The only downside to PriceJapan is shipping cost and delays IF you end up needing to send them back. Speaking from experience they were still covered with a full warranty and a detailed correspondence exchange was required and carried out between myself and STAX during the trouble shooting process.
The headphones I received from PJ were clearly new and untouched. I did wait a while for them as PJ doesn't have stock. If your local dealer has stock you can avoid the wait by paying more, but if they don't have stock you'll have the same wait.
Channel imbalance started after about a week of listening. It was obvious and was easily proven using several amps and headphones for comparison. I sent them back and PJ did a fine job of handling the return. STAX reported that they did not find an imbalance when they were returned so we exchanged some information about my experience. STAX conducted more testing and their engineer replied with more information on his findings. The headphones were shipped back, turn around was a couple of weeks. For the record, I'm still well ahead cost wise on my purchase even with the additional shipping cost. I could ship them again and still be ahead. The additional waiting time cannot be recovered.
So far the headphones have performed perfectly since they were returned. The imbalance issue is a STAX problem not a PJ problem. I could have easily had the same problem with a headphone purchased from a STAX distributer. I believe that if STAX had a definite way to address the issue they would, but apparently they do not, yet. Why wouldn't they? I find it hard to believe that they are not still seeking a solution.
Clearly there is still some issue with the 009 that can lead to imbalance. This is disappointing in a high end offering. While I was not happy with the situation, STAX and PJ customer service was good. I agree with a previous poster that while the issue continues, it is not widespread like it was when the headphones were initially released.
Since there have been recent reports of headphone received that developed the imbalance there certainly is the potential that if you decide to purchase you could encounter the same issue. STAX has not provided any evidence to the contrary. You should take that into consideration when you are considering purchasing.
Everyones decision to purchase anything is highly personal, and based on many factors including different levels of acceptable risk. In spite of my experience, even with hindsight, I wouldn't hesitate to make the same purchase again from PJ. Your decision is yours to make and may be different.
I believe we don't post this information here to create a panic or damage a sellers reputation. We do it to kill the resale value of our headphones! Kidding... We do it to keep our community informed so they can make smart decisions for themselves. We do it with a hope that it will create some pressure on a manufacturer to eliminate the issue, especially in a high end offering.
The 009 is a great addition to my collection and I look forward to enjoying them for years to come.
I'll also consider buying other products from PJ, especially considering the current status of the Yen. It's wonderful that we enjoy access to a world market.
Edited by shipsupt - 10/10/13 at 8:03am