Yesterday, I auditioned Raal SR1a and Abyss Phi CC headphones at home of my pal.
I brought 3 CDs that I am familiar with to test tonality, focus, soundstage and dynamics.
I started with SR1a using Chord Blu2 and Dave as source and Chord Etude amplifier to drive it.
It remind me of Apogee Duetta Signature driven by Krell KSA 150 from 1989 to 1999 which use ribbon as well as Sr1a.
It sounds fast and open.
One may adjust the soundstage by moving headcup around.
But I feel comfortable with headcup in the middle.
The only nitpick is that it did not go very deep.
Duetta also went around 35hz but with enough impact.
The same thing apply to SR1a.
Schitt had made dedicated amplifier for Sr1a called "Jotunheim R. " priced at 800$.
My pal tested Jotunheim R. to give more full bass than Etude.
I will try out Sr1a and Jotunheim R. next year at my home.
I also tested same CDs on Abyss Phi CC connected directly with Dave.
This is my first encounter with Abyss headphones.
It gives excellent transparent sound with well defined spatial cues and nice timber.
But Dave is under powered to drive Abyss Phi CC with not much bass slam.
As I searched the thread of Abyss Phi CC I found that it need nice amp which may cost 5k$ or more.
Updated Abyss Phi TC is known to give more details, clear bass than Abyss Phi CC.
I will try out Abyss Phi TC on 2021 after setting enough budget on it.
After being back to my home, I had listened to Senheiser HD 800S and Stax 009s driven by KGSSV Carbon amplifier.
My source is Chord Dave and Mscaler almost similar to one in my pal's place.
HD800S is not in the same league as Abyss Phi CC not enough with transparency.
But after eq with Lyngdorf 2170, it come close to Abyss Phi CC almost 90%.
Staxt 009S does not give sharp placement of instruments in 3d soundstage as Abyss Phi CC.
But Stax 009S is more musical than Abyss Phi CC with nuanced details and excellent bass slam driven by KGSSV Carbon amplifier.
I have 41 years of audio history back to 1978.
Some people ask me what is the best speaker that I had heard.
It is the vintage Western Electric big horn speaker driven by restored Western Electric amp owned by my rich friend.
But it is unobtainable and priceless ( worth more than 2 million $).
I had been happy with Lansche 4.1 since 2007.
Lansche 4.1 driven by SET amp give most palpable vocals.
Also its active bass give enough impact.
It is hard to have several speakers at home with optimal sound.
But it is rather easy to have headphones with different flavor.
I can listen to HD 800s headphone several hours without feeling discomfort.
When I go out of town, I bring Empire Zeus IEM which can be driven by Galaxy cellphone.
I also enjoy musical sound of Stax 009s driven by KGSSV Carbon amplifier.
Next year I will try out Raal Sr1a which remind me of Apogee Duetta that I had used happily from 1989 to 1999.
On 2021 I may add Abyss phi TC to my collections of headphones.