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Stax SR-507 + SRM-007tII & SR-007 MkII + SRM-007tII Kimik At National Audio Show, UK

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well I had the pleasure of listening to top of the range Stax electrostat systems. I spent about 2-3 hours in that syndicate analysing both the systems. First of all I must say I loved both the systems, not to rule out but the 2050 system was an absolute revelation for me. For that price they are really good. Here are some pics:

 

SR-507

 

SR-007 MkII Omega

 

I had to use the CDs that were available at hand in their syndicate as I forgot to take my CDs with myself (Silly me). But there was this recorded absolute master piece - High Endition Volume 9 (Life Stories). Source was the top of the line Esoteric P-05 CD with C-03 line stage pre-amplifier feeding the energizer units of the Stax with some decent Chord cables (I am not a big cable believer as long as it's decent). The tracks that I mainly concentrated upon were Mike Silver - Not A Matter Of Pride, Katinka Wilson- Why, David Munyon - N.Y.C and Laliya - Baba Ghanoush. And the person who was really patient with my persistent questions during my lengthy audition is the one and only service man for Stax in the UK apparently.

 

SR-507 Vs SR-007 MkII:

 

I was really impressed with SR-507 given their retail price (~GBP 695). It's less than half the price of Omegas. But the energizer was a good one driving these. Before I get into the nitty gritty of presentations I must say I can live happily with either of the systems to start with. The first track I compared was 'Why' by Katinka Wilson. Such a great gifted voice she has got. On the Omegas it's absolutely neutral and natural how they render this female's voice. Unless I hear something else more neutral in the future I would say for now Omegas are the best neutral system I've come across so far. I really liked those. On the other hand the SR-507s have got a natural presentation with a bit of warmness, I would coin it as. It's really good with a bit of a holographic soundstage and adds a bit of warmth to Katinka's voice as compared to the more wider speaker like reference presentation of Omegas. It really depends on your personal preference I would say. As I feel I am more of a purist although I enjoyed SR-507's warmness. But it's really up there just behind the Omegas in terms of resolution and clarity. The next rack I concentrated upon was 'Not A Matter Of Pride' by Mike Silver. It was an absolute delight listening to this track on both the systems. To be honest I couldn't tell much difference between the two as I felt the SR-507s didn't add anything artificial as the track didn't need it. He has got such a great voice that I really enjoyed the music rather than comparing as I couldn't really put my finger on anything. The next track was the one where the Omegas started to gain the upper hand over their sibling SR-507s. David Munyon's N.Y.C is such a master piece. The great soulful voice among the best male singers. Both the systems presented this track in such a wonderful way that I never felt like taking one off and do a quick A/B. Both made me to listen to the complete track before I did my A/B. I feel that's what you need really with a music system. The spatial cues were better presented on the Omegas. Guitar player sliding his fingers along the strings and across the frets is something you've got to experience it for yourself. If I close my eyes now I could still recreate that wonderful listening session I had as it is still fresh in my memory. The last rack where I've spent about an hour on was Laliya's Baba Ghanoush. Such a great instrumental piece. Very well written, composed, presented and most importantly recorded. On the SR-507s I would say it's more intimate in comparison to the Omegas. But the level of detail was almost the same on both the systems. Like I said before you could just say Omegas are more neutrally natural compared to the slight warmer presentation of the SR-507s.

 

Now, I've listened to the SR-4040 II + 006tII system as well. I felt the other two systems are in a different league with the respective source and music I had at hand on the given day. I've compared both the other systems and in particular 507s with 4040 IIs. The only caveat with my testing you could point out is that I've not swapped energizers with any of the systems as there were quite a few visitors. So you could consider my findings with a grain of salt. For some reason I would say I go with 507s compared to 4040 II at the moment. I might have to give these things another audition with the same energizer so that I could pin point my findings myself. And finally I feel the 2050A are a pretty good system to start with. The service man said he is working with some german firm in putting the HE-5 orthos some real modifications. He said it's a great headphone that's been implemented slightly off the hook. I've got zero experience with the orthos. But for now I would say Electrostats are one step ahead of the Dynamics. Hope some of you may find my musings a bit useful and I'll wait for a chance to audition LCD-2s and then decide whether to go the Ortho-Way or Electrostat-Way. It was such a wonderful day I had that I couldn't sleep well last night with my beloved 840s. 

 

Thanks.....

 

Ven


Edited by vkvedam - 9/26/10 at 10:57am
post #2 of 17

Thank you for your impressions. I am really looking forward to getting my SR-507.

post #3 of 17

Thanks for the very nice write-up.   I'm leaning towards a pair of SR-507's myself, but then I think I should start slow and just pick up a pair of 207's (when they're out) or maybe 303's.   

 

Mostly I'm waiting for reviews of the Woo WEE.   I think he should have named it the 'Woo-Wee' instead of just the 'Wee'.  


Edited by Jodet - 9/26/10 at 12:34pm
post #4 of 17

Thanks for the write-up.  I certainly hope the 507 and the less expensive 2170(?) Lambda are improvements over the existing line-up.  I am not expecting them to best the 007 but if they are better than existing Lambdas I suspect many others will conclude there is no need to move to the 007 and also spend the big bucks on the big amp needed to drive it.

 

I do find it odd that Stax is so slack about its website, not listing the new models until after they have been shown in various places around the world.  And of course their US distributer seems to have just about thrown in the towel.  It's to bad that its not a better-run business.

 

post #5 of 17

Given just how bad the 303/404 were then it would be nice to get a good Lambda lineup again. 

post #6 of 17

Great impressions and photos.  I have ordered the High Endition Volume 9 (Life Stories) Gold CD, based on your writeup from Germany.  I strongly prefer the SR-007 MkI to the MkII using the RSA A-10.  I have not heard the MkII with the SRM-007tII yet.

post #7 of 17

Thanks for sharing your impressions and nice taken photos. 

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Cheers people. Hey warp08, I am quite sure you're gonna like this CD. Stunning recording work all the way across.

post #9 of 17

Thanks for the impressions!

I'm still listening to an old (20 years) Lambda Pro & SRM-1. And have been tinkering about upgrading.

This summer I had a chance to listen to my Lambda Pro on an SRM 007t and found the result quite shocking..... in a positive way that is.

 

I'm convinced that the energizer plays a big role in the overall quality. Perhaps even bigger than the headset itself. Still, your review triggered me to get to listen one of these sets soon!

post #10 of 17

Thanks for the great description/impressions.  I have always loved stax the best.  I will never forget the day that I heard the Stax Omega two's at Can Jam 2008 in San Jose, California.  The Stax room was right next to the room that had the Sennheiser Orpheus.  So I was able to go back and forth comparing the Omegas and the Orpheus.  I did this almost the whole day.  It was pure headphone heaven to me.  After the day ended; my conclusion seemed to be that both the Omegas and the Orpheus had incredibly great sound.  The Orpheus had a closer sound stage than the Omegas; which really is a matter of listening preference; but for the price difference of almost $8000 you really couldn't beat the Stax.  Scottsmrnyc

post #11 of 17

The amplifier quality is critical and they will indeed make or break the headphones.  Just now I was comparing my modified SRM-727 to the BHSE off the same source it's always fun to hear the difference between a very good amp and the state of the art.  The SRM-727 when modified is by leaps and bounds the best Stax branded amp ever made (short of the T2 that is) but the BHSE just moves things to a whole new level.  The amp will never change how the headphones sound but it just supplies them with enough linear power to do their own thing.  This also means many of the issues people have with the phones on lesser amps just disappear.  The etch the Lambda Signature is so famous for is gone and so is the slightly metallic top end of the SR-Omega.  More current indeed...

 

Now back in the real world, I wouldn't discount the old SRM-1 Mk2 just yet.  The design is great with low distortion and ample power for any of the Lambdas to shine but any 20 year old amp will be running far of spec due to the electrolytic capacitors being all but dead.  This means the rail voltages are lower, there is less current reserve and the offset and balance settings for each channel are a long way from being correct.  Swap in new electrolytic caps, rebias the amp and then be prepared to be amazed...

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottsmrnyc View Post

Thanks for the great description/impressions.  I have always loved stax the best.  I will never forget the day that I heard the Stax Omega two's at Can Jam 2008 in San Jose, California.  The Stax room was right next to the room that had the Sennheiser Orpheus.  So I was able to go back and forth comparing the Omegas and the Orpheus.  I did this almost the whole day.  It was pure headphone heaven to me.  After the day ended; my conclusion seemed to be that both the Omegas and the Orpheus had incredibly great sound.  The Orpheus had a closer sound stage than the Omegas; which really is a matter of listening preference; but for the price difference of almost $8000 you really couldn't beat the Stax.  Scottsmrnyc

Interesting.  Do you happen to remember how was the HEV90 and the SR-007 amped and whether any tube rolling involved assuming they weren't SS?  Also, were the O2s Mk1 or Mk2?
 

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post

 

Now back in the real world, I wouldn't discount the old SRM-1 Mk2 just yet.  The design is great with low distortion and ample power for any of the Lambdas to shine but any 20 year old amp will be running far of spec due to the electrolytic capacitors being all but dead.  This means the rail voltages are lower, there is less current reserve and the offset and balance settings for each channel are a long way from being correct.  Swap in new electrolytic caps, rebias the amp and then be prepared to be amazed...


Thanks for pointing this out to me. I used to work in the High-end audio scene until 15 years ago (in fact, it was at the dutch distributor of Stax!). And I've done cap refurbishments on a SRA-14s and a CA-Y!

Now, if I can only find the time to get this done on my own amp......

 

post #14 of 17

I just brought a SRM-1 Mk2 back from the dead today (when I got it all the caps were toast and it was missing all the output stage transistors plus the main heatsink) and it does sound lovely even if the bias adjustments are a bit twitchy.  To further solidify my standing in Team Overkill I naturally put in a 4 gang pot and wired it up for fully balanced use. 

post #15 of 17

Dear spritzer,

I use a SRm1MKII PP which was hardly used (in total 1 year?!) Should I ask a technician to check the caps or is it not necessaey becuase of the little tim it was used.

 

Regards Georg

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