-Rock/EDM sounds amazing
-Close Soundstage sounds like being in the studio with the musician
-Piano sounds amazing
-Still my favorite headphones
-Some bass/sub-bass is missing
-A bit heavy/weird eardrum pressure
-Not the most accurate instrument portrayal or detail
I’ve had my Rosson RAD-0 #367 now for a few weeks now and I finally have enough free-time to write a review of these. I purchased these used with the @puck headband pre-installled and I have them hooked up to a Corpse Cable Gravedigger 4-pin XLR, then to a Schiit Bifrost 2/64 DAC and a Jotunheim 2 amp (both excellent Schiit btw). They are being sourced through my desktop with a Moon Audio Silver Dragon (what a waste of money) cable pulling from Tidal Hifi Plus. If you haven’t figured it out by now (c’mon, it’s why you’re even reading this review), each set of these headphones comes in a completely unique color that the Rosson team puts into an acoustically-excellent resin for your viewing pleasure. Yes, they’re gorgeous, and yes, they sound good enough that I sold my Hifiman HE-1000 v2 after getting these because they have a more fun sound at the cost of less detail, and a less analytical sound. That’s the Rosson RAD-0 in a nut-shell, read on for more details on sound, build quality, and a comparison to my Kennerton Gjallarhorn GH 50 JM Edition v2 (GHJM) and Hifiman HE-1000 v2 (HEKv2).
Overall, the build quality is excellent. This headphone weighs in around 600g and long-term wear is helped by a chair with a headrest – they’re not meant to be a mobile headphone. I have the occasional headband crackle sound when moving a cup off my ear, but its rare and doesn’t impact anything. The headband is part of the reason these are so heavy – supposedly a new headband design is coming out soon, but the @puck mod is highly recommended in the meantime. The cups are more gorgeous than photos suggest in-person, and you can have them build however you want, or you can buy them used or b-stock for a significant discount. You can even get the grills customized by contacting Rosson. The stock cable is not great and I’m using a Corpse Cable Gravedigger, which I can highly recommend other than the fact that it’s slightly microphonic. The stock earpads are super comfy and squishy, though they can get a little hot. You can bend the headband to make the fit better, but mine came well-fitting upon purchase. The carrying case that comes with these is a super sturdy pelican case, but it crushes the stock earpads more than it should.
The RAD-0 are very comfortable headphones with the @puck mod, though I doubt they would be without it. They are more comfortable than the HEKv2 and UItopia, both which pressed on my ear canal below my jaw. They’re not as comfortable as the GHJM, which is 200g lighter (but has a more annoying headband). The earcups are large and very comfortable over long periods. I have noticed a somewhat annoying eardrum pressure when putting them on though, which is very odd for open-back headphones.
OK, so while I’ve owned a lot of high-end headphones, including the Meze Empyrean and Focal Utopia 2020, that doesn’t mean that I can pick apart sound like a professional reviewer. On the plus side, neither can most other people, and it makes for a boring read, so below are MY impressions on the sound – deal with it or go write your own review. I will list the song I use to test certain aspects of headphones and you can find my headphone test tracks playlist in my sig if you want to try your own headphones to compare. Also, I don’t have an accurate way to differentiate between mids and highs (most people don’t), so I prefer to use specific instruments and vocals.
If you want to test bass, The Knife’s “Silent Shout” is the best track to test that, even though I think it’s just an OK song. The bass in the intro is strong, and very clear, but nowhere near as strong as the GHJM (it’s closed-back, so that makes sense). The GHJM definitely loses some clarity in the bass, but the bass and sub-bass (the bass you feel more than hear) is significantly stronger. The bass on these is still FAR better/stronger than the Utopia and HEKv2. I am not a basshead, but if you want really powerful bass, get the GHJM, if you like your low-end to exist, but not overpower everything, these are a great option, and if you like a subdued bass with neutral tuning, get the Utopia or HEKv2 (more low-end than Utopia).
The bass intro to David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue)” REALLY highlights how good the bass and sub-bass are on these. You can feel the reverb on the low-end in your soul. The RAD-0 REALLY works great with EDM and rock. Skrillex’s “Scary Monster and Nite Sprites” really highlights how good the low-end are on these. The transition at 0:40 really makes you feel the sub-bass and drums on the low-end while also highlighting the rest of the sound signature while the synths are playing.
Instruments and vocals:
This is where the RAD-0 really shines. 3 Doors Down “Kryptonite” (greatest hits remake, not original (better sound, but has an annoying guitar-part missing at the beginning)) really shows off the excellent mid-sized soundstage and guitars/vocals that these can present. They ARE slightly more distorted and less detailed than the Utopia and HEK, but the reverberation and overall sound is just amazing. There is a reason these are often mentioned as endgame headphones and the talented bass and excellent mids are why.
To use David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue)” once more, the synth and vocals in this song are just to clear and can really blow your mind and give you that euphoric/musical feeling that other headphones struggle to achieve. John Legend’s “All of me” shows how well pianos and vocals are represented. Slash’s “Anastasia” highlights how well both acoustic and electric guitars are presented by the RAD-0, though it also highlights how the low-mid end overwhelms some of the mids-highs as opposed to a more neutral presentation like you might find on the Utopia or HEKv2. Demon Hunter’s “I am a Stone” shows that the RAD-0 presents strings beautifully, though they can overpower the vocals just a tad. Mr. Mister’s “Kyrie” highlights the high-note vocals and they are beautifully represented and at the forefront of the song, though the electric guitar can occasionally overpower the vocals on the RAD-0.
I’m using the GHJM on 6.5mm so I can have both the RAD-0 and the GHJM plugged in at the same time for easy swaps and at the same volume (with xlr-4, the GHJM is MUCH louder and easier to drive. The big takeaway between the two is that the RAD-0 gives you a much more well-rounded presentation with a bigger soundstage while the GHJM has WAY more bass (even with the bass plugs in, these are super bassy). Fun.’s “Some Nights really highlights this where the low-end is pounding on the GHJM and the mids take front-row on the RAD-0. The RAD-0 have a far more balanced presentation, but can actually feel a little bass-light switching between the two. The intro to Yellowcard’s “Transmission Home” really highlights this difference as well. With the bass drums hitting SO hard on the GHJM, but it feels like something is missing on the lowend for the RAD-0 in a direct comparison. The vocals are definitely drowned out by the low-end on the GHJM, but the bass is just really on point while it feels absent on the RAD-0.
I find this amusing because I got the RAD-0 as a replacement for the HEKv2 which had too little bass. I got the HEKv2 as a replacement to the Utopia for the same reason. So now I’m moving even further to the right where I’m noticing a lack of bass on the RAD-0 that the GHJM has – but it can be too overwhelming on certain songs and really good on the RAD-0. Regardless, the RAD-0 has some of the best instrumentation and vocals of any headphone I’ve heard – they are more fun than the Utopia and HEKv2. If you want a bigger soundstage, get the Sennheiser HD800s – The RAD-0 feels pretty intimate, more like being in the studio or a small club than a concert hall or stadium.
A quick note on classical: The Piano Guy’s “Code Name Vivaldi” has piano, strings, etc. and sounds very good on the RAD-0, but if you’re looking accurate instrument representation with classical, the Utopia or HEKv2 will be better options for you.
These are still one of my favorite headphones and I’m looking forward to trying them out with a new DAC/amp soon for more variety. People are surprised when they learn that I prefer these over the Empyrean, Utopia, and HEKv2. There’s more low-end and excellent mid/high-end with good soundstage. They don’t have the low end of the GHJM, but if you’re not a basshead, like I am not, then these are just about perfect. The only headphone that has a better low-end and similar mids/highs is the JMA XTC-Open, but it’s missing a bit in the highs and doesn’t have the gorgeous looks the RAD-0 does. If you’re looking for more fun and you find your neutral-reference headphone just too boring, like I did, grab a pair of RAD-0, I’m not getting rid of these anytime soon.
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