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best headphones (ahem..."Ear speakers") Ever! Period!


Pros: Superb in every aspect except...

Cons: ...ever so slightly bass extension

I'm a rabid audiophile since the early '70s. I bought the first version sometime late '70s. Lost them in a move (I still think my roommate stole them...) Replaced them with the 2nd, better version which I've had since then. They are my reference for comparing all headphones and even when evaluating loudspeakers. I've bought & sold probably 25 or more headphones since then (top-of-the-line BY, AKG, Koss, Senn, Grados, etc.) and have never found anything close to what the Stax Sigma can do. There are some that have better/more bass but that's it. These beat on everything else and are absolutely unique even compared to Stax's more recent product line because of the ear speaker...
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John Buchanan

Stax Sigma vs Sigma Pro vs Sigma/404


Pros: Sound, comfort

Cons: Appearance

   The Stax Sigma series panoramic earspeakers. 1. Models and nomenclature The Stax SR-Sigma panoramic earspeaker was introduced in 1977. There have been 3 versions officially released and 1 after-market version commissioned. The original low bias, grey grille 1977 Sigma model (bias voltage of this model being 230V or “Normal”). The 2 um thick driver used was later recycled in the very successful Stax Lambda Semi-Panoramic earspeaker. The first release Sigma had a fabric coated, round bodied “kettle type” cord that connected the earspeaker to its amplifier/transformer and the grilles on this model are grey. Later versions of the normal bias Sigma (1987) used a...
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Natural sound, ideal for prolonged listening sessions without fatigue but with out most enjoyment.


Pros: Outstanding mids, absence of sibilance, huge soundstage.

Cons: Need for powerful amplification; hard to find, increasing price.

After the great reviews by John and Ed, there is really not much to say. The 009 is to my ears, a perfect headphone, although at times in the brighter side. In spite the 009's however, I frequently grab the Sigmas/404 for chamber music, vocals and chorales. The bass can at times get a little boomy in complex orchestral passages, but the wonderful mids give piano, voices and small acoustic instruments groups a relaxed and realistic sound you can listen to for hours. Certainly a specialty phone, and one I will never sell.

Vintage Sigmas still sounding great


Pros: Dimensional, detailed, smooth, rich sound; very comfortable to use for long periods

Cons: Few options for amps due to normal bias

Bought my Sigmas in the ''80s, after trying all the available Stax products and preferred the sound of the Sigmas by a wide margin.  Until recently have used them sparingly since I never really cared for the energizer/solid state amp combos I had available and thus spent far more time listening to a variety of speakers. Found a mint Stax SRM-T1W amp/preamp, and now I truly enjoy these 'phones. Plus the passive preamp section works quite well with the amps I now own when it's time to use speakers.



Pros: Unique Spatial Imaging, Electrostatic Clarity

Cons: Rarity, Bulky, Looks,

The Stax Sigmas are  pretty much unique among headphones, because they mount the drivers ahead of the ears and facing to the back of the head. Thus unlike virtually every other phone made there is no direct transmission of sound to the eardrum, but all sound reaching the eardrum is reflected one or more times by the external ear structures or ear canal.   Stax did this to create a more lifelike presentation, since this type of reflected sound is what you would get from speakers or real instruments located ahead of you.  So in that sense virtually all other phones produce an unnatural presentation because they fire sound directly to the ear drum something that you...
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