The Stax I thread

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by knerian, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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  2. JimL

    JimL Tongues KG's hairy starfish for fun

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    There's a US T1W auction on ebay now for $600, but it is 100VAC only. Do not know if there is an internal switch which can be set to change the voltage or not - some of the earlier units had it, others had the transformer wires cut and would need some soldering work to convert. The seller claims that you don't need a step-down transformer but I disagree with that - w/o a transformer everything inside is over-voltaged and more likely to fail. The last five ebay auctions for T1 or T1S went for anywhere between $466 and $810 including shipping, so that gives you an idea of what they are going for these days. I picked mine up on ebay for about $320 but that was as-is, but it worked so I lucked out.

    BTW, the T1 is RCA inputs only, the T1S, T1W and 006 also have XLR inputs. Unless you need the switching facilities of the T1W I would go with one of the others, which are significantly smaller, and more easily modified for more effective power.
     
  3. Tachikoma

    Tachikoma Almost "Made"

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    The T1W and T1S, afaik, always have voltage switches.
     
  4. JimL

    JimL Tongues KG's hairy starfish for fun

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    Makes sense, since the voltage selector is on the PCB and I believe the T1, T1S and T1W all used the same circuit board layout. Incidentally, that T1W went for almost $900, and a T1S went for over $800 - could be bidding frenzy as T1 is more commonly $450-$650.
     
  5. JeremiahS

    JeremiahS Almost "Made"

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    I am new when it comes to STAX headphones but recently they had a large display in Can Jam SG so I had the chance to sample their new line up.

    Tonality wise I like the L700 the best with SR-007 second best but I don't like how the mid to treble transition is rough in the L700, unlike maybe say HD800S. SR-009 is kind of soulless so I don't really like them but young folks seem to adore them very much. I tried them with STAX own amps for the record.

    Honestly I am very interested in them since they sound very different from traditional dynamic headphones. The mid is very pure, unlike dynamic headphones. Is there a way maybe to fix the rough transition? With audiophile vocal it can get annoying.

    Regards,
    Jeremiah
     
  6. shipsupt

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  7. zolkis

    zolkis Acquaintance

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    With some pad mods, IMHO there is no major issues with either 007.
    Red: 007 Mk2 (modded), Green: 007 Mk1 (modded, taken at lower volume). The Mk1 sounds a bit louder.

    [​IMG]

    No EQ needed, just adjusting the headband. FWIW I prefer this 007 Mk1 over the 009 (which I have sold). It sounds phenomenal, and really close to the still-better SR-Omega (which has more elevated treble region, but very similar tonality, sound stage, bass impact etc).
     
  8. shipsupt

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    I've been spending some serious time with the 009 having inserted it into my work rig. I've done a little EQ to drive down the 1k shout and I have to say that I'm now enjoying them more than ever. I used to limit my time with the 009, but now I find myself missing them when I listen to something else. I kind of get why some folks end up not wanting to listen to anything else.
     
  9. zolkis

    zolkis Acquaintance

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    My 009 had a small peak/bump between 2-4 kHz: you might want to check a wide and small EQ in that region.
    Alternatively, you could place a small crescent shaped ~ 2-4 mm thick piece of wool felt or carbon foam sheet (~1cm wide, ~4-5 cm long) under the pads on the back side, between the dust cloth and the pad. That has a similar effect. Sound depends on the felt density, thickness and structure (~= total mass).
    You could also add an even smaller (~2-3 cm long) crescent shaped piece in the front.
    I surmise you will like the results (especially with carbon foam). Pre-wash and dry the carbon foam before using - if you opt for that. Use whatever you have at home, important is increasing the distance a bit, without damping too much.

    Good for you if open headphones are allowed at work :). I must survive with a closed can :).
     
  10. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    Is that also the pad mod you used on your 007? Do you use the port mod?
     
  11. zolkis

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    On the 007 Mk1 there is no port mod applicable.

    The 007 Mk1 mod was the following:
    1. removed the 007 pads and the spring
    2. took out the filling of the 007 pads and cut off the 4 mm thick white denser foam layer from the bottom, using a ceramic knife (could cut through the glue so exactly that I could glue back the foam, making this reversible)
    3. bought a 009 pad replacement from my Stax dealer (I had the 009 so it was easy)
    4. took out the 009 pad filling
    5. used 2 pieces of carbon foam pieces as described above: about 2-2.5 mm thick, about 10-15 mm wide, about 4-5 cm long in the back and about 2-3 cm long in the front
    6. put them under the 007 (trimmed) soft foam part, and put them all into the 009 ear pad leather housing
    7. assembled the modded 009 pads to the 007, without the springs.

    The 009 pads could be used in stock form (without the springs), they also sounded much better than the stock 007 Mk1 (more open), but the mod above has the best bass extension, impact, sound stage and dynamics.

    The 007 Mk2 mods were much simpler (I tested a lot of variants, including the port mod, but this sounded and measured the best):
    - use steps 1. and 2. from above
    - put back the upper soft foam part in the 007 earpads leather housing
    - assemble the pads without the springs.
    The port mod is an optional extra. I tried and measured it, but after the mods above I did not like it: the sound was too constrained and a little muffled.

    The 009 mod was described in the post above, and that's the simplest. I have also tried other mods with the 009, but it reacted much less to them than the 007. The 009 is a very consistent headphone, quite invariant to mods, well optimized (except the treble region, for my taste), but I could shelve the presence "shout" a bit, and make a more relaxed sound with somewhat better bass impact and extension. The 007 mod (analogous steps) would provide the full monty (i.e. replace the 4 mm thick white foam layer with pieces of carbon foam sheets), but I advise getting a replacement pad and screw only that :).
     
  12. FL Guy

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  13. shipsupt

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    I have listened to the 007 quite a bit using the GES and I've been using the 009 almost exclusively lately with the amp.

    The 007 does "fine", but as is heavily documented, they prefer a bit more of a kick in the pants to really reach their prime. I wouldn't write the combo off, but it's not "ideal".

    The 009 is a great match with this amp. It has become my daily listener here, which sometimes means 6 to even 8 hours of listening. I previously found the 009 fatiguing and could only take them in small doses. Now I miss them when I roll in other headphones.
     
  14. FL Guy

    FL Guy New

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    Sounds like you found a good match. Great when that happens! Thanks for the info.
     
  15. Whitigir

    Whitigir New

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    That is wrong, try 009 + Kgsshv Carbon, you will really hear it.
     
  16. JeremiahS

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    Hi shipsupt,

    Thank you for the link. I think you are right. I had another opportunity to do a more throughout listening when the STAX distributor visited Jakarta and I come to a conclusion that the shout is inevitable with the L700 and any other STAX in this lineup. A colleague had a HeadAmp Blue Hawaii SE with him so I did give it a try with that and it seems to make the problems worse than STAX own amps although the dynamic was significantly increased.

    The SR-007 on the other hand sound ridiculously good with the Blue Hawaii SE. I am seriously tempted to jump deep into the electrostatic world but the cost is exorbitant and my eldest daughter is about to enter elementary school this year so this will need some careful thinking.

    Hi Whitgir,

    I did try the SR-009 with the Blue Hawaii SE and I honestly I don't like it very much considering it is double the price of the SR-007. The timbre is unnatural, which reminds me of Focal Utopia and it sounds kind of thin and over-aggressive. To me it sounds like a bad mix between L700 and the old HD800.

    I haven't heard the Carbon amp so it could be a case of bad combination but the owner of the Blue Hawaii SE told me that his amp is the best electrostatic amp in production.

    Regards,
    Jeremiah
     
  17. ogodei

    ogodei Friend

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    I suggest that when someone tells you an amp is the 'best' you should take it with a grain of salt. And when it happens to be the amp they own, you should just nod politely and then go look for an unbiased opinion.

    In this case the BHSE is widely regarded as the best electrostatic tube amp in production, but the KGSSHV Carbon is equally regarded one of if not the best solid state amps. And I happen to own a carbon so someone else should chime in on this.
     
  18. shipsupt

    shipsupt Admin

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    The 009 isn't the best combo with the BHSE without some EQ - IMHO.

    That said when you mention thin, 009, and BHSE in the same sentence, it does make me wonder about your source.
     
  19. FL Guy

    FL Guy New

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    Fwiw, I have also heard a BHSE+009 combination which sounded decidedly thin. (It was at a show, and unfortunately, I didn't note what DAC was being used at the time.) I'm sure it's true that they sound better with a more synergistic chain though.
     
  20. JimL

    JimL Tongues KG's hairy starfish for fun

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    I think it is tricky to determine which is the "best" amp for electrostatic headphones. Even limiting ourselves to KG designs, other than the HeadAmp Blue Hawaii SE, most of the other Gilmore designs are DIY or available from more than one builder - Mjolnir Audio is one of them but there are other builders out there building a one-off or a few. Given that these amps may differ in the parts used, the quality of the build, the power supply used, etc., which is the best? And that doesn't even take into account differences in taste and priorities which may incline someone towards one or another.

    Overall, from the relatively few people who have compared them (probably less than a dozen published comments), the Gilmore T2 DIY, Blue Hawaii SE, KGSSHV Carbon and Megatron seem to occupy a similar quality level, with various persons rating one or another higher. I've seen comparisons (not by the same person) that rated the T2 over the BHSE, the Carbon over the T2 and BHSE, and the BHSE over the Carbon, so you tell me, which is best?

    I would also note that the BHSE is a hybrid, NOT a tube amp, as the front end is all solid state and only the output stage uses tubes. The Megatron is closest to an all-tube design but it does use solid state current sources in the front end and intermediate stages.
     

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