Jump to content

Audeze CRBN


ilikebananafudge
 Share

Recommended Posts

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...  😉

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 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. 

  • Like 15
  • Thanks 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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
Spellcheck
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's been a long week so not a lot of time to sit down and listen to the CRBN but when I've done so, they always deliver.  No issues at all like the first set had and they are very comfy for a couple of hours or so.  I'll try to sit down for a few hours straight but they are so light and the earpads so supple that I don't foresee any issues.  It did take me a while to get used to the more diffused sound stage as I thought they were off balance a few times.  Just the different presentation playing with my head...  I'll take some more time until my final impressions but how about some teardown pics instead.  :) Now do remember that this set was headed my way and Audeze knew I would tear it apart... so they were nice enough to not fully adhere the earpads.  That's why they have the paper backing on them.  

20210901-DSC00268.thumb.jpg.ca7708ce4cb910609823710c96cfb3f6.jpg

First shot showing the gorgeous carbon shells. 

20210901-DSC00269.thumb.jpg.94fa37db641ba50092bcdddecd5d9265.jpg

Earpads off showing the baffle and the nylon screws which secure the baffle to the back.  The 3M adhesive they are using for the earpads is very strong so these are no easy headphones to get into.  The earpads are very thick and some of the nicest I've ever seen so I don't foresee having to replace them anytime soon. 

20210901-DSC00270.thumb.jpg.53c7b87e9b9f28ebc660250f3858191a.jpg

Another shot showing the (phenolic?) baffle. 

20210901-DSC00273.thumb.jpg.17e66d03f6bc5d2dea4480188c8098ab.jpg

Now remove the screws and the set comes apart, the baffle screws through the earcups and into the back piece.  There is quite a bit of foam behind the drivers but it is very open.  Audeze were shooting for a fairly high damping design so this makes sense. 

20210901-DSC00272.thumb.jpg.57dee6d973fa15f7e9601c9102e144f5.jpg

Here is the frame with the foam in place.  That small dot falls off easily which is good, that means no adhesive in place to make a reflective surface inside the foam. 

20210901-DSC00271.thumb.jpg.e30572e81953c53e10d962f241301b13.jpg

The back cover is a very nice piece and I like the use of fine mesh to keep most things out of the cups

20210901-DSC00274.thumb.jpg.a48f5560966415bca8192e07f4958fe3.jpg

Now remove the foam from the picture above and we have the back of the driver.  They have gone for connections through the structure to the different elements unlike say Stax who take it all to one point.  Nothing wrong with either way of doing things.  Here you can also see the construction of the cable which is woven and it feel like it's two triple strands from the Stax plug, up through the cable split and into each cup.  I do wonder how much capacitance braiding the cables like this does add to the system (a flat cable always be superior in that regard) but its similar to what Sennheiser do on the HE-1 and Mr. Speakers on the Voce.  Far cry better than the crap Hifiman call a cable... on a 18k$ set of headphones though. 

20210901-DSC00275.thumb.jpg.7cd147d15c0a3736e27931f7ebec7a50.jpg

Another shot the driver free of the earcup.  Same thick woven material used for the dust covers front and back. 

20210901-DSC00276.thumb.jpg.9c23c6b0880fbd6edd17ad8347487aa3.jpg

Side profile showing just how thin the driver sandwich is and also its MRI safe roots are evident.  Not a whole lot of metal in that, similar to what Sennheiser did with the HE series back in the day.  The HE60 was just two pieces of extruded plastic, painted gold and then the mylar stretched onto the frame.  Kinda funny to see this approach compared to what Stax are doing with the SR-X, ever more complicated stator designs whose benefits are not quite clear. 

20210901-DSC00279.thumb.jpg.95cd903e6c612c0ef86e9c6094ec4583.jpg

Last but not least, the very nice plug on these.  That is aluminum and then molded plastic... very nice indeed. 

  • Like 8
  • Thanks 16
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would recommend something powerful so as a baseline, the KGSSHV or the KGST.  Audeze made these intentionally inefficient so they need plenty of clean power to behave. 

As for the LTA Z10e, I would never recommend that thing.  Kevin and I are actually looking for one to tear apart as there are pretty much no internal pics and based on their own comments, it is all kinds of stupid.  What little snippets I found was the 300V max EL84's driven at 700V so you have all the same issues as Stax do in their amps, massive compression.  If the Zotl is actually connected to the tubes while in electrostatic operation, then that is a huge issue as well.  EL84's are the same as 300B's, they should never be used in electrostatic amps.  Simply not suitable. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/19/2021 at 3:32 AM, spritzer said:

I would recommend something powerful so as a baseline, the KGSSHV or the KGST.  Audeze made these intentionally inefficient so they need plenty of clean power to behave. 

As for the LTA Z10e, I would never recommend that thing.  Kevin and I are actually looking for one to tear apart as there are pretty much no internal pics and based on their own comments, it is all kinds of stupid.  What little snippets I found was the 300V max EL84's driven at 700V so you have all the same issues as Stax do in their amps, massive compression.  If the Zotl is actually connected to the tubes while in electrostatic operation, then that is a huge issue as well.  EL84's are the same as 300B's, they should never be used in electrostatic amps.  Simply not suitable. 

Turns out that Audeze is going to be demoing the CRBN at CanJam with "a Mjolnir amp" and the LTA Z10e.

 

Edit: They might actually be deciding between the two, the wording isn't clear to me.

Edited by ilikebananafudge
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...