copypasta from Changstar http://www.changstar.com/index.php/topic,1819.0.html --------------------------------- Here's my notes on the Stax system that's going around. Big thanks to the Massdrop guys for making this available to pirates Test Conditions: Lynx Hilo Line-Out > SRM-323S Amplifier > SR-307 Lynx Hilo Line-Out > ECP Torpedo (various triodes and various coupling caps used without regard for repeatability) > HD800 and HD600 (if noun is not explicit, assume I'm talking about the Stax. You'll probably catch me contradicting myself on multiple occasions. Listening took place over the course of multiple nights under different levels of intoxication) vs HD800 * Immediately less open than HD800 * strings have more plastic, less natural timbre * Good speed on strings, reasonably extended and articulate * Excursion must be limited, can't reproduce kick drum at high SPLs * less clear across the spectrum in direct comparison to HD800 * pretty good ambient portrayal, pretty good separation * ocean waves are more natural with HD800, although the Stax give an illusion of better separation; SR307 does great on macrodetail (not so much on micro) * Sometimes I feel like the SR307 might be subtracting warmth from the recording to give a false sense of extra detail. Although this is not what I would call a lean headphone. * It's got good body in the mids contrary to what I've heard folks say * This is a fairly well behaved headphone; no major treble nasties that I'm detecting * SR307 is more polite (compressed?) with dynamics than HD800; HD800 will attack your face * Midrange is forward, especially vocals * When playing CounterStrike, can't hear as deep into space. Not as aware of surroundings. HD800 destroys it for gaming * Also good for listening at low levels * Hint of hissiness with vocals * I am wanting for more stage depth * SR307 has a great decay * again, very clean * I'm impressed by their ability to resolve vocals up front and clear even when there's a lot of energy being thrown around * These can rock and roll pretty hard for a Japanese headphone * Treble texture is a bit off vs HD600 * HD600 might have better all around tone and texture, despite being much more laid back * Sort of an artificially clean handling of transients; HD600 does it with just as much dynamics but more naturally * These have more energy up top (8k and above if I had to guess) compared to HD600; tends to highlight cymbals better * SR307 delivers more "gross" detail due to its tonal balance * HD600 might just edge out SR307 in low level retrieval which is surprising * SR307 just isn't swinging as high; isn't able to explode dynamically when the music calls for it * HD600 allows me to hear deeper into the stage, Stax just aren't digging as deep.... fundamentally 2D sounding * These are still fairly involving though, they keep me listening although the texture is not quite to my liking * Although the SR307 is not polite tonally (not laid back), the dynamics are polite. HD600 packs way more of a punch * HD600 is more fuzzy sounding, which is a plus for SR307. SR307 definitely has a cleaner sound * The SR307 has a smaller color palette, meaning its ability to reproduce different sonic characteristics is stunted * These have very high quality bass; well extended just not terribly impactful * I'm still loving the vocal presentation of these guys, really impressing me there * these have a tighter, cleaner presentation than the HD600. Better definition. Sharper edges so to speak * These have an upfront artificial sound with pianos that is bothering me; HD600 piano rendering is more correct Summary: This is a good headphone/system. I can understand why people like the Stax because they offer some unique qualities. The tonal balance from top to bottom is reasonably neutral which is my first priority. These are fairly resolving too but not anywhere close to the HD800 in terms of technical capabilities. I feel the HD600 actually digs deeper into the mix too and offers a more natural/correct sound but just isn't as clean and sharp. Besides that, the bigger factor in the way of people enjoying these headphones will be the Stax finickiness...dedicated amplification, sensitive diaphragm, limited excursion. For folks willing to put up with that, these are a good option if you like the sound. Recommending these as a value proposition is hard to do...I actually thought this system was a lot cheaper (<< $1000) while listening so I probably went easy on it in retrospect. But people should definitely check this system out to get a handle on the electrostat sound.