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Inexpensive Electrostatic HP's?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone, I am a new member here.

I have had alot of experience with home audio (mostly tube stuff) in the past. I, however, have not been around it for some time. Back in my day, stax were the premier HP's. From reading a little here, stax sounds like the best still.

I was wondering what other brands of electrostatic HP's are out there for a significantly leass amount of money (new or used). I would love feedback from anyone that knows.

New Electrostatics

Stax SR-001 - $300
Stax 2050A - $500
Koss ESP950 -

Older Electrostatics

Stax SR-3 - Under $200
Stax SR-5 - Under $200

Thanks,

Stacey
post #2 of 27
The last year has seen most vintage electrostats go up in price, but they still represent the cheapest deals. A Stax SR-3 or SR-5 with adapter should run well under $200, if not likely as little as the $100 they used to cost. Old Koss, Magnavox, or other less common stats might be a little cheaper. I'd recommend against getting a stax electret, as they seem to run nearly as much as full electrostats, and don't really perform on the same level.

Among new electrostats, the cheapest option by far is the Stax SR-001 in-ear, presently around $300 on Audiocubes or Pricejapan. The standard "cheap" full-size stat option is the Stax 2050A, $500 on pricejapan. Slightly more will get you a Koss ESP-950. And of course it goes up from there.
post #3 of 27
Stax is still the big one as far as electrostatics are concerned.

Sennheiser no longer make a model.

Koss make 1, the ESP950, which is slightly more expensive than the entry level Stax 2050, bought new.

There is a new player to the market. HE-Audio. Who have just ironed out of their final prototyping stage and are selling their 1.2B stat headphone now. There seems to be a waiting list for them.

The Stax 2050 system is the cheapest large size headphone they make. They also make the SR-001, which is a portable system, and the SR-003, which is the portable electrostatic headphone with the home amp plug on it.

Vintage theres a huge selection, but prices have gone up a lot in the last year to 18 months. Mainly because of this infernal place is the theory. I don't think I'll see a £15 SR-3N setup again.

Aside from the electrostatics, theres other players in the planar field. Precide of Switzerland make an AMT headphone and TakeT of Japan make a piezoelectric one. Theres also a plethora of vintage orthodynamic options.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replys. I am going to update my original post with suggestions from everyone.

It would be helpful for some price estimates (US). Also, I am going to list them in new and vintage category.

Thanks,

Stacey
post #5 of 27
Say $150 max on the SR-3 and 5 to stop the madness, more for other vintage Stax. We ought not mention numbers because they'll either sound wildly optimistic or part of the inflation. $100-150 for a vintage Koss or relatively rare system. $100 absolute max for the Stax electrets, the SR-30/40/60/80, with an SRD-4 or other transformer. You can usually find an ESP-650 for $600 pretty easily. Occasionally even now after the inflation, all of these headphones will show up somewhere for significantly lower prices, so patience can reward the thrifty person willing to keep looking for a while.
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Please explain the difference between an electrets and electrostatic HP.

Thanks,

Stacey
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by facelvega View Post
Say $150 max on the SR-3 and 5 to stop the madness, more for other vintage Stax. We ought not mention numbers because they'll either sound wildly optimistic or part of the inflation. $100-150 for a vintage Koss or relatively rare system. $100 absolute max for the Stax electrets, the SR-30/40/60/80, with an SRD-4 or other transformer. You can usually find an ESP-650 for $600 pretty easily. Occasionally even now after the inflation, all of these headphones will show up somewhere for significantly lower prices, so patience can reward the thrifty person willing to keep looking for a while.
The Stax electrets have been going for more that $100 lately on eBay.
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabeking View Post
Please explain the difference between an electrets and electrostatic HP.

Thanks,

Stacey
Electrostatic headphones traditionally have a thin membrane that has a resistive coating which is charged by a high voltage DC bias supply.

Electret headphones are based on electret film, which has a 'semi-perminant' electric charge. They are technically true electrostatic devices but the electret membranes are not as thin as the membranes used in traditional 'stats, and not as highly charged, so performance suffers.

The Sony uni-electrets such as the ECR-500 have somewhat better performance but they are relatively rare compared to Stax products, and the prices seen in the last 6 months are anywhere from $10 to $400. Seriously.
post #9 of 27

The following are based on the Stax SR-3 (from 1968!) and often sell for non-outrageous prices:

Realistic HP-100

Magnavox 1A9217 (part number-- doesn't have a model number) (looks identical to the Realistic but its transformer box has bigger transformers and jacks for two headsets)

Marantz SE-1

Superex PEP-71 (packaged with two different "energizers" and called PEP-77C and PEP-79) and PEP-74 (packaged with two different "energizers" and called PEP-77E and PEP-79E)

Can sell for any price, but can be found for around $65, and often less than that. A good cheap way to get back into 'stats.

The Sony ECR-500 is a strong candidate, as ericj says, but don't pay more than $50 including shipping for it.


Edited by wualta - 9/6/10 at 2:42pm
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by facelvega View Post
Say $150 max on the SR-3 and 5 to stop the madness, more for other vintage Stax. We ought not mention numbers because they'll either sound wildly optimistic or part of the inflation. $100-150 for a vintage Koss or relatively rare system. $100 absolute max for the Stax electrets, the SR-30/40/60/80, with an SRD-4 or other transformer. You can usually find an ESP-650 for $600 pretty easily. Occasionally even now after the inflation, all of these headphones will show up somewhere for significantly lower prices, so patience can reward the thrifty person willing to keep looking for a while.
I have my SR-3 with SRD-5 transformer up for $150. In mint condition, in the FS forums.
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
ericj, thanks for the good understanding between electrostatics and electrets.

Stacey
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by scompton View Post
The Stax electrets have been going for more that $100 lately on eBay.
Don't I know it. My point is that we should stop the madness. It's out of hand when a Stax electret sells for more than a full electrostat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wualta View Post
The following are based on the Stax SR-3 (from 1968!) and often sell for non-outrageous prices:

Realistic HP-100

Magnavox 1A9217 (model number of headset alone)

Marantz SE-1

Superex PEP-79

Can sell for any price, but can be found for around $65, and often less than that. A good cheap way to get back into 'stats.

The Sony ECR-500 is a strong candidate, as ericj says, but don't pay more than $50 including shipping for it.
Yes, these are the absolute cheapest true electrostats (except the Marantz, which sells for more just based on the brand name), and the real bargain-hunter's gem in all this. Note that although all but the sony are based on the SR-3, they don't all sound the same: the Magnavox and Superex, for example have quite different characters, the first maybe a little clearer, the latter more immediate and, may I say, rocking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I have my SR-3 with SRD-5 transformer up for $150. In mint condition, in the FS forums.
Bump for that, and everyone should take close note on the key term here, "mint condition." These are old headphones, often in wretched shape, so a mint pair from a trustworthy seller is unquestionably worth a premium.
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by facelvega
My point is that we should stop the madness. It's out of hand when a Stax electret sells for more than a full electrostat.

Just say no!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by facelvega
..the Magnavox and Superex, for example have quite different characters, the first maybe a little clearer, the latter more immediate and, may I say, rocking.

We should point out that Superex's first-gen 'stats used normal dynamic headsets/chassis with tall (thick) earpads. The PEP-79 (a PEP-71 headphone packaged with a self-bias "energizer" and first sold around 1971, owned by ericj) was one of these. It has very little bass because of this mismatch between driver and headset. Then Superex got smart just before they passed from the scene: they drastically shrank the earcup volume and vented the back to produce the PEP-74 (called the 79E when sold with the self-bias box), which is the Superex that FV owns.


Edited by wualta - 9/6/10 at 2:43pm
post #14 of 27
The Stax SR-003 are worth mentioning as well. It can be had new for $179, or perhaps even a bit less.

The last year or so we have driven up the prices on vintage Stax gear. Especially the SR-X/MK3 and SR-Lambda, which more or less sell for twice of what they did just 12 months back. They still have a great price/sound ration though, imo...
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by wualta View Post
We should point out that Superex's first-gen 'stats used normal dynamic headsets with tall earpads. The PEP-79 (owned by ericj) was one of these. It has very little bass because of this mismatch between driver and headset. Then Superex got smart just before they passed from the scene: they drastically shrank the earcup volume and vented the back to produce PEP-74E, which is the Superex that FV owns.
Ah yes, must try harder to keep my Superexes straight. Actually, haven't been giving the PEP-74E much time lately, mainly because they need to run for a half hour or so to start to sound good, by which time I'm deeply into my SR-X or YH-100.

Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
The last year or so we have driven up the prices on vintage Stax gear. Especially the SR-X/MK3 and SR-Lambda, which more or less sell for twice of what they did just 12 months back. They still have a great price/sound ration though, imo...
Shhh! That's the kind of talk that drove up the prices in the first place!
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