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Intro I wanted to start this review off with a Swiss Army knife joke but it looks like several Head-Fiers have already did that so in a futile attempt to be both funny and original I’ll start off...
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Calling All "Vintage" Integrated/Receiver Owners - Page 350post #5236 of 168866/16/12 at 3:53pmThanks Moodyrn, that's helpful. I don't want a pair of bass-lite Stax.
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #5237 of 168866/16/12 at 5:02pm
Well, after a few days playing my CR-820 side by side with my Sansui 881, I think I prefer the Yamaha. I prefer the controls, and the tuner is amazingly awesome. After zapping the antenna terminal with some deoxit and getting a decent antenna hooked up, I get good reception on stations I couldn't ever get with the Sansui! So, if anyone's in the northern NJ area and wants a Sansui 881 cheap lemme know :Ppost #5238 of 168866/16/12 at 5:57pmQuote:
Not just good. But, as MohawkUSA implied, and as I've said before in some now-ancient threads, the SR-X isn't for everyone. "Amazingly ruthless" and "damnably revealing" keep coming up as descriptors. Stax took an SR-3 type driver, enlarged it, then critically damped it. They sacrificed headstage and low bass to get the most tightly-controlled diaphragm in all of headphonedom. It's just like slightly overdamping a good ortho-- you'll hear every tiny little thing on that recording. Which is the way I had to listen to them, since I was doing field recordings for my radio station and sometimes feeding them to the infant NPR. But it's not the way most people listen, or want to. And the SR-X stinks at playing back binaural recordings.
You could probably use the SR-X to go hunting for the difference in sound between amplifiers. That's the kind of headphone it is.
As for the bass reputation: the SR-X will play exceedingly loud and stay utterly clean; thus It will take bass boost very well. So is it bass-lite? A little, but you have the tools to change that. This is why I like my old MOSFET amps-- they're bass-fearless, even with lots of boost into a difficult load like a transformer box. Still, you'd never use the term "romantic" to describe the SR-X, bass boost or no.
The point is that you should at least audition an SR-X before you die. No one ever made another headphone like it (unless you count the closed SR-4070, which some compare to the SR-X, but which I haven't heard). As the name implies, it's a special headphone for special people listening in a special way. For a live-in companion, one of the Lambdas would be a much safer recommendation.
Try to find the most versatile SRD-7 variant, the SRD-7 Mk 2. This has one high-bias jack and one low-bias jack. You used to be able to get a conversion kit from Spritzer for a standard SRD-7 that let you change one of its jacks to high bias.
You may be right. Spritzer might have the lowdown on this from the Stax folks themselves. I know they're related, and both based on the SR-3 driver, but bigger (at least in the case of the SR-X Mk3), and damped very differently from one another.
Edited by wualta - 6/16/12 at 5:59pmpost #5239 of 168866/16/12 at 6:03pmpost #5240 of 168866/16/12 at 6:23pm
Thought I'd check in and say I also run a Stax SRD-6 with the SR-5's off my vintage stuff, the Nikko Receiver and the Lafayette Integrated. Also running the AT-705, PWB Stats, and SR-50 off them.post #5241 of 168866/16/12 at 7:23pmI always find it weird that the SR-X is considered so ruthless. Despite having the same drivers the tweaks made to make it into a SR-5NB must have really changed things around. Most of my music is pretty poor quality from either recording or mastering but it's not at all hard to listen to. I always loved the brightish sound of Grado and Ultrasone but they made my music painful to listen to. Sure the STAX are revealing but they get timbre right and I really need electrostats to keep up with the speed of my fastest metal. Harshness is just as noticeable but it doesn't hurt like it does with a dynamic. You won't be throwing them off your head, but it won't be masked either. low bitrate MP3s sound horrendously bad, but the loudness from modern CDs isn't anywhere near as bad as you'd think with these. The ultrasones I had were the other way around, low bitrate MP3 sounded a bit smeary, and loud recordings hurt to listen to.
Wualta is 100% right on their ability to take bass boost, mine can be boosted up enough that the drives is hitting against something else inside the enclosure and up to that point they don't distort though it's kinda obvious when the bass is coming from the amp and not the source, the timbre is different. I usually go without the boost though, they sound good the way they are. I also find that the soundstage goes as far as the recording lets it, out of all the headphones I've tried it's only second to the 598 in that regard, but everything sounded big with them. I really don't know what to say about low bass, the bass is very well controlled all the way down. It's easier to hear the lower notes in a headphone without a mid-bass boost but I don't have many recordings that go deep enough to show weakness there. You may want to try and find an SR-5N or SR-5NB Skylab. You won't be disappointed.
Edited by MohawkUS - 6/16/12 at 7:25pmpost #5242 of 168866/16/12 at 7:30pm
Run an SR-X Mark 3 & SRD-7/SB off the Sansui AU 20000.
Still a relevant headphone to this day.
Monitor like sound,I use them more than the JH-13,as I prefer open headphones.
For what you will pay,they are a great vintage bargain.
Find some,hang 'em up near your vintage gear and get satisfied...
Edited by 5aces - 6/16/12 at 7:36pmpost #5243 of 168866/16/12 at 9:02pmQuote:
The SX-1980 appears to have an unusual setup: low-low-bass and high-high-treble controls alongside low-bass and high-treble controls. Plus a LOUDNESS switch. It would be interesting indeed to see what all that could do with the SR-X.Quote:Originally Posted by MohawkUS
I always find it weird that the SR-X is considered so ruthless. Despite having the same drivers the tweaks made to make it into a SR-5NB must have really changed things around. ... I always loved the brightish sound of Grado and Ultrasone but they made my music painful to listen to. Sure the STAX are revealing but they get timbre right... Harshness is just as noticeable but it doesn't hurt like it does with a dynamic. ...You won't be disappointed.
Ruthless by comparison to most headphones that, let's be honest, too often shamelessly pander to you-- they kiss your behind but won't tell you the truth about what's coming down the wire. The SR-X is the no-bullshunt headphone. You get the impression pretty quickly that any audio waveform is elementary at best to the SR-X, and that includes distortion products. No drama, no crying out in pain, just a dispassionate transcription of music and distortion being fed to it, at pretty much any SPL. You'd be surprised how not-fun that can be sometimes, yet how exhilarating it can be at others. And yes, the tradeoffs made by the SR-5 and SR-X are very different. I have not heard an SR-5N, though.post #5244 of 168866/17/12 at 4:06am
Rob, if you are looking for an energizer box or if you already have one I could loan you an SRD7 that Birgir modified and which I have been using for about a year with a Marantz 2230B. Nice sound and it will provide you with a point of reference to compare. I am leaving on a week long vacation but if you shoot me a PM I could send it upon my return. Cheers.post #5245 of 168866/17/12 at 6:13amThanks for that kind offer, Miguel! But I don't have the SRX yet I'm thinking seriously about it though.
And you got it, Wualta, it's the low-low bass control of the SX-1980 that's really effective at boosting bass without mucking the midrange.post #5246 of 168866/17/12 at 8:27am
Some really nice gear here, I'm still on my crusade for my fathers 50th present. And it has become clear that vintage is the way to go, when I once was sceptical on the idea.
So I started looking for places to get refurbished vintage amps. I came across http://www.oaktreevintage.com. But earlier in the thread Skylab said they only replace what is really bad. So I am uncertain.
I was looking at the Pioneer SX-890.
I'm going to pair it with a Project Debut Carbon and Grado SR325/Allesandro MS2/Hifiman HE-400.
the amp MUST have tone controls, and good ones.
If not from there, then where should I look to buy? Its worth it to note I need international shipping.post #5247 of 168866/17/12 at 9:07amActually I don't recall commenting on oaktreevintage - I have no direct experience with them. I have looked at their website quite a bit for parts, which they seem to have a lot of. In general a lot of places do in fact replace or repair only what is truly broken - finding a full restoration shop/person is a bit trickier.
Shipping heavy vintage gear overseas is a very expensive proposition. You have no potential local sources?post #5248 of 168866/17/12 at 9:28amQuote:Originally Posted by Skylab
Actually I don't recall commenting on oaktreevintage - I have no direct experience with them. I have looked at their website quite a bit for parts, which they seem to have a lot of. In general a lot of places do in fact replace or repair only what is truly broken - finding a full restoration shop/person is a bit trickier.
Shipping heavy vintage gear overseas is a very expensive proposition. You have no potential local sources?
None, I looked a fair amount, there are the odd vintage amps for sale second hand, but no restorers, the odds are the ones that do restore won't have a website.
You did mention you havent worked with them directly. I know the shipping will be expensive, I also just realized I will need a power transformer 240v to 120v. arg.
I'm going to try look around locally a bit more. More easily said then done.
The pioneer seems a good bet otherwise, no?post #5249 of 168866/17/12 at 9:38ampost #5250 of 168866/17/12 at 9:41amQuote:
Congrats! Can't wait to see the pics
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