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A superb listen, but the price is too high

A Review On: Stax SR-009 Electrostatic Headphones

Stax SR-009 Electrostatic Headphones

Rated # 67 in Over-Ear
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Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Lan647
Posted · Updated · 27412 Views · 9 Comments

Pros: Excellent build and comfort. Highly detailed and refined sounding

Cons: Expensive! Sound does not match the SR-007.

 

Compared to most of the competition, this is inarguably a wonderful headphone and I do enjoy it. But sonically, it does not compete with a well-driven O2 mk1 to my ears. Compared to the O2, it's a tad brighter (though not "bright" per se, to my ears) and lacking the midrange realism of the former. The bass, while admittedly great here as well, is also thinned out compared to the richer, heavier response of the O2. 

The 009 is more alike the Lambda series than the Omega series. It's no harder to power than the Lambdas and the sound signature is reminiscent, but probably a step up in refinement, soundstaging and bass extension/impact. In general though, the sound is typical STAX. Natural, agile and very detailed. But then again, compared to the O2 mk1 it falls short. Particularly in the midrange, which lacks the organic presence of the Omegas. 

The build quality is excellent though and certainly on par with what you can expect for your $. Precision-engineering all the way through; looks impressive and feels substantial. Super comfy to wear as well. I have no issue with regards to the fit & finish of this headphone - it looks and feels like an expensive, high-end product. 

 

But with a price that's pretty much DOUBLE that of the O2s at this time, I do not consider this headphone to be a very solid investment. The O2 is more demanding in terms of amplification, which can get expensive, but when driven to it's full potential the O2 mk1 just sounds better to my ears. 

Just my 2 cents. 
 

9 Comments:

You probably haven't hear them with a right amp...
And you have? :)
Did you listen to the sr009s with the bhse?
Doesn't matter, but it is uselles to listen to them with anything else than a top-notch electrostatic headphone amp, like the Woo Audio WES, almost same price as SR009. I am pretty sure they are better or at least as good than some MBL speakers man, you wouldn't hear the difference between these headphones and realism. Bad review..
Who are you to decide that when you have not even heard the gear? Do you know anything about audio electronics? Do you have enough experience to draw such conclusions about expensive gear and the impact different sources and amps have on sound? I'm sure you're just someone who watches videos and reviews and you have a perfectly clear view in your head that more expensive = better and everything is of course as simple as that. I've got news for you buddy, that's not always the case.
Stick to your Fiio and Sony's and leave this stuff to people who know what they are talking about.

zachchen1996: No
Yes, I read only reviews, not heard them, and why I am telling you this is because your opinion is very different. No need to hate me, it just seems you have heard them with (cheaper) amp or dac, so it didnt ''wow'' you like you was expecting...
I will stick to my sony's and you better find some article on the internet about What is a headphone amp, before you put on such an expensive headphone.
I see. You don't think STAX are perfectly capable of making their own amps? And just so you know, the particular STAX amp I tried them with was modified by it's owner in order to sound the absolute best. He also said that the BHSE has inferior components in his experience (he had seen the drawings and intended to build one but he decided not to because he found his own amp superior on paper).
The main reason they didn't wow me is probably because I have heard lots of other high-end headphones too, including almost a dozen STAX's. And the truth is, all the STAX headphones sound very similar (apart from the Omega 2 which is darker, creamier and more distant than the others), because they are all extremely good. I also don't own a STAX myself. If I had owned one and lived with it for years, and then comparing it to an SR-009, perhaps the difference would seem greater.
Wow, this Lan647 has attitude problems...
I agree with some of the above, the 009 needs a good amp (SRM-717 or 007t at least) AND a great source (not a Meridian Explorer BTW). These phones are so detailed they will reveal the upstream gear with all it's warts.
It is a must to hear the 009s with a fab DAC and a decent amp. In fact I would say the DAC is more important with the 009s than the 007s because of this, and also the 009s are much easier to drive.
The 007s are darker and thus more forging, plus add a bit of warmth which helps colder solid state DACs and amps. The 009s are more neutral, and I think need some tubes in the signal path, either at the DAC or in the Stat amp itself. It is no coincidence that many like the 009s with the 007t for this reason.
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