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

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

  1. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    Exactly! And while you're feeling MOAR BASS you can also risk pulling down parts of your house as this dude almost did in playing 3 Hz through a rotary. The walls and doors are flexing in and out and his baffle almost falls on him!

    (2:20 is when stuff really starts moving)

     
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  2. Wushuliu

    Wushuliu Rando

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    Interesting. Raal has been making waves in the diy/speaker world for a few years now, generating the same level of excitement. Headphones seems like a smart pivot. Though at this price I'm better off just getting some of their tweeters!
     
  3. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    A challenger emerges:

    https://www.hedd.audio/en/heddphone/

    AMT headphone. In the HF thread some preferred the HEDD over the RAAL (prototype+meetconditions). Also, HEDD appears to be much more efficient.
     
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  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    ^ disliked for speculative post citing others instead of offering first-hand information. As penance, you must now make a reference to this site from HF.
     
  5. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Haven't heard the RAAL, but based on how the HEDD sounded in May I'd be very disappointed if the RAAL isn't better and that's coming from someone who never loved their tweeters.
    Also they're a very different concept, with the HEDD having thick pads, a U-shaped tonal balance and a small soundstage.
     
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    How the hell did they put a AMT into cups? Did it weigh 2kg?
     
  7. frenchbat

    frenchbat Almost "Made"

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    Tape can solve any problem
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2019
  8. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    Weight is not advertised on the website the only figures I have been able to dig up online are 800 - 900 grams for the HEDD. I would not choose to wear phones that weigh two pounds on my head.
     
  9. drgumbybrain

    drgumbybrain Science Nut

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    Marv, could you summarize the most striking differences between Raal TOTL setup vs focal utopia totl setup ( like ygg2 , zana deux super)
    @purr1n

    COULD they be only side grades from each other’s?
     
  10. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    @purr1n @allegro I didn't put it in my notes, so I can only go off what I wrote in the High End 2019 thread:
     
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  11. Negura

    Negura Friend

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    How is this Hedd talk in any way relevant to this thead.
     
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  12. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Don't worry about it, bro. But for proper perspective ,do keep in mind that DecentLevi thinks this sounds good too:

    [​IMG]

    Random opinions aren't actually worth too much in this hobby as it turns out.

    @frenchbat Holy shit, subwoofers? I'm one step ahead of you....

     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The best way to put it is that the RAAL Requisite SR1a is novel. Something like Utopia / Stellaris / Yggdrasil is still TOTL. The entry of the RAAL doesn't change that. However I am more than willing to entertain those who like to hop on to next big thing (sell your old shit to buy this!), and the SR1a most certainly meets that criteria. How many times have we heard of the next big thing, say on HF, and then realized it was just shit. This is the reason I was late to (ignored) the SR1a and why I was annoyed at the HEDD reference in this thread. The SR1a is not shit. BTW, the phrase "not shit" was usually reserved for impressive gear during the CS days, and it is being used in this context here.

    Because the SR1a is novel, a fresh sound with altogether different strengths and weaknesses from what currently exists, it's very seductive sounding. I found out that Requisite was actually quite close to me, so I rang up their rep Danny a few times this week to chat. He's headed to London next week, but he kindly dropped off his last available pair, a prototype pair with an older style headband. I asked Danny to put priority on his other customers first; but Danny at least wanted to get me something.

    I received the SR1a in the late afternoon and other than a short dinner break, I listened until 1am. Toward the end I was just goofing on YouTube watching stuff like Fergie at Times Square in 2017. BTW, the dancers are amazing. Love watching hip-hop / modern dance at it's highest level. Two thoughts here: comfort and forgetting about the sound. Good things in my book, and BTW the production units are even more comfortable with some spring loaded mechanisms and better balance.

    Anyway, this is what I wanted to get at: The novelty and sound quality was sufficient to keep me up for five-six hours revisiting much of my music catalog. I think this is quite a feat! In 2019, we are often splitting hairs when talking about sound quality. It's really gotten so good where we rarely say things like "oh, I never heard that on the recording before". Well, this actually happens again with the SR1a. Regardless of subjective measures such as macro-detail, plankton, micro-dyamics, or whatever, I am enjoying SR1a unique take or reproduction (or say reinterpretation) of familiar recordings. Hearing things in a different ways, hearing things that I did not notice before.

    I think in time with other gear, different setups, I might learn how to better quantify the finer points and find the necessary vocabulary to describe them.

    To be continued.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    So this is what I set up last night. I didn't pull out the Vidar because I was lazy and also because I wanted to see how the higher quality but lower power Aegir fared. I believe Jason or someone else may have confirmed that the Aegir sounded like ass (not enough power). That was in context of a stereo Aegir with 20W into 8-ohms.

    IMG_20190720_194006.jpg

    Because I've got two sitting around the house, why not try x2 monoblock which is 80W. The reason the power rating goes up x4 is because power proportional to voltage squared, as long as there are no limitations on the current (and heat) capacity of the amp, then this will stay true. FWIW, the "step down / network" box doesn't do the common ground thing, so differential drive will work. The Freya S with Nexus x4 gain was used. The volume knob was usually between the one and two o'clock positions.

    Relative to the prior Jotunheim / Vidar setup where I first heard the SR1a at the Schiitr, this setup sounded as follows:
    1. Rounder, less zippy, not as fast, but with just as clean transients. I believe this Jot might have been an OG Jot.
    2. More nuanced, more plankton.
    3. Just a little bit softer and less punchy.
    4. Better quality upper mids and highs. The OG Jot was known to sound on the mid-forward side.
    I will pull out the Vidar tonight and see. Tomorrow I am headed to @brencho's HiFi palace so I can do some real dick-waving.

    --

    As far as how they compare to traditional dynamic headphones:
    1. Speed is generally better, but it seems like this aspect has some level of play depending upon associated gear. I don't think this is as fast as the thin membrane planars, however...
    2. Equivalent tactility to traditional dynamics. It's really just different. The transients are definitely cleaner sounding. The hits are stronger in the highs, but the cones have more heft below the mid-bass.
    3. Really fantastic pitch differentation. As someone who doodles on fretless bass, it's neat being to hear small pitch modulations of low bass notes that I never heard before on same recordings.
    4. Hard to explain and may require new vocabulary, but harmonic "textures" are presented in way not heard on traditional dynamics. The Abyss does a bit of this in the lows. The stats to some extent in the highs. I think it's the combination of the clean transients, tactility, and low level information retrieval that facilitate this.
    5. Obviously superior headstage that somewhat isn't so much all headstage, but also soundstage. What do we expect when we mount two drivers in free air in front of our ears. However this is a disadvantage to this:
    6. Bass rolloff. It's not so bad. The rolloff is steady and slow. There's no place where the bass just takes a dump, except maybe under 33Hz. More discussion in the next post. (Now a ribbon in a cup might produce plenty of bass).
    7. Possibility less plankton, but this is so dependent upon other parts of the chain. Traditional dynamics can leverage SET, the holy grail of amplifiers. And truth is, we have not even touched upon proper amplifier designs for the SR1a.
    8. Possibility higher distortion all around. It's weird. The sustained notes sound just a bit less clean, but the clean transients and speed outweighs this so much that it doesn't matter unless you listened specifically for it. Similar to Verite.
    Generally, I'm hearing this almost like souped-up traditional dynamic rather than as a planar or stat sound. It's really in it's own category: ribbon :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    So how does it sound? (I will measure tonight).

    Very close to neutral. A few things come to mind: NS10, UERM, MA900.

    As Requisite makes pro audio gear and has a small monitor of their own, would we be surprised if I say that the SR1a is voiced sort of like the Yamaha NS10? For better or worse, the diminutive NS10 monitor has been a known quantity for years in studios and I still see a few here and there today. Supposedly, the highly regarded UERM IEM was voiced to the NS10 (before UE screwed it up with the UERR which went completely the other direction and seemed to tuned to Audezes).

    The Sony MA900 comes to mind because the drivers are kind of suspended in front of the the ears. The bass rolloff is similar. I think SR1a rolloff is less below 60Hz, but more from 60-90Hz. Differences in bass amplitude dropoff are not huge, same idea. MA900 is maybe more mid bassy. However, SR1b hits that third bass drop on Daft Punk's Doin' It Right. That's 37Hz! It's lower in volume, but at least it's there. Last time I checked, I don't think it was there on the even on the HD650. SR1a also has that bit of elevation in the lower highs like MA900. Maybe a bit bright, maybe not, depends upon gear.

    In regards to UERM, SR1a has that similar diffuse field bump as the UERM. I think NS10 has this, but it's a little bit higher up which leads to more scratchy and nasty female vocals. The UERM way is better.

    Other than the rolloff and two broad bumps, there is nothing else. I didn't hear any high Q steep peaks. The overall frequency response, subjectively speaking sounded very smooth as opposes to ragged. This might be an advantage of free floating drivers in front of the the ears without cup interactions. The great thing about smooth? I bet this will be easy to EQ to personal tastes (just don't crank up the bass as there probably will not be enough excursion for the "OB" design).

    When it comes to timbre: sounded just great. I don't know if there is a RAAL ribbon timbre, but as I have said, integrating ribbons to dynamics on speakers is hard to do. Maybe in time I will hear one. I do dislike the sound cheap of ribbons though.

    Compared to other TOTL headphones, I would have to say that SR1a sounds normal in terms of timbre, which is always exciting :) There is no plasticky timbre, no splashy aluminum timbre, no hard diamond timbre, no mosquito beryllium timbre, etc. No few steps forward and one step back here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Preliminary measurement on EARS using SBAF compensation. Bass extension is impressive for an "OB" design. We are getting effective bass down to 30 some cycles before the response takes a dump. As I mentioned, the 37Hz bass drop on Doin' It Right was audible. Also, note two small bumps around 2kHz and 5-9kHz. The overall response is very smooth. I actually had less of an issue with the latter dump and felt the former are more audible. This may depend upon gear and other components in the chain.

    RAAL Requisite SR1a Frequency Response (Preliminary)
    Ear monitors positioned approximately 35 degrees from the sagittal plane of the head
    upload_2019-7-22_17-33-47.png


    RAAL Requisite SR1a Frequency Response (Preliminary)
    Ear monitors positioned as follows:
    YEL: 35 degrees (approximate) from the sagittal plane of the head
    ORA: 45 degrees (approximate) from the sagittal plane of the head
    CYA: 55 degrees (approximate) from the sagittal plane of the head
    upload_2019-7-22_17-38-35.png
     
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  17. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    How thin does it sound to you regardless of the extension? Speakers that start rolling off at 100hz or above tend to sound weightless ime (Yamaha NS10, HS5, and HS7, ATC 20, and lots of small passive sealed stuff) even if you can hear the bass due to a slower rolloff
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Doesn't sound thin at all. I think the reason is because the 2kHz bump on the NS10 is quite a bit higher, and also the bass on these small monitors takes a dump much faster, i.e. steeper slope.

    I honestly hear zero bass content below 60Hz on the small monitors including the JBL LS305, etc.

    Here is NS10. Not only do we see a rising response starting as early as low mids, but the bass already starts to take a dump below 90Hz.
    yamahans10fig4-b7a1obHBNYvrJSKW1ugEg44C34jFz8Nq.jpg

    Yamaha HS7 fares a bit better, but the bass takes a dump below 50Hz.
    [​IMG]

    I think the best way to describe the bass is like an acoustic suspension design. Slow roll off, but extended, which doesn't take a dump below the port frequency in ported designs.
     
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  19. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Cool. Looking forward to hearing the RAAL someday. Serbs make some good stuff.

    NS10m is so shit you only can tell the kicks are drums and not just typewriter noises from watching the driver move.

    The JBL 305 has weird issues I can't fully describe that could be due to so many thing. Sometimes I can't even hear beneath around 80hz. Other 5-6" stuff I can always hear the port at like 50hz at reference levels but people need to really buy the 8" stuff if they're gonna be more than 3 feet away or crank them. The bass guitar will disappear from a typical chug rock or metal band.
     
  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Dropped by @brencho's place to try ou the SR1a on his temple of True High-End (and yes, make no mistake, I am dick-waving here, totally 100% dick-waving).

    The idler wheel drive Garrard TT has a certain sound: dynamic, thunderous, and unrelentness pounding (good and bad, and a matter of taste). The Dartzeel NHB-108 power amp also is an interesting design. Class AB, biased high Class A at 20W. The sound is powerful, dynamic, rich, and sweet. No global feedback is used. I suspect that it is also capable of a deep soundstage, but the limiting factor here was the vdH phonostage (temporary) which brings things upfront and close (even more than the Schiit DACs). The highs of the Dartzeel is very smooth. The diamond tweeters which used to have a hard edge with the prior EAR amp is no longer present. The distortion profile is interesting. It's not one of those 0.000001% amps (again no global feedback). But other than a lower second harmonic, the successive 3rd-7th harmonics drop like a half triangle. In essence, the Dartzeel is the opposite of the Benchmark AHB2.

    IMG_20190722_120737.jpg
    IMG_20190722_120725.jpg

    It's interesting to hear the SR1a from different amps, and how the character of the sound changes. Personally, I really love the sound of the SR1a from the Dartzeel. The Dartzeel takes the edge off the highs, but instruments trumpets can still bite plenty (that's just the SR1a). The transient response isn't as fast as the prior setups I've mentioned, but this is actually to my preference. I'm less enthralled today than I was 10 years ago with "fast", mainly because it doesn't sound normal. However, the transients are clean, and the microdynamics quite lively (probably because of the no global feedback). If anything, maybe a nick on polite side tonally, although its macro-dynamics were certainly not polite. The dynamics on that Ella and Louis recording were in full force. This amp could certainly make the trumpet blow your dick off if you are not prepared for it, whatever transducer we were running (same effect with @brencho's Marten Bird 2s). This is a great match for the SR1a and my particular tastes. It's darn ribbon still - we need to be careful with them by using the right solid-state.

    I hereby announce the Dartzeel NHB-108 to be the ideal amp for the SR1a. P.S. I already kind of knew that this combination would work.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019

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