I got mine this week from PriceJapan.com! No need for photo's; it looks just like the pictures on the Stax website. The black finish is beautiful: a lot better than the drab brown of the 404 Signature, and it goes wonderfully with my black SRM T1; the gold lettering on the amp matches the gold accents on the cable nicely too.
I have to disappoint those in need of a direct sound quality comparison of the Limited and the Signature, which I never heard, but I think I can explain why the Limited definitely is going to stay. In the late seventies I heard and loved the Stax SR-5 and SR-X, but could not afford them. Twelve years later they had disappeared from the shops, and there were only Lambda's and the electrostatic Jecklin Float. I compared those carefully and decided I did not like the Lambda's very much: I found the sound thin and anaemic, with a narrow soundstage. The Jecklin sounded dynamic, wide, generous, loud and exciting, but still with the typical delicacy of an electrostatic, and it was a lot more comfortable to wear.
The Jecklin and I lived together happily for more than twenty years. Because of the electrostatic transparency in the upper mids and highs, I preferred it over the AKG K1000, which I owned for a while. Compared to the K1000 the Jecklin was a bit vague and sloppy in the bass and lower mids, though. After an overhaul two years ago (new foam all around) I opened it up and was disappointed to see the construction, which showed a lot of empty resonating spaces and flexing plastic 'panels'. I filled those empty spaces up and damped the 'panels' with plasticine (artificial modelling clay), without touching the drivers of course. That tightened up the sound enormously: the Jecklin could then (sound-wise) compete with a used SR-X Mk III (with Omega earpads!), that I had at the time. The Jecklin still won out easily on stage width, and wearing comfort. A few years ago I compared it again with a Lambda (don't remember which one), and that one sounded again like the one I heard in 1990: thin and bloodless. Resolution was not better than the Jecklin's.
And then again the craving for another headphone reared its ugly head. I read a number of posts and reviews about the improved sound quality of the actual Lambda's, compared with older models. Someone was impressed by the new Sennheiser flagship HD800, but in the end preferred the Stax 404. The 404 Limited was launched, and I found on (German) Ebay an old but mint black Stax SRM T1 amp. I won the auction, got new tubes for it (nos Raytheon and Hitachi) and ordered a 404 Limited. I found the price difference between a Signature and a Limited not prohibitive, and I absolutely wanted the real leather earpads for wearing comfort (and the black finish...) of the Limited. Total cost (including customs etc.): less than € 1.000,-, so cheaper than the Sennheiser.
The Jecklin is now retired and will be sold. The Limited presents a photograph of a musical event that is much sharper, detailed and colorful. Resolution, placement and 'timbre' of instruments, lots of ambience, you name it. The sound is not at all thin nor pale. Bass is full and weighty, and does not fall off until 30 Hz or so. Loudness is even sufficient for rocking out (ymmv). It is very transparant: I can follow bass guitar lines as never before, especially in 'busy' live recordings, and text is much easier to understand. Some recordings require a slight high frequency cut (about 2 or 3 dB above 4.000 Hz) but most of them don't (mind you: I was used to the balance of the Jecklin, which is rolled-off in the highs). The soundstage is not as wide as the Jecklin's, but you can't have everything. The Jecklin remains champ in the wearing comfort department too, but I can wear this Stax for hours without feeling bothered by it. Literally 'no sweat' (because of the real leather pads?). External noise from the Stax is blissfully low compared with the Jecklin, that you can really only listen too when you are alone (which is better for visual reasons too: you look absolutely ridiculous wearing a Jecklin).
I still need to re-bias the T1. There was a thread about that (http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/bia...srm-t1-324155/
), but the picture of the pinout configuration has disappeared, so now I don't know at which points, inside and/or on the front of the amp,to measure. Can somebody help out here?