Rosson Audio Design RAD-0 Review

Rosson RAD-0

The Rosson Audio Design RAD-0 is Rosson’ first high-end headphone, selling for $2,600 USD.

 

 

Disclaimer: The Rosson Audio RAD-0 was handed over to us by Alex at the London Canjam show, in exchange for our honest review. Rosson Audio is not related to Headfonia in any way. We have already previewed the RAD-0 late last year, so you might recognize some earlier posted parts.

Rosson Audio Design

If the name Alex Rosson doesn’t ring a bell, then think (back to) Audeze. Alex was one of the Audeze founders and he had a big impact on the tuning of some of the finest Audeze LCD headphones. He then left Audeze to lead the creation team of Shinola’s audio division and within 2 years he had developed a multitude of products. Now Alex is back with his own brand of headphones under the Rosson Audio Design label, aka RAD.

On his website we can find the following:

Alex has spent his entire life in the sound business. As a musician and engineer, Alex grew up immersed in audio and film production at many of the most notable studios across Los Angeles. Alex worked for nearly a decade as one of Technicolor’s top mastering engineers before venturing into entrepreneurship and becoming the co-founder and CEO of Audeze. With Rosson Audio Design, Alex distills the entirety of his career into a unique auditory experience, one pair of headphones at a time.

RAD-0

Rosson Audio Design was launched with a single model in the product line-up, the RAD-0. Both in looks and sound you can find a lot of similarities and touching points with the Audeze LCD headphones.

Some call it “Audeze 2.0” but I’d rather call it the RAD-0 headphone as the differences and improvements are big enough to do so. But for sure there is a link between both brands and the headphones, it’s hard to not see it. Alex Rosson actually still is a major supporter over at Audeze as well.

The RAD-0, according to Rosson, is born from years of R&D and a lifetime of experience. “Every aspect of our headphones is prepared with an artisan’s attention to detail and a pure love for our craft. Countless hours of thought and care go into every speaker, housing and headband we makeTogether, these components unite to form the best pair of planar magnetic headphones on the market. When you get your hands on the RAD-0, we’re confident that you will be able to see, feel and hear the Rosson difference.”

Since planar speakers can be very delicate, RAD uses a material with an extremely low mass and the strength to withstand high temperatures, movement and electrical load, and the durability to last a lifetime. The RAD goal is to achieve a balanced sound while keeping the headphones light and comfortable (see later). To achieve this, they fit a proprietary array of 11 N52 magnets into a medium-sized 66mm speaker. According to Rosson, “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.”

We’ll get back to the “light and comfortable part” later as it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

Technical Specs

STYLE: OVER-EAR, OPEN-BACK

EARPADS – HEADBAND : SUSTAINABLE

CABLE : CONNECTORS – 3.5MM : LENGTH – 2 METERS

TRANSDUCER TYPE : PLANAR MAGNETIC

TRANSDUCER SIZE : 66 MM

FREQUENCY RESPONSE : 20HZ – BEYOND AUDIBLE RANGE

THD : <0.1%

IMPEDANCE : 29 OHM

 

The Box, Accessories & Price

Like many of the higher end headphones nowadays, the RAD-0 comes delivered in an awesome (yellow) hard travel case with a foam cut-out, perfectly fitting the headphones as well as the cable. There’s even an other cut-out foreseen inside the case, I tend to use the extra one for the balanced cable (from Hifiman) I’m using with it.

The cable that came with my unit was a single-ended one, and next to that there only were some stickers in the box. I can’t say if the “normal” version comes with more accessories as I took it home directly after a show. But it doesn’t look like it from what I see on the web. In the meantime Rosson Audio has designed two balanced headphones cables for the RAD-0, but as they’re selling for $60 and $70 USD on the website, I doubt any of these will be included in the stock package.

The RAD-0 doesn’t come cheap and to take one of these unique looking and high end sounding headphones home with you, you’ll have to pay around $2,600USD. At the same time, this price -looking at the high-end competition – isn’t that shocking either, and these will surely last you a lifetime.

Design

While the RAD-0 has a familiar look it at the same time is very unique. Like Audeze and many other headphone brands, it has a very special and sexy grill/cover with the logo in the middle. It’s gorgeous, but even more jaw-dropping is the housing of these headphones’ driver.

Rosson explains:For as long as we can remember, we’ve dreamed of offering unique, custom creations with an aesthetic worthy of our premium sound. We always loved materials such as micarta and stabilized wood, and we believe we have the vision and skill to incorporate these materials into our designs. Straying from the beaten path, we collect burl, maple, teak, rocks, gems, and any other beautiful item that we can fit into our casting mold. Through determination and finesse, we turn these raw materials into rings, and then we sand and polish them before drilling entry holes for the yokes and input port. 

Posted by Rosson Audio Design on Saturday, May 11, 2019

 

The result? A seducing mix of wood, resin and other materials, making each headphone different and most of all: unique. You can check out a lot of the RAD-0 design on Rosson’s website where they even keep an overview of all the sold versions. Check it out here and here.

There are so many different designs I really like and I couldn’t choose a single favourite one. I do like the ones though which combine the light coloured wood and coloured resin. Our version as you can see in the pictures is number 045 and it has a mostly orange, blue and purple colours in a galaxy kind of design. I quit like it as well.

The article continues on the second page which you can find by clicking HERE.

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

2 Comments

  • Reply October 7, 2020

    Offramp

    Why am I not surprised to learn you used the V850 or the 339 in this review. I’m also very unsurprised you used the Niimbus while reviewing either.
    It seems like you guys drop bread crumbs that I find every time.
    These are the headphones I’m waiting for Rad-0 [out of stock].
    Nimbus is the solid state I’m considering.
    Electrostatic is the last frontier and I haven’t made a decision on the amp or the DAC to drive that amp. I’m considering everybody for the amp but no real direction yet for the DAC but it has to equal the V850.
    You know I’ve been thinking when you get to a certain level of equipment what is it going to take to achieve the next level…
    Thanks

    Always in the background
    Always reading around

  • Reply October 9, 2020

    Darkstar

    Offramp,

    I was on the V850 drop as well. I am super happy with mine. The Schiit Gungnir Multibit will be hitting the used market great dac in its own right I just prefer the v850.

    Yeah once you hit a certain level its your tastes because everything is good in its own way. I suggest you listen to electrostatic setup before you leap. I have v850/v281 Utopia and LCD X. I have no desire going after an electrostatic setup after hearing a few. Not that they are not amazing just not really my sonic flavor. I would much rather stick with what I have especially amp/dac wise.

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