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The Computer Audiophile

Article: Review | RAAL-requisite SR1a Earfield Headphone Monitor

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Wow, that was a rave! I'd love to hear these, but I'm a little afraid to, because I'm happy with my current headphones. They may be as good as you say, and I don't want to spend this much on headphones. 😏


“The best sounding audio product is the one that exhibits the least audible flaws.”

 Dr. Floyd Toole

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So nice to read a review where the reviewer reins in his enthusiasm and controls his response at the outset, to keep us all intrigued to see how the journey unfolds🤣

 

So you liked them, yeah?

 

Great review Chris - I'd write more but I have to get back to my Raals. I keep almost buying the Jotunheim R, but they sound damned good on the Ncores. And anyone mentions the GBP4k Raal HS1a amp and I have to look away...

 

 

 

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One album that I totally forgot to mention in the review, but blew me away through the SR1a headphones, is ZZ Top’s Tres Hombres at 24/192. There’s never been a better example of great sound making me like an artist and the music more. I’m was no ZZ Top fan, but now I want to watch the Netflix documentary. All because of how great the music sounded and how much closer it brought me to everything. 
 

https://www.hdtracks.com/#/album/5deef858b45f07686f010e9f

 

https://www.netflix.com/title/81212488?s=i&trkid=13747225
 

 


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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Why did these have to hit the market shortly after handing my Amex over to DNAudio and Lampizator to run my Susvaras...

 

Is having two headphone systems allowed?

 

Ha.

 


No electron left behind...

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Great review. I have said it before but it sure sounds like it is The holy gRaal of music reproduction, a requisite for audio. 😁


🇳🇱
Meitner ma1 v2 dac,  Sovereign preamp and power amp,

DIY speakers with scan speak illuminator drivers.

Under development:

NUC7i7dnbe, Euphony Stylus

EtherRegen, LPS1- Isoregen, Lush^2

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10 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

One album that I totally forgot to mention in the review, but blew me away through the SR1a headphones, is ZZ Top’s Tres Hombres at 24/192. There’s never been a better example of great sound making me like an artist and the music more. I’m was no ZZ Top fan, but now I want to watch the Netflix documentary. All because of how great the music sounded and how much closer it brought me to everything. 
 

https://www.hdtracks.com/#/album/5deef858b45f07686f010e9f

 

https://www.netflix.com/title/81212488?s=i&trkid=13747225
 

 

An unstoppable freight train of jam. When I want start punching walls or turn over my neighbor’s car, that’s the album that gets played. 

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I would be interested in how ZZ Top's Afterburner comes across in these ... intense synthesizer bass, instrumentals powering at 11; should be a good experience, 🙂.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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22 hours ago, audiobomber said:

Wow, that was a rave! I'd love to hear these, but I'm a little afraid to, because I'm happy with my current headphones. They may be as good as you say, and I don't want to spend this much on headphones. 😏

I agree. I love my Stax so much that I can’t imagine how much better the SR1a’s could sound. I’m afraid that if I tried them, I’d find out! Also I ‘m a bit put off by not being able to listen to them laying down. Finally, the ribbons are user replaceable in these phones. Could that be because at some point they are going to require replacing, and perhaps replacing often? Only time will tell on this last point.


George

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13 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

Thanks for that Chris. I like that attitude. I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable with our throw-away world. I come from an age that when a TV, Radio, or amplifier died, you call the local repair man. Now when one’s big, 4K flat screen TV fails, it ends up in a land fill and we are expected to buy a new one!

I couldn't agree more George. Not only do they not make 'em like they used to, they don't repair 'em like they used to.


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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Great review and so interesting.  

 

I like headphone and find them a lot of fun.  I also live in an apartment, so headphones are required at times.  I am fortunate to have a bunch of great conventional headphones and a pretty high end headphone amp and dac.  I dont have any electrostats because I dont listen to headphones enough to justify tWo separate headphone systems, but I think the top Stax and latest Mr. Speakers sound incredible with the Blue Hawaii amp (actually prefer this setup to my conventional rig, but do concede the electrostats  are slightly less dynamic and punchy at the bottom end, but magical)

 

When I went to CanJam NYC in February, THE product I wanted to hear was the RAAL’s.  I couldn’t wait and was first in line at the Schiit booth for a demo.  I was totally disappointed.  Frankly, I thought they sounded awful.  I’ve never disagreed with Chris much before.  Maybe these phones just weren’t my cup of tea.  I cant even recall what I listened to, but after a few tracks I left.  I do recall thinking the RAAL’s lacked bass and dynamics and sounded horribly scratchy on top.  I came back later to try again and left after half a track.

 

Maybe I just got a bad demo, bad associated equipment, bad Schiit amps or maybe Chris’ superb setup brings out the magic from the RAAL’s, but to me on the setup at Can Jam NYC, they didn’t do it.  It almost reminded me of the controversial Audeze thread where the reviewer thought the headphones might have been malfunctioning. I did have a buddy with me who agreed with my view.  

 

Based on this review, I now want to give them another shot!!!


- Mark

 

Synology DS916+ > SoTM dCBL-CAT7 > Netgear switch > SoTM dCBL-CAT7 > dCS Vivaldi Upsampler (Nordost Valhalla 2 power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 Dual 110 Ohm AES/EBU > dCS Vivaldi DAC (David Elrod Statement Gold power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 xlr > Absolare Passion preamp (Nordost Valhalla 2 power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 xlr > VTL MB-450 III (Shunyata King Cobra CX power cords) > Nordost Valhalla 2 speaker > Kaiser Kaewero Classic /JL Audio F110 (Wireworld Platinum power cord).

 

Power Conditioning: Entreq Olympus Tellus grounding (AC, preamp and dac) / Shunyata Hydra Triton + Typhoon (Shunyata Anaconda ZiTron umbilical/Shunyata King Cobra CX power cord) > Furutec GTX D-Rhodium AC outlet.

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1 minute ago, MarkS said:

Great review and so interesting.  

 

I like headphone and find them a lot of fun.  I also live in an apartment, so headphones are required at times.  I am fortunate to have a bunch of great conventional headphones and a pretty high end headphone amp and dac.  I dont have any electrostats because I dont listen to headphones enough to justify tWo separate headphone systems, but I think the top Stax and latest Mr. Speakers sound incredible with the Blue Hawaii amp (actually prefer this setup to my conventional rig, but do concede the electrostats  are slightly less dynamic and punchy at the bottom end, but magical)

 

When I went to CanJam NYC in February, THE product I wanted to hear was the RAAL’s.  I couldn’t wait and was first in line at the Schiit booth for a demo.  I was totally disappointed.  Frankly, I thought they sounded awful.  I’ve never disagreed with Chris much before.  Maybe these phones just weren’t my cup of tea.  I cant even recall what I listened to, but after a few tracks I left.  I do recall thinking the RAAL’s lacked bass and dynamics and sounded horribly scratchy on top.  I came back later to try again and left after half a track.

 

Maybe I just got a bad demo, bad associated equipment, bad Schiit amps or maybe Chris’ superb setup brings out the magic from the RAAL’s, but to me on the setup at Can Jam NYC, they didn’t do it.  It almost reminded me of the controversial Audeze thread where the reviewer thought the headphones might have been malfunctioning. I did have a buddy with me who agreed with my view.  

 

Based on this review, I now want to give them another shot!!!

Would love to hear what you think if you can try them in a controlled setting. Perhaps CanJam was a little noisy?


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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Could definitely be the case.  I wanted to love them too.  I will give them another shot.  Great review!!


- Mark

 

Synology DS916+ > SoTM dCBL-CAT7 > Netgear switch > SoTM dCBL-CAT7 > dCS Vivaldi Upsampler (Nordost Valhalla 2 power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 Dual 110 Ohm AES/EBU > dCS Vivaldi DAC (David Elrod Statement Gold power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 xlr > Absolare Passion preamp (Nordost Valhalla 2 power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 xlr > VTL MB-450 III (Shunyata King Cobra CX power cords) > Nordost Valhalla 2 speaker > Kaiser Kaewero Classic /JL Audio F110 (Wireworld Platinum power cord).

 

Power Conditioning: Entreq Olympus Tellus grounding (AC, preamp and dac) / Shunyata Hydra Triton + Typhoon (Shunyata Anaconda ZiTron umbilical/Shunyata King Cobra CX power cord) > Furutec GTX D-Rhodium AC outlet.

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2 minutes ago, MarkS said:

Could definitely be the case.  I wanted to love them too.  I will give them another shot.  Great review!!

Thanks Mark. Can't wait to hear from you once you get another shot. Certainly no guarantees, but it will be interesting. 


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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I owned these for about a year and then sold them (only because I decided to move to speakers).  I had them connected to a AHB2.  Because my friend also had a pair, we could frequently compare changes, and we found major improvement by moving to an 8-wire, thick silver custom cable.  The SR1a also benefited from several days of burn in, but it sounds so good fresh this isn’t essential.  
 

I also own the Ascend Sierra 2s with Raal tweeters and find them amazing for near field listening.  

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Chris!!!!!!!! I just bought Meze Empyrean+Chord Hugo TT2. You're supposed to give me a "heads up".

Dying to experience these. 

Excellent review. Honestly I want to read superlatives if its warranted.


Furutech GTX-D>J River 26>Curious USB>Chord Hugo TT2>Meze Emyrean Copper Cable>Meze Empyrean Headphones>my ears>audiophile brain

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22 minutes ago, KDinsmore said:

Chris!!!!!!!! I just bought Meze Empyrean+Chord Hugo TT2. You're supposed to give me a "heads up".

Dying to experience these. 

Excellent review. Honestly I want to read superlatives if its warranted.

I was tryin to explain to Aleksandar, the SR1a designer, that this isn't a normal review for me. I don't call everything the best and spill superlatives over every component. I mean what I say and only write the truth as I see it. The SR1a is a stunning achievement. Hope you can hear them in a good environment and let us know your thoughts. 


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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Me too! Will do when I hear them!


Furutech GTX-D>J River 26>Curious USB>Chord Hugo TT2>Meze Emyrean Copper Cable>Meze Empyrean Headphones>my ears>audiophile brain

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I have a SR1-a and the matching amp the HSA ordered and arriving in the next 2 weeks. My current favourite Headphones are the Abyss Phi TC's driven by a custom MSB Dynamic HP amp, with an MSB Select DAC and the Taiko Extreme. After having read your review and being a Wilson guy myself I cannot wait for them to show up!!

 

I will report on the sound of the matching HSA amp when they arrive. Better start a Thread on this ASAP, thanks Chris.

 

PS Also getting a custom set of DHC (Double Helix Cables) made up for the SR1-a's they need to be the same impedance as the standard cables.


Music Sever - Taiko Extreme, (4 sale Aurender W20 MQA) 

DAC's - MSB Select II + Femto 33 Clock + Dual power supplies + Pro USB Module

Amp's - Raal HSA-1aMSB Reference HP Amp, MSB Select Estat Headphone Amp Woo 234 Mono's Elite, Takatsuki 300B, 274B

Headphones - Raal Requisite sr1a, MySphere 3.2, Kennerton Thror's, Stax SR-009 & 009S, Sony MRD-Z1, Abyss Phi TC, Audeze LCD-4, 24 & 4Z, Focal Utopia, HiFiMan Susvara

Cables - DHC OPUS HP, Stage III Gorgon XLR's + Xphynx USB

Power - Shunyata Triton V3 & Typhon QR + Sigma PC's Isolation - HRS SXR Ref Stand + MX3R Isolation Bases

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