New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Stax - Page 9

post #121 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickbianchi View Post
1st: How much does the amplifier that is powering a transformer change the sound of the earphones. I have been assuming that if I powered the SRD-4 with a solid state that it would sound different.

if it changes the sound and I preferred tubes, would it be better to buy a stax amp with tubes or a tubed or hybrid amp to power an energizer.

2nd: If I bought an amp, would a balanced cd or dac source sound better than single-ended. Are there gains similiar to what is claimed for balanced dynamic phones?

I listened a lot more to the SR34 set today and the longer I listened the better it sounded. I am set up so that the stax, powered by a hybrid amp and my senns powered by a Meier Opera are both on, and I can switch between them. After listening to the stax for an hour or so, I switched, and the Opera-equimox-senns combination which is my "best sound I ever had' seemed dark and a bit veiled, yet offered some soundstage and air that the stax didn't. Onward and inward.
Hi. Sorry for the delay; I'll try to answer these to the best of my recollection.

1) The sound of the SR-30's, when driven by the SRD-4, does indeed change based upon your amp. IIRC of my experiences more current = better bottom end and greater warmth all around. I never tried tube versus SS on a SRD-4 but I would assume some level of change should be noticeable; I usually preferred the sound of the SR-34 system with a British / American SS amps of the era versus most of the Japanese sound. For example, my demo display system constantly changed but the system I remember being quite fond of was when we used the (original) Mission Cyrus 1 (http://www.zenn.com.sg/Cyrus_1a.JPG) amp w/booster power supply system to drive the cans - a very decent sound.

2) OK, we / you / I am going to open up a can of worms thanks to that question and my (following) big-mouthed answer So, here it goes:

I would say not to fixate on such matters at this level: as nice as the SR-34 is as the price level there is no reason to overkill the thing with a system tweaked out to 3 times it's potential performance level. Single ended would do just fine. I would say that DAC chip is MUCH more important with Stax than worrying about balanced or single-ended - do NOT go with a Sigma-Delta (1 bit) DAC / player if you expect your current/future Stax system to sound anywhere near what you hope it to be.

You see, things are different in Staxland. Over the past 20 years, thanks to the advent of digital, people have been focusing more and more (they believe) in attempting to get the most detail out of the source and into the speaker. Enhanced DAC performance, greater amplifier detail and clarity, enhanced preamp transparency, etc. are common audio development targets / marketing copy. But, believe it or not, to counter this in comparision to speakers of 20 years ago, today's transducers (both speakers and headphones) are more commonly a bit warmer in sound character than they used to be. Read: many of today's speakers/cans have more bass than before, IMHO to better balance off the more emphasized top end response of all but the highest-end electronics. You have personally seen this in the Sennheiser sound and their incredible market penetration and popularity: the cans sound goes very well with the [common] sound of the [normally used] electronics they get hooked up to.

Stax designs go back to an era when speakers were a much weaker link than they are today, and when electronics simply weren't as good either. This is just my opinion, but the Stax cans extract a lot of detail from just about any source. So hooked up to a source with a very lush, analog-type "classic" balance...and they sound simply fantastic. Hook up Stax to a system balanced to the modern paradigm of super-high resolution at all costs...and they sound, ummm..."off". They simply don't like that input and, IMHO again, seem to present "too much" to the listener with a disjointed presentation instead of a harmonious whole.

So, when you design your system around Stax, you MUST go for the SYNERGY of the entire system, not just single pieces picked upon their own individual performances. In the case of the DAC/CD, you must go for "musicality" first and not necessarily worry about "detail", "bass response", "SNR" and most of the other common audiophile questions that get bandied about prior to the purchase of most equipment. A synergetic "musical whole" is much more important with a Stax system than simply getting the "best" in one area while, somehow, sacrificing the balance or performance of the sound someplace else. IMHO the Stax cans will make up quite a bit of the difference in (any) reduction in detail or transparency with their own natural detail extraction abilities (because you DON'T want to hear a Stax system with a poorly balanced system that has not been designed for overall musicality above specs: it simply yells at you and I believe this is why some people who try Stax for a short-term experiment are unsatisfied).

Pick a CD deck and complete system that sounds good, usually the deck is based upon PCM-63 and it's children, rather than fixate on technical details like single- or double-ended.

To my ears, when I listened to the Senn 650's driven by a maxed-out HeadRoom Max amp, it did sound darker than the Stax sound that I was used to. Not much, but it was somewhat darker. The Stax sound is more upfront, sometimes a bit in-your-face depending upon both your system and the Stax models in question. That's the Stax house sound, like it or leave it for most people. While most systems put you in, say, 3rd-row seating for the musical performance Stax places you in the !@$# orchestra pit, touching shoulders with the musicians. It is a taste and sound not to the universal acceptance. A trumpet's high notes played close and live can be almost painful and I like that experience recreated, while others prefer being just a bit further back when Johnny blows that note. Different strokes for different folks, rather like asking for the universally preferred seat at the movies: it simply doesn't exist. As I stated, the SR-30's have a midrange that is more open than most cans in it's (then new) price range, but it did have to give up something, right? They weren't exactly the best imaging cans in the land and a great part of that is the fact that they are supra-aural; they can only do so much with the format at hand.
post #122 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake View Post
...the Stax cans extract a lot of detail from just about any source. So hooked up to a source with a very lush, analog-type "classic" balance...and they sound simply fantastic. Hook up Stax to a system balanced to the modern paradigm of super-high resolution at all costs...and they sound, ummm..."off". They simply don't like that input and, IMHO again, seem to present "too much" to the listener with a disjointed presentation instead of a harmonious whole.

So, when you design your system around Stax, you MUST go for the SYNERGY of the entire system, not just single pieces picked upon their own individual performances. In the case of the DAC/CD, you must go for "musicality" first and not necessarily worry about "detail", "bass response", "SNR" and most of the other common audiophile questions that get bandied about prior to the purchase of most equipment. A synergetic "musical whole" is much more important with a Stax system than simply getting the "best" in one area while, somehow, sacrificing the balance or performance of the sound someplace else. IMHO the Stax cans will make up quite a bit of the difference in (any) reduction in detail or transparency with their own natural detail extraction abilities (because you DON'T want to hear a Stax system with a poorly balanced system that has not been designed for overall musicality above specs: it simply yells at you and I believe this is why some people who try Stax for a short-term experiment are unsatisfied).
Yessss!!! Finally, somebody openly validates my choice of a cheap $300 source over $1000 dacs for my Stax. I totally agree with the assertions above. However, I cannot comment if it's specifically the dac chip that matters the most or if it's something else like the opamps used in the analog stage or whatever. Also, my player is a rather recent model, it was in production until 2003 or 2004 I think, so perhaps there is still hope with modern gear, especially considering the variety of options (none of which I have tried, unfortunately) like NOS dacs, tubes somewhere in the signal chain before the headphones, etc.
post #123 of 173
Snake: What you have written is very fascinating. I can't help thinking you are right, though being limited in my experiences, my Stax rig and older headphones are very bright compared with more recent models.
post #124 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
Snake: What you have written is very fascinating. I can't help thinking you are right, though being limited in my experiences, my Stax rig and older headphones are very bright compared with more recent models.
In my pursuit of the Stax world since May 2008 to now shows that Snake is right on. I learned early on that the Stax headphone is very sensitive to synergy of related components. One reason why I loved my SR-Gamma with the SRM-001 was that it was one very musical pairing. The Gamma with anyother amp was not the same. The SRX-001 that I have was great with my SRD-7 Pro box but was not the same with my SRM-001. Both very highly enjoyable and very different with their synergetic parings but swap out those amps and they became totally different headphones to me. The SR-404 pairs very well with the SRM-T1S I think because of the headphone's detail and the amp's tubes. And it goes on and on. Today I have the SR-007MkII paired with a KGSS that has blackgates which is another pairing of pure synergy to me.

So take what Snake says and learn from it...don't just assume anything thrown together is going to represent what people who have found a certain Stax synergy when they speak of the beautiful Stax sound, sounds like.
post #125 of 173
[QUOTE=Snake;5266791] I usually preferred the sound of the SR-34 system with a British / American SS amps of the era versus most of the Japanese sound.

So, when you design your system around Stax, you MUST go for the SYNERGY of the entire system, not just single pieces picked upon their own individual performances. In the case of the DAC/CD, you must go for "musicality" first and not necessarily worry about "detail", "bass response", "SNR" and most of the other common audiophile questions that get bandied about prior to the purchase of most equipment. A synergetic "musical whole" is much more important with a Stax system than simply getting the "best" in one area while, somehow, sacrificing the balance or performance of the sound someplace else. [QUOTE]

Thanks for the extended and thoughtful feedback. I have always been a detail freak and it has led to some bad decisions. Way back when, I chose a Fisher transistor receiver over a tube one because I could hear more detail, when it was obvious to me that the tube amp had more natural dynamics and the whole mix of instruments sounded more natural. (At the same time I was into b&w photograpy and was crazy about resolution and detail).

I have an assortment of equipment here I intend to try out with the 34. First is a quad 77 CD and integrated amp which I will set up tomorrow to get an idea of the differences with solid state. (Have not used the CD for a while and the amp has been relegated to surround speakers, tho I think it is better than that!). I have other sources as well, e.g. wadia i-transport.

I have essentially 3 "dacs": an older Adcom, an AudioNote 1-1x sig, and the dacs in my Rotel 1098 pre-pro.

I will try some combinations with the 34 and see what i hear. Youve given me something to watch out for while I experiment.
post #126 of 173
^ If that CD77 and 77 amp are in the carbon finish then you have what I regard as the best looking cd/amp combo ever made. Lucky sod.
post #127 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by slwiser View Post
So take what Snake says and learn from it...don't just assume anything thrown together is going to represent what people who have found a certain Stax synergy when they speak of the beautiful Stax sound, sounds like.
Absolutely. Since my early introduction to audiophilia was via a friend's hi-fi store, I realised the reason their set-ups sounded so good was because the owner and staff spent many hours matching components well. Also, if you asked about any component, they'd immediately ask what it would be used with, as people do here.
post #128 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
Absolutely. Since my early introduction to audiophilia was via a friend's hi-fi store, I realised the reason their set-ups sounded so good was because the owner and staff spent many hours matching components well. Also, if you asked about any component, they'd immediately ask what it would be used with, as people do here.
Regretfully a lot of people still forget this. They buy their [Stax] headphone / amp combo and drop it into their pre-existing system...then get on the Internet and harp on how "disappointing" they feel in the Stax' performance. They build a system based upon parameters and then drop in a device that works on an entirely different set of parameters, then complain about the result.

If you are going Stax, you must go Stax "all the way". Your system must be synergetic to the Stax all the way through, from source to headphones, err, earspeakers, and maybe that is a perfect reason that Stax chose "earspeakers" to describe their products. In the same manner that, in high-end, a normal system must be tailored as a whole to account for the speakers at the end of the musical conduit, a Stax system must also be tailored to the headphones at the end of this musical conduit. One must think it as a system not simply a construct of independent devices linked together, but in a world where "New = Better" is a living matra people will constantly try alternate setups to try to achieve that "new" sound while losing sight of the ultimate goal: musicality. If you, or your system, has lost sight of musicality a Stax system will announce that fact to you, real quick.
post #129 of 173
I remember the first time I tried a Stax rig in a shop, the source was the $6k Esoteric CD player they were using with their best rig. A very nice match with the SRS-4040 rig at 1/6th of the price (in Japan). I can confidently say that my own rig I don't feel at all disproportionate, with a $2500 DAC ($800 through the forums) feeding $400 worth of vintage Stax.
post #130 of 173

Trying Stax

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
Absolutely. Since my early introduction to audiophilia was via a friend's hi-fi store, I realised the reason their set-ups sounded so good was because the owner and staff spent many hours matching components well. Also, if you asked about any component, they'd immediately ask what it would be used with, as people do here.
I was interested in listening to stax when I was in the US last summer. I divided my time between Minneapolis and San Francisco. In Mpls. I headed for the local dealer (Needle Doctor) to find that they did not keep them in stock but would order one for me. When I got to SF, the only dealer i could find was a long Bart trip out of the City. I was willing to do that, but when I called they also had none in the store, but would order etc.

Those old hi-fi stores are, unfortunately, harder to find.
post #131 of 173

34 set and solid state; first impression

[QUOTE=dickbianchi;5270739] I have an assortment of equipment here I intend to try out with the 34. First is a quad 77 CD and integrated amp which I will set up tomorrow to get an idea of the differences with solid state. [QUOTE]

Im shocked. The quad 77 driving the 34 set is wonderful (did not use the CD; kept the same sources as with the tubes.) Its like the electrets suddenly got as big as the Senns. Soundstage, separation of instruments, more slam. The clarity is still stunning. What's missing: the warmth and whiff of naturalness that tubes give. Still I love it. Listened for a coupld of hours and enjoyed every bit. I will listen a lot more and see how this holds up. I am truly surprised. I did not expect to like it.
post #132 of 173

Us impressionables

Well the jury is in.... the sound of the 34 set connected to the quad 77, carbon finish and all , is not good. That is not to say that there are not some good things about it. Changing gear is often like listening to a new mix of the same CD. Things you are vaguely aware of in a familiar CD come bubbling to the surface. So this trial was fun as long as I was listening for detail.

Switch between the 34 and the Senn setup brought parity with respect to detail and "listening into" the recording. But it ended there. There was a harshness with the electret that contrasted with the smoothness of the Senn/opera setup. After a while I became aware of a sense of "relief" in switching to the Senns. The word for what I was experiencing with the 34 was "fatiguing". This was equally true with the t585 and Wadia I-transport/audionote dac combo as sources.

The 34 does not seem fatiguing behind the tube stuff I have, nor is there any sense of harshness. I wish I had access to better solid-state stuff to try them out.
post #133 of 173

another combination need extended listening

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickbianchi View Post
Well the jury is in.... the sound of the 34 set connected to the quad 77, carbon finish and all , is not good.... The 34 does not seem fatiguing behind the tube stuff I have, nor is there any sense of harshness. I wish I had access to better solid-state stuff to try them out.
Experimentation is fun. Tonight I listened to the Quad 77 used as preamp (has pre-outs) with the 34 set attached to the tube amp. Its great. It really sounds good. Has scale, slam, detail and draws me in. I switched off to the senns, which were more spacious and delicate, but I found myself wanting to return to the stax.

I will continue to listen to th8s configuration before I go back to the tube pre-amp. Was fooled before by a first impression.....
post #134 of 173
Yeah, getting the right "fomula" with Stax isn't an exact science sometimes, so try things out.
post #135 of 173
I think it's time to step up from the electrets.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)