Each RAD-0 headphone is handcrafted in a unique, one-of-a-kind housing.
THE SOUND ENGINEER BEHIND THE DESIGN
Rosson Audio Design is the brain-child of Alex Rosson who co-founded Audeze, a high-end headphone company, in 2008 with the brand’s current CEO, Sankar Thiagasamudram. Similar to Apple’s startup story, the duo started Audeze together, assembling headphones in a garage, and working late into the night and weekends. From these humble beginnings, Audeze grew into a leader in planar magnetic driver technology, eventually becoming one of the most influential headphone brands in the industry. Audeze has received prestigious awards, including Stereophile Magazine’s 2014 Product of the Year, and CES’s Digital Trend’s Top Tech in 2015.
Alex Rosson’s latest headphone creation, the RAD-0, seems poised for similar greatness. Growing up around music in the Los Angeles area, Alex spent the majority of his career in the audio business as a musician and record label owner. Before venturing into entrepreneurship with his Audeze co-founder, Alex also worked as one of Technicolor’s top mastering engineers for nearly a decade. To say Alex Rosson knows a lot about music and high-end audio recordings is an understatement. The man knows his stuff.
When Alex branched off on his own from Audeze, he took with him some of the house sounds that transferred into the RAD-0. The sound signature of the RAD-0 is a combination of the warmth and musicality of the LCD-3 (pre-fazor) and the top-end sizzle of the LCD-X. The RAD-0 gets some of the musicality of the LCD-3 while also getting the detail and top-end resolution of the LCD-X. Both LCD headphones have really good bottom-end weight, both have great speed for being large planar-magnetic drivers, and that sound transfers nicely into the RAD-0 design.
DESIGN DETAILS: THE RAD-0
The RAD-0 is born from years of research and development and a lifetime of experience. Every aspect of Rosson Audio's headphones is prepared with an artisan’s attention to detail and pure love for the craft. Countless hours of thought and care go into every speaker, housing and headband the company makes for these headphones. Together, these components unite to form the best pair of planar magnetic headphones on the market. When you get your hands on the RAD-0 headphones, we’re confident that you will be able to see, feel and hear the Rosson Audio Design difference.
Development of the RAD-0 headphone begins with the heart of the brand's product: the speaker (commonly known as the “transducer” or “driver” to our fellow audiophiles). Since planar speakers can be very delicate, The Rosson Audio design team uses a material with an extremely low mass, the strength to withstand high temperatures, movement, and electrical load, and the durability to last a lifetime.
After sourcing the speaker material, Rosson's engineers begin designing a circuit and magnetic structure for the diaphragm. When it comes to speakers, many people assume bigger is better. Rosson Audio's goal, however, is to achieve a balanced sound while keeping the headphones light and comfortable. To achieve this, the engineers fit a proprietary array of 11 N52 magnets into a medium-sized 66mm speaker. The result is a perfectly balanced listening experience with detailed transients and mids, a very tight and controlled low end, and the size and weight to comfortably wear the headphones for hours.
The RAD-0 is a low-impedance headphone and therefore not difficult to drive. However, with all planar dynamic headphones we recommend the more power you can provide to them, the easier it’ll be for them to reach peak performance. You can drive the RAD-0 efficiently with just about any device, but having an amplifier behind the music will bring your listening experience to the next level. Rossen utilizes a 3-pole 3.5mm connection for cables. The termination type is different from the rest of the market, so Focal cables or upgraded Audeze and Focal Dragon cables will not work with the Rosson design. If you are interested in getting an upgrade Dragon Cables then you will have to select new ones using the unique pinout for Rosson.
The designers at Rosson Audio have always loved materials such as micarta and stabilized wood, and they believe they have the vision and skill to incorporate these materials into the company's designs. Straying from the beaten path, Rosson's designers collect burl, maple, teak, rocks, gems, and any other beautiful item the team can fit into a casting mold. Through determination and finesse, Rosson's team of engineers turn these raw materials into rings, and then it sands and polishes them before drilling entry holes for the yokes and input port.
The weight of the RAD-0 is consistent with some of the more middle-weighted Audeze LCD line (LCD-X), rather than some of the heavier headphones. Alex likes his headphones heavy, and the reason for that are the large magnet structures in the planar magnetic drivers. That’s what provides for the meaty, full, and big bottom-weight to the sound.
ASSEMBLY & TESTING
While one half of the engineering team works on the housings, the other half assembles the speakers in small batches and lets the speakers “pre-burn” at 100dB for two weeks to help enrich the sound. The speakers then go through rigorous testing and validation to ensure that each pair is ready for its new home. Rosson's testing tolerance is 0.3dB variance, and only those speakers that make it past the cut get installed into their newly made housing.
After installing a speaker into the housings, Rosson's engineers turn their attention to the headband. Weight is always an issue with planar magnetic speakers, so they focus on offsetting the weight with balanced curvature, clamping force and proper placement of perfectly dense padding. The result is the most comfortable planar headphone with the smoothest size adjustment design ever created.