RAAL requisite audio SR1a: HOLY MOLY! Buy this now!

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    46,309
    Dislikes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    David walked up to me and remarked: "I don't think I've ever seen you listen to a headphone for so long".

    Yeah. Fuck. Pardon my french. I'm trying not to cuss so much these days. But fuck. This is that good. I haven't heard anything that has so excited me in such a long time. I queued up Yazoo's Only You. A minimalist recording with Alison Moyet's voice and Vince Clarke's (of Depeche Mode and Erasure) electronic sounds. This was a recording I am very familiar with and have used often (along with others) to assess capabilities of audio systems.

    In two seconds I knew. I was so excited that I put the headphones down, walked up to Jason, and said "This is legit. Throw away the STAX. Throw away the BHSE."

    In my excitement, I posted this before putting the ear monitors back on:
    upload_2019-7-12_0-20-44.png

    I think many of you guys who know me personally, know that I am not impressed easily these days. That I'd rather not accept an audio component for review because I'm sure that I won't like it and don't want to be in the position of posting a piece of poo. It's mean, but I have a hard time pulling my punches. There've been situations that a few of you have seen whereupon listening to a system for 15 seconds, I immediately put the headphone down and say: this is garbage. I have my favorites, a small set of headphones that I occasionally use, and I'm content. I mostly listen to speakers now (two speaker rooms in the house).

    Anyway, I want one of these RAAL requisite audio SR1a ear monitors! Actually, I'd like to get more time to better assess its capabilities.
     
  2. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,765
    Dislikes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Last time you had this sort of reaction was Andromeda and that was on the money. Interested to see how these pan out.
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    46,309
    Dislikes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    So RAAL... Jason mentioned this to me and I replied: "I'm not really a big fan of ribbons". In truth, I am very much a fan of RAAL ribbons. They have always made the best ribbons in the business, with their uber model not available to mere mortals or speaker DIYers such as myself. I think what I was never a fan of was poor implementation of ribbons or mediocre quality ribbons in some speaker designs. I very much prefer a cohesive presentation where it doesn't sound like two or three different types of drivers are playing to their own tune. It's got to be a team approach. Anyway, RAAL has always been good stuff, I just never got around to building a speaker based on their drivers. They aren't easy to work with and are very easy to blow without a proper crossover design.

    IMG_20190711_191230.jpg

    RAAL requisite audio provides a little box to help drive the SR1a from a power amp. I believe the impedance of the driver is a crazy 0.2 ohms. Basically almost a short circuit. The box may have some EQ or response shaping. The headband design where it wraps around the back of the head is intelligent. The Amp / Ribbon interface box, as it is called, was powered by a Vidar with the Jot performing preamp duties. There might be room for performance improvements with maybe a passive volume control, Saga, or Freya S. Also, I suspect the Ragnarok 2 might be a better match with the SR1a. Lots of this will be up to personal taste.

    00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190711191537091_COVER.jpg
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    46,309
    Dislikes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    The design is actually pretty sexy. It looks like it might have been designed via commission by Larry Ellison of Oracle. The SR1a ear monitor has got a little wing to extend the baffle. This is probably necessary to get some sort of acceptable bass response. It's an open baffle after all, and I know many members here will understand the benefits (and drawbacks) of OB designs based on their experience with the PAP Trio or inspired DIY designs.

    00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190711191434510_COVER.jpg

    00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190711191445365_COVER.jpg

    Here is how it looks on my head. Much less awkward and weird looking than the AKG K1000s.

    00100sPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190711191313003_COVER.jpg
     
    Syzygy, Philimon, dubharmonic and 8 others like this.
  5. joeexp

    joeexp Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    156
    Dislikes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    London
    Muuuuuch much less awkward than the AKG K1000s ;-)
     
    Syzygy, sphinxvc and fraggler like this.
  6. bengo

    bengo Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,200
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Divisive Kingdom
    Home Page:
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    46,309
    Dislikes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    Yes, this is the most Head-Fi'ish profile post you guys have ever seen from me. I assure you that I am not messing with you. How do they compare with TOTL traditional dynamics or TOTL orthos like Susvara? I think the safest thing to say is that only time will tell. It's all too easy to get wrapped up into something that is new, an approach that is new. But I do think we are on to something,

    In comparison to other planar type headphones, orthos or electrostatics: unless they are high-performance to cost units, just throw them away in the garbage. There are some caveats that I will cover later. But really. Just throw the STAX and BHSE into the garbage. The SR1a, even powered by this modest Schiit makeshift system, utterly destroys any electrostatic system that I have heard. The main issue with electrostatics is their lack of tactility and heft, their softened attacks, their overly smoothed transitions. The latest generation of HFM orthos, while "fast" sounding, still have a softness at the end of their transient attacks, not to mention timbre that can be a little splash. They are also horribly expensive.

    Now I haven't had time to sort out system components, but from what I heard, the frequency response while not perfect didn't have any irregularities that I could not overcome. The tonal response depended upon the position and swivel of the ribbons. I wish I had more time, but what worked for me was to hang them low and in front, and then bring the bottom toward my ear. I'd say the angle was about 60 degrees from a flat plane in front of my ears. Bottom line is that I found nothing seriously off. The K1000 in comparison can be shouty. The HFM orthos issues I have mentioned in the prior paragraph. I think the biggest weakness of the SR1a is that you are not going to have that monster heft and extended low and sub-bass of the HE-6 or Abyss (best in class). We can do what @zerodeefex often suggests: run a subwoofer. I am dead serious.

    While it's difficult for me to ascertain plankton without this being in my hands, mainly because of the transient speed and tactility was so mesmerizing, I found extremely superb at capturing fine textures, from electronic bass lines to electric guitar to violins. I mean, we can really hear what the strings are doing, the buzzing, the harmonics, the nuanced overtones. I actually think that even @Psalmanazar may approve of this for Slayer. I threw whatever recordings was on the laptop at Schiit and everything just worked. From Nirvana to Joni Mitchell. The 1985 Talking Heads master of Little Creatures even sounded correct (it's supposed to be a bit on the bright side - the remaster is actually a better master).

    I'd really love to get my hands this and try to wring as much as possible from it. Maybe get some measurements on it too.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    46,309
    Dislikes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
  9. bengo

    bengo Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,200
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Divisive Kingdom
    Home Page:
    Overexcited kid mode :D

    Edit: there's also some discussion on another site where @Torq talks about how impressed he is by these... apparently one Vidar is sufficient, but two are better... :eek:
     
    allegro likes this.
  10. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,475
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    This.

    As I posted in SBAF some time ago, I sold my stat rig not long after getting the SR1a. I actually preferred the KGSSHV Carbon to BHSE, but even that was no match for what these ribbon earspeakers are capable of. The only issue I have with SR1a is that they are somewhat bass-light regardless of their swivel position, though I haven’t tried that many amps with it (only McIntosh MA252 and Kinki EX-M1). I’m still keeping the Code-X as a secondary headphone when I feel like listening to something more intimate and tactile.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  11. Negura

    Negura Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    162
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    London, UK
    I bought a pair of SR1A one week ago. Yes, they're legit. One of the first real and significant performance upgrades in headphones in a long time. I also have a Stax/Carbon rig on the side, so I know what you mean. :)


    This is how I also ended up using them. The leather bit on the back is at max so they are at a forward angle.

    They are very resolving and will put the spotlight on the recording quality and rig. They are HD800+ at that. Except the tonality/timbre are more natural (at least until we get to silly level HD800 modding/matching, and maybe not even then).

    The Stax rig is kinder to poorer recordings and has a more relaxing sound, but it won't match the SR1a + 2xAHB2 in technicalities. I still enjoy the Stax a lot, it's a very different sound.

    I have also measured them on my miniDSP ears. There are a couple of treble peaks, which are not an issue in practice for whatever reason, but no big dips (like planars/many Stax), and this is such a refreshing change.

    raal_rig.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
    Syzygy, Philimon, Ash1412 and 6 others like this.
  12. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Non Voting Friend

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,690
    Dislikes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Does it have warm one dimensional stax bass, hd 800 thin bass, or hd 600/650 silly putty woofer bass?
     
  13. schiit

    schiit SchiitHead

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,799
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Valencia, CA
    Home Page:
    Yep, these are some fun headphones. Credit David for finding them and dragging me over, and Danny (from Raal) coming by the Schiitr and getting a Vidar after braving Eddie's deadly Loki demo.

    But in terms of performance improvements, yes, we were running a Jotunheim with a Multibit card as a source, driving a single Vidar. Aegir doesn't really have enough grunt to run them through the box. David like Ragnarok 2/Gungnir Multibit, which seems to have plenty of power.

    I keep thinking of doing a direct-drive amp for these headphones, but it would have to incorporate the frequency shaping being done in the interface box (there are a couple of big inductors in there, probably open-baffle compensation.) But direct drive is certainly technically possible.
     
    alucart, Syzygy, Philimon and 12 others like this.
  14. allegro

    allegro Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2017
    Likes Received:
    355
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Florida
    I don't need SR1a's I am quite happy with my current rig but after reading through the thread on Torq's site I really am getting an itch to just put them and a single Vidar on the credit card.
     
  15. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,475
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    This is awesome news. I would take a direct drive Schiit amp over a Benchmark any day.
     
    Walderstorn likes this.
  16. David De Lucena

    David De Lucena Science Nut

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,634
    Dislikes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Lives in Fortaleza, Heart in Girona
    Oh no... my wallet it’s going to suffer...
    Where we can find those to test or buy?
     
  17. allegro

    allegro Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2017
    Likes Received:
    355
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Florida
    https://raalrequisite.com/dealers/ check with support to see if they would still ship from California even if you are in EU.
     
    Philimon and David De Lucena like this.
  18. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,137
    Dislikes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Home Page:
    Link?
     
  19. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2018
    Likes Received:
    393
    Dislikes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Boston
    Syzygy, Lyer25, Jinxy245 and 4 others like this.
  20. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,638
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    Home Page:
    I spent more time with these than any of the other headphones on display at CanJam and was generally impressed (not sure what electronics were on the front end). Only headphone I didn't immediately think 'meh' about. The timbre and resolve are definitely extremely well-executed and I imagine running them with a sub would be close to ticking off most of my marks. Beautifully rendered textures, completely grainless, no fatigue, and with more weight to the sound than any STAX rig I've heard (which was my primary complaint with stats)...

    The fit and imperfect angling (which I'm sure I could correct and reliably maintain with enough time) would definitely aggravate my neuroses about imbalances, though. And I'm a slut for tactility, bass extension, and slam, so they ended up feeling a little limp compared to my HE6 rig at home even though SR1a was superior on most other technical attributes. What can I say, when it comes to headphones I like being slapped around.

    I wonder how something like this would fare in a less OB design? Like in a more conventional padded headphone enclosure with some earside ports or perforations for airflow? Would love to hear the sub-bass these might be capable of in this configuration - I don't doubt these could dethrone my current favorites if such a thing were viable. Of course you'd lose some of the imaging clarity and have more reflections to deal with, but I'm intrigued.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
    dubharmonic, skem and Cryptowolf like this.

Share This Page