I've made few bones about Ripol subs and their gestalt change in our big system. What not all readers might have grasped is the original prompt which sent me there: Raal Requisite's SR1a open-baffle ribbon earspeakers. Paul my dog pilot parades them above. That has you grasp their floating no-cups makeup in an instant, with perhaps echoes of AKG's K-1000 if you go far enough back. It eliminates room issues—ear cups are miniature rooms bolted temporarily to our skull—and as a result, bloomy bass textures from trapped air, resonances and reflections. When it comes to speed, dynamic contrast and sheer resolving power, these are my bestest/favorite transducers. They've informed what I now also want from speakers. Box-less bass headlines that list. Walking the eventual Road to Ripol was thus predetermined. Like the one to Damascus, it's caused a wholesale rethink on the subject. But today isn't about that; again. Today is about my current SR1a miniature rig of smsl SD-9 SD transport, iFi Pro iDSD Signature DAC and trusty Schiit Jotunheim R as dedicated ribbon driver.

As I said in my Sonnet Pasithea review, a component of truly superior resolution can only show it all off when associated components are fully transparent to it. When my de-Wifi'd iFi unit landed, the question was where to permanently park it. I already knew that Pasithea would find an eventual home downstairs. Upstairs the iFi could go into the speaker or headfi system. The former still runs a good conventional box sub by way of Dynaudio's 2×9½" 18S. Until that replaces with a smaller Ripol or two, the overall system resolution is compromised by omni bass. The iFi can't fully strut its hi-res advantage over the Denafrips Terminator or Kinki DAC. The obvious place was the headfi. That's worked a treat. It's why I re:hash not potatoes but this mini rig with ultra-compact source. iFi's on-the-fly resampling to DSD1024 shown with a 24/96 .aiff file is particularly attractive over the ribbons. If you love them for their unfettered speed, you'll be extra critical of thickening them up or slowing them down. Simultaneously you might encounter recordings which telegraph just a bit too much bite. That's where DSD 'remastering' is the gold-rimmed silver bullet. It shaves off just enough raw edge to fix any 'overcooked crispies' without simultaneously going just a bit to seed like Mickey Rourke's The Wrestler. On inherently fat indistinct recordings, staying in PCM upsampled to 705.6/768kHz plus Gibbs Transient Optimized filter trims your reading back for more lucidity. It really works brilliantly; and all by remote should you care. It's one of those made-in-heaven hifi discoveries for what in this league is far from outrageous coin. As a bedside hifi, it's also suitably compact. All that makes it worthwhile sharing.

And now I have…