So … thanks to @taronlissimore and @Andrew, headphones.com and “The HEADPHONE Community” preview program, I have the above-pictured RAD-0 sitting on my noggin right now.
I’ve been listening for about the last 4 hours or so.
Some initial thoughts …
They sound excellent! It’s too early to say exactly where they fall in my overall spectrum of headphone experience and preference, but they’re clearly serious performers as well as being extremely enjoyable.
Bass has real growl and rumble. It’s typically planar-linear. The mids are really nicely balanced and are fully present, without seeming emphasized, unlike so many bass-capable planar flagships. And the treble smooth, even, airy, extended and sibilance free.
For the first 20 minutes or so I would have sworn the bass was coming from behind my ears, and everything else adjacent to them. That effect has abated. Maybe it’s post SR1a adjustment, maybe it’s placement, maybe I need a nap.
Given that I’m coming off almost a solid month of listening to pretty much just the SR1a and the Vérité, that’s fairly high praise.
They are heavy. More so than I expected. They weigh in at 714g, which is the exact same weight as my personal pair of LCD-4. I dare say this is more noticeable after the 425g of the SR1a than it would otherwise be. And it does NOT bother me (Audeze cans were my daily-drivers for years). It did take me off guard a bit, though, initially.
Clamp pressure is quite high. Again, coming off the SR1a this may be exaggerated somewhat (the RAAL-requisite cans pretty much float on my head with the merest pressure near my temples, and I barely feel them). The upside of this is that these things stay put … where the LCD-4 would tend to slide off my head if I leant forwards or backwards too far.
Extending the arms helps a bit here, but that puts all the weight on to the cup/clamp/head interface and is less comfortable for me than just letting the band take the weight.
The pads are surprisingly deep and thick. They’re also very soft and supple. I doubt even glasses wearers will have any issue getting a perfect seal every time. In fact, they seal so well you can feel the pressure on your ear drums when you first put them on (that fades in a few seconds).
When dealing with planar cans, and very-solid seals, it’s not uncommon to hear some “diaphragm” crinkle. There is NONE of that here. Even pushing vigorously on the cups excites no such thing.
Raw pad comfort is excellent, though they are a fair bit warmer (temperature) than anything I’ve had on my head in the last year. Not to the point of being uncomfortable, but it’s noticeable.
These things are both gorgeous and solid. Compare the RAD-0 to the Audeze LCD series and the yokes, arms and sliders are both more nicely finished and more polished feeling on the Rosson unit.
The band on the RAD-0 looks more substantial, and is also very well executed, but the extra width of the Audeze’s suspension design may be more comfortable in the long run. I say that on the basis that the headband is not giving me any hotspots so far, but wider is usually better in my experience. Still, the RAD-0 has a much more polished, less “agricultural” seeming design and implementation.
Yes, made-up-word … but still …
The RAD-0 are surprisingly easy to drive. Just coming off the single-ended tube output from the Cayin N8 I don’t need full power nor max gain, have plenty of volume left, and even with massively bass-intensive music, at higher-than-normal listening levels, they are composed, dynamic, punchy, hit hard, with lots of appropriate rumble and slam.
These are WAY less demanding, power wise, than my other planar cans (LCD-4, AB-1266 Phi CC).
Obviously I have a lot more listening to do, including extensive back-to-back comparisons with the LCD-4 and the AB-1266 Phi CC (the only planar cans I currently own). The LCD-4 and Abyss may just have the edge, so far, with bass-tunefulness at sub-bass frequencies (again, more listening needed). But so far the RAD-0 are encouraging, enjoyable and quite compelling!
One hell of a first release …