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Raal is a family enterprise which presently operates out of the house of Alex's parents. Including Alex, it employs Mladen Stavric, Bratislav Marinkovic and Alex's father Slobodan Radisavljevic who handles all paint jobs. In the early days, Alex's mother too lent a hand. Before being elevated to the position of in-house designer for a Serbian manufacturer of cut glass ware, she had worked on their assembly lines to be intimately acquainted with precision hand crafting. Helping her son get started with his own business thus came natural to get her temporarily out of well-deserved retirement again.

On the day of our arrival, Mladen was working overtime to finish an order of 50 ribbon pairs. Except for the actual cutting of the aluminum foils which still remains in the domain of his boss (edges perfect on a microscopic level are vital for failure-free performance), Mladen has advanced to performing every subsequent step involved in assembling a Raal ribbon. The OEM lineup presently includes the models 70-10D, 70-20XR and 140-15D. Each of those can be upgraded with an amorphous C-core transformer or become a DTD direct-tube-drive version whereby the user's tube amp output transformer connects directly to the aluminum foils. Retail pricing is from 200 - 385 euros per unit, with a 25 - 120 euro surcharge for modified XLS connectors and upgraded transformers. The 109dB Water Drop model was the result of a custom commission by US audiophile Romy The Cat and remains available as an expensive custom order item. Of course wholesale pricing for the standard models is available to commercial loudspeaker manufacturers but not DIYers.

Mladen in the early stages of the ribbon foil insert assembly.

The massive copper substrate with the etched division becomes the electrical circuit which drives the true ribbon. The definition of a true ribbon is the absence of an etched voice coil atop its surface. The surface texture on Raal ribbons is the aforementioned standing-wave-suppression pattern, not a voice coil.

Alex adores the specific phenolic resin you already saw used on the Eternity speaker head assembly. Naturally, it appears also in his ribbons as shown below.

As the upper left insert shows below, the finalized transformer board then becomes the base of the completed ribbon enclosure whose side panels are primarily held in place by magnetic attraction.

The powerful magnet rods feature a precise bevel to focus and linearize the magnetic flux in the gap containing the ribbon insert (which can be easily removed for highly unlikely replacement - Raal reports very low failures in the field).

After he finishes the transformer boards and ribbon inserts, Mladen must counter the powerful attraction of the magnets to assemble the actual enclosure without squashing his fingers. I watched him do it. It takes very strong hands!

All parts rely on close tolerances and each finalized ribbon is comprehensively tested and pair-matched before shipping..

In a second building on the family property, Bratislav meanwhile performs the fume-ridden job of getting the rod magnets ready for Mladen.

Mladen then uses copious amounts of CrazyGlue to seal all inside seams of the ribbon enclosures. By now you can appreciate that when Raal mentions hand-crafted ribbons, they're simply being factual. The precision mounting holes for the face plates are tapped on a rig in father Slobodan's garage right next to his fully restored original 1963 Mercedes.

Alex shows off an early concept of a multi-cell curved ribbon panel.

Alex shows two custom mounting plates in crinkle black for two of his ribbon models which were designed to mate to a specific mid/woofer. The inner saw-tooth edges are a trademark Raal invention to randomize edge dispersion effects.

When I opined that a Raal ribbon super tweeter would be a cool addition to compete with muRata, Townshend and others, Alex was already a step ahead of me. The Spirit 1 was a custom commission for 6moons scribe Linnman in Hong Kong who runs it atop his Da Vinci Audio Labs widebanders from Switzerland. Alex's friend and former employer Nenad of N.N. Acoustics built the housings. If you want a pair, I'm sure these guys could be coerced into building another...