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:
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.
Edited by vkvedam - 9/26/10 at 10:57am