RHA pairs first portable amp with two new high resolution in-ears
IFA 2016 kicks off tomorrow but Scottish headphone manufacturer RHA couldn't wait to announce its new collection of high-end audio gear that includes its first-ever headphone amp and two new in-ear monitors.
Justin YuAssociate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals
Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.
IFA 2016, the biggest electronics show in Europe, kicks off tomorrow but Scottish headphone manufacturer RHA couldn't wait to announce its new collection of high-end audio gear.
RHA is no stranger to polished sound (literally), but its latest offering takes the company to the next level with its first-ever headphone amp and digital audio converter (DAC), paired with two new in-ear monitors made to generate "precise upper frequency and harmonic tones."
Let's take a closer look at what's on the plate for RHA at IFA this year.
It doesn't make sense to invest in a high-end set of headphones and plug them into a digital source like your phone or a computer to listen to music; you're simply not getting the sound quality you paid good money to hear.
A portable headphone amplifier and digital audio converter like RHA's latest Dacamp L1 takes the digital output of those devices and converts it back to analog audio, then amplifies the signal to play through headphones so you get the full detail and definition from the source.
The L1 is a fully balanced headphone amp with dual class AB amplifiers for the left and right channels. Its core is a Dual ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC with USB A, USB B micro and an optional mini TOSLINK optical port for connectivity.
Of course you also get a dual EQ for bass and treble adjustments as well as three-level gain controls (real dials!), and the amp supports high-res audio formats up to 32-bit/384kHz resolution and 11.2Mhz for DSD playback.
The Dacamp L1 will go on sale in October for $550 (£425 in the UK or AU$735 in Australia).
Next up is RHA's new flagship in-ear monitor (IEM), the CL1.
We reviewed the metal injected-molded, stainless-steel RTHA T10i before, but the CL1 is RHA's first dual-driver design: one dynamic driver and another ceramic plate driver that caters to high-frequency sounds above 8kHz. It uses a high-density ceramic compound for the housing as well.
Other notable features include three different braided cables (3.5mm, 6.25mm OFC, Ag4x Mini XLR), over-ear hooks that mold to your ear and stay put and a supply of 11 different varieties of silicone along with Comply Foam ear tips.
If you're wondering why the package doesn't include a remote control or microphone on the wires, it's because the CL1 Ceramic are made for use with an amp (like the one above) for optimal sound with high-res audio files, so volume controls and track navigation are unnecessary.
The CL1 Ceramic will go on sale in October for $450 (£345 or AU$600).
The CL750 is a lot more affordable than the other two products in the line-up and features the company's stainless steel housing and a single "ultra-wideband transducer" to control a frequency range up to 45kHz.
Both the CL1 and CL750 have a rather-high impedance of 150 ohms that, and according to the manufacturer, gives them better control over the higher frequencies in the extended response. To that end, its high-resolution playback is officially certified by the Japan Audio Society.
The CL750 Ceramic will go on sale in October for $140 (£110 or AU$190).