Rosson Audio Design RAD-0 - Alex's Beautiful New Baby
Dec 12, 2019 at 5:11 PM Post #301 of 1,017
@penguinofsleep2 -- Nice write-up! Comments interspersed
...Sound wise these sounded fine and in 20 minutes of listening these have a nice unoffensive sound much like the HD580/600/650 series is ...
To my ears, from my equipment, I would disagree with '...nice unoffensive (sic) the HD...' pretty vigorously. I only own HD-6xx, but I would say RAD-0 presents a significantly more dynamic and detailed sound vs 6xx. I'm not trying to call them 'offensive' -- just saying 'nice unoffensive' seems like damning with faint praise.
...but no individual component or 1 sound stands out...
To my ears, vocals, especially female vocals, are sublime from RAD-0. Gretchen Peters' voice can be haunting -- at least as compelling as from my Blackwood Auteur. Incidentally RAD-0 is closest in tonality to Auteur of all my cans, with Auteur being just a bit brighter.
...Planar bass is actually a little more "crispy" and has more texture versus planar competitors. You can hear some more technicalities in the bass and the transients are both a little faster and sharper sounding. Overall more refined. Not fatiguing or thumpy in any annoying way (but slam, presence, and umph is still there)...
Agree with this, comparing RAD-0 bass w/ Ether 2, EFO 1.1 & HEKv2.
Headphone was very comfortable and light enough ...
Disagree pretty strongly again here. I find them very heavy, and I get a 'hot spot' right on the top of my head. I wish the pad were bigger, and I'm trying to figure out a way to mod them to distribute the weight more widely.
One big benefit is RAD-0 is relatively easy enough to drive. RAD-0 can piggyback off most headphone amps you use for dynamics, including tube amps - a huge plus for those who prefer tube amps. No need for a specific high power SS or hybrid headphone amp, or in case of HE6, a speaker amp + pre.
Agree. I was pleased that my new Cowon Plenue II Mk 2 drives them very well via balanced output. The original Plenue II didn't have enough power to drive them well -- I was using my AlgoRhythm Duet with it to drive all my full-sized cans other than Utopia.
Bottom line for me: RAD-0 sound great to me -- neutral(ish) and detailed without seeming boring or overly-analytical, with great bass. They elbowed Empyrean aside, and vie with Utopia, Auteur & Ether 2 for the majority of my head-time.

I won't comment on cost or value as that assessment seems to be very personal.
Dec 12, 2019 at 8:31 PM Post #302 of 1,017

To clarify a few points. A nice unoffensive sound is actually pretty hard to achieve IMO. Most flagship headphones don't achieve this IMO. There are usually noticeable strengths and weaknesses. I find that usually the ones just under the flagships are actually able to do this a little better but at the expense of technicalities. With HD580 and successors (no longer flagship with HD800/s), there are still weaknesses, but not many and they aren't big deals IMO. That and HD600 and HD650 both scale like crazy with gear... all the way from an old $10 portable amp (sound actually degrades accordingly IMO) up to say a Magni or Vali level up to BH crack level up to say DNA Stellaris level. With that being said, yes, RAD-0 is more dynamic and detailed. Yes it's more technically proficient. But that is also expected when compared with what could be considered "old tech" that's 10-20% the price. Nothing about RAD-0 jumped out at me when considering it's price. Completely agree with you that value is personal, but objective and subjective performance against similarly priced competitors is not as personal IMO.

I stand by my final conclusion posted before - good headphones overall (and they're on my watch more closely in the future list), but won't displace anything when it's $3k. If this were $2k it'd be competitive. At $1500, these would compete very well against the Auteur IMO and many other similar priced headphones that do not perform at Auteur level should be worried. If they were able to do $1k-1200, then holy cheese balls, RAD-0 would be winning like crazy.

HEK and other modern HFM excluded from comparisons above as their new "softfiman" sound as some people call it is very different from all other planars including their own older models and hence harder to compare.

Yep, your hot spot is exactly why I say try before buy for the large and above heads. On the flip side, you're able to put Ether 2 on, I have to play with fit for 10 min just to get it to actually go over my ears enough that all the bass doesn't leak out.

With only 20 minutes of listening and focus on bass, I didn't want to say too much about the sound at first. However, now that you mention it and I read more of the thread, I did also test some female vocals as well as cymbals for fatigue, sibilance, etc. and didn't get any (also not easy IMO. This is also something I notice within 1 min usually, so 20 was enough IMO). Highs were good, but I think female vocals can be equally good or better on other high end headphones (assuming correct chain). Agreed, sound is neutralish. Or perhaps the better term for my impression would be even across FR. I won't comment extensively on detail as I didn't have enough listening time and probably missed stuff but in the 20 min I did have I don't think it was lacking detail per se. I also listened to SDR modded HD800, Utopia, Verite O + Verite C soon after (with the purpose of comparing resolution and plankton of the 4 against each other) and felt these all had more detail (resolution and plankton) than RAD-0. However, I don't personally like HD800 even with mods with the only exception being the Darth Vader modded HD800 due to too much treble in general (1 big bump), Utopia has too many separate peaks in treble for me and these annoy me enough that I can't focus on the detail, Verite too W shaped of a FR for me (although I really like them otherwise) - also note that while I've heard all of these headphones multiple times across multiple units/samples, none of these 4 headphones are mine and hence I'm not super familiar with them to the point where I may have missed a few things.
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Dec 12, 2019 at 10:32 PM Post #303 of 1,017
I would like to add one point: One have to be sure the 3.5mm to 6.35mm plug adapter is of good quality when using desktop amp. The generic adapter came with my RAD-0 (could be from headamp) degrade the sound quite a bit comparing to my own Ranko RCP-100 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter.

Soon I shall make my own cable for the RAD-0 to avoid using adapter.
Dec 15, 2019 at 7:02 AM Post #304 of 1,017
Bought some sponge filling to orient my RAD-0 to "portrait" position in the case, so I can keep the cables plugged in, and the ear pads less compressed in storage. Also bought some Taiwanese "AEC" brand 3.5mm plugs for making my own cables. The AEC plugs are 7mm in diameter, with added shrink-wraps as cable strain relief, should be a perfect fit into the RAD-0.
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Dec 27, 2019 at 10:54 PM Post #306 of 1,017
The more time I spend with the RAD-0, the more I like it. The best parts I like the RAD-0 are the "proper" imaging and tonality. The RAD-0 is the only headphone other than my T1 which can reproduce an accurate scaled down sound scape of my speakers setup. Like the T1, the RAD-0 gives very accurate proportioned imaging of every instrument. For reference, I absolutely hate the "makes everything big, yet overlapped and congested, TV speakers like" imaging of HD650 & HD800.

Here is the EQ curve I use with my RAD-0. It is made with listening to 20-20kHz sweep tone.
Dec 28, 2019 at 5:21 PM Post #307 of 1,017
Got my Orange Sapphire just in time for “Merry Christmas to me”!
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Jan 13, 2020 at 4:39 PM Post #309 of 1,017
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Jan 29, 2020 at 8:37 AM Post #315 of 1,017
but the cable is a huge problem, can't find one. do you think he-1000se cable would be ok?

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