RAAL-requisite SR1a Earfield Headphone
RAAL-requisite SR1a Earfield Headphone
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Product Description
New from RAAL-requisite, the SR1a Earfield headphone is the first monitor to employ the company’s trademarked “Earfield” technology. Driving this technology are highly specialized ribbon drivers that reproduce 30Hz to 30kHz bandwidth, eliminating the need for sealed chambered bass and allowing for open air baffles Read More
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4.0
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Tafka_Steve
6
Jan 12, 2020
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Sound quality is without peer in my experience, but latest interface box is a step back.
I have been an audiophile for 48 years and this is, overall, the finest transducer (speaker or headphone) in my experience. I hear crystal-clear detail, top-to-bottom coherence, absence of resonances or tonal coloration, and masterful control in signal tracking through macro- and micro-dynamics. I would choose this in a second over the Stax 009S. I would also choose this over the Abyss 1266, mostly because it is so much lighter and easier to wear. Until someone figures out how to make a headphone version of a corona discharge/massless full-range driver that doesn't microwave cook your outer ears or poison you with ozone, I think this ribbon driver will remain the state-of-the-art. As shipped from Drop, my unit came without any documentation or operating instructions in the Pelican case, but it is easy to figure out. Mine also had two changes from earlier production units. The first is a second, narrower leather strap, for the rear of the head. This helps secure the unit to the head, although the optimal length for mine is somewhere between the supplied hole/stud settings. Second, the amplifier interface box now has a second pair of binding posts as outputs for a pair of loudspeakers, along with an earspeaker/loudspeaker switch which is in series with your amplifier's output. This may be a good idea for those who have only one speaker amplifier and want it to share duties for driving the SR1a and speakers. However, it also potentially degrades the signal transmission, as my experiences with speaker-level switches have not been positive. It also increases the cost of manufacture. One more thing: when driven hard, the interface box "sings" with the music signal. I can't hear this while wearing the SR1a's, but if you put them in a ziplock bag and wrap them in a blanket to muffle their output, you can hear the box or its components resonating during certain signals. I don't know if there are inductive components inside (I've only seen banks of resistors in internal photos), but I am hearing vibrations due to inductive effects during large (>20 watt) signals. So as a bonus, you get a very inefficient speaker box with your SR1a's! I can't wait to try a Jotunheim R to bypass the interface box.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jan 12, 2020
DareToBe
159
Feb 26, 2020
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Jotunheim R is out now. Please let us know your impression. Thx!
Feb 26, 2020
Tafka_Steve
6
Feb 26, 2020
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Thanks for the inquiry. I have had the Jotunheim R for a month now and it is a great combination with the RAAL. Bypassing the interface box and driving the ribbon drivers directly yields increases in detail and dynamic "pop." The tonal balance is also slightly fuller in the bass, so the active step baffle compensation circuit in the Jotunheim R may be yielding slightly different frequency response than the passive inductor/resistor network in the interface box. For those that are worried that the Jotunheim R will have the same colorations as the original Jotunheim, I can assure you that it does not (I own both). The R version does not have the slight dynamic compression, lower treble brightness, and soft upper treble signatures of the original circuit. Instead, you get wide open dynamics (plenty of volume to spare) and treble air and detail for days. The only drawback of the combo is a slight foreshortening of front-to-back depth (soundstage width is still world-class). I think it takes a pricey ($6k plus) power amp driving the interface box to beat the RAAL-Jotunheim R combo (the upcoming Requisite direct drive amp may be the next step up at $3.5k). I should emphasize how much detail this combo can reveal. It is relatively easy to hear differences in DAC filter settings, or comparing 352 kHz/24 bit vs DSD 256 versions of the same recording. Cable difference naysayers may be shocked to compare interconnects with this combo. Combined with the Jotunheim R, I do not hesitate rating the SR1a's five stars.
Feb 26, 2020
Recent Activity
Thanks for the inquiry. I have had the Jotunheim R for a month now and it is a great combination with the RAAL. Bypassing the interface box and driving the ribbon drivers directly yields increases in detail and dynamic "pop." The tonal balance is also slightly fuller in the bass, so the active step baffle compensation circuit in the Jotunheim R may be yielding slightly different frequency response than the passive inductor/resistor network in the interface box. For those that are worried that the Jotunheim R will have the same colorations as the original Jotunheim, I can assure you that it does not (I own both). The R version does not have the slight dynamic compression, lower treble brightness, and soft upper treble signatures of the original circuit. Instead, you get wide open dynamics (plenty of volume to spare) and treble air and detail for days. The only drawback of the combo is a slight foreshortening of front-to-back depth (soundstage width is still world-class). I think it takes a pricey ($6k plus) power amp driving the interface box to beat the RAAL-Jotunheim R combo (the upcoming Requisite direct drive amp may be the next step up at $3.5k). I should emphasize how much detail this combo can reveal. It is relatively easy to hear differences in DAC filter settings, or comparing 352 kHz/24 bit vs DSD 256 versions of the same recording. Cable difference naysayers may be shocked to compare interconnects with this combo. Combined with the Jotunheim R, I do not hesitate rating the SR1a's five stars.