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HELP: Stax and classical music - Page 3

post #31 of 93
Thread Starter 
Sorry for my delayed reply. Anne Nicole's death was kind of shocking for me! Anyways, I'm just out the door but I think I will re-read the posts when I get back. So much to think about! Thanks for all the detailed replys.

The 650 sounds tempting but living in Japan and making yen, $Stax is less then $Senns. So I am hoping to take advantage of it while I am here. I think the OIIs are not great for an entry stax person. I also have a point about piano but I have to go!
post #32 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder View Post
I'd imagine tonality is also very important for monitoring... It's not like they completely screwed up the timbre; it's just not 100% accurate. Personally, I don't really mind... I wonder if a tube buffer or different warmer source will alleviate it
Music is not mixed with headphones, it's mixed with near-field monitors. They just use headphones to double-check the mix for any problems.
post #33 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder View Post
I'm not too sure the bass frequencies would necessarily affect the colouring of the mids since I find the colouration present even for solo violin works. The lowest frequency that a violin can produce is just under 200Hz on the G string. This is still within lower-midrange/upper bass, where the Lambda has no roll-off or deficiency (as far as I can hear). I do however believe that tonal balance has a massive effect on sound signature, but not necessarily explain this specific scenario.


I also think the Lambdas are coloured, but not to the point where it gets annoying. Do you have any idea why the upper midrange would be coloured from a technical standpoint?
I get the same sense that AKGs can be percieved as being too colored un the upper midrange as well. And I think this area is really critical about our perceptions of sound. Looking at the FRGs of the k701 and HD650, the k701 actually has more lower bass then the HD650. Yet everyone percieves it as having less bass then the HD650. One of the reasons the HD650 might be percieved as bassier is it's softer mids. And I think tonality utterly depends on your frame of reference.

When I listened to the STAX, it wasn't with solo instruments. So you could be right that the bass drop off isn't to blame in perception of timbre for a solo violin. It could be something going on in the midrange. Could be that the 404s really excell with solo instruments because of its more even midrange. But when I listened to an orchestra, it seemed like woodwinds and percussion really didn't have much weight. I think this is where the HD580 series shines. Sennheiser took auditorium accoustics into account (which has a recession in the 8khz range), so the HD650 seems to have the proper tonality for a full sized orchestra.

But you have a point that in a perfect world, we should have both dynamic and electrostatic headphones.....electrostats are great for details, and dynamics are great for....well dynamics!
post #34 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by mirumu View Post
That's true but the HD595 looks to be similar to the HD650 as well according the Headroom FRGs even though it is generally considered to have less extension. Certainly to my ears though the HD595 does not extend to the same degree that the HE60 does on either end.
At least the FRGs show that the HD650 follows more of the bass extension of the HE90 then the HD595. Also interesting is that the 650 has less of the "veil" (dip at the 8khz region) then the HD595. I know I gotta listen to the HE90 to see how it handles symphonies. Because I'm really digging the "veil" for Mozart and Heifetz

post #35 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daverose
I get the same sense that AKGs can be percieved as being too colored un the upper midrange as well. And I think this area is really critical about our perceptions of sound. Looking at the FRGs of the k701 and HD650, the k701 actually has more lower bass then the HD650. Yet everyone percieves it as having less bass then the HD650. One of the reasons the HD650 might be percieved as bassier is it's softer mids. And I think tonality utterly depends on your frame of reference.

If it's this graph that you're talking about, then we may have hit an obstacle. Word has it that these graphs are not completely accurate. I've owned the K701 and still have a pair of HD650. From what I hear, the K701 definitely doesn't have a more pronounced lower midrange and bass. Doubts about the HR FR graphs were raised when Don Wilson of Etymotic stated that there was something wrong with the Etymotic FR graphs. However, this is slightly off topic and another different story altogether so I'll refrain from continuing any further

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daverose
But when I listened to an orchestra, it seemed like woodwinds and percussion really didn't have much weight. I think this is where the HD580 series shines. Sennheiser took auditorium accoustics into account (which has a recession in the 8khz range), so the HD650 seems to have the proper tonality for a full sized orchestra.
Actually, percussion and woodwinds really isn't that thin-sounding. Maybe compared to the Senn-house sound, electrostatics are more anaemic, but in general I find the "weight" to be adequate. I think you ought to listen to the legendary LSO/Antal Dorati recording of Stravinsky's Firebird (on Mercury Living Presence) or the Telarc Tchaikovsky 1812 DSD recording. There's definitely enough weight and energy behind each crescendo, forzando, accent, etc... The orchestration is so darn complex and the dynamic range so wide that both pieces prove to be incredibly difficult for headphones to reproduce. That said, the electrostats tackle the complex passages with absolute ease: every drum roll faithfully reproduced, every phrase perfectly articulated, leaving no stone (read nuance) unturned. However, there is a definite lack of oomf behind loud timpani "strikes" accompanied by full orchestral backing and the infamous speaker-blowing cannon bits. In the latter passages, my poor Stax seems like it's retreating There's so much power missing! The dynamic range is simply too much and the SR-404 shrinks back into its shell LOL! This is probably where dynamic headphones take over!
post #36 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder View Post
If it's this graph that you're talking about, then we may have hit an obstacle. Word has it that these graphs are not completely accurate. I've owned the K701 and still have a pair of HD650. From what I hear, the K701 definitely doesn't have a more pronounced lower midrange and bass. Doubts about the HR FR graphs were raised when Don Wilson of Etymotic stated that there was something wrong with the Etymotic FR graphs. However, this is slightly off topic and another different story altogether so I'll refrain from continuing any further
I'll take your word about what the 404 does better then the HD650 since you own both I was just comparing from specific recordings of my system and a Lambda at a headphone meet. So my perceptions of STAX are only as an initial impression. Take it for what it is.....but all I can say is that the HD650 on my system seems like a good reference to a real orchestra: where detail is softer and tones are more dynamic.

As for whether there is validity in the HeadRoom FRGs, I still think there is something about the difference between midrange detail and bass and treble extension. If a headphone has a dead even FRG, it might be percieved as light.....because in real life accoustics, treble has a faster decay.
post #37 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder View Post
Even with your incredible electrostatic rig, classical ensemble (ie not solo) still sounds incoherent? As I said before, everyone should have an electrostatic and dynamic rig. I need to start saving up for an Meier Corda Opera or Headroom Desktop w/Home modules...


I'd imagine tonality is also very important for monitoring... It's not like they completely screwed up the timbre; it's just not 100% accurate. Personally, I don't really mind... I wonder if a tube buffer or different warmer source will alleviate it
it just didnt sound as coherent as a senn. Im thinking of removing the sub->spdif converter and get a transporter to see it helps things.
post #38 of 93
I think this discussion has gotten bogged down in details like extension and midrange colorations - all worthwhile topics, but not addressing the whole musical picture so to speak.

I listen primarily to classical music at home, and I've been through a number of different dynamic headphones and headphone amps, with top-quality sources and source material. I got my Stax SR-404 in late December and they were a *revelation* with classical music, especially orchestral music.

Stax headphones immerse you in music. You are completely surrounded by it. Moreover, it's transparent - you hear layers upon layers of orchestra textures and colors. At the same time, none of these layers and none of this detail is etched or fatiguing. It's sheer music.

The extension issues and colorations discussed above may actually exist, but to me, they're irrelevant. To even bring the K-501 or the HD-600 into the discussion boggles my mind. I enjoy those headphones perfectly well, but they do not put your head in a musical space the way my 404s do. (I haven't heard the Senn electrostats to compare, and I haven't heard the O2. I do have a pair of the SR-X Mk III, just arrived, but haven't had a chance to audition.)

I put my headphones up against a pretty punishing non-headphone rig. Until I got the Stax, there was never any contest - even with a fully tricked out Singlepower amp with every kind of NOS tube known to man.

If you're a classical fan, you owe it to yourself to try Stax as soon as you possibly can. I'm rediscovering my classical CD collection - thousands of them - pretty much unplayed for the past decade while I focused on vinyl. This has been staggering, and staggeringly fun, too.

Patrick
post #39 of 93
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much for those comments Pat. I don't mind discussions of a technical nature (though this one mostly went over my head), they can give important quantitative measurements in a notoriously subjective topic. I was hoping with the OP to get a chorus of happy - no ecstatic! - Stax owners playing classical.

Dynamics are important to me. Tchaikovsky is Tchaikovsky. However, something weird happens with the ATH-AD2000 and strings. Which I find odd because I love how the phones represent cymbals (ala Bob Dylan) - the air just goes up and up - and also solo piano; having sat at a piano for ten years, the way the AD2000 catch the upper registers on piano is just plain eery. The weight and tone is so lifelike. (Something funky happens in the lower registers but I blame my amp). That coupled with reasonable prices for Stax in Japan has me thinking; where is the texture to be found?

At the same store they had, available off the shelf, a L3000 and the matching HA5000. Is that something I should be looking at? (From what I know the L3000 is quite rare.)
post #40 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by wower View Post
At the same store they had, available off the shelf, a L3000 and the matching HA5000. Is that something I should be looking at? (From what I know the L3000 is quite rare.)
The L3000 is out of production, so yes. The HA5000 isn't its matching amplifier, however, the HA5000 pairs with the W5000.
post #41 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davesrose View Post
I'll take your word about what the 404 does better then the HD650 since you own both
Oh no, no. I wouldn't dare say that! I haven't had the pleasure of using the HD650 with a high end amplifier like yours
post #42 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by humanflyz View Post
All the electrostats I've heard so far (SR-404, O2, HE60/90) have had the best extension I've heard in headphones. What they lack, in a general/broad sense, is impact.
This cannot be true for all electrostatics, can it?
The HE60s & O2s for that matter are considered bassy and what about the 4070s they are closed or how about the Lambdas?
Which amplifier was being used when you came to this conclusion?
post #43 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snacks View Post
This cannot be true for all electrostatics, can it?
The HE60s & O2s for that matter are considered bassy and what about the 4070s they are closed or how about the Lambdas?
Which amplifier was being used when you came to this conclusion?
It depends on the amp a lot. Dynamic speakers have their own physical weight to help keep them under control at low cycles, whereas electrostatics are pretty much a plastic bag covered in pencil lead. If the amp can't control the speakers right down to the lowest octaves then it'll get dicey.

Both the HE60s and O2s do classical very nicely in a good system. Classical isn't really the 4070's forte.

Of course, not everyone likes the characterisitic sound of 'stats. Same in the speaker world, too. Even the best designed audio gear isn't immune to matters of taste.
post #44 of 93
i think ANY stat would do classical music justice. Sure you wont get skull crushing bass but that isnt what you want in classical music now is it? Stats are very versitile until you reach the genres such as hip-hop, pop, rock ect. to tell you the truth i even prefer rock on stats to dynamics. they seem to be simply more refined in general.
post #45 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by nothing101 View Post
Stats are very versitile until you reach the genres such as hip-hop, pop, rock ect. to tell you the truth i even prefer rock on stats to dynamics. they seem to be simply more refined in general.
I think they're the best thing since sliced bread for jpop. They only thing they simply refuse to is metal.
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