what works best for me is shorten up on the top strap and loosen the back strap until the center of the headphones, vertically and horizontally, is about even with my eardrums. It happens that this position is quite comfortable, since the top pads rest above my temples. I have the drivers tilted out maybe 15-20 degrees. I think that this has produced the best overall sound, although occasionally I tinker with the positioning.

    Good luck finding the right spot for you.
    Bertel likes this.
  8. Zhanming057
    The KT120 should work just fine.
  9. Matez
    I agree, of all tubes you listed, KT120 seems to be the best option.
  10. travis-bickle
    is it possible to change the angle so that nothing touching the ears when wearing them without the cylindrical pads? Or is it the front part of the cage starting to touch the ears?
  11. Bertel
    Why would you want to remove the cylindrical pads...?
  12. thomaskong78
    It seems that 100Watt is not enough to get full dynamics out of SR1a.

    Thus it may cost more money on amplifier required for running SR1a optimally.

    Raal had better work on modifying Sr1a to work well with 50 Watts or so.
  13. travis-bickle
    comfort and the open front kind of amplifies the illusion when simulating speakers to uncanny territory
  14. Zhanming057
    KT120 is 100% fine. I've listened to them on the V80SE, the V110SE and a couple other KT88/120 amps. Tubes amps usually have pretty robust designed compared to solid state because of the inherent inefficiency of tubes, and they work well enough within the constraints of tubes in general. Is your amp going to be as good as a $40k 275w CH? No. But you don't have to go to 100% optimality on every headphone, or everyone will be running MSB amps on their Stax setups.
  15. Bertel
    In my perception the front cylindrical pads are snug and comfortable.
    I remember having heard Aleks or Danny say that the front isolation in combination with the fins at the back provide for precision of soundstage imaging and bass performance. Lifting these off while listening confirms that. So I see no point in removing these, but YMMV of course.
    Can't help with your question for that reason, I'm sorry.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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