This was my first booth I went to at CanJam. I was super excited to listen to them and talk to Aumkar about them. At the booth, they had RR1 with a KGSSHV Carbon hooked up to a laptop with their own music source and another RR1 with the Koss energizer and an aux cable for our own music. As such, I spent most of my time with the Koss energizer. Before I dive into my first impressions, I have an L300 at home, but had not used it in a week. I was not able to a/b compare the Koss energizer with the KGSSHV carbon.
I love the build on these. Compared to my L300, these feel a lot more sturdier and look better in my opinion. Even though the retro look of the Stax has its own appeal, these just look more modern and don't feel like they'll break when i hold them in my hands. Aumkar set the height to one size for canjam, which was a hair loose for my head, but nothing to complain about. He probably did not want people to adjust the sliding mechanism as these were probably his only 2 pre-production units, and he probably didn't want them broken. He told me that the chassis is CNC'd from aluminum(not sure on the metal), and it felt like sturdy and durable. The headphone was comfy and i don't think i felt any glaring hotspot. I'm also not very sensitive to headphone weight. For reference, I can wear my OG HE-400 for a few hours without complaints, so I may not be the best person to evaluate this. I also liked how the RR1 uses mini-XLR plugs on the headphones and a stax pro bias connector for the plug instead of being hard wired or using some new connection.
My only downside is with regards to handling this headphone, and it is quite minor. In front of the RR1,there is an interesting sheet on how to pickup the headphones. You are supposed to have your hand over them vertically when you pick them up instead of horizontally. I think it was to proctect the e-stat drivers, but I could be wrong. Aumkar can correct me on this if he views this post. Wish I had taken a picture of the sheet. This is the only complaint I can think off in regards to build/quality, and it is minor and maybe a little nit-picky.
Most listening was done off the ESP95x. The first thing I wanted to test was the bass extension on these as that is what everyone has been raving about. Hot damn these have bass for an e-state. Now its not like Fostex bass, but it is nice tight bass comparable to the VOCE. I have not listened to the Sr007 Mk1 so I cannot draw a comparison to the bass on that. When I put on "Why So serious" by Hans Zimmer and fast forwarded to ~3:25, I was able to get it to arch(wet, flabby noise on e-stats), but compared to my L300's it extended deeper and didn't arch as long. Honestly though, that song destroys a lot of headphones so I'm not too concerned that an e-stat couldn't handle the section from the very beginning. I'm curious to see if the KGSSHV would've helped the RR1 with that section.
Now with bass done, lets move on to the treble. These have the great e-stat treble that I have come to adore. Orchestral pieces sound great with lots of "e-stat air". Nothing comes of as overly piercing or underwhelming. I wish I had my L300's on me so I could compare them side to side. I know they at least meet it, but cannot comment if they are significantly better.
I won't comment on mids as i am still gaining my footing around this area and did not really try to evaluate them because i was having a hard time hearing my own music as is. Some guy next to me really loved "The Weeknd", which I do too, and had it on very loud. As a result, I could hear the song very audibly and clearly bleed into my music. I also won't do soundstage for this same reason wayy too much ambient noise and am not comfortable just yet. However, I will say that it didn't sound super upfront or narrow like my HD6xx. I did not test imaging because I forgot too. Oops. I also wish I could've a/bed the Koss amp the KGSSHV amp to see how they impacted sound differences, but it would've been difficult, awkward, and rude to take up both amps simultaneously.
Before I jump into some final impressions, I just wanna talk about Aumkar quickly. It was a joy talking to him, and I wish I had asked him more questions about e-stats in general as he was clearly very knowledgeable about them. He dropped everything to pursue making the RR1, and i wish nothing but the best of luck to him. I I appreciate how, he is not rushing to take people's money as he does not think his own product his ready. He also states that the price on the RR1s will not go up at all. He is a breath of fresh air in the headphone world, and I deeply appreciate that. These are a day 1 buy for me simply to support him. If I somehow find another chance to listen to these and do a complete 180 on my impressions, i will still buy them simply to support him and his company. Even if the RR1 turns out to be a failure, which I do not think it will be, I have full faith that his next product will be even better than this.
These are a phenomenal value at $500 dollars. The bass is tight and extends well whilst still keeping that e-stat treble to die for. I think this competes with the L300 and Koss ESP95X in price range, and if it does, i think it will firmly trounce them and be the king of its price bracket. These are a day 1 purchase for me. I've attached some pictures. Apologies for the potato quality in advance.