On warranty and maintenance. "Our non-transferable warranty is 5 years on materials and workmanship. All warranty claims and other repair requests will be accepted only through the original point of purchase. We want to make warranty claims as comfortable as possible so communicate with me and your dealer simultaneously. Wherever possible we'll simply replace your cup for a new one at the dealership. If you purchased online, the old cup must be returned first. If we get a consecutive warranty claim from the same user, there won't be any immediate replacement but we'll need to inspect the item and then may not offer a replacement just a repair. For out-of-warranty Raal 1995 items we won't charge much for a repair but not offer replacements. Our quick guidelines for how to care for ribbon drivers are simple. Please don't use bass EQ or excessive power. The ribbons will politely warn you of their excursion limits by starting to buzz, slap and/or rattle in sync with bass beats. So make it easy for them and reduce SPL when that happens. If you do, they'll last you for many years with a very low failure rate. These are racing machines, not your grandpa's Merc 300D Automatic. Racing machines require far more maintenance or in this case, more consideration in use. Then everything will be fine. We're here to help with all mishaps. It's racing after all. Your pit crew will always be ready and not judge you should you run off the track."

Getting more detailed, "the criteria I use during QC before and after installing the driver in its cup ring is that ribbon buzz must not happen below 2.5W peaks (9Vrms peaks at 32Ω) when playing the first 15-20 seconds of Brian Bromberg's rendition of "Come Together" from his album Wood. That's my test signal of real music. With Immanis ~84dB/mW where 2.5W is 34dB more, now peaks will reach 118dB. Whatever the max SPL of your favourite bass track becomes, the ribbons will warn you by making noises. It also means you're already above at least 108dB transients so lower your SPL a bit and save your hearing." We also remember that "these earpad chambers aren't sealed. A large open zone is about 1" in front of your ear canal towards the eyes. That's how we avoid the feeling of 'pressurized eardrums', how the stereo imaging improves and chamber reverb reduces. The price for that is enormous ribbon excursion."

Whilst my Magna shipment was in transit, Alex dropped his first new finish option in response to Singapore show requests. "I was asked about a white-metal grille finish for Immanis and a matching headspring in brushed/shiny and bead-blasted/matte versions. Here are photos of Immanis in all white metal with polished buckles, grilles, screws and bushings, headspring brushed. In a few days I will have matte versions to show just like on the SR1a/b and CA-1a. Unlike our original TiAIN PVD coating, the white-metal headsprings aren't scratch proof."

Optional finish for Immanis.

Time to get personal. On my desktop a short ¼" custom leash connected to my Enleum AMP-23R. At ~10:30 on its dial off the iFi DAC's fixed RCA output, I had instant Qobuz Sublime streaming through Audirvana Studio's Windows version at my desired SPL. On my big head I maxed out the click stops to their final hilt so padded leather and steel met without a gap. For size reference, my brimmed hat calls itself 61 | XL | 7 5/8. Here's the first takeaway. Magna is a fully domesticated ribbon earspeaker. It looks and wears like any normal albeit clearly luxurious headphone due to plush Dekoni pads, a soft leather headband, blessedly non-microphonic cables, the overall geometry and ideal clamp pressure. Being able to connect to a conventional headphone amp via the interface and normalized sensitivity has indeed taken the ribbon concept off its former proverbial short leash. Now one can roam the choice-laden wild of ~2wpc/32Ω outputs. Call it the get-outa-jail card for all would-be friends of Sir Alex McRibbon.

Spring tension and pins not bolts secure the cups. The latter remove without tools as shown here. This modular concept makes repairs easy. 

If you put your hands over these open backs, the sound pinches, greys out, tips up, overdamps and kills off most decays. Some open-backed designs are surprisingly uncritical when we choke off their air flow. Magna sounds broken when we do this. Being able to breathe freely is clearly the get-outa-jail card for our corrugated aluminium foils. With Magna's fit, finish and functionality ticked off as befitting flagship ambitions, here are my three first impressions. One, coming off conventional cans, Magna doesn't sound as loud. Distortion sounds louder and heavier. It's how we enjoy systems of very low distortion. Whatever sensory mechanism in us eventually cries 'enough', that happens later with low-distortion systems.

Unlike an SPL meter, perceived loudness has a subjective aspect. Two systems pegging the needle at exactly the same decibel figure needn't subjectively register as equally loud. Coming off classic planar and dynamic cans, Magna at first registers as less loud because its driver tech is of clearly lower distortion. We need no analyzer or belief to come to this conclusion. We must simply know our usual SPL threshold then pay close attention. It's easy to play Magna far louder than usual because none of our typical alarm bells go off. If you value long-term hearing health—you really should!—just be aware. That commandment is easily obeyed because lower distortion and higher resolution are superior in the other direction as well. The sensation of hearing everything stays put far longer as we dial down the SPL. There's no real need to crank it. That's key.