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New listening impressions of Stax C32 prototype and Shipping SR-009 - Page 5

post #61 of 1512

U guys have an own audiophile account in the bank?

post #62 of 1512



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry I View Post

Thanks for the interesting and detailed account of the sound of the new flagship phones.  I currently run O2s via a BHSE amp.  I find it interesting that most listeners consider the O2s to be on the warmer side of neutral.  To me, the biggest negative with these phones (as compared to good speakers, not so much other phones) is that they are a bit too lean and "dry" sounding, and almost sibilant, even with decent tube gear on the front end.  I would actually prefer a warmer sound, not something leaner.  This becomes an even bigger issue with the thin, unpleasant sound of most new popular releases (fortunately, classical releases and jazz still sound decent).

 

Still, I would love to hear the new phones in my system.  I don't know how one gets to audition phones these days, as few dealers carry anything decent.

 



I have a similar concern. I found the tone of the O2 Mk2 too cold, and it was honky and shouty in the mids. It definitely had some of the upper midrange emphasis that I hated on the SR-404, though not to the same degree. If the c32 has the same midrange coloration then it's out of the running for me.

 

Did the 007A seem warmer because it had more bass emphasis or because instrument tone was warmer?

 

I haven't heard the new Lambda lineup so I don't know if this upper midrange emphasis is just Stax house sound these days or an isolated problem. The O2 Mk1 certainly doesn't have this problem, same for the 003.


Edited by catscratch - 1/4/11 at 1:35pm
post #63 of 1512

If they sound and image like the SR-Ω but with more bass, they'll probably be the best headphone ever made.

post #64 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post

If they sound and image like the SR-Ω but with more bass, they'll probably be the best headphone ever made.



The design choice on the stator(?) makes it look similar to the omega. I wonder how much this is responsible for the sound, though. It looks a little different, and appears just a way to add uniform strength to the object in question. It'd be nice if it did sound like the omega, though. Then maybe I can pick up an omega on the used market before I go to speakers ;)

post #65 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGreen View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post

If they sound and image like the SR-Ω but with more bass, they'll probably be the best headphone ever made.



The design choice on the stator(?) makes it look similar to the omega. I wonder how much this is responsible for the sound, though. It looks a little different, and appears just a way to add uniform strength to the object in question. It'd be nice if it did sound like the omega, though. Then maybe I can pick up an omega on the used market before I go to speakers ;)


And hopefully it also has a better fit.  The SR-Ω was much too loose fitting.

post #66 of 1512
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiertijai View Post

Dear Arnaud,

   In your opinion what is the better amplifier that you expect to drive the C32 to their full potential : Stax SRM727a, Aristaeus, Woo WES,

Blue Hawaii or Singlepower ES1/ES2  or other headphone amplifier ?  or T2?  or the new Stax headphone amplifier?


Couldn't tell you, haven't tried. I am not familiar with non-stax amps...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by catscratch View Post

I have a similar concern. I found the tone of the O2 Mk2 too cold, and it was honky and shouty in the mids. It definitely had some of the upper midrange emphasis that I hated on the SR-404, though not to the same degree. If the c32 has the same midrange coloration then it's out of the running for me.

 

Did the 007A seem warmer because it had more bass emphasis or because instrument tone was warmer?

 

I haven't heard the new Lambda lineup so I don't know if this upper midrange emphasis is just Stax house sound these days or an isolated problem. The O2 Mk1 certainly doesn't have this problem, same for the 003.

 

 

Wow, I know many prefer the mkI to the mkII, but honky and shouty mids is quite a word! I haven't heard the mkI in a long time (and it was driven by 717 not the newer amp) so could not confirm this. You may have a point about some colorations in the mkII relative to the C32, but I did not feel it was in the voice area, or it's not that pronounced. 

 

For my comment about warmer, really I mean it has more bass emphasis and recessed treble relative to the C32. Well, for the piano, it certainly has a bit of a muffled quality when listened to the 007A, again all relative to the C32...

post #67 of 1512

I have the Mk 1 version of the O2s.  I have only heard them with the tube energerizer/amp from Stax and the BHSE I recently acquired.  I like the BHSE: it is very fast, clear, robust sounding (deep, powerful bass) and more dynamic than the Stax amp, but it does not fundamentally alter the tonal balance of the headphone and the slightly "cold" sound.  I have not tried the BHSE with older EL34 output tubes; I have access to a pretty good range of alternatives that a friend has offered to give to me.

 

I should also mention that the phones are extremely sensitive to upstream components and the "cold" sound is largely dependent on the rest of the component stream.  When I first heard my phones at the dealership, the CD source was an Audionote (uk) DAC-5 signature DAC fed by a 47Labs Pitracer transport and the linestage was a Kondo M10.  The sound was warmer and better balanced than my current setup (Naim CD555 feeding an Emotive Audio Epifania linestage).  But, I really like the sound my system delivers with my speakers, so, it is a matter of balancing compromises.  I have also run the phones from my other linestage, which I have kept for really no good reason (Levinson No. 32), and the sound is even colder than with the Epifania.  The Epifania is an all tube unit and the Levinson is solid state that is on the somewhat darker and deader sounding side of the solid state spectrum.  I wonder what those people with cooler sounding gear think of these phones? 

 

One interesting thing I noticed about the BHSE driving the O2 phones when listening to vinyl is that mild ticks don't exactly sound like a "tick' but more like a "tink" -- as though glass has been struck.  I was surprised to hear that distinctive resonant signature, though it doesn't really detract from the sound.

 

I should make it clear that, overall, I like the O2 phones, particularly with the BHSE, but there are things about the sound I would like to be different -- a warmer midbass response and a slightly less peaky upper midrange would be really nice.

post #68 of 1512

I can't even register the thought of the O2mk1 sounding cold...it is a very lush sounding headphone if anything.  Also, I believe the upper midrange is where the frequency response actually starts to DIP, not peak.  You either have much different ears from any O2 impressions I've read or measurements I've seen, or are having some fit issues which isn't all that uncommon.  Have you played around with the pad configuration and the metal arcs yet, Larry?

post #69 of 1512
Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post

I can't even register the thought of the O2mk1 sounding cold...

 

I can.

 

I agree with the upstream components thing, especially with the BH. I only have the regular version but it's basically a straight wire with gain and the O2 Mk1 has relatively little character of its own tonally. So it's all going to be up to the source. I've swapped some sources and the results were pretty dramatic. If you have a cold, thin, clinical source then that's what you'll get out of the O2.

 

If the c32 is as uncolored as the O2 Mk1 or better, then the same source first principle will apply as much or more so.

 

Can't wait to get these.

post #70 of 1512

The metal arc seems fine to me (I get a reasonably tight, but not uncomfortable fit).  For my head shape, the pad has to be facing backwards (the rounded part of the pad facing forward) in order to get a tight seal all around.  To me, getting that tight seal is more critical than having the rounded contour follow the shape of the ear.

 

As for the tonal balance, what I call the upper midrange, others would probably call the highs (I think of the high frequencies as being mostly the "sparkle" and not the part of the range that is still tonal).  There is some kind of slight "glare" to the sound to me somewhere on top, but not in the extreme top end.  Again, I should reiterate that these are pretty much "slight" issues for what is otherwise phones I really like.  If added warmth comes in the form of bass resonance (the way certain speakers boom) I would, of course not want that because what I really like about these phones IS the lack of resonant hangover to notes.

 

As for "lush" electrostatic phones, I would put that label on something like the old late 1970's Koss electrostatics.  It has been a long while since I heard those, but, I recall that sound being quite lush.  My old SRX phones, run off tube amps, sounded reasonably lush too.

post #71 of 1512

Wow! Doesn't anyone prefer the MK2 version?

 

Over time these are different impressions I've heard:

 

  • MK1 sounds better with BHSE
  • MK2 is promoted with WES but it may be simply because that is the one Woo is able to sell
  • MK1 is considered less colored
  • MK2 has more bass and is darker
  • MK1 has more treble
  • MK2 is lusher and warmer and darker

 

So my question is how can the treble of the MK2 be more forward and problematic?  Doesn't the MK2 win at anything?  Does it fail in every regard?  I've heard both headphones but never on the same system and never on the same day so I could never compare the two

 

But several vendors essentially say:
 

  • MK1 vs MK2 is like splitting hairs.  They are essentially the same headphone with some minor chasis changes which alter the sound a tad.  The division between the two in terms of sound identity is less than the difference than the bass light R10 and bass heavy R10 or HD600 and HD650.  In comparison.... the O2 MK1 = HD600 and the O2 MK2 = HD650.

 

How can it be that every single person prefers the O2 MK1.  I'm just disappointed because I ordered the MK2 yesterday but I won't have an amp for several weeks or months.  I have a BHSE on order but it will be a period of time before I ever hear my pair and i don't want to be disappointed.

 

With regard to the SR Omega, I've been told these are superior, but problematic and easily breakable.  The HE90 being referred to as colored seems really weird to me since I was under the impression that the intent of the sound of this headphone was to be transparent and unbiased and very pure.  I thought this was how it maintained such a reverance in this community.'

 

The C32 should be great tho!

post #72 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

Wow! Doesn't anyone prefer the MK2 version?


No. wink.gif

 

That said, I suspect most people that have heard both probably have not heard the fairly recent "Mk2.5" version which is supposed to correct at least some of the Mk2's uneven response problems. Presumably if you just bought a pair, they'll have that recent update. 

post #73 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

 

How can it be that every single person prefers the O2 MK1.  I'm just disappointed because I ordered the MK2 yesterday but I won't have an amp for several weeks or months.  I have a BHSE on order but it will be a period of time before I ever hear my pair and i don't want to be disappointed.



Congrats on your BHSE and SR-007Mk2 order.

post #74 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

Wow! Doesn't anyone prefer the MK2 version?


No. wink.gif

 

That said, I suspect most people that have heard both probably have not heard the fairly recent "Mk2.5" version which is supposed to correct at least some of the Mk2's uneven response problems. Presumably if you just bought a pair, they'll have that recent update. 



I never heard of this.  How can I tell if I got this 2.5 version?  I ordered my pair from Elusive Disc.  But how do I know it hasnt been resting on the shelf for a year?  Is there a serial # where this change begins or something physically obvious.  What is the change?

post #75 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by Driftwood View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

 

How can it be that every single person prefers the O2 MK1.  I'm just disappointed because I ordered the MK2 yesterday but I won't have an amp for several weeks or months.  I have a BHSE on order but it will be a period of time before I ever hear my pair and i don't want to be disappointed.



Congrats on your BHSE and SR-007Mk2 order.



Thank you!

 

I'm still unsure between the BHSE and WES, because I will ultimately buy the C32 and want to make sure that the amp suits both headphones.  Any commenst on which amp is ultimately better for both or better in general?

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