Electrostatic Vs Everything Else

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Rotijon, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. Maxvla

    Maxvla Friend

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    If Jades had been made in larger numbers and in higher build quality, I might be a stat guy, too. I'd give up a little of the soundstage finesse of the HD800s for their signature and effortless delivery.
     
  2. Rotijon

    Rotijon Friend

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    Thanks for the feedback, i never knew you had a T2DIY. Why a KGST? Wasn't the T2DIY the be all end all? It is very hard to find though.

    I was speaking to birgir (Mjolnir Audio) on the carbon, and his comments was that it was the T2 except faster and more neutral. In his words, he said that after using the carbon for awhile, he noticed a slight overhang in the bass of the BHSE and T2. Good thing or not, i guess its down to taste.


    Definitely, i know that head-case is the usual go to place for stats. But people there seem to be very biased towards them, would be nice to hear some views from people who have heard the best of dynamics.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2016
  3. Prydz

    Prydz Friend

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    Yes they are coming with 2 new headphones and a new amplifier.
    The SR-L700 will be around 1100-1500 bucks if im not wrong.
     
  4. shipsupt

    shipsupt Admin

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    A lot of those guys on Head-Case, myself included, have owned all the best dynamics and planars. In my case, I had nearly every "flagship" dynamic and planar and plenty of mid-fi to. (All but the most recent stuff since I made the leap to stats a while ago.) We've had or heard most of the good amps and DACs out there. In the end, like Marv did for a while, we made a move to stats.

    Some stick with the stats, some move on. There is no right or wrong. The reality is that if there were a perfect headphone these forums would be pretty boring. Everything is a compromise. The good news is that with the gear out there today the compromises are pretty damned small.

    Just because our primary choice in gear is electrostatic does not make us nutty zealots (except for N3rdling, he's a nut - ha ha). A lot of that bias you sense IS based on experience with the best of dynamics. You've seen the same thing here, and back at Chang Star, with the face tweeter gang (HD-800); it's natural for folks to be enthusiastic about good gear, especially for stuff they own!

    At some point, I stopped wanting to spend my time comparing every detail of the 009 vs the HD-800 vs. the blah, blah, blah. Nothing wrong with that, in fact it's important when you're in the market for high end gear, but eventually I moved to a different place. I wanted to put together a great system. And I did.

    Don't confuse this with "I have the end game"... I still enjoy the hobby, I keep my eye open for new great-sounding gear. I still try new stuff. I love bargain gear that sounds great. And I do make slow, thoughtful improvements to my system.

    For me, the electrostatic gear I have now lets me enjoy my music. I don't find myself chasing better fidelity through gear acquisition. That must say something about how good stats can be?
     
  5. Rotijon

    Rotijon Friend

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    Hmm thanks for that.

    When i said biased, the impression is head-case-ers being a little hostile to positive comparison between other set-ups against the stat, unless its by a regular member. I totally understand it, as head-case is a group of tight knit friends and they don't want people who don't get it or dont know their shit to join and shill.

    That said, may i know what is the current estat set up you have and what was the thing that made you choose it?

    I remember the first headphone system that impressed me, the Stax 307 and SRM323. The tone was just amazing and effortless, and afterwards i tried the SR009 and SRM727, and it was mind blowing then.

    However, after trying out the HD800/HE1000 to the M7 M9 stack, the SR009-SRM727 seem pretty boring and ball-less, to be fair, the dac (invicta) they were using was doing it no favors.

    Im wondering, if that was a good representation of the Stax sound or is the 009 with a BHSE/T2/KGSSHV on a whole new plane?
     
  6. Complin

    Complin Rando

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    Its strange how people like different things but one of the main reasons I love Stats so much is I think they are the Kings of relaying the timbre of instruments. I love to listen to ethnic non electric instruments in the mix which just ooze timbre unlike an electric guitar or synth. With percussion for example listen to something like a Tabla drum, the decay of cymbals, the speed and snap of rap on a snare drum, the overtones on brass like a Sax, on a dynamic and then a stat. its just not comparable to what I hear at a live performance the Stats let me feel "i'm there" with a good recording.

    Not sure what you mean by the "HD 800 tend to fuck up in critical places despite sometimes being more resolving". Sennheisers more expensive headphones are often claimed to be bass light and lack impact in comparison to some others, but personally I have found them even handed. They don't have exaggerated bass as they are trying to portray a relatively neutral sound. This is not the case I find with some of their cheaper offerings which I think are aimed at gamers, and bass freaks who are looking more for a wow factor rather than neutrality.

     
  7. Complin

    Complin Rando

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    The 007 Mk1 is still one of my all time favorite headphones and yes it really needs a lot of power to bring it to life, which is how i'm sure you know why the KG BH/BHSE came into being. Many people still prefer the 007 over the 009, a modified 007 MKII is still a great headphone IMO if driven properly. Its often accused of being dark but to me its missing nothing unlike some similar voiced orthos that people rave about. I love the different personalities of the Stax range over the years for example the Sigma Pro, Lambda Nova Signature and 404 to name but a few!


    [QUOTE="Ali-Pacha

    009 are far more sensitive than 007mk1, you don't have the feeling there's something missing, even on lower amps, where 007mk1 feels congested and distant.
    But compare to some Sigma Pro, for instance. The latter is far less sensitive, not to mention loudness FR vs. neutral to slighlty bright FR of 009, but Sigs Pro do kick harder. Same thing with Lambda Sig vs. 009. Comparable sensitivity here, but Lambda kick harder on average amps.
    This kind of comparison makes me understand 009 large drivers also greatly benefit from powerful amps, and I mean current/slew rate, not voltage. Although, get an SRD-7 and blow your heaphones out with 2500 V P-P when you want :D

    As usual, YMMV, my 2 cents, and so on \/

    Ali[/QUOTE]
     
  8. shipsupt

    shipsupt Admin

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    1. The main headphone rig is basically:
    Modified Dedicated Mac Mini Music Server
    dCS Debussy
    BHSE
    009/007/Omgea/HE-60/Jade... etc...

    I keep a KGSShv next to this rig so that I can fire up a solid state amp quickly. I use the same gear to feed it.

    I also have a vinyl and reel to reel source chain that I've spent some time getting "right".


    2. The BHSE or T2 are going to blow the sox off a 727, no matter what you plug into it. That said, it doesn't transform the headphone into something totally different. If you're not liking what you hear from the 009/727 combo, you might not want to pursue stats.

    I would, of course, echo others comments. The 007, when amped properly and fed with a good source, can be amazing.
     
  9. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    This pretty much sums up STAX. I want my grainy old rock and metal records that sound like they've been copied from analog tapes to sound like they were copied from analog tapes as they were probably copied from analog tapes. If STAX are a way too clean modern poppy rock band with sample replaced drums, Autotune, and digitally reamped guitars, dynamic drivers are the Stooges' Fun House.

    It's hard to describe. Another ridiculous Head-Fi analogy would be STAX makes you feel like you're listening to a Star Wars hologram or ghosts of the band playing rather than a recording of the band playing.

    I find the bass of Sennheiser dynamics to be fine. The HD 800 has that 6 kHz resonance and elevated, almost diffuse field tuned treble that ticks me off to no end. It horrifically aggravates my tinnitus at normal listening levels of 80 to 90 db.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015
  10. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Ha, I was actually referring to the fact that we've had this argument 6 times and it's become a sort of cyclical process that results in the destruction and rebuilding of Zion. But that interpretation works too. ;)
     
  11. Hun7er

    Hun7er Dolphin flipper

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    I agree with most of sentences. It's matter of taste, electrostatics give things that currently you couldn't find on another technology.

    I own several stats HE60, SR007MKI/MKII, SR009, Lambda Nova, SR507 and at the end they didn't satisfy my needs.

    Theirs qualities have become flaws. They smooth out too many informations, I need to hear the grain when I hear rocks bands. They lack solid foundation at opposite of the ethereal "quality".
     
  12. TMoney

    TMoney Shits on SBAF over at Head-Case to be cool

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    As a former 009/KGSSHV owner, I think flat-out that electrostatic headphones are better sounding. The 009s on a good system are as close as I have come to I have come to feeling like I'm playing the source directly in to my brain.

    That being said, the major downside to owning an electrostatic rig is that you are locked in to the electrostatic ecosystem. The electrostatic amps only work with electrostatic headphones, which basically means Stax only. You can never use an electrostatic rig with speakers, and the future of electrostatic depends entirely on the Stax corporation.

    If you are willing to put up with those downsides though then I don't think there is any better headphone out there.
     
  13. n3rdling

    n3rdling Friend

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    Zealot checking in.

    On the advantages of different techs:

    Dynamics: Easiest to make in large quantities, lowering cost and thus the go-to tech for a headphone. Largest variety, biggest selection of amps to pair with. (For Barbie lovers as kids) You can get a dynamic at just about any price level. Probably the most rugged driver from the physical environment's harm as long as you don't accidentally rip the delicate voice coil. Main source of premature failure is from destroying the voice coil with an amp, either from playing them way too loud or DC offset on the line. Uneven wavefront. Driven from a single sided magnetic force, which decreases with the square of the distance. This means more volume -> more excursion/distance from magnet -> more distortion. This is why you see distortion rise in sub/mid bass. Power handling is great. Need the most advanced damping schemes. Load is generally medium difficulty to drive: high sensitivity but impedance usually varies quite a bit.

    Electrostats: Only actively made by a couple of companies, expensive/difficult to make, niche market. Not tons of models to choose from and not many amps to choose from. (For K'nex lovers as kids) For a new stat you're generally gonna spend a few hundred minimum for the headphone alone. You'll also need a dedicated stat amp or transformer to hook up to a speaker amp. Delicate to environmental harm: arcing can form from dust or moisture/humidity, etc. If you take care of them they'll probably outlive you, unless you're unlucky and you get a random channel imbalance. Planar wavefront, superior to normal planar magnetic wavefront. Driven from a balanced electrostatic force, which also decreases with the square of the distance. Since the membrane is driven actively and evenly from both sides, the distortion doesn't shoot up as the membrane gets further away from the source of force. Field is even at all points between stators. Power handling is the worst of the 3 techs: they'll get louder than you'll ever want to hear, but they might arc a little or slap the stators on very high volume sub-bass without enough tension. Since the membrane is so light, stats can be air damped; they don't really need help stopping and they're extremely fast at starting. Load is difficult to drive: requires high voltages to power, impedance is super high (it's basically a capacitor with a cable), capacitive coupling has to be watched, and minimum current per stator should be something like 3.5mA per JimL's explanations on HC. Lots of stat amps can push the voltage levels to drive these to high volumes, but lack in current output capability.

    Planar magnetics: A combination of the two above. Limited HP models similar to electrostats, but you get all the amp choices that dynamics have. (For creepy crawler lovers as kids) Rugged drivers as long as you don't accidentally poke a hole in the membrane or the manufacturer hasn't figured out how to prevent the traces from ripping at very high volumes. Prices are generally similar to stats: a few hundred minimum, TOTL models are just getting more and more expensive. Planar wavefront, but usually suffer a bit from reflections/diffraction off the magnet assembly. Driven from a magnetic force as in dynamics, but field is balanced and equal as described in stat segment, resulting in low distortion. Power handling is great. Damping scheme is usually required but getting closer and closer to being air damped as with electrostats. Load is generally very easy to drive: efficient and impedance doesn't vary with frequency.

    As far as objective criteria go:

    You'll basically always see the lowest distortion figures from an electrostat, followed by planar magnetics, and far in the distance dynamics. In terms of linearity, you'll generally see a more even FR in that same order. Dynamics tend to have a bit of accentuation in the midbass, some roll off in the sub bass, and the rest varies a lot from model to model. Orthos and stats are generally gonna have a flat response from ~20Hz-1kHz as long as the seal is perfect. In practice though, the sub bass will probably roll off a bit with stats since it's hard to get a perfect seal. Orthos are able to maintain their sub bass linearity better with an imperfect seal. FR over 1kHz varies from model to model with both techs, but I think stats are generally more even in FR once you look over about 8kHz or so. Planars have heavier diaphragms which need to be controlled via damping, resulting in a more shelved off treble response; without enough damping, the treble can be more neutral in FR but you get some ringing/distortion as a result. Planars have the best sub bass square waves but I'm not sure what that correlates to sound wise.

    Some food for thought:

    There have been a few people on HF who have made their own DIY electrostats in their garage which measure better than almost any dynamic HP ever released, from companies with millions of dollars budgeted for engineering teams and R&D.

    Zealot out!
     
  14. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Electrostatic wavefront does not look so planar to me in this simulation, particularly at higher frequencies:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/498292/my-diy-electrostatic-headphones/585#post_8738868

    Impulse response does not look so immediate to me relative to dynamics:
    http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/StaxSR009.pdf
    http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD800.pdf

    Arguably the impulse response of the dynamic above is narrower.

    The above IF datasheets don't seem to show a more even FR for the stat. Upper midrange is a few dB higher than the upper-mids and treble for the stat. Furthermore, midrange is sort of curved with high corners at around 60 Hz and 1kHz.

    I wouldn't worry too much about square waves. A 30 Hz square wave only has one tone in the sub-bass area.

    I agree with most of your post N3rds, and appreciate the sound that Stats bring to the table.
     
  15. n3rdling

    n3rdling Friend

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    Don't have time right now to read arnaud's post thoroughly, but the wavefront should be broken up a bit at higher frequencies depending on the stator design. This is minimal compared to the bigger gaps/magnets arrangement in most planar magnetics. You can circumvent this with a single sided stat/PM, but then you lose the linear drive advantages mentioned above. Is arnaud a member here? It'd be cool to get his input on this and how much of his simulation set is influenced by the rectangular shape of the driver, which isn't found in any stat besides maybe the Jecklin Float.

    Keep in mind the request was for the advantages of these 3 different technologies to be explained, which is why I kept my post limited to generalities. This is why I didn't bring up single sided stats/PMs, electrets, ring radiators, hybrids, etc. The HD800 should have one of the fastest impulse responses because it's using a powerful custom magnet with a ring radiator driver. This increases field strength and decreases weight significantly. Electrostats and ribbons are often used in 'super tweeter' applications because they're able to generate enough speed to reach very high frequencies with ease.

    Regarding FR evenness, again you're comparing 2 specific models of HPs when I'm talking generalities. Your average electrostat (probably a Lambda) is gonna be pretty neutral relative to your average dynamic.
     
  16. Maxvla

    Maxvla Friend

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    That's not true, though. There are several sources of stat phones, though some are no longer in production. Senn, HE Audio, Stax, Koss, and now Kingsound, and (if Dharma goes over well) perhaps EnigmAcoustics. And that's just the cans. Looking at amplifiers, you have Stax, Kingsound, Eddie Current, Cavalli, Woo, RSA, Headamp Aristaeus, and the Gilmore designs like KGSS/HV and BHSE There has never been more choice in the stat market than now, especially if you are willing to go used.

    Provided the amp has the right outputs, an electrostatic amp can be used as a preamp just as a normal headphone amp, so I see no reason why it couldn't be used in a speaker rig. Except for Ragnarok and a few low output tube designs, there aren't many headamps that will drive speakers, so in almost all cases you'd be using the amp as a preamp.
     
  17. Rotijon

    Rotijon Friend

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    Well, i just remembered a friend has a Mjolnir Audio KGST and SR007 Mk2.

    Lets see how it fares, ill probably bring to try out with a M7. Should be interesting. Will post my impression if anyone is interested.
     
  18. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    Has anyone had a chance to listen to the new SR-L700 or L500? Head-fi impressions seem to be quite positive.
     
  19. UltraShock

    UltraShock Rando

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    I only used some L500's for about 10 maybe 15 minutes, but my impressions were they sounded like Lambdas that were smoother up top of and less piercing and painfully shrill at times like my Lambda Pros were.

    My only reference points are my SR-X Mark III and Lambda Pros. I don't think they have much in common with the SR-X, they're definitely closer to Lambdas but I'm honestly thinking about getting some SR-L700 for myself, maybe next time I go to Japan.
     
  20. Smitty

    Smitty Too good for bad vodka - Friend

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    Makes sense, they're supposed to be soem trickle-down of SR-009/007 tech and diaphragm stuff to the lower end. I'll see about getting a pair to compare with my Spreitzer-modded 007A and my 404-LE.
     

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