What N°2. Culling from the same forum thread which Alex used to leak intel, Magna and Immanis aren't multi-ways as some posters misunderstood. There's no crossover. Each ribbon sees the same full-range signal. "The ribbons simply aren't tuned alike. Think of it as sections of one driver having 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 is to increase the radiating area and/or to seal off the ear/driver chamber which I don't do. 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 here go beyond what they believe is important." Unlike my SR1a whose ribbon cartridge I can easily remove, "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."
We now appreciate that one key decider to use multiple ribbons was bass quality likely even quantity. Since on-ear ribbons can't get taller, Alex made his wider across multiple sections rather than fabricate a single broad ribbon. The narrow ribbons run in series to increase their compound resistance and cause less signal attenuation in the cable for higher sensitivity. We also sense that despite classic circular ear pads for circumaural loading, Alex was careful not to seal off too much of the SR1a's open-baffle airiness to avoid ear-muff syndrome. After all, why enjoy a ribbon's freedom from window-shutter magnets in the first place only to create unnecessary boundaries for early reflections and their impact on undisturbed airflow? At this state of still partial reveal, it seemed to me that Magna and Immanis bolt on weightier LF as the one area where the SR1a goes a bit lighter than the vast majority of non-ribbon and sealed listeners are used to. How to have that cake without eating into the floating open baffle's amazing resolution, speed and dynamic vigour?
The call of the coins has the Magna package ex VAT just sub Susvara so at €5.7K. It includes a 1.8m S2 cable, 35Ω interface/stand, XLR4/XLR4 interface cable and hard plastic case. The equivalent Immanis pack with Star-8 pure silver cable with new 10" stranded wire from Y split to the headphone¹ and hard aluminium case demands €8.6K. That's still well below the top Spirit Torino and even pricier big game but above most competitors I'm aware of. It situates new brand Raal 1995 quite at the top of the heap as an end-game destination. From Škoda to Porsche in one fell swoop? The market shall decide but it seems reasonably fitting. Quite the arc for a young man from Serbia whose September 2008 prototype headphone looked like this.
¹ This spec detail of the cable makes the original SR1 solid-core connection more robust since some users reported cable failures. Mine too broke a long time ago which I replaced with Black Dragon by Moon Audio. The revised cable apparently sounds the same so the change was purely for mechanical reasons.
Going nekkid. "Users who already own our Star-8 cable and don't need another will get €1K deducted from the price of the Immanis package. People who already own the TI-1a/b/c interface or direct-drive amps like the VM-1a or HSA-1a/b/c won't need the interface/stand. That lowers the price by another €1'130. So fully nude just in its flight case, Immanis can sell for €6'470 ex VAT." As to why the correct cable on the ribbons is so important, "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 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 about Star-8 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 x 10 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." So whilst Moon Audio's Black Dragon Premium cable worked properly with my old 6Ω resistor box and direct-drive Schiit, it wouldn't be correct for the new transformer interface. Memo received!
Original resistor/inductor-based interface and the SR1a and its parts. Hover mouse to engage loupe function.
Let's briefly revisit the dismissive comment of a tweeter trying to do mids and bass. FiiO's €299 FT3 houses a 60mm dynamic driver. That's already 4mm larger than Sennheiser's signature HD800 membrane. Yet in what speaker universe is a 2.3" dynamic anything other 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 essentially proximity loading which transforms them into widebanders of sufficient bandwidth. The popularity and acclaim of the Raal-Requisite models clearly shows that their ribbons work as intended whilst pricing below what they compete against. 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. Visitors to CanJam NYC 2024 will be able to sample them in the Marriott Marquis on Times Square come March 9th and 10th.