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STAX 404 / 507

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Has anybody done any comparisons between the STAX 404 and 507. I'm currently using the 404's with the SRM 006tII and am wondering what the differences are and if it would be a worthwhile upgrade to the 507's.

 

I mainly listen to vocals, acoustics, detailed pieces etc

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

post #2 of 34

Hi,


I had the same doubt. I've got SRM1 MKII, but I think that it is the same

IMO the 507 is better than the 404 thanks to:

- A balanced sound

- Deep bass

- More dynamic

- Better build quality

 

And it loses:

- less bright

- mids a little bit hard

 

I prefer the 507

 

 

 

 

post #3 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by supertrichi View Post

Hi,


I had the same doubt. I've got SRM1 MKII, but I think that it is the same

IMO the 507 is better than the 404 thanks to:

- A balanced sound

- Deep bass

- More dynamic

- Better build quality

 

And it loses:

- less bright

- mids a little bit hard

 

I prefer the 507

 

 

 

 


Had both, +1. With 404 keep in mind there a are several versions over the years so YMMV. (mine was about 2005ish I think, but my impressions mirror the above and I wouldn't go back to a 404 after my 507). That said, I found the 404 headband more comfortable for long listening.
It largely depends on the presentation you prefer. 404 are substantially brighter in the mids. but it seems like the bass is a bit lose and is not nearly as deep as it is on 507.
post #4 of 34

A point to make related to this question is:

 

It depends on what difference you think the cable makes but -

 

303, 404 are the same driver and 404LE the same again but with leather pads

 

307,407 are the same driver and the 507 the same again but with leather pads.

 

The differences besides that is in the cables and in the cosmetics. Oh and a different style of headband for the 507 too.

 

With that in mind, there seems little point in paying for a 404, 404LE, 407 or 507 when you can buy a 303 or 307 and it is the same as the 404 or 407 then you can just buy the leather pads to upgrade to the 507/LE.

 

Back more explicitly on topic, having heard the 507 and owning a 303 with the 507 leather pads, I agree completely that the “7”s have greater bass, are faster and are better built inside. They are perhaps 10-15% better in those areas but basically the same phones.

post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieE View Post

A point to make related to this question is:

 

It depends on what difference you think the cable makes but -

 

303, 404 are the same driver and 404LE the same again but with leather pads

 

307,407 are the same driver and the 507 the same again but with leather pads.

 

The differences besides that is in the cables and in the cosmetics. Oh and a different style of headband for the 507 too.

 

With that in mind, there seems little point in paying for a 404, 404LE, 407 or 507 when you can buy a 303 or 307 and it is the same as the 404 or 407 then you can just buy the leather pads to upgrade to the 507/LE.

 

Back more explicitly on topic, having heard the 507 and owning a 303 with the 507 leather pads, I agree completely that the “7”s have greater bass, are faster and are better built inside. They are perhaps 10-15% better in those areas but basically the same phones.


I listened to the 207, 303, 307 and 507 on a 323II recently. 

 

The 303 was indeed different from the xx7 series and I mostly disliked them.

 

The xx7 series on the other hand was far more convincing IMHO.

 

However I disagree here : I think that there are differences between the 207, 307 and 507. No, they aren't big for sure, but they exist. They all share the same sound signature. But with each step towards a higher model I noticed a little bettering of everything.

Example : going from the 307 to the 507 did not give me a massively better bass experience but and identical headstage performance. It gave me a little more bass quality, a little more clarity in the mids, a little sweeter highs, a slightly better imaging, etc.

It was sufficiently small that it did not wow me at first, but it was there and quite noticeable with a critical listening mindset.

 

However, as they share the same sound siganture, the "enjoyment factor" was quite similar.

 

post #6 of 34

The 202 has a different driver, the 303 and 404 have the same one. The only comparative review I ever read of them said they [303 & 404] sounded exactly the same, but when he strained to find a difference he thought the 404 maybe was a little smoother - but IMO when people can't hear a difference and strain, expecting one, they are opening the door wide to Mr Placebo.

 

As mentioned above, there are different revisions of those phones, so maybe this would account for the difference you found between a 303 and a 404.

 

I agree the "7" make a significant improvement in a few areas on the old range. Not huge, but significant.

 

But regarding the example you gave - there is a big difference going between 307 and 507 - they have different pads! My argument is that you could acheive the same difference by putting EP507 on the 307.

 

EDIT:

 

To add, what kind of 303 did you hear and what pads? The ones I have are from the era of plumper pads with foam screens, which sounded great, but when I changed them to the leather pads they sounded phenomenal (to my ear).

 

Then another forum member hearing this, desperate for these older pads, asked to swap his new style pads for my old foam ones. We did this and when I tried them out I found I really did not like the 303 with the new style pads.


Edited by EddieE - 6/10/11 at 5:00am
post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 

Some great comments here and thanks for taking the time out to reply.

 

I'm loving STAX now, although it took me a couple of weeks of listening to adjust from my AKG K702 set up with my Burson head amp.

 

I think my STAX set up may improve still yet as the kit has only now had about 70 hours of burn in from new,the previous owner said that they'd had less than 10 hours use with him and it looks like it too, no wear anywhere. 

I think mine are 2008 / 9 404's and I'm finding that the bass is far more extended than when compared with the AKG's and for my listening tastes is about right although i do agree that it can be a little sloppy at times.

 

I think from what I've read here, when the time comes for an additional set I may look at the 307's with the 507 pads. Not in a rush though as I'm loving this set up, you never know when you get the urge to upgrade though smile.gif

 

Thanks again for all your comments

post #8 of 34

Give the leather pads a go on your 404 - you'll basically have 404LEs then.

 

While it's very much a personal taste thing, I find the leather pads create a much more vibrant, tighter and faster sound with greater clarity too. Obviously they are less sweaty as well!

 

They aren't really cheap (you can get them on bluetin btw) but I think they are absolutely worth the money for the improvement they can make.

 

It's funny there's this line on the Stax website about the 507 leather pads that says "improves freshness and grace of sound" and it made me laugh as "google translate" style English often does. Then when I tried them I thought "oh yeah... freshness and grace!"

post #9 of 34

There is nothing that suggests the SR-404LE uses the same drivers as the normal SR-404.  Ditto for the SR-SC1.  They may look the same but that means nothing as all Lambda drivers are basically the same.  They certainly don't sound anything like one another...

post #10 of 34

Sorry if that was bad information (about the 404LE) I thought that had been established.

 

Unless cables do make a difference, the 507 is the 407 with leather pads, and the 307 is... the 407. 

 

You're the Stax expert, is there a reason why cables would make a difference with Stax, as I'm pretty much 100% they don't with dynamics but obviously it's a different technology.

 

For my own logical judgement, I am still pretty certain the 404LE is  the 404 with the pads, and the 507 is the modern version of it.

 

I'll put that forward as logical deduction instead of confirmed fact then if it's not, but I'd still place money on it being the case.

 

Put those leather pads on any lambda and they sound radically different - trust me.

 

Change the pads on any headphones and they won't sound anything like they did before.

post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieE View Post

Sorry if that was bad information (about the 404LE) I thought that had been established.

 

Unless cables do make a difference, the 507 is the 407 with leather pads, and the 307 is... the 407. 

 

You're the Stax expert, is there a reason why cables would make a difference with Stax, as I'm pretty much 100% they don't with dynamics but obviously it's a different technology.

 

For my own logical judgement, I am still pretty certain the 404LE is  the 404 with the pads, and the 507 is the modern version of it.

 

I'll put that forward as logical deduction instead of confirmed fact then if it's not, but I'd still place money on it being the case.

 

Put those leather pads on any lambda and they sound radically different - trust me.

 

Change the pads on any headphones and they won't sound anything like they did before.

 

The 307 just can't be the 407. While the 407 and 507 have very similar specs, the 307 and 407 have different ones, which suggest either a different cable that implies quite dramatic changes in specs or more likely a slightly different driver.

 


Edited by MayaTlab - 6/10/11 at 11:30am
post #12 of 34

They do have a different cable, and they do use the same driver element.

 

I thought this was all established? That the 307, 407 and 507 all had the same driver and different cables, with the 507 also having the excellent leather pads and new style of headband?

 

I stand open to correction, I'm not putting myself forward as an expert.

post #13 of 34

Moving to the wider cables will help as they have lower capacitance but the difference is tiny compared to what can be done inside the drivers. 

 

I don't think anybody had compared all of the new models side by side outside of a store, let alone opened them up to verify that the drivers share the same basic building blocks.  Even though I haven't had a set here I'd guess the 407 is the same headphone as the 507 minus the new arc, cable and earpads so it should sound similar.  The 307 and 207 could be very different or very similar...

post #14 of 34

To try and explain my reasoning here, in this 6moons review comparing the 303 and 404 the reviewer stated:

 

"lengthy listening netted no reliably discernable differences with this recording, certainly none in frequency response, tonal balance or overall presentation." 

 

He goes on to try and find a difference and comes to..

 

"Only in the electric sarangi, an Indian bowed cello, could one again imagine to spot the 303's ever-so-faint damper on transient bite. Was I to pronounce the Classic a marketing mistake - far too close in performance to the Signature to successfully sell the latter; way too much applied trickle-down technology to flush the foundation of superiority out from under the 404 with a Biblical vengeance? I needed audiophile-approved high-resolution tracks to be extra sure."

 

To me, this sounds like someone thinking themselves into there being a difference and I rather trust his first impression that there was none.

 

Reading through the mammoth Stax thread here I found several mentions of them basically being the same driver with a different cable.

 

When the 507 was released I found a few mentions of it being the 407 with leather pads, and even the Stax page says the 307, 407, 507 share the same "element" whether that means diamphram or the whole assembly I don't know.

 

A big thing for me is when I bought the EP507 and stuck them to my 303 - now I fell in love with Stax listening to the 507 at a meet and the sound had really stayed with me, when I put them on the sound changed radically - it makes them sound much closer to the 507. The extra bass, clarity, reduced mid-bass, crisper highs. Not as good as the 507 as I remembered it, but my guess work has been that its the same difference in quality as between the 303 and 307.

 

So while in my mind it was confirmed - I guess I had just made the deduction about the 404LE.

 

Yes, the 404LE sound very different to the 404. The 507 sound very different to the 407. The 303 with the same pads sound very different to the 303.

 

Those pads really do change the sound.

 

My intention, when they get to the right price in the classifieds, is to get some 307s and put my EP507 on them - I am willing to bet (not all my worldly possessions, but a sizable bet none the less) that I will basically have a 507 with a lesser cable and different headband and colour scheme.


Edited by EddieE - 6/10/11 at 2:31pm
post #15 of 34

I've tried the 507, 407, 307 and 207 today on three Stax amps : the 323S, the 006LE and 006TS.

 

Stax seems to have done their commercial matching well - the 507 paired well with the 006LE, the 407 with the 006TS and the 307 with the 323S.

 

I think the 323S is the best amp : it has the best drive and the most power. However the 507 sounds a little too "digital" out of the 323S, so I guess they'd pair well with a very warm / full bodied source. The 006LE was the smoothest amp to pair with the 507, but the sound wasn't as lively than with the 323S.

 

I don't think however that you'll get a 507 or close by using their cable and pads with the 307. I actually tried it and there was still a difference. I feel there are two "families" in the current line-up : 207 and 307, probably the same driver with modifications elsewhere (cable, pads, tolerances, housing ?) and the 407 / 507.

 

The 507 has a better bass response and impact than the 407 even with their leather pads on the 407. However I do agree that yes it is minimal.

 

I also heard differences between the four headphones, so maybe Stax has a more coherent line-up with the xx7, but I'm a little doubtful of the 6moons review now. The biggest jump IMHO was going from the 307 to the 407. The others (207 to 307 and 407 to 507) weren't as big. I agree to say that currently the best bang for your buck is the 407.

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