From 6Moons' Srajan Ebaen,
'It's this very reality which birthed and now attempts to support the CHA-1. What this deck adds over certain high-priced pretenders is real engineering, specifically high-speed circuit design for MHz/GHz signal processing. That such an out-of-industry approach applied to our 20Hz-20kHz bandwidth has merit is borne out by superlative performance. But just as you wouldn't associate a street-legal race car with normal tyres, standard shocks and civilian gasoline whilst expecting to tap anywhere near its actual potential, the CHA-1 too demands top-quality ancillaries. It's like a hand-held shot blown up large. No matter how fancy your lens or on-chip anti-shake DSP, there will be blur and loss of fine detail. So treat the CHA-1 with due respect. Then you'll have one massive near hyper-realist full-color photograph to frame and hang over your fireplace. It won't be a silly trophy though. It'll be a portal into a full-immersion music experience of SOTA caliber (and one well beyond the typical speaker installation no matter its cost). Four years ago when the CHA-1 was first conceived, market interest in such an unreasonable statement effort was mostly zero. Today there is a glimmer of hope that such an extremist machine might enjoy an appreciative reception by the few who not only can afford it—I sadly can't—but who recognize it for what it is: still well ahead of its time!'
The Pinnacle of Headphone Amplification As We Know It.
Long before the tidal wave of headphone popularity came along, there was planted the idea of the Crayon CHA-1. It was made to the strictest standards with the hope of powering AKG-K1000 the way God intended...(Harmon, we miss the hell out of our K1000s) It was considered too expensive to produce. The few lucky enough to hear one or borrow one, generally would never send it back to Roland Krammer, the head- amps creator. I am guilty of the same behavior. I received mine to put in a show, and Roland, you'll pry the CHA-1 from my cold dead fingers before I send it back to you. The only chance I have at redemption is to sell a few.
It's hard to describe the CHA-1, but I'll take a shot at it. It possesses the space and ease of the greatest equipment...that level of feeling that the equipment isn't trying yet is laying everything out for your perusal...ease. And as with all of Roland's gear, space is the final frontier. It's quite simply 3 dimensional.
It's also rather expensive, but if you were to look under the bonnet, you'd know that the price was well in line with the parts. It costs a small fortune to make and a slightly larger one to purchase. But if you're looking to get off of the roller coaster of headfi, and live happily for all time with the best...this is your stop...till then keep your hands and feet out of the aisle and enjoy the music.
Please note the photo from the Capital Audio Fest. We had my ultimate headphone set on display. The Saskia 2 Reference Turntable, outfitted with a Schroeder Reference Arm, The Emia Strain Gauge Cartidge and Power supply, into the Crayon CHA-1, and a pair of Audeze LCD3s...I cannot describe the sound...I'd call it 'Beyond'
The fellow in the last photo was listening through the Crayon...you get used to seeing that look.