A Brit, a Scot and an Irishman wander into a Kildare pub. They each order a pint of Guinness. After being poured and placed onto the bar, in each man's glass lands a blowfly. Disgusted the Englishman pushes his pint away to order another. The Scot reaches in and plucks out the insect. The Irishman reaches in, picks his out, holds it up close then shouts, "spit it out yer little bastard." There'll always be people demanding extra droplets. Others drink up without a fuss. Then there are those who dive in fully. The doorbell rings at Mrs Molloy's. When she answers, her husband's manager at the brewery stands outside. "Where's my husband? He should have been home hours ago." The man sighs. "I'm sorry to be the one telling you this, Mrs Molloy. But there was an accident over in the brewery. Your husband fell into a vat of Guinness and drowned." "Oh my God", she replies. "Please tell me it was quick!" ‘Well", the manager coughs, "it wasn't. He climbed out four times to take a piss." That strikes your writer as the proper attitude for uninhibited Raal 1995 consumption.

To make sense of reviewer comments, one needs their map for bias and preference. Unlike pure headfi critics, I've not heavily canvassed for novelties since I settled down with an SR1a and HifiMan Susvara then cleaned house on a number of lesser orthos and dynamics.

I've kept a pair of Final D8000 for my desktop because they're comfy of wear and voicing. I also kept Final's Sonorous X though its sheer weight means I only use it as comparator during reviews.

Ditto my original pre-fazor Audeze LCD-2 and LCD-XC though with them more for sonic reasons. For casual listening and a sub €1K reference I have a Meze 109 Pro and Erzetich Thalia II. For sitting in the yard overlooking the river, FiiO's €300 FT3 plugs into a Shanling M3 Ultra DAP.

Long gone are AKG K1000, Senn HD800, Beyer T1 & T5p, various Grado, Fostex rebuilds, Audio Technica and a budget Focal.

My premium head amps are Enleum's AMP-23, Cen-Grand's Silver Fox and Vinnie Rossi's L2 Signature direct-coupled preamp with Western Electric 300B into a Kinki Studio THR-1 with lateral Exicon Mosfets. Secondary head amps are iFi's iDSD Pro Signature and FiiO's R7.

Against this backdrop you see that I prioritize speed, dynamics and resolution. Once I add that my speaker systems run sealed or cardioid 'super-dipole' subwoofers and AMT tweeters across the board, you appreciate that full bandwidth in both directions is important, too. Once I bought Schiit's Jotunheim R, I stopped with the original resistor-based interface. You should also know that since my initial encounter, the SR1a seriously rewrote my speaker and electronics choices. I tried to clone the ribbons' lit-up-all-over nature and strict absence of blur, fuzz and reticence with augmented widebanders. Subs enter via active analog xover for precise hi/lo-pass splits. I wanted bass that stops as quick as the SR1a. I wanted as little time confusion as multi-way speakers can manage. Hence Qualio Audio's hybrid open-baffle IQ speaker in the main room, MonAcoustics' isobaric 4" minis upstairs, Acelec's Model One on the desktop. Both 2.1 setups use 2.5MHz direct-coupled class AB amplifiers from Kinki. That choice is for the same reason. I call it speed. Speaker systems reshaped by ribbon earspeakers? Quite. It's taken me four years. I've come as close as budget and limited exposure allow. Voilà, your map on my headfi 2024 status.

Despite being multi-ribbon designs, Magna and Immanis aren't multi-ways. There's no xover. Each ribbon sees the same full-range signal. "The ribbons aren't tuned alike. Their lengths differ, hence their resonant frequencies. Think of the concept as sections of one driver with different properties. Now small errors don't accumulate. Errors even out across the spectrum. This isn't about solving general response dips or peaks. Those depend on the acoustic environment. This is more subtle; like how easy it is to hear more harmonics in a tone." About decreasing bass distortion, "the only way to manage this is by increasing the radiating area and/or sealing off the ear/driver chamber which I don't. I have big open areas for very strategic ventilation." Relative to a measurement-first site which called the earlier CA-1a a tweeter trying to play bass and mids, "I'm glad to say that they won't like these any more than the previous models. The benefits go beyond what they believe is important." Unlike my SR1a whose ribbon cartridge I can easily slide out, "these new models are sealed. Immanis has four magnets and the ribbons in their three gaps slide in as individual cartridges like in the SR1 but the assembly then seals to require access, replacement and repair at the factory."

A ribbon-ready amplifier from Serbia's SAEQ. Plug in and go.

As to why the correct cable on these ribbons is critical, "our first resistor-based interface which you have was pretty oblivious to cable parameters. It terminates at ~6Ω. That's super safe when it comes to whether a cable's parasitic inductance will start to attenuate the treble. With the newer transformer interface, this parameter becomes more critical as its secondary sits at 0.26-0.27Ω. At such low resistance, just one microhenry of cable inductance will roll off the highs. That's why the standard cable which comes with any version of our transformer interface has low 0.8µH inductance which Star-8 MkII drives down to less than 0.4µH. To achieve that extreme value requires a special wiring topology with enamelled solid core. There's more to be said but this is the main reason why our TI-1a/b/c may not be compatible with most aftermarket cables. They won't be anywhere near the required 0.25Ω and sub 0.8µH. Remember, a cable with 10 x the resistance of our ribbon loads a transformer to make correct specs critical. We basically break out what's inside our classic ribbon tweeters so the entire headphone—cables, transformer, ribbon—is an interdependent whole in which arbitrarily chosen headphone cables won't work correctly. It's very easy to disrupt this balance I designed so carefully. It's why we publish the correct cable parameters for those intrepid aftermarket rollers who want to get it right. Also, ribbons don't rely on damping factor. The source could easily be an ideal current source of infinite output impedance and it would make no difference. That's because the ribbons already work on current drive since their cable has ten times more resistance than them so there's no damping at all. That's by design and has no bearing on bass control."

Let's briefly address that earlier dismissive forum comment about a ribbon tweeter trying to do mids and bass. FiiO's €299 FT3 houses a 60mm dynamic driver. That's 4mm larger than Sennheiser's signature HD800 membrane. Yet in what speaker universe is a 2.3" dynamic anything more than a big tweeter? No matter what exotic driver tech a headphone adapts, reasonable size and weight limits render them all quasi tweeters. It's proximity loading which transforms them into widebanders of sufficient bandwidth. Just because in speakers we primarily see ribbons as tweeters is no contradiction in terms. The new Raal 1995 models now push that envelope with dual and triple 'tweeters' in series.