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AKG K1000 or Stax?

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
OK...for the moment, we'll call this dreaming...but my next purchase will be either the AKG K1000 or one of the STAX electrostatics (2020 or possibly 3030).

Before I bought my AKG K340's, I hadn't really given a lot of thought to electrostatics. However, I've really taken to the openess of these things, and I'm expecting that it will get even better at the next stage...with either choice. So...what choice to make??

I must, however, plead ignorance...I've yet to actually hear EITHER of these!! So, I've got no clue about the comparative strengths of each. Frankly, I'd love to be able to find a local dealer...anyone know of anyone in the Detroit area??

I'd really love to hear from anyone who has experience with both. I listen to all kinds of music, but would be particularly interested in either of these as primary cans for listening to acoustical/jazz/classical...anything from Bach to Coltrane to Dave Matthews to Pink Floyd.

Thanks...looking forward to your responses!!

post #2 of 55
I'd definitely choose the Stax 3030, especially if you can get them from an importer. US prices of Stax equipment are silly, to use the least offensive word.

I do like the K1000 but it's just lacking enough on the top and bottom extremes to make me wish for something else, and I must admit, it's aesthetically not my bag. A good case for the K1000 would be that you can drive it with a normal speaker amp (and some folks have really nice ones) and that is has a nice continuous soundstage and somewhat of a natural crossfeed.

Both will be revealing of your source components and recordings, so be sure you're comfortable with what you've got back there.
post #3 of 55
Elrod-tom, you might find my comparison of the K1000 against the Lambda Pro helpful. Remember of course that the Lambda Pro is an older Stax headphone. I've heard that the newer ones are even better.
post #4 of 55

Another Stax fan

Disclaimer that I have not heard the particular AKGs in question. Others that I have heard sounded too bright/textured/spitty for my tastes, dunno if these are smoother.

The Stax 3030 continues to amaze me, really a bargain from audiocubes. Everytime I think I hear something unpleasant, sounding like what I hear others describing as their dislikes of the "Stax" sound, it is something upstream...source, cables, isolation.

They are not cold, analytical, sterile, bright per se, but mirrors of what they are presented. They do need a long burn in.

Two word review: seductive and silky.

But, you may or may not be a panel/ribbon fan like me, some of us just like voice coils better.


post #5 of 55
The little bit I can add:

I've got the K1000 at home, but I still have to put my tube amp kit together to drive them properly. I was facing the same question a couple of month ago and was able to listen to Stax and AKG at the Headroom tour.
Both phone systems are fabolous, no doubt about that. They also sounded the closest compaired to the other high end phones Senns 600 with Max/Blockhead, Grado R1 with Holmes and even the electrostatic Orpheus sounded not much like the Stax.
Two reasons I chosen the K1000:

1. Price. The phones are a lot less expensive and can be driven by a regular amp.

2. Perhaps I've just imagined it, but I've felt that the bass of the Stax is somewhat separated from the mids and highs. I'm not saying that the bass is bad or murky, just for some reason the music out of the K1000 was more coherent.

Disadvantage of the K1000:
You need pretty good equipment and even more important good recordings. I listen a lot to vinyl and if the record isn't top notch, it's no fun listening. CDs are in general not that bad, but mediocre quality CD recordings sound edgy on the K1000s.
post #6 of 55
If you can, obtain the Stax 404 headphone to partner the stax
amp of your choice[the 3030 amp upwards] in my view this
is the nicest of the lambda types[I use the 4040 combo].

people often state the Stax lacks bass,I would disagree here ,
for sure they could do with a bit more weight but they do go
down low.

I find the bass issues mentioned with various headphones
an interesting subject,I wonder whether the bass weight issue
in relation to the Stax phones is amp related or transducer related
as I have only heard them with Staxs own amps.

My own[DIY design] planar driven headphones [ribbon/planar magnetics] tend to go in the other direction offering no lack of
weight when called to provide it.[needing some attenuation in that department in fact]
I suppose each transducer design has its pros and cons but it always amazes me how quickly I adapt to a particular sound
until it sounds 'normal'.

Perhaps I am just easily pleased

Enjoy your choice elrod-tom


Team flat thingys
post #7 of 55
I forget--have you heard the SR-007? Do you feel your comments about bass "weight" apply to the 007 as well? Also, by weight do you mean only the fullness of the sound of the bass or also the visceral impact of the bass?
post #8 of 55

Isn't the 2020 system the "Basic" system? I had it for a while, and sold it. I have the K-1000 and love it. It's extremely revealing, and the top end "edge" is lessened by either: (1) extensive burn-in, or; (2) the Equinox K-1000 cable. The soundstage is amazing, as is it's midrange. For listening to jazz and classical, nothing beats it (at least as compared to what I've heard).

I've never heard the 3030 Stax system, so I can't comment on it. One benefit of either Stax system is that if you go with the complete system you'll get both phones and amp. If you don't have an amp for the K-1000, you'll have to factor that into the equation.

Also, since you're on Team AKG (how are the 340s doing?), you may be more comfortable with the K-1000s because they do exhibit some of the AKG family characteristics.
post #9 of 55
Regarding obtaining sufficient base, I think that its a question of whether one is a headphone purist, or whether it's wonderful reproduction of beautiful music that matters most. I enjoy wonderful reproduction by listening through a K1000 headphone, with a powered subwoofer nearby. No problem with base, while enjoying the well known mid and upper range clarity of the K1000. BTW, I drive the headphone with an ASL AQ-1005DT power amp., and an ASL Passive TIDT preamp. My source is a Marantz SA8260 SACDP.
post #10 of 55

Were not worthy mumble ramble

Setmenu, I'm impressed...DIY electrostatic phones. Any details/links you would be up for sharing?

If I could have a Stax wishlist:

Carbon fibre housings replacing the plastic in 303/404, with bearings sans squeaks. I'm guessing that would be more neutral than the 007 metal housing, and would probably fix the tendency to lack "slam". This is beyond my capabilities...anybody from Stax lurking...model 505?

A Lavardin style driver amp, ie free from thermal tails with Transformer Volume Control. This I could get around to DIYing...another project for the list.

Or, maybe the upcoming AT W1000 will be as seductive and tempt me into Club Voice Coil dual citizenship.
post #11 of 55
I agree that carbon fibre housing might help the Stax with rigidity but I don't know that it would give people bass slam in the visceral sense. Electrostatics just don't move as much air as dynamic drivers do.

Stax could learn a lot from the German companies on how to build a solid-feeling comfortable headphone, though.
post #12 of 55

Whuddeye meant wuz

Fuzzy semantics from my end..."slam" to me refers to a sense of solidity, regardless of sound level...called PRAT on the right side of the Atlantic...is usually improved when a component, source, amplification, or transducer is mechanically grounded...bricks, cones, rollers, carbon fibre platrorms. Subtle dynamic contrasts come through better, bass seems better integrated, for lack of better words.

To me, a sound system with good "slam" or PRAT is more enjoyable at moderate levels than a sloppier one a loud levels, even if the sloppier one has lower/deeper static frequency response.

Heh, heh, I'm thinking the spls out of the Staxes is, as Rolls Royce would say, sufficient.

If Sennheiser merged with Stax, would it be Sex?
post #13 of 55

Re: Whuddeye meant wuz

Originally posted by wildmonkeysects
If Sennheiser merged with Stax, would it be Sex?
Better than sex.
post #14 of 55
^ LOL. i can see the commercial now: some guy choosing between his hot girlfriend or some headphones. heheheh .
post #15 of 55
Originally posted by kelly
Stax could learn a lot from the German companies on how to build a solid-feeling comfortable headphone, though.
I don't usually speak up in defense of headphones. I really feel it's a no win, no hope situation (as well as kind of silly). However, I just have to say that I don't understand this line of thought.

Stax will spend a decade or more developing a set of phones. They create their own materials and put them together in such a way that other companies just aren't able to do. Stax uses composite materials for damping and acoustical properties that produce sound that could never be matched by just saying "lets learn from the Germans and make our phones heavier and more comfortable".

I can wear the Omega II phones longer with maximum comfort and listen longer with less listener fatigue than with any other phones I have...and I've got quite a few. As for as build quality, take a look up close.Take a close look at the quality of the leather, construction, assembly, fine stitching, etc...

They are incomparable in build and I'll stand by that to the end!

This is a unique post for me...you won't see another like this anytime soon. I just think it's time someone speaks of the quality, precision, and ingenuity which Stax builds into their phones.

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