In Detail: RHA CL1 Ceramic

The CL1 Ceramic is the most challenging product RHA has ever developed. As RHA’s new flagship in-ear headphone, it brings together an array of new technologies, materials and designs to set it apart, and above, not only other RHA products, but also products in the wider in-ear headphone market.

Precision technology, harmonic purity

Though RHA’s product development engineers had experimented with two-in-one drivers with the DualCoil™ technology in the T20i, the CL1 is the first RHA product to feature two distinct transducers: a version of the CL Dynamic and a unique ceramic plate transducer. The two drivers are different but complementary technologies, engineered for outstanding high-resolution audio when used with an amplifier or high-powered DAP.

The CL Dynamic variant contained inside the CL1 has been engineered to focus on frequencies below 8kHz by supplementing the diaphragm with a secondary layer. The extra layer, of an experimental material typically used in fire-proofing, thickens and softens the membrane, optimising it for bass and midrange tone reproduction.

To augment the driver configuration, RHA’s engineers developed a unique ceramic driver which operates using the piezoelectric effect. The ultra-thin driver is an exercise in precision, with the driver measuring 0.11mm in thickness despite comprising of three layers: a rear silver layer, a central ceramic layer – from which the technology draws its name – and a front zinc layer which operates as the component’s diaphragm. The driver operates by passing electrical signals through the non-conductive ceramic, causing the front layer to flex and generate sound waves. The technique affords unprecedented levels of control over high frequencies and harmonic tone reproduction above 8kHz.

High density, low resonance

The CL1 is also RHA's first in-ear headphone constructed from ceramic; each housing is made from zirconium dioxide, which has the highest mechanical strength of all advanced ceramics and is up to eight times more dense than common thermoplastics.

The compound is injection moulded in a seven-stage process to create the intricate shape of the CL1’s ergonomic design. The ideal material to house two independent transducers operating in phase alignment, ceramic was chosen for its very low acoustic resonance, high durability and its premium aesthetic.

Amplified power, enhanced durability

The CL1’s dual transducer configuration is optimised for use with headphone amplifiers and was engineered simultaneously with the RHA Dacamp L1, making the products perfect, high-res audio partners.

To work with a wide range of amplifiers and source devices, the CL1 features a custom detachable cable system using proprietary, secure sMMCX connectors. The connectors are based on the common MMCX, however they have been reengineered for use with the CL1 to offer improved signal transmission and a higher level of durability, with a locking tooth designed to prevent degradation caused by rotation of conventional connectors.

In order to ensure longevity and efficient signal transmission, the RHA’s engineers created a new version of the standard MMCX connector that is more secure, with a locking tooth to prevent degradation caused by rotation in conventional connectors. The headphone is supplied with two cables: the balanced Ag4x cable with Mini XLR termination for use with Dacamp L1, and a braided OFC cable with 3.5mm or 6.35mm terminations for use with a wider range of devices.

To achieve the optimal comfort, the CL1 also features mouldable over-ear hooks, a contoured, ergonomic design of the driver housings and 11 pairs of noise isolating ear tips including Comply™ Tsx-400 memory foam tips. Also included are a protector case, polishing cloth and a clothing clip.

A further addition to RHA’s high-resolution product range, the CL1 is High-Res Audio as certified by the Japan Audio Society and carries a three-year international manufacturer’s warranty.

The CL1 Ceramic will be available to order from November 2016 via the RHA website.

Did you get to hear the true-to-life sound of the CL1 at any of the shows in RHA’s Autumn product tour? Let us know what you think via RHA’s social media channels: Facebook/Twitter/Instagram