• [Earphones] RHA CL-1 : The way to Ceramic
    Reviews/Audiophile Review (ENG) 2018. 11. 1. 16:12

    Ceramic is the most familiar material for humanity and requires many touches. This material obtains by applying high heat to raw natural particles, starting from ceramic cups to glasses, cements, optical fiber and synthetic diamonds.
    It is also resistant to sudden temperature changes, does not pass through electricity, has good corrosion resistance. However, is usually broken easily. ‘Zirconium Oxide’ which improves this weakness is eight times stronger than plastic, but it is known as a hard material to process.
    The Scotland company ‘RHA Audio’ has been recognized by the US ‘Apple’ for its production philosophy, and as a co-operative company, it has delivered in-ear headphones to Apple stores around the world since 2011. Now 2017, they released new ‘CL-1’ in-ear headphone using ‘Zirconium Oxide’ for high-end head-fi users.

    The exterior design of ‘CL-1’ is optimized for audiophiles using a dedicated portable DAC-amplifier ‘DACAMP L1’, or an audio system for headphones. The unit's housing is made of non-oxidizing zirconium metal, which has a stylish appearance is reminiscent of titanium and has a ruggedness that does not break easily even when dropped.
    Both unit houses have their logos and model names engraved on the front and back, and there is a black wire mesh duct next to the RHA logo. The nozzle part is fabricated in the shape of a whirl of aluminum metal on the wire mesh filter separately. The nozzle tubes are 4mm caliber size, so a variety of ear-tips are available for listening with.

    The 'CL-1' employs a sMMCX proprietary connector so that you can alternate between a 3.5 mm stereo braided oxygen-free copper cable and a 4pin mini-XLR balanced silver core Ag4X cable. Compared to the existing MMCX method, it is more tightly coupled. The length of both cables is same about 1.5 m (59 inch) and is recommended for use with stationary systems.
    The outer shell is made of high-quality material that does not adhere to dust, has good flexibility and has not been exposed to microphonic. Since the position of the Y-split point is below than normal earphones, recommend using the cinch up.
    Unlike other brands of cable ear guides, spring and wire are included. The unit is firmly fixed enough to float in the air, so if you put it well behind your ears, the weight of the unit will be well dispersed, helping you to enjoy your music for a long time.

    The silver core cable is designed separately for 4pin mini-XLR terminal of 'L1 DACAMP'. It is designed to be removable by pushing the black button at the top like the regular XLR. The copper cable’s polarity of 3.5mm stereo terminal is made long so that it can be connected smoothly to a portable device with a thick case.
    CL-1 package includes silicon ear-caps, double flange silicone ear-caps, Comply Tsx-200 memory-foam ear-caps, clothing clip, carrying pouch, and 3.5 to 6.5 mm stereo converter. The 3.5 to 6.5 stereo converter can be screwed onto the copper cable. There are two small storage compartments inside the dedicated pouch, but it is narrow space for even basic components for CL1 use.

    Driver: CL Dynamic + Ceramic Plate Frequency range: 16-45,000Hz Impedance: 150 Ohms Sensitivity: 89dB Rated/ max power: 10/ 50mW Weight: 14g
    Warranty: 3 years

    Overall sound signature of ‘CL-1’ pretty is analogous to weak V-shaped, with more weighted-on highs. Overall soundstage shifts two steps forward, that doesn’t make recessed layering of middles. Spatiality is expressed as if the instruments are resonating from the center axis of the listener, so that sonic brings a feeling of being opened and not confined.
    Due to the feature of trebles having liquid and taut texture, in beginning of ‘Paganini Caprice No.5, Op.1’, ‘CL-1’ does not miss the long stretches of violin strings, helps to blow out intensely. Since lower highs have no tail and are expressed in dry state, the scraping expression of classical guitar strokes sounds natural. But, the detail of the snare or high-hat may sound lifeless.
    While the reverberation becomes richer with lower frequency on middles, roll-off response speed is constant. Also, the middles are warmer and thicker than treble that make piano note or vocal belonged more like flat. The bass is relatively warmer compared to middles and highs, and as its band reaches upper band, it is heavier and roll-up speed is faster, so that the sonic details can be more expressed. The texture from harmonics of the brass and bass instrument represented in the sound source blow pretty well without filtration.

    With mini-XLR terminal of RHA DACAMP L1, ‘CL-1’ shows deep-bass naturally boosted and trebles analytically revealed. The whole sound stage is laid-back by two steps, dynamic range and width get bit bigger. That allows instruments to be more precisely positioned so that do not overlap each other. However, “ah” vowel coloration is caused because of rapid roll-up on upper midrange.
    If use the enclosed double flange silicone ear-cap together, the presentation of midrange moves one step more forward and the trebles get thicker to sound a stronger string instrument representation. Comply Tsx-200 Memory-Form including CL-1 package makes upper midrange and overall trebles closed, and lower bass smother, thus creating a soft sonic imaging ambiance that allows you to enjoy more genres of music.
    'CL1' has a 150 ohm high impedance and a low sensitivity of 89dB. If the required output environment is not reached, trebles and middles of ‘CL-1’ will present wiry and tizzy sound. Strongly recommend matching it with a dedicated amplifier 'DACAMP L1' or stationary audio system capable of driving low-efficiency headphones, as has required fairly-high input-power.

    Hello, I am a Head-fi product reviewer named 'Bigheadfiler' in South Korea. This review may not be perfect because it is my third English translation. I appreciate your understanding. Thank you.
    The 'RHA CL-1' in-earheadphone posted on review was provided by 'RHA Audio'. And 'DACAMP L1' sample was rented by Korean RHA official distributor 'Sovico AV'. This review has been written without any restrictions as respect author's autonomous decision making.
    Photo & Review by Bigheadfiler, 2017

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