Best headphone under 10k$

thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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I am listening to above music through Sr1a after listening to same one through my Lansche 4.1 speaker.

It appears that Sr1a driven by Crown XLS2502 has more speed than my 2 channel speaker system.

Thus it is fun to listen to Sr1a.

No more purchase of headphone after Sr1a.

This is my endgame headphone.

Although, I also enjoy nuanced details out of Stax 009s driven by Kgsshv Carbon amp, Sr1a give fast and exciting sound.

I will spend my time on getting good sound out of Scaena 3.2 speaker with ribbon drivers.
 
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thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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I am listening to
Glazunov - Violin Concerto in A Minor
played by Jasha Heifetz through Sr1a.

Violin tone is sweet with marvelous details and wide soundstage.


I had lived with Sr1a for two weeks now.

This is a really amazing piece of musical instrument.

If you like ribbon speaker or headphone lover, you shall audition this.

They have unconditional 15 day's return polity.


You need speaker amplifier over 100 watts at 6 ohm ( I feel that 150 watts is better).

I noticed occasional clipping with Rogue Cronus Magnum II (80 watts for 6 ohm) although it sounds sweet with tube amp at moderate level.

Crown XLS 2502 (600$, 775 watts for 4ohm) work well with Sr1a.
 
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thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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I had been listening to Raal Sr1a last two weeks enjoying its open an fast sound.

Today I am back to Stax 009s driven by Kgsshv Carbon for comparison.

009s is not a slouch in speed with more bass than Sr1a.

Both of them sound nice.

009s sound more analog with rounder and liquid texture.

Sr1a sounds more digital with lively and open signature but without harsh edge.

If I have to choose one, I will go for Sr1a.

But I will keep both since I also enjoy analog sound out of 009s.

Purist Audio Design balanced cable connected between Dave and Carbon amp help 009s sound rounder.
 
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thomask

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I got my Jotunheim R (dedicated amp for Sr1a) on Saturday.

Fresh out of box, it did sound veiled without enough bass

But it did not sound sibilant or harsh tthough.

I had kept playing it 4 hours then much of veil was gone with more bass coming out.

After having it on overnight, temperature on the top plate was around 90 degree, thus it appears to be fine to leave it on 24/7.

I had serious comparison between Jot R and Crown XLS 2502(775 watts for 4 ohm), using Dave and Mscaler and Purist Audio Design balanced cable.


To my surprise, they sound very similar.

Crown has slight edge on bass impact and speed.

Jot R has slight edge on clean treble and details.

Jot R has clear edge on soundstage width and depth.


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008FVZHCW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

With Chesky test CD, I could realize how wide and deep Sr1a can get with Jot R.

I have HD 800s, but it seems that Sr1a with Jot R give slightly more wide and deep soundstage than HD 800s.

With overall musicality , nice details, fast transient and enormous soundstage out of Jot R, I can not recommend it too highly for Sr1a.

Combination of Sr1a and Jot R will be my end game headphone set.
 
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F208Frank

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Mar 27, 2020
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On other forums, it seems to be the Abyss TC 1266 being the "undisputed best" as many would agree with that. But of course everyone has their own tastes, for the longest time I was using the LCD4 from Audeze and I loved that. Over time I realized how colored it was though as I did not have many other headphones to compare to, still a great headphone though!
 

thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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After further listening between Sr1a and Stax 009s driven by Kgsshv Carbon amp, I found 009s give more natural and sweet tone of violin.

But in general, I prefer Sr1a to 009s with more open and dynamic sound


I had chance to compare between Sr1a and 1266 Phi.

Both are nice Totl headphones while Sr1a sounds more open and exciting and 1255 with deeper bass and more accurate presentation.

Now I am going to retreat my bold statement about Sr1a.

It will depend on personal taste.

Sr1a, 009s, Susvara and 1266 all has potential to be the best Totl headphone under 10k$.
 

Uk Paul

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After further listening between Sr1a and Stax 009s driven by Kgsshv Carbon amp, I found 009s give more natural and sweet tone of violin.

But in general, I prefer Sr1a to 009s with more open and dynamic sound


I had chance to compare between Sr1a and 1266 Phi.

Both are nice Totl headphones while Sr1a sounds more open and exciting and 1255 with deeper bass and more accurate presentation.

Now I am going to retreat my bold statement about Sr1a.

It will depend on personal taste.

Sr1a, 009s, Susvara and 1266 all has potential to be the best Totl headphone under 10k$.

Thomas, was it the 1266 PHI TC that you compared with SR1a?
 

thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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I had lived with Raal Sr1a headphone driven by Jot R for 3 months with Dave and HMS as source.

It sounds open and exciting but close to hot from time to time.

Thus I had pulled the trigger for Schitt Freya premap to be in front of Jot R.

I also placed an order of Nos quad Sylvania 6sn7 GTB made in 1955.

I hope it will give relaxed tube flavor to both Sr1a driven by Jot R and Stax 009s driven by Kgsshv Carbon amp.

But Freya is backordered so that I may get it on next Thursday or later.

I also have quad Sylvania vt231 made in 1940's but two of them are in my 2 channel 598 amplifier and I keep one more pair as spare



I had chosen Sylvania vt231 in Line Magnetic 508 amp after comparing with Nos Kenrad, Tungsol and modern Shuguang Treasure cv181-z.

Shuguang Treasure sounds warm and organic but falls slightly short of vt231 in details.


Sylvania "Bad boy" made in 1952 are hard to get with exorbitant price which I had not tried in my system.

But I am happy with Sylvania vt231 which give excellent details, nice dynamics, wide and deep soundstage.

I will also make comparison between Sylvania vt231 made in 1940's and GTB made in 1955 in Line Magnetic 508 and Freya.
 

thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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I received Schitt Freya+ premap. this morning



I skipped JJ stock tubes and inserted Nos Amperex 6sn7gtb in gain stage and Sylvania 6sn7gtb in buffer stage.



After running demagnetization tracks twice( 6min each) on Freya and Jot R, I started listening to Capricio Italian (Tchaikovsky) directed by Bernstein.



Wow, Freya with Jot R sounds much better than Jot R only with more relaxed and nuanced details but with minimal loss of transparency



While it sounds slightly thin with Jot R only.



Old Jazz recording by Benny Goodman sounds more relaxed with less hot edge from Freya and Jot R.



My digital source is Dave and HMS.



I use 20ft Purist Audio Design balanced cable between Dave and Freya and 6ft Synergistic Research balanced cable between Freya and Jot R.



I still have several choice of tube rolling with Sylvania vt231, RCA gray glass 6sn7gt and all quad Syl 6sn7 gtb.



Audio depends on personal preference, but Freya fitted with Nos tubes and Jot R sounds much more musical to my ears than Jot R only with overall nuanced presentation.



Although I had enjoyed fast and exciting sound out of Sr1a driven by Jot R for the last three months, I keep going back to 009s driven by Kgsshv Carbon amp to get more relaxed sound.



With Freya and Jot R, Sr1a move halfway between Jot R only and 009s with relaxed presentation.



I will also apply Freya to Kgsshv Carbon amp later today to find its effect on sound of 009s.

Out of curiosity, I am driving HD 800s out of Rca output of Freya using "Hosa TPR-257" adapter bought from Amazon.


Wow, Freya+ is also a killer amp for HD 800s.



I had driven HD 800s by headphone output of Dave and HMS.



It sounds transparent but with one note bass.





But with Freya in the chain after Dave, HD 800s sounds almost perfect with nice soundstage, clean details and full and textured bass.
 

adamaley

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Apr 15, 2016
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Minnetonka, MN
Thanks for your impressions of the Raal SR1a. I'm interested in getting a pair but I'm a little concerned by the amp requirements. @thomask , have you tried running it with your LM 508ia? How did that work out, if you did?
 

thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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Thanks for your impressions of the Raal SR1a. I'm interested in getting a pair but I'm a little concerned by the amp requirements. @thomask , have you tried running it with your LM 508ia? How did that work out, if you did?
Schitt Freya and Jot R will do it.

Or if you have nice tube pre, then you can just get Jot R.
 

thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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Thanks for your impressions of the Raal SR1a. I'm interested in getting a pair but I'm a little concerned by the amp requirements. @thomask , have you tried running it with your LM 508ia? How did that work out, if you did?
I had never tried out LM508 on Sr1a.

But Rogue Cronus Magnum II fitted with Nos tubes sounds well with Sr1a but with occasional clipping at climax of orchestral music.

Thus I had given up on low powered tube amp.

I am really happy with Freya and Jot R combination to drive Sr1a.

By the way Freya is a steal for the preamp with lot of room for tube rolling.

I had spent more money on expanding collection of Nos 6sn7 tubes.
 

adamaley

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Apr 15, 2016
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Minnetonka, MN
Hi Thomas,

Since we share the same amp, I'd appreciate it if you can try it on the Line Magnetic 508ia and report your findings.
 

thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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Washington State, US
Hi Thomas,

Since we share the same amp, I'd appreciate it if you can try it on the Line Magnetic 508ia and report your findings.
My Lm508 is behind the speakers.

I play my headphone 15 ft from there and no connection possible to LM508.

Since I had already failed with Rogue, I do not feel the need to do it either.

But Freya and Jot r combination seems to work well.

Jot R cost 800$.

If you have nice pre, then you may go for it.
 
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thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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Washington State, US
I am back to Rogue Cronus magnum ii fitted with Telefuken 12ax7 and Amperex 12au7 from Jot R.

It sounds much more gracious through Rogue than Jot R to drive Sr1a.

I believe Sr1a need dedicated tube amp.

I also have good result with two 18 inch Scaena subwoofers to complement bass of Sr1a.

But even without subwoofer, it still sounds good enough for most Jazz music driven by Rogue.

It has round midrange texture, clean treble and excellent separation of instruments through Rogue.

I also have Schitt Freya + fitted with Kenrad vt231 at gain stage and Sylvania vt231 at buffer stage in front of Rogue.
 

CKKeung

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Khamonyo

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I am back to Rogue Cronus magnum ii fitted with Telefuken 12ax7 and Amperex 12au7 from Jot R.

It sounds much more gracious through Rogue than Jot R to drive Sr1a.

I believe Sr1a need dedicated tube amp.

I also have good result with two 18 inch Scaena subwoofers to complement bass of Sr1a.

But even without subwoofer, it still sounds good enough for most Jazz music driven by Rogue.

It has round midrange texture, clean treble and excellent separation of instruments through Rogue.

I also have Schitt Freya + fitted with Kenrad vt231 at gain stage and Sylvania vt231 at buffer stage in front of Rogue.
Do you think the raal should play well with the audio research 160m amplifier?
 

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