Spirit Torino Radiante - A unique and premium closed-back headphone
Jan 18, 2020 at 8:12 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

Hisma

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Here's a link to the specs & details for anyone that is interested -
https://www.headamp.com/products/spirit-radiante

I just received mine a few days ago. Figured I would post some impressions and give a place for other owners or potential owners to also share their thoughts. Keep in mind I'm just a regular novice home user that owns a few pairs of headphones and IEMs, not a professional reviewer.

So if you try to look for reviews or public info on this headphone aside from promo material, you'll find next to nothing. I actually ran into it by accident. My fostex TH-500RP had been sitting in a drawer unused for a few years, and I wanted to get around to modding it but never had time or energy. Finally, a couple months ago, I reached out to a well known modder based in Italy called spirit labs on facebook, to see if they could breathe life into my unimpressive fostex. I ended up speaking with a gentlemen named Andrea Ricci, and he informed me that spirit labs now has their own brand of headphones called spirit torino. Being based in China, I had no way of trying these out in person. But after spending a few days talking with Andrea, and discussing my sound preferences and what I'm looking for, I settled on purchasing a spirit torino radiante. Since I was blind buying a VERY expensive headphone, I insisted that I be allowed to return it if I'm unhappy. Andrea obliged, so I pulled the trigger. Roughly 2 weeks later I had the radiante in my possession.

Unboxing and Build Quality

Even though I purchased this headphone without listening first, I had seen a lot of pictures, and one of the things that sold me on giving them a shot was the outstanding build quality. The headphone arrived in a large wooden box that truly gave them a premium feel (sorry, you'll need to settle for my low quality cell phone photos... these are quick snaps).
cChSy7K.jpg


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These headphones are roughly medium sized, but they have some weight to them, about 370 grams according to the specs.

The stock cable is very high quality. I personally chose (and sort of regret) a 2.5mm balanced connection. I went with that specific connector as I planned to use these closed-backs mainly for mobile use with my phone, and I already have a few mobile dac/amps (9038S, DC-01) that use 2.5mm balanced. If I could do it again though, I would have gotten 4.4, but I digress. Anyway, the thing oozes "premium", from the unboxing, to the look, design, and feel of the headphones, to the quality of the stock cable. I love the look of the blue in person.

Fit

Very comfortable with the stock custom dakoni pads. Of the few reviews I could find of spirit torino products, a number of reviewers complained about weight and overall comfort. You can definitely feel these on your head,

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side-by-side with the hifiman arya

They JUST fit over my big ears. The only negative thing I can say about the fit is that they do clamp a tad hard. So it's not like you don't feel them on your head. But this can easily be forgiven, considering how heavy these are. They are still quite comfortable and easy to wear for long periods of time. I just have to remove them occasionally to relieve pressure from the clamping force.

Sound

Here's where things get interesting. Sound is the most important part, and I will make a confession. I didn't like the sound when I first heard it. First of all, the bass seems to overpower everything. Mids and treble feel a bit dark and recessed. I was immediately taken aback and not really happy. It's a HUGE contrast to my other "premium" headphone, the hifiman arya. They couldn't be any more different, yet the arya is considered by many a benchmark premium headphone, so it gives at least give me something to go off of. However, after spending some time with the radiante, and doing some fairly light EQ, I love these things.

So let me break down the sound a little more.

Bass

These headphones slam HARD. Unlike anything I've ever heard. There's so much subbass, that it can feel at times that it has a slow decay. But in reality, I've just never heard a headphone with such a prominent yet controlled bass, I just didn't know what to think of it. You can physically feel kickdrums and deep bass notes. I actually touched the passive radiators when playing certain music, and I could feel them flexing like a subwoofer when the music hit certain notes. Pretty wild. Again, going from the arya, which has excellent, but not deep bass, this was just plain jarring. But man is it fun, especially when you've gotten over the brain burn-in period. The bass does not bleed into the mids. It's just plain deep and dynamic, though still overwhelming at times, depending on the recording.

Mids

Again, I wasn't a fan of the sound when I first got these, and the mids is one area that really didn't impress me. Detail retrieval isn't a strong suit of these, period. But one area it does excel is in instrument timbre and tonality. Strings instruments sound vibrant and natural. Mid-bass is fantastic and is really just an extension of how great the bass response is. Instrument separation is another area these excel in. You can pinpoint instruments. Even though these don't impress me with details, you can definitely hear every instrument in their place. Andrea mentioned his goal was to make a headphone that sounds like you're listening at a live concert, and I can see this where he was aiming. So anyway, for me, the mids needed to be EQed. I actually added a mid scoop in my EQ so I could address the biggest issue I had with the stock sound...

Treble

This is where I felt the most disappointed when I first heard these. I didn't like the treble at all, especially compared side-by-side with my arya. Again, not really a fair fight, but still, the radiante just sounded way too dark for my liking. The bass just made vocals, high hats, and any trace of sparkle sound a bit muddy. However, once I applied some EQ to give the treble a boost, I couldn't believe how well the radiante responded. Vocals sounded smooth and velvety (while still sounding a bit laid back). I could hear some sparkle. The bass was no longer overpowering everything. It instead sounds like an incredibly dynamic and engaging headphone. Very easy to listen to for long periods of time.

Sourcing

These cans are 30 ohms and don't need that much power to be driven, however, they definitely respond well to power. To give them their best, I paired it with my smsl sp200 amp. In high gain I couldn't go past 7 oclock. In low gain it's plenty loud at 9-oclock. The 9038S in performance mode do a great job of driving these for mobile use. So in terms of source, these can be sufficiently driven by a powerful DAP or mobile DAC/amp, if you want to. Being that these are closed-back, this makes them great for taking on the road, or listening next to the wife in bed.

Soundstage and Conclusion

Soundstage is quite good for a closed-back. I touched on imaging at the beginning. The radiante has fantastic, pinpoint imaging. It's strange. Sometimes you feel like the stage is mostly close to you, but out of nowhere you'll hear a detail fly out of the corner of the sound field. You still feel like you're getting an intimate listening experience, but the imaging has a way of impressing me unexpectedly with it's depth and weight. That said, don't expect it to compete with an open-back in terms of distance or height. The soundstage is not tall, nor is it particularly wide. But it does absolutely have noticeable depth and layering, especially with well mastered material. Andrea's stated to me several times he wanted a "live concert" experience. I get where he's coming from, though with these I'd say it's an "intimate live concert".

So in conclusion, I really like the radiante after giving initially being put off by it. The owner Andrea Ricci seems to be anti-EQ for some reason, but for me, the EQ turned the sound from dark and lacking in treble energy, to incredibly fun and dynamic. Overall, I would describe these as fun headphones, not reference-level. Not overly analytical or neutral by any means. The bass is what truly stands out. I have heard nothing like it. Any other headphone that tries to be "basshead" just ends up bleeding into the mids and sounding boomy. But these do bass in a way I've never experienced on a headphone, making them truly unique. Powerful and impactful, yet controlled. And for me, lightly scooping the mids and boosting the treble with EQ (effectively making them v-shaped... go ahead and trash me), makes the radiante sound vibrant and dynamic. I never considered myself to be a basshead. In fact, I normally prefer a more neutral bass response with fast decay. But I guess that's why I am enjoying the radiante so much at the moment. They're just so different than anything else I have listened to that I get to experience my music in a way that actually makes me want to set my beloved arya's aside for a while. Post EQ, I feel like most genres sound well to me, though jazz, hip hop, pop, and house particularly stand out strongly. I feel like I'd need to play around with different EQ settings to get rock/metal to sound the way I want.

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Whether these are worth it to you or not is a different story. I hope that we start to see more reviews of these (professional reviews). If you get a chance to demo these, do it. And if you aren't immediately wowed by the sound, don't be afraid to apply some EQ. It's what really made the difference for me. The unique sound + the unique and premium look definitely make me proud to own these. Also the fact that these are closed-back and fairly easy to drive are other huge plusses, seeing as premium closed-back headphones are not so easy to come by, and these can fill a void in my collection that was missing.

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Hope we can get some other owner impressions. There's a serious lack of information on spirit torino products out there, as I think the company is still in the process of launching their brand.
 
Jan 18, 2020 at 9:27 AM Post #2 of 15

jeffhawke

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If I could do it again though, I would have gotten 4.4
I made the same choice, got around it by purchasing a 2.5/4.4 adapter from iBasso. Alternatively, Spirit would sell the same cable with 4.4 termination at a fair price, considering the quality of the cable. Great review, btw. You should post it also here https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/add?category_id=263 to get more visibility.
 
Jan 18, 2020 at 9:39 AM Post #3 of 15

Hisma

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I made the same choice, got around it by purchasing a 2.5/4.4 adapter from iBasso. Alternatively, Spirit would sell the same cable with 4.4 termination at a fair price, considering the quality of the cable. Great review, btw. You should post it also here https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/add?category_id=263 to get more visibility.

thanks! yeah, my thought when I chose the 2.5 cable was that since it's balanced, I could get a 4.4 adapter if needed, and all of my balanced portable gear is currently 2.5. But in general, premium portable gear seems to be 4.4 only as of late... I'll just make do with an adapter for now.

I think tomorrow I'll post this as a proper review to improve visibility. It's already in the right format for me to just need to copy/paste it in.
 
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Jan 22, 2020 at 6:31 PM Post #4 of 15

Hisma

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been slacking on posting my review. Hope to get it out today. But I saw something really interesting today. Found a yt review online and it almost aligned exactly with my review thoughts.
Crazy bass extension with dark rolled off treble out of the box, not so enjoyable for the most part. But with just a little bit of EQ it can instantly become really really good due to how well these respond (discusses EQ around 12 minutes in)


Makes me feel more validated in my initial impressions.
 
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Jan 23, 2020 at 6:39 PM Post #5 of 15

up late

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i appreciate your honest review. i was checking out the spirit torino website a few months ago. andrea's creations look gorgeous imo.
 
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Jan 25, 2020 at 9:00 AM Post #6 of 15

Hisma

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i appreciste your honest review. i was checking out the spirit torino website a few months ago. andrea's creations look gorgeous imo.

thanks! I hope these make their way into more stores around the world. I think it's a tough sell to blind buy a headphone in this price range. People should get a chance to listen for themselves and then decide. But my review hopefully can give folks an idea of what to expect and how I was able to enjoy them. Also agree on looks... the look and feel of the radiante is so impressive that it adds a sense of pride in ownership I don't typically feel with headphones. Stark contrast to the aryas, that look and feel way too cheap for their price (despite sounding amazing). I think it's an Italian thing.
BTW, review is finally up -
https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/spirit-torino-radiante.24159/reviews
 
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Feb 2, 2020 at 11:23 AM Post #7 of 15

jeffhawke

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Crazy bass extension with dark rolled off treble out of the box, not so enjoyable for the most part. But with just a little bit of EQ it can instantly become really really good due to how well these respond
You may be aware of the fact that the Radiante has a built-in physical bass control, which works pretty well. It's shown in detail in this video review (unfortunately only in Italian):
 
Nov 20, 2021 at 11:35 PM Post #10 of 15

geoffalter11

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Hi Radiante owners...

I am the proud owner of a Radiante 1706. I absolutely love this headphone. At first I used just a small EQ plot reducing the bass by 3db at 259hz with a Q factor of -.9. I liked them a lot. They sounded full and fun. They have great tonality and are extremely gritty and musical. Then I started to play with the convolution filter settings in Roon. I took the convolution .wav files off autoeq and added them in. The convolution filter really balanced out the headphone, but it took away the bass. So, I added 4.5db of bass at 130hz with a Q factor of 1.8. The result is the best headphone I have ever heard. I can't believe how good they sound. Detailed, open, articulate and the bass still does what this headphone was designed to do. Let the bass shelf sit above the entire FR without bleeding in any way. It absolutely recreates what a live show sounds like. I listen to mostly live music, so the Radiante has become my daily driver. I am absolutely in love with this headphone. Gone is the dark treble, in its place is balance, sparkle and detail. The midrange is perfectly placed and vocals are just about perfect. A great example of how this headphone shines is Xavier Rudd's newest song "We Deserve to Dream".

I generally do not use EQ or Convolution. I tend to believe that a headphone is as good or bad as how it sounds to each person in its unadulterated form. it is up to each listener to determine if the engineer/designer got it right with the tuning. However, the Radiante takes to EQ better than any headphone I have ever used and the result keeps the spirit of this headphone in tact while giving it the balance I was seeking. Quite simply, the Radiante is about re-creating a live show, and in that environment we hear a bit differently. Bass takes on a presence that can be felt, holding down the rhythm section so every other instrument can float above the melody and bring you something that makes the hair stand up on your neck. Bravo to the Spirit team. Andrea has been a gentleman in my dealings and extremely helpful. I had a shorted Portento cable, and he helped me to get the newest version which is btw, an incredible cable.

Can't recommend this headphone enough. Just give it some time and a bit of patience and you will find its center.
 
Nov 20, 2021 at 11:37 PM Post #11 of 15

geoffalter11

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How do these compare to other bass heavy headphones like Denon?
The Radiante does bass unlike any other headphone. It is powerful, visceral, tight, fast and sits above the FR without bleeding. In short, the bass is wonderful.
 
Dec 1, 2021 at 2:01 AM Post #12 of 15

geoffalter11

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I honestly can't get enough of this headphone. It is so good. Amazing to me how clean it is. There is no distortion. Love it!
 
Dec 1, 2021 at 11:13 AM Post #14 of 15

geoffalter11

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How does it compare to the Stellia?
I actually traded the Stellia for the Radiante. I think we both feel like we won in the trade. They are very different headphones. This is only based on my opinion and ears, this is not gospel.

The Stellia is an extremely fast and detailed headphone. Way more comfortable with extremely high end leathers and a grievous color scheme. It presents sound very differently. The Stellia has a pretty pronounced mid bass which gives the headphone a warmth and smooth nature. It is pretty easy on the ears. The Stellia is also very efficient, which makes amp pairing easy. It needs about 100mw to sound great. Maybe even less power than that… the midrange sits a bit more forward than the Radiante and the treble is more articulate out of the box. Highly detailed and extremely fast.

The Radiante is very different. It is mildly U shaped to my ears without sounding overly recessed. The Radiante follows a different response curve philosophy based on how we perceive sound while trying to recreate the experience of music in its live form. I love this quality. The bass is elevated 7-8 db and sits as a shelf above all of the other frequencies. It does not bleed at all. It is extremely visceral and presents music just as you would hear it in a venue. The Radiante doesn’t need EQ per se, but takes to EQ like no other headphone Inhave owned. I added a convolution filter and 4.5 db of bass at 130hz at a Q factor of 1.8 and the Radiante has become the most detailed, musical and resolving headphone I own. The bass is still just as visceral but now it is balanced to my ears and the Radiante is pure bliss. I didn’t love the Stellia but recognized what a great headphone it was. Just didn’t fit with my listening preferences and system’s inherent synergy. I absolutely love the Radiante and couldn’t be happier to own the 1706 version.
 
Dec 1, 2021 at 11:14 AM Post #15 of 15

geoffalter11

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Sorry for typo. gorgeous color scheme, not grievous.
 

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