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Amp for the Stax Omega II's

post #1 of 96
Thread Starter 
I am very seriously thinking about getting the Stax Omega II headphones ("earspeakers"). That is the easy part. I am confused, however, as to which amp to get with them. There are of course many out there. I would like to stay with tubes.

Stax SRM-007TII: Their supposed top amp. I have seen numerous posts that derided the older version of this amp. How about this one? Is it better than the last? It also contains a balanced input which many (most?) of the aftermarket brands do not. Does that balancing here affect the sound quality to the same amount as it does with dynamic headphones?

What about the others? Thanks for the help!
post #2 of 96
Blue Hawaii SE from Headamp.


Mitch
post #3 of 96
The Stax amps aren't really compatible with the SR-007. While they do sound pretty good they simply don't have the power to drive them to anywhere near their potential. The top end is rolled off, giving the phones a dark signature, and the bass is boomy and not terribly controlled. A bigger amp is needed and the Blue Hawaii is a great design, the KGSS is a bit sterile in comparison but it is much cheaper and the ES1 is also an option but it is overpriced and poor value. In the end I believe none of these amps can really do the SR-007 justice so I'm designing my own but that will make any of the other amps look cheap by comparison.

There is really no need to use a balanced source with the Stax amps. They are all push pull but they do sound a bit better balanced but it is ultimately down to the source.
post #4 of 96
you use your G08 SE with your OII?
post #5 of 96
Well, you have lots of aftermarket amplifiers to choose from:
* Singlepower ES-1
* Singlepower ES-2
* HeadAmp Blue Hawaii Special Edition (coming soon-ish)
* HeadAmp KGSS
* Rudistor Egmont Signature HE90
* Rudistor Egmont Signature
* Rudistor Egmont
* McAlister Audio EA-6
* McAlister Audio EA-4
* McAlister Audio EA-1
* Woo Audio GES
* Masters BA-215TM
* HeadAmp Aristaeus
* HeadAmp Blue Hawaii

Of those the Singlepower ES-1 / 2 and the upcoming HeadAmp Blue Hawaii Special Edition might be the "best" match for the demanding SR-007.
post #6 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
you use your G08 SE with your OII?
Yup and balanced as well. Depends on the amp and what cables I'm using or testing. I'm going to sell it as soon as my new dac gets here, well if you can call something new that is 20 years old. It's a good source but me tastes have evolved quite a bit since I bought it so it's about time it found a new owner.
post #7 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post
Yup and balanced as well. Depends on the amp and what cables I'm using or testing. I'm going to sell it as soon as my new dac gets here, well if you can call something new that is 20 years old. It's a good source but me tastes have evolved quite a bit since I bought it so it's about time it found a new owner.
hm, 20 year old dac? A non-oversampling Musatex Bidat?
post #8 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvdunhill View Post
hm, 20 year old dac? A non-oversampling Musatex Bidat?
Nope Sony DAS-R1.
post #9 of 96
ah ok. i've heard the DAS-R1, believe it or not... wonder what it would sound like with a double crown TDA1541.. too bad it is configured in NOS mode.
post #10 of 96
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the replies. I will call the gents at HeadAmp to see what the possibility is of getting a Blue Hawaii. Seems fitting at that is where I now live!!!
post #11 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvdunhill View Post
ah ok. i've heard the DAS-R1, believe it or not... wonder what it would sound like with a double crown TDA1541.. too bad it is configured in NOS mode.
The Double crowns are more of a myth then an actual truth. They have more of a sound then the S1's so I'll stick with them. I'll still be sinking some 1.5k$ of parts into the dac to make it compatible with todays highend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4N6 View Post
Thanks for all of the replies. I will call the gents at HeadAmp to see what the possibility is of getting a Blue Hawaii. Seems fitting at that is where I now live!!!
It's a great choice. It will take a very large sum of money to improve upon it
post #12 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4N6 View Post
Thanks for all of the replies. I will call the gents at HeadAmp to see what the possibility is of getting a Blue Hawaii. Seems fitting at that is where I now live!!!
The KGBH SE is probably not as good a value as the original Headamp KGBH (no longer available), unless you care a lot about how your audio equipment looks.

Most of the additional cost is due to excellent case work / improved PCB / more sophisticated power supply... It's not really clear how much of an effect it would have on the overall sound if any, even compared to a straightforward parts upgrade.

By the way, i have got a Headamp KGSS with a few weeks back, and the improvement over the SRM-717 (which I in turn preferred to the SRM-007t) is nothing short of amazing. The sound is not clinical at all, on the contrary, virtually no sibilance, midrange is very smooth and well articulated.

This places me firmly in the lunatic fringe of audio (hello spritzer!! ) but I suspect (yet have no proof) that it could be at least in part to the black gate power supply capacitors upgrade on my KGSS.

I must say that a el34 or better design is looking more tempting than ever now that I've realised the degree of possible improvement.
post #13 of 96
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post
It's (The Blue Hawaii) a great choice. It will take a very large sum of money to improve upon it
I called Justin and put my name in for the Blue Hawaii Special Edition. I am soooooooo looking forward to this!!!
post #14 of 96
Hrm... Spritzer I have to question whether or not the ES-1 is such a terrible value compared to the Blue Hawaii SE. While maxed out ES-1s surely have great diminishing returns and probably are not worth their value (I haven't heard one maxed out yet)... a stock one is ~4-4.5k (I think 4.5k is the oft-quoted price for stock but in reality it comes with a couple of the listed upgrades on the spread sheet while 4k is the listed price for absolute stock on the spread sheet). The Blue Hawaii SE is 4.5k as well. Disregarding the ability to make good on delivery dates, which Justin of Headamp is much better at no question... I would have to say that the Blue Hawaii SE is going to have to be SIGNIFICANTLY better than a stock (Or whatever you get for $4500) ES-1 to qualify your statement of the ES-1 being overpriced/poor value. Is that going to be the case?

You haven't heard the ES-1, but I do put some stock in your statements that you can gauge the sound by looking at the design... but still... I think the ES-1 to my experience and my ears is a very good amp (Far superior to the KGSS DX even with the O2) and I don't think you can definitively say that the Blue Hawaii SE smokes it to the point where the ES-1 thusly becomes a poor value.

I've heard people who have heard both Blue Hawaii (Not SE) and ES-1 who say the ES-1 has a notch up on the BH and I am sure there are people who will say vice versa. I expect the Blue Hawaii SE to be much better than stock. It has design improvements that sound very appealing and probably better parts (Though that I am not sure of since I hear that Justin of Headamp is no big believer in silver wiring and boutique capacitors/resistors). But the price has been raised (From 2.5k to 4.5k I believe) to match and some of that is definitely going to a far better looking chassis than the ES-1's (Though some people go for that look. I have to admit with the right tubes coming out of it it can look kind of sexy in a retro fashion).

Anyway, to the OP. Sounds like you decided to go with the Blue Hawaii SE... you will be quite pleased. It's going to be a killer amp and Justin of Headamp is an amazing craftsman.
post #15 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4N6 View Post
I called Justin and put my name in for the Blue Hawaii Special Edition. I am soooooooo looking forward to this!!!
Great choice!
I am sure you will be very pleased with it.

I am seriously looking into buying a KGBH SE myself. Just waiting for the initial pictures...
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