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Audeze CRBN


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I do think electrostatics have a long way to go before we see anything resembling complete maturity.  The issue is that very few are attempting TOTL units or any real improvements to the tech.  Most are just a play on different tech already out there and with some hyperbole attached.  The Hifiman units did nothing new, ditto on the Voce and the HE1 uses pretty much identical drivers to the HE90 but with that silly amp design. 

I also agree that going any thinner on the diaphragms will just cause issues with stability with zero gains.  Stax figured that out in the 90's but seem to have forgotten it again...  😉

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Juansan2 said:

What exactly is the advantage of embedding graphene into the membrane? Does anyone have any idea?

Reading the marketing spiel, the theory is that graphite and carbon nanotubes have exceptionally high electrical conductivity. Supposedly makes the bias voltage across the membrane much more spatially uniform. And at a micron-scale thickness, carbon-based materials are extremely robust to the mechanical environment, where a sputtered metal film balacing equivalent thickness and conductivity might degrade over time.

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1 hour ago, Beefy said:

Reading the marketing spiel, the theory is that graphite and carbon nanotubes have exceptionally high electrical conductivity. Supposedly makes the bias voltage across the membrane much more spatially uniform. And at a micron-scale thickness, carbon-based materials are extremely robust to the mechanical environment, where a sputtered metal film balacing equivalent thickness and conductivity might degrade over time.

Cheers

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  • 1 month later...

20210901-DSC00267.thumb.jpg.0429bc26b92c078e16336bc734e91905.jpg

It's been a month but the CRBN is finally here, well this is actually the second set I've received.  First set was one of two units to have an assembly issue which Audeze have now identified and fixed.  I sent that one back and they sent a new one out.  Now these are loaner sets but if I want to keep it, I will buy it.  Just wanted to make that clear as I always own everything I tear down.  The first set was setup to make it easier for me to take a peek inside so the pics I'll post later, will be of that unit.  They are identical though and to say the CRBN looks gorgeous... well that would be an understatement.  First thing that came to my mind when lifting out of the sturdy aluminum flight case, was a comparison to the Hifiman Shangri-la jr.  Similar price range (I paid 4000$ for my set back in the day) and by comparison the Shangri-la looks like a 200$ Aliexpress special.  

The carbon fiber headband, the forged carbon earcups and nice thick leather earpads.  Yeah, this is for sure no Hifiman product and it really puts Stax to shame with their shitty SR-009 headband design.  Not that I was expecting anything less from Audeze but the attention to detail is nothing short of exemplary.  Nice long strain relief on the cables as they enter the cups, the quality of the Stax plug, the sheer comfort of having these on the head (even with my melon of cranium) and the list goes on.  The only issue I could find with them (and it was true of both sets) is a rather strong chemical smell as they are fresh out of the box.  It doesn't bother me at all but it might bother some so best mention it. 

In terms of amp requirements, they are rather power hungry.  It was a clear design choice to make them a bit less sensitive so the amps need to be pushed further in terms of volume level but it's nothing extreme.  I had a KGSSHV in my system when the first unit arrived so I kept that to compare against the new one.  It drives them just fine but the Carbon is a better choice with roughly 4 times the power.  I would place the KGSSHV/KGST as the baseline for them to get excellent performance and it only gets better from there. 

Now it's been only been an hour or so with this second set (a few days with the first one) so it's early but first impressions are great.  To keep it short, it's what the Sennheiser HE90 could have been but never managed to do.  The CRBN has that same ethereal, diffused quality but with far more midbass and bass presence.  They are not the bass monsters which the 007's can be but there is enough there and they are not bright or forward sounding at all. 

I'll post some more impressions later and the teardown pics as well. 

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2 hours ago, spritzer said:

20210901-DSC00267.thumb.jpg.0429bc26b92c078e16336bc734e91905.jpg

It's been a month but the CRBN is finally here, well this is actually the second set I've received.  First set was one of two units to have an assembly issue which Audeze have now identified and fixed.  I sent that one back and they sent a new one out.  Now these are loaner sets but if I want to keep it, I will buy it.  Just wanted to make that clear as I always own everything I tear down.  The first set was setup to make it easier for me to take a peek inside so the pics I'll post later, will be of that unit.  They are identical though and to say the CRBN looks gorgeous... well that would be an understatement.  First thing that came to my mind when lifting out of the sturdy aluminum flight case, was a comparison to the Hifiman Shangri-la jr.  Similar price range (I paid 4000$ for my set back in the day) and by comparison the Shangri-la looks like a 200$ Aliexpress special.  

The carbon fiber headband, the forged carbon earcups and nice thick leather earpads.  Yeah, this is for sure no Hifiman product and it really puts Stax to shame with their shitty SR-009 headband design.  Not that I was expecting anything less from Audeze but the attention to detail is nothing short of exemplary.  Nice long strain relief on the cables as they enter the cups, the quality of the Stax plug, the sheer comfort of having these on the head (even with my melon of cranium) and the list goes on.  The only issue I could find with them (and it was true of both sets) is a rather strong chemical smell as they are fresh out of the box.  It doesn't bother me at all but it might bother some so best mention it. 

In terms of amp requirements, they are rather power hungry.  It was a clear design choice to make them a bit less sensitive so the amps need to be pushed further in terms of volume level but it's nothing extreme.  I had a KGSSHV in my system when the first unit arrived so I kept that to compare against the new one.  It drives them just fine but the Carbon is a better choice with roughly 4 times the power.  I would place the KGSSHV/KGST as the baseline for them to get excellent performance and it only gets better from there. 

Now it's been only been an hour or so with this second set (a few days with the first one) so it's early but first impressions are great.  To keep it short, it's what the Sennheiser HE90 could have been but never managed to do.  The CRBN has that same ethereal, diffused quality but with far more midbass and bass presence.  They are not the bass monsters which the 007's can be but there is enough there and they are not bright or forward sounding at all. 

I'll post some more impressions later and the teardown pics as well. 

Could you let me know how are you finding the treble sound compared to the 007 mk2s (and would your comparison be pertinent to the modified SRM-717 I have?)  

 

Thanks. 

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22 minutes ago, spritzer said:

The treble is very reminiscent of the 007's, slightly dark and laid back but can get bright if the source/material calls for it. 

The 717 is pretty much a KGSS so that will work well.  :)

Thanks very much for the feedback.

For someone having to decide between the 007’s and the CRBNs, considering the similarity of the sound signature but the difference in price, what advice would you give ?

Edited by Juansan2
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On 9/10/2021 at 11:02 PM, spritzer said:

20210901-DSC00267.thumb.jpg.0429bc26b92c078e16336bc734e91905.jpg

It's been a month but the CRBN is finally here, well this is actually the second set I've received.  First set was one of two units to have an assembly issue which Audeze have now identified and fixed.  I sent that one back and they sent a new one out.  Now these are loaner sets but if I want to keep it, I will buy it.  Just wanted to make that clear as I always own everything I tear down.  The first set was setup to make it easier for me to take a peek inside so the pics I'll post later, will be of that unit.  They are identical though and to say the CRBN looks gorgeous... well that would be an understatement.  First thing that came to my mind when lifting out of the sturdy aluminum flight case, was a comparison to the Hifiman Shangri-la jr.  Similar price range (I paid 4000$ for my set back in the day) and by comparison the Shangri-la looks like a 200$ Aliexpress special.  

The carbon fiber headband, the forged carbon earcups and nice thick leather earpads.  Yeah, this is for sure no Hifiman product and it really puts Stax to shame with their shitty SR-009 headband design.  Not that I was expecting anything less from Audeze but the attention to detail is nothing short of exemplary.  Nice long strain relief on the cables as they enter the cups, the quality of the Stax plug, the sheer comfort of having these on the head (even with my melon of cranium) and the list goes on.  The only issue I could find with them (and it was true of both sets) is a rather strong chemical smell as they are fresh out of the box.  It doesn't bother me at all but it might bother some so best mention it. 

In terms of amp requirements, they are rather power hungry.  It was a clear design choice to make them a bit less sensitive so the amps need to be pushed further in terms of volume level but it's nothing extreme.  I had a KGSSHV in my system when the first unit arrived so I kept that to compare against the new one.  It drives them just fine but the Carbon is a better choice with roughly 4 times the power.  I would place the KGSSHV/KGST as the baseline for them to get excellent performance and it only gets better from there. 

Now it's been only been an hour or so with this second set (a few days with the first one) so it's early but first impressions are great.  To keep it short, it's what the Sennheiser HE90 could have been but never managed to do.  The CRBN has that same ethereal, diffused quality but with far more midbass and bass presence.  They are not the bass monsters which the 007's can be but there is enough there and they are not bright or forward sounding at all. 

I'll post some more impressions later and the teardown pics as well. 

Thanks for the impressions (helpful!). How would you suggest they do in terms of technical performance (detail, stage, speed, dynamics, etc) compared to the 007?

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They are not as focused as the 007's so the sound stage is more diffused, the bass isn't as impressive and not quite as much detail either.  More than anything, this is just a different approach and won't supersede the 007's for me.  It's nice though to have something different at times and it's not annoying after a while (like the 009's for instance) or just crap like the Voce.

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