The Stax I thread

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

  1. FL Guy

    FL Guy New

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    Which raises an interesting question - the topic of favorite amps for use with the -009 (and -007) has of course been discussed at some length here and elsewhere. Does anyone care to share what DAC+Amp _combinations_ they have found to pair particularly well with -009s?

    Either overall, or for those who don't care for a sometimes thin sound? (while still retaining speed detail & air, which is a big part of why to consider an -009 in the first place.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  2. Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln New

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    STAX has announced their new amp, the SRM T8000. Details on HeadFi-TV.

     
  3. %20 Oddity

    %20 Oddity Friend

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    Somehow they say less in that video than on the STAX specs page.

    http://www.stax.co.jp/produ/SRMT8000.html

    Also, the suggested retail price is 5400 earth dollars [​IMG]

    e: I'm hella stoked for the MYSTERY OPTION SLOT though. Maybe it's the DAC/Amp combo thing they said they're working on in an interview?
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
  4. shipsupt

    shipsupt Admin

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    Can't they find a shorter table so you can see Jude behind those headphones? o_O
     
  5. Shure or bust

    Shure or bust New

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    I've got the L-700 and KGSS Koss Edition. A softer and less extended version of the KGSSHV mini. Waiting on the ear pad adapters.
     
  6. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

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    Might pick this up sometime this year and compare it to the BHSE?

    I expect the T8000 to play along with a wider array of options, including the SR-009 and new Lambdas, both of which I feel the BHSE only does a serviceable job with, honestly. The Gilmore designs have impeccable driver control, but they just tend to be a little too dry, too musically un engaging for someone like myself. Of course the BHSE and SR-007 are like made for each other: eternal lover kissy babies.

    But yeah, I'm thinking ahead to the new flagship that STAX is supposedly set to unveil next year, during an important anniversary for the company, what will presumably put the SR-009 in the 007's spot and allow the latter to gracefully retire from many years of faithful service.

    I'll be perfectly honest: at this point I mostly just collect STAX because I've got a figurative hard on for the company and its history. Kinda like my obsession with Sony's Walkman line. It's not entirely rational.

    The two headphones I actually use the most these days---to the point of near exclusion---are the Audio Zenith PMX2 (highly modified Oppo planar magnetic) and the Koss ESP 950 run from an SRM-717. Occasionally I might add a Lambda or Yamaha into the mix for that ethereal presentation or warm soul. Those warm and comfy memories help too.

    Nothing particularly earth shattering. But dear lord do these headphones come closest to getting it "right" for me. The PMX2 in particular has engendered in me a certainly laziness: I just plug it into my iPad or Walkman and listen to whatever. It always sounds good. I can focus on music and not think twice about what is connected into what, which makes me a terrible audiophile.

    All the DAC and amp chasing bullshit of yesteryear... That fire no longer burns in me like it once did. I'm post DAC-opausal or whatever. Now I just got the occasional turntable to excite me.

    Which isn't to say the costlier STAX aren't brilliant. In fact I keep them out of deep admiration, and it's precisely those times with the high-end turntables call my name that I wanna go "all out." The SR-009 with the SRM-717... I just can't find any fault with it. The price isn't quite as madness inducing at it once was either, what with the LCD-4s and Edition 6 Dr. Poo specials out there desensitizing a new generation of consumers.

    I'm in a mood to just get the T8000 and relax until STAX tries to make ripples in the audiophile community again.

    As for the other stuff... I do owe it to my other planars to get them a Cavalli amp. Whether that's a brand new Tungston, a gently used Glass, or a CTH... I guess we'll see. : )
     
  7. ogodei

    ogodei Friend

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    I seem to keep missing this: When will the T8000 be available in the US ?
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Probably never. STAX doesn't have a strong distributor network in the USA. (I believe there is currently none). The margins are too small and product availability too problematic for retailers to carry them. This at least from one retailer I spoke to who I presume would wish to remain anonymous. Also, the servicer Yamas / Accutech I think maybe consists of one person. He was a total shithead, not in terms of personality, but in how he would find reasons NOT to provide warranty service, or at least free warranty service.

    You are better off working with a store in Japan with people who kind of speak Engrish (which is the best you can hope for - surprising as even Chinese is the backwoods of the mainland, speak better English) and shipping back to them if there is ever a problem. Buying from Japan, even with shipping, would be arguably cheaper too than anything bought from a retailer in the USA.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  9. Gemini

    Gemini Facebook Friend

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    I've been out of the Stax loop for a few years... so Price Japan is now a heap of doodoo best to be avoided?
     
  10. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    PriceJapan went off-line for several months in 2016, and at least one person I know of initiated a PayPal dispute due to non-responsiveness and PJ not shipping a paid-for order. Some rumors said the owner was sick. The site seems to be back now and prices look about right for today's USD-JPY exchange rate, so perhaps it will work. Not sure if anyone has placed successful orders recently. If I were in the market for something new from Stax, I'd send PJ an email first and proceed if I receive a reply. My past experience ordering there was quite good.

    Re: Stax warranty — the standard one just lasts a year, a joke. Assuming a device arrives in working order, it's unlikely to break quite so soon. Which makes the current ~30% markup of authorized distributors relative to the grey market insane (used to be closer to ~50%), especially with the US warranty service reputation being as terrible as @Marvey noted.
     
  11. shipsupt

    shipsupt Admin

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    Word on the street is Yamas is no longer a distributer, but I still see the staxusa.com site up.

    I also hear STAX is looking to set something up in Dallas TX. I doubt they are going to NOT have a distriubter(s) in the US, too much potential market to loose. Wether or not that distributor turns out to be reliable and has the ability to offer competitive prices? That remains to be seen.

    I am sure the T-8000 will be avaialble in the US, it's just not likely to available here as quickly as it is in Japan and will be subject to the nornal retail mark ups.
     
  12. JeremiahS

    JeremiahS Almost "Made"

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    Hello guys,

    Thank you for the impressions, they are very helpful.

    Based on our impressions, it seems that one of the SR-009 and BHSE is "picky" with the audio chain but it seems that the culprit is the SR-009?

    I'm doing a little bit of research but it seemed that the SR-007 is less popular than the SR-009 so it's hard finding impressions regarding amps that have good pairing with them. I generally have a preference for solid-state amps for both loudpspeakers and headphones so does anyone here have any experience with pairing of KGSS-HV or Carbon with the SR-007?

    I apologize for my lack of knowledge in this matter. I'm new to headphones and during trade show last month it was the first time I tried electrostatic headphones. Honestly speaking they make top of the line Utopia and LCD-4 and HE1000 look very incapable and overpriced.

    Regards,
    Jeremiah
     
  13. ogodei

    ogodei Friend

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    Thanks. Contacted a Japanese seller I've bought from before, says he's already taken multiple pre-order requests but Stax wont let him know how many units he can get until next week. I guess they are pricing the unit correctly.
     
  14. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    Yup, for three reasons. One, people are drawn to a company's flagship offering. The 009 supplanted the 007, so more people shopping for high-end headphones tend to buy the 009. Two, the 007 has a rather uncharacteristically laid-back sound for Stax, and pretty different from the previous flagship, the (wonderful!) SR-Omega. And, most importantly, three: the way people tend to compare the two favors the 009.

    The 007 plays less loud than the 009. Most people compare the two by plugging them into one amp and swapping the headphones. Many stat amps have two sockets, so it's easy to do. Headamp attends many meets, and typically has a BHSE with both plugged in. Because louder always sounds better in quick listening tests, especially in noisy show conditions, people walk away thinking the 007 is muffled. In quieter conditions and with some volume matching — either using two separate amps or by turning down the volume to 0 between headphone switches — the 007 fares much better against the 009. At which point, some people will still prefer the brighter 009. I personally prefer the the SR-007Mk1 and the latest revision SR-007A (mid-2015 and onward; not sure about the older Mk2 versions, haven't heard one recently enough to be sure).

    Over the last couple of years, I built a KGSSHV (a "miniature" version with both channels on one board and on-board heatsinks, and an older, smaller, Blue Hawaii power supply), a KGST (6S4A tubes, also a BH power supply), and a Carbon (SiC MOSFET output devices, much larger case, external heatsinks, and the latest very very quiet power supply).

    The 007 benefits from a higher output stage current more so than the 009. Roughly speaking, it has a flatter effective FR when paired with a higher output current amplifier. So while it tends to sound a bit dark when underpowered, it opens up when paired with a powerful amp. Still not like a 009, which can be a bit too bright. On this old thread on HF, Kevin Gilmore explains some the electrical specifications for commonly-used stat amps. Note that the KGSSHV has 5.5mA by default, which can be cranked higher (I think many off-board heatsink builds do this). Common Stax amps have 5.5-6.5mA. The T2 has 14mA. The BHSE has 18mA. Most people (including me) run their Carbons at 20mA. This obviously doesn't tell the whole story about how an amp sounds, in no small part because people listen at different levels. The quieter a person listens, the less difference all this makes.

    As far as my amps go, to be perfectly honest, KG amps sound more similar than different, though I don't listen loud. I have the Carbon on my desk and use it all the time with the 007A. I think it sounds fantastic. Before that, I swapped the KGST and KGSSHV every couple of weeks, and liked them both. To my ears, the HV has a trifle more power in the bass, and the ST has a slightly more lush midrange. The Carbon has the best of both worlds.

    PS: I don't have a 009, but spent some time with one before I had the Carbon, and prefer it paired with the KGST (relative to the HV or the BH). Maybe the lower output current helps reduce its treble-happy nature to the point that I find it pleasing.

    PPS: It has been several years since I had the pleasure of trying an SR-Omega, but from memory, it combined the best of the 007 and 009. Stax could do much worse than re-release the Omega as an "SR-011" and put it in a chassis similar to the 007, which I think is the best-made, sturdiest, and most comfortable of the three.
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Pretty much the way to go, establishing a relationship with a retailer you can trust in Japan. The pricing of the T8000 seems like a breath of fresh air compared to the schlong schwinging we've seen lately for TOTL stuff. Glad STAX is keeping it real, sort of. I can easily give them a break because of their long established history and the fact that they are truly a boutique manufacturer (for better and for worse). They also don't release a new betterer headphone every eight months.
     
  16. JimL

    JimL Tongues KG's hairy starfish for fun

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    This past weekend we had a mini-meet in Albuquerque, in a public library room just off the entrance, and I brought along a BHSE, SR007 II with spritzer port mod, and SR-009. Source was my Apple laptop playing Apple lossless files. About half a dozen people listened to both headphones. I explained to them that the 007 sounded quieter than the 009 and they needed to increase the volume to compensate. Most were more used to listening to dynamic and orthodynamic headphones. Usual caveats about meet conditions, less than stellar source, yadda, yadda. About half preferred the 007 and about half preferred the 009. A couple people also listened to my modified Stax SRM-T1. Of course, the BHSE sounded better but the modded T1 wasn't embarrassed.
     
  17. ogodei

    ogodei Friend

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    Word back from Japan is production cant meet all the requests for the SRM-T8000 coming in. To be expected I guess.

    Another sign that these are priced to sell.
     
  18. Ali-Pacha

    Ali-Pacha Friend

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    Looks like the same story as 009 in their time :)

    Ali
     
  19. ogodei

    ogodei Friend

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    Put the T-8000 on order, 'End of June" is the only time frame Stax is releasing right now.

    Now begins the search for a good step-down transformer, will start combing the threads around here as this has to have been answered already.
     
  20. Rotijon

    Rotijon Friend

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    Why not get one with the right voltage?
     

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