Got the KGSSHV. It's nice-looking, great-sounding, and massive. But the channel imbalance remains — I've now ruled out all other components, so it's definitely a problem with the headphones.
The 009s were in their box for the last few days, and sure enough, they were pretty well balanced when I first started playing them today on the KG. But within the first 15 minutes, it started gradually drifting off balance, and now it's right back to a very strong leftward imbalance. (I don't have proper equipment to measure the imbalance accurately, but it sounds like the music is coming from about 60 degrees left of center.)
PriceJapan advised me:
"Similar cases (imbalance issues ) happened so many times as your case, but Stax tends not find problems from them. Most of customers wasted round shipping cost and their previous time (2 months on average) for sending their Stax headphone to Japan."
But I'm out of options. I'll eat the shipping cost, but it will be pretty disappointing customer service if Stax Japan can't repair or exchange a week-old, defective flagship headphone in a reasonable amount of time.
PJ's forecast is probably going to be accurate, though I understand your frustration. And regarding Stax customer service, try to see it from their perspective - if they check your 009 and find no problem with it what are they supposed to repair or exchange? I would expect that if there is a problem that they will repair or exchange the 009 (apart from the reality that you are presently experiencing an imbalance that may or may not require repair).