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Stax SR-007 "Omega II" Open-Back Electrostatic Earspeaker

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #90 in Over-Ear

Posted

Pros: Superior Speed, Mids, and Bass

Cons: Expensive to Amp, Seal can be tricky

Headphones simply do not get better than this.  The first time I heard the O2 mk1 was at the First National Meet.  I was blown away.  I had no idea that headphones could sound like...that.  They simply melted away.  It some ways, they ruined that meet for me because they were among the first phones I heard.

 

Fast forward a few years and a few meets later and I decided that I had committed to enough money to mediocrity, and I finally pulled the trigger on a pair on the used market.  Amped with a KGSS DX, they are a splendid mixture of power and finesse.  "Liquidy" is a word I associate with them.  And there is not a single thing I would change about the sound signature.  They are, simply put, the best headphones with which I have spent a meaningful amount of time.

 

The O2 mk1 is demanding, though.  You will need to invest in a 'stat amp of some quality and feed it a decent source.  But that investment will yield sonic bliss.

Posted

Pros: Transparency, razor-sharp imaging, tonal balance, bass doesn't distort imaging coherency

Cons: Fragile strain relief compared to mk2 model

The first thing I noticed with these headphones is clarity. -These are the only headphones that I have heard that can execute perfect imaging while generating a fully independent bass sound right in the middle of the soundstage.

This is the first time I have heard sound so holistically reproduced, and as an audio engineer I find this to be especially inspiring.

With other headphones, (particularly dynamics) the bass distorts the coherency of the sonic image and two sounds often compete for the same area of soundstage.

Comparatively, the 007 have uninhibited resolution and inner layering of detail which coalesces into a holographic audio image.

It's hard to imagine headphones being any better, and when it comes to amplification this is just the tip of the iceberg for me and my 717.

The best amps available are the Woo WES, Headamp KGSS & BHSE and the DIY KGSSHV.

Although the 717 is the budget amp for these headphones, this rig has changed the way I listen to music, and how I form criteria for gear I audition.

 

Before arriving at electrostats I built a balanced dynamic headphone system, owned the AKG K340 (hybrid of dynamic & electrostat), and the YH100 (orthodynamic).

So far the electrostatic technology that I have heard is the most advanced, although I am also watching out for new orthodynamic offerings as they become available.

At this point I have largely lost interest in dynamic headphones.

Posted

Pros: Superior treble detail and extension, bass depth and impact, neutral neuanced mids

Cons: Slightly uncomfortable, neutral mids might feel recessed, expensive

This is not really a review, just some inital impresions I'd like to share with fellow head-fiers. I've spent some hours with the SR007 mkI and the SRM007 amp. I also compared the mkI and mkII briefly, and main difference, though subtle, was that the mkII is slightly more forward and bright sounding. I preferred the slightly more smooth mkI. 

 

I've listened to the Stax O2 a couple of times before, but recently I was lucky enough to take it home for trial. When I rigged up the stax rig next to my HD650/Woo WA2, I was eager to see how much more I'd like the Stax rig.... Here's my short comparison

1) o2 is of course substantially more detailed

2) o2 has blacker background

3) o2 has better soundstage, but not by the large margin I'd expect

4) o2 has deeper bass by far and makes music that I really only enjoy on large speakers shine

5) HD650 is way more comfortable. Main issue is velour pads and that the o2 cups don't swivel

6) HD650 is to me less fatiguing. Every time I switched back to the HD650, I felt relief.. The Stax  creates a slight vacuum, and is brighter feeling (though it isn't bright by any high end standard)

7) HD650 has better midrange tonality. The o2 has more detail, of course, but the HD650 has a better flavor. The o2 feels recessed, presenting a "neutral" or "cold" midrange, when the HD650 is warm and natural feeling. 

 

Despite the obvious technical advantages, I preferred the warmness and natural feeling of the HD650, though I really miss the smooth treble detail and powerful bass extension of the O2. 

 

Again please take this "review" with a grain of salt :) But I wrote it as a reminder that expensive and technically superior isn't necessarily subjectively better - cost no object...

Posted

Pros: airy, fast, detailed, pin-sharp imaging, full-bodied, seductive midrange

Cons: sensitive to...everything, some may find it too warm, lots of power needed for bass control

Some love it, some don't but there is little doubt that this is one of the top-tier headphones out there and one that is not so rare, so if bought second-hand the price of the headphones and amp are very much comparable to a top-level dynamic/planar setup which makes these a compelling option.

 

The fit is a little tricky at first, but once it is set up it feels very comfortable on the head. It is important to position the transducers close to the ears. The build quality is pretty solid and the finish looks great apart form the cable entry which is prone to break if one is not careful.

 

Technically it carries all the aspects e'stats are famous for. So it is very airy and presents masses of detail but in a fairly unobtrusive way. It is quite sensitive to what components are in the signal chain and I would say, the simpler it is, the better.

 

The O2 Mk1 definitely has a distinctive sound that some may call "warm". That is, it injects life and emotion into the music even when it is not recorded that way and adds a bit of extra weight to the instruments. It has that creamy, smooth type of presentation which is easy on the ears so which makes it more forgiving, apart from a treble that is slightly uneven and can get "caught out" on some "harder, more digital" recordings.

The bass has a good amount of texture and weight and fairly punchy by electrostatic standard but could be more controlled.

 

Because of its own sound character and power need to control the bass, a linear powerful solid state amp should be a perfect match, however if some would like an even more "old-school" tubey sound they might like it with a SRM-007t or other hybrid/all-tube amps as well. The SRM-717 is somewhere in the middle carrying the solid-state refinement but also adding a little extra warmth to the O2 Mk1's generally warm sound and makes the soundstage slightly diffused and it does not have full control over the bass.

 

 

So how could I sum this one up?

Well, I think the SR-007 Mk1 is definitely "The Dark Knight of electrostats"

Just listen to the main theme with these, and you will hear what I meant :-) So if you happen to like that sort of thing, you will not be disappointed.

 

(Main test setup was: Lavry DA11->SRM-717->SR-007)

Stax SR-007 "Omega II" Open-Back Electrostatic Earspeaker
By:
Description:

Type :Push-Pull Electrostatic Earspeaker Frequency Response :6 - 41,000Hz Impedance :170k Ohms (10kHz) Sensitivity :100dB / 100V r.m.s. 1 kHz Bias Voltage :580V DC Left & Right Channel Identification :Left (L) and Right (R) indicators are provided at the cable entrance points on the Earspeakers. Left channel cable is marked with a solid Line. Right channel is marked with a dotted Line. Ear Pads :Crafted from high quality artificial leather for durability and comfort. Cable :Low capacity wide format, PC-OCC (Pure Crystal Ohno Continuous Casting) 2.5m/8.2ft Ambient Temperature & Humidity :0 to 35ºC / 90% max. without condensation Weight :12.9oz without cable / 1.1lbs with cables

Details:
DetailValue
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
SR-007
SR-007BL
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