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Stax SR-009: Best Headphone Ever Made? - Head-Fi TV, Episode 008 - Page 8

post #106 of 393
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagothur View Post




He can wear a dress while he's on Head-Fi.  Being a good Samaritan and all that.

 



What.The. ????
I didn't know I had a twin lolol blink.gif
Nice display pic man beerchug.gif

post #107 of 393

I was quite happy with my modest speaker rig...until I was foolish enough to get 009s.  Now I'll need to spring for some Harbeths I think, so it can keep up.

post #108 of 393
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post


 

As for its price, and what kind of speaker-driving rig you can get with it:  I know you can get a good speaker-driving system for the price of a top-notch SR-009 setup.  But I was reviewing what I now consider the best headphone in the world.  As for what speakers can do that headphones cannot, I'm certainly well aware.  I know that the imaging from headphones (with overwhelmingly most recordings) won't be able to keep up with a good loudspeaker setup.  I know that no headphone--no matter the price--will be able to convey the visceral, body-pounding waves of bass that good loudspeakers can.  But none of the loudspeaker rigs I've heard--and I've heard some dandies--have been able to match the inner detail from the best headphone rigs I've heard.  None.  And no headphone has the inner detail that the SR-009 does (in my experience).

 

 

I'd like to hear that then.  I've never heard any headphone that excels in rendering detail better than my speaker rig (as well as many of the better speaker rigs I've experienced first hand).  The closest I've heard is the 007's.  But hearing that kind of detail with the more accurate, or rather convincing, spacial references of speakers, not to mention the absence of visceral cues (bass is not the only region we experience sound waves 'touch' us, though certainly we are far more aware of that range of the frequency spectrum), well...I guess 'detail' in the speaker world is more believable to me - or lends itself more to the illusion of live music.   On headphones it may occur as more intimate perhaps, but I don't know that it really brings me closer to the music in the same kind of way that I can loose myself in listening to those same details with speakers - I've never listened to a pair of headphones where I'm lost in the illusion - I'm always aware I'm listening to headphones and that the music is being pumped into my ears directly.  Certainly they are different experiences of intimacy.  So the 009's sound intriguing in this way if you say their rendition of details excels over speakers - Cool beans!  I can certainly see where that might be compelling. 

post #109 of 393
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

I was quite happy with my modest speaker rig...until I was foolish enough to get 009s.  Now I'll need to spring for some Harbeths I think, so it can keep up.



Welcome to Head-Fi, sorry about the... oh waitasec...

post #110 of 393

Meh, speakers are still better, *gets up, walks to door, leaves*

If I wanted this setup I can afford it, it would take 18 months, but 10k is doable, but my speakers are too good, smooth yet dynamic, not bright, yet not dark, dare I say good enough (for now ;-)), I've heard 200,000+ speaker rigs, and THEY are perfect, like a live performance


Edited by BattleBrat - 7/3/11 at 7:06pm
post #111 of 393
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post
 As for what speakers can do that headphones cannot, I'm certainly well aware.  I know that the imaging from headphones (with overwhelmingly most recordings) won't be able to keep up with a good loudspeaker setup.  I know that no headphone--no matter the price--will be able to convey the visceral, body-pounding waves of bass that good loudspeakers can.  But none of the loudspeaker rigs I've heard--and I've heard some dandies--have been able to match the inner detail from the best headphone rigs I've heard.  None.  And no headphone has the inner detail that the SR-009 does (in my experience).


Besides the imaging and visceral impact, speakers have two more characteristics that trump headphones, and that is life-like dimensionality (I'm not sure when you say "imaging" if you also meant this) and more perceived dynamics. A great set of speakers can have multiple individually designed drivers pulling different duties, and because physically there so much more room to design and engineer sound-shaping baffles, driver arrangements, interior structure...etc, there's far more freedom than something that has to fit on your ears and not weigh your head down. When you add up those qualities, they become very compelling.

 

Obviously, I wouldn't be here if I didn't love headphones, but in the bigger context, I guess it's a bit like how I feel about game console vs. small handheld game devices, a nice car vs. a nice bicycle, a large house vs. a small apartment, or a full meal vs. a snack. One is just bigger, better, and more, while the other, no matter how nice it is, just isn't as satisfying and is only a substitute when the bigger alternative isn't available at the moment. I would never use headphones when I'm allowed to play my speakers at optimal volume. The only time I might is maybe if I'm listening to something that's such an embarrassing guilty pleasure that I don't want anyone to know. tongue.gif

 

That said, I certainly wouldn't say no to an opportunity to test out the SR-009 against my own rigs, including my Klein + Hummel O 300D's. o2smile.gif

 

 

post #112 of 393
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique View Post




Besides the imaging and visceral impact, speakers have two more characteristics that trump headphones, and that is life-like dimensionality (I'm not sure when you say "imaging" if you also meant this) and more perceived dynamics. A great set of speakers can have multiple individually designed drivers pulling different duties, and because physically there so much more room to design and engineer sound-shaping baffles, driver arrangements, interior structure...etc, there's far more freedom than something that has to fit on your ears and not weigh your head down. When you add up those qualities, they become very compelling.

 

Obviously, I wouldn't be here if I didn't love headphones, but in the bigger context, I guess it's a bit like how I feel about game console vs. small handheld game devices, a nice car vs. a nice bicycle, a large house vs. a small apartment, or a full meal vs. a snack. One is just bigger, better, and more, while the other, no matter how nice it is, just isn't as satisfying and is only a substitute when the bigger alternative isn't available at the moment. I would never use headphones when I'm allowed to play my speakers at optimal volume. The only time I might is maybe if I'm listening to something that's such an embarrassing guilty pleasure that I don't want anyone to know. tongue.gif

 

That said, I certainly wouldn't say no to an opportunity to test out the SR-009 against my own rigs, including my Klein + Hummel O 300D's. o2smile.gif

 

 


Eloquently stated. I prefer my Klipsch reference speakers to the best of my headphones, which cost thousands $$$. These Klipsch reference speakers are no Sonus Fabers or other trophy speakers, but they offer more enjoyment and more realism than any headphone, and I own many of the best. Although I expect to enjoy my SR-009 when it arrives, there's nothing to compare to reference or better quality speakers at optimal volume for precisely the reasons stated by Lunatique. When I retire to a home of my own design, it will be built around a speaker-based system - not headphones.
post #113 of 393
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ricmiclaw View Post

Eloquently stated. I prefer my Klipsch reference speakers to the best of my headphones, which cost thousands $$$. These Klipsch reference speakers are no Sonus Fabers or other trophy speakers, but they offer more enjoyment and more realism than any headphone, and I own many of the best. Although I expect to enjoy my SR-009 when it arrives, there's nothing to compare to reference or better quality speakers at optimal volume for precisely the reasons stated by Lunatique. When I retire to a home of my own design, it will be built around a speaker-based system - not headphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique View Post

...A great set of speakers...become very compelling...

 

I'm not debating loudspeakers versus headphones, in case it wasn't clear.  I understand the differences, as do most here (I hope).


As I said earlier, I fully understand the advantages of speakers.  And as I've said before, over the years, I'd rather listen over a good loudspeaker setup, too, when the opportunity presents itself.

 

My best friend plays piano very well, usually on a concert grand in his home.  I very much enjoy listening to him play, especially in the new room he built for it, the acoustics of that room being quite nice for the piano.  I would also rather listen to him play live than recorded over my headphones or loudspeakers.

 

For those of you for whom it wasn't clear, the Stax SR-009 is a headphone.  It is not a room with a loudspeaker-driving system in it.  It's a headphone system, the price of which you could buy (or invest in) many other things, including, but certainly not limited to, a loudspeaker system.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique View Post

 

...Not considering the cost at all and focusing purely on the sound quality, just how much better would you rate the SR-009 compared to your previous favorite rigs, in terms of increase in sound quality in percentage overall? Is it a 10% increase in overall quality/enjoyment? 15%? 20%?...

 

 

I'm asked that question all the time--the percentage-type one.  Maybe I'm just a dufus, but I can't quantify it quite like that--not audio anyway.

 

I'll say this:  The SR-009 reveals substantially more detail from my good (or better) recordings than I've heard from any other pair of transducers (loudspeaker or headphone).  Specifically, what percentage more?  I'm not sure, but I'd peg it somewhere between 0% and substantially-better-than-the-best-of-what-else-I've-got-here-%.

 

Again, since it seems I wasn't abundantly clear, this thread is about a video in which I briefly reviewed the Stax SR-009 (with the Woo Audio WES), which is a very expensive headphone system, not a loudspeaker system.  The SR-009 is more detailed than any other pair of transducers--loudspeaker or headphone--than I've so far heard.  In my experience, and in my opinion, it is the best headphone system I've yet heard.  However, saying that is not saying that it obviates (or emulates) the key advantages of a very good and well set-up loudspeaker system.

post #114 of 393
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post

 

 

I'm not debating loudspeakers versus headphones, in case you weren't clear.  I understand the differences, as do most here (I hope).


As I said earlier, I fully understand the advantages of speakers.  And as I've said before, over the years, I'd rather listen over a good loudspeaker setup, too, when the opportunity presents itself.

 

My best friend plays piano very well, usually on a concert grand in his home.  I very much enjoy listening to him play, especially in the new room he built for it, the acoustics of that room being quite nice for the piano.  I would also rather listen to him play live than recorded over my headphones or loudspeakers.

 

For those of you for whom it wasn't clear, the Stax SR-009 is a headphone.  It is not a room with a loudspeaker-driving system in it.  It's a headphone system, the price of which you could buy (or invest in) many other things, including, but certainly not limited to, a loudspeaker system.

 

 

I'm asked that question all the time--the percentage-type one.  Maybe I'm just a dufus, but I can't quantify it quite like that--not audio anyway.

 

I'll say this:  The SR-009 reveals substantially more detail from my good (or better) recordings than I've heard from any other pair of transducers (loudspeaker or headphone).  Specifically, what percentage more?  I'm not sure, but I'd peg it somewhere between 0% and substantially-better-than-the-best-of-what-else-I've-got-here-%.

 

Again, since it seems I wasn't abundantly clear, this thread is about a video in which I briefly reviewed the Stax SR-009 (with the Woo Audio WES), which is a very expensive headphone system, not a loudspeaker system.  The SR-009 is more detailed than any other pair of transducers--loudspeaker or headphone--than I've so far heard.  In my experience, and in my opinion, it is the best headphone system I've yet heard.  However, saying that is not saying that it obviates (or emulates) the key advantages of a very good and well set-up loudspeaker system.


A perfectly fair distinction. I also don't understand attempts to quantify the unquantifiable as in 10% better than this or 8% worse than that. Like you, I know only that something is X% better or worse than what it's being compared to and I try to use that inexact information to inform my decisions. I was initially going with the WES but decided, in the end, to get a fully tricked WA5 and a WEE so I could use the same basic cost structure for more than one headphone. We (or at least I) will see whether this was a wise way to go.
Edited by ricmiclaw - 7/3/11 at 10:33pm
post #115 of 393
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post

 

I'm not debating loudspeakers versus headphones, in case it wasn't clear.  I understand the differences, as do most here (I hope).

 

I don't think we're debating which is definitively better. We're simply talking about whether it makes sense to spend $10,000 for one pair of headphone (we're all here because we love headphones, after all), IF you have the option of speakers available to you at the same price point..

 

If the headphone being discussed was something much cheaper ($1,000-$3,000 range, for example), then there would be no discussion at all, because at that price point, you couldn't get really great speakers, so the situation doesn't even warrant a discussion. But because the SR-009 is so much more expensive than the typical high-end headphone, its price range allows for really excellent speaker systems, the discussion becomes justified.

 

This discussion is not for the benefit of the already converted or those who are firmly in the other camp, but for the benefit of those who may not have thought about this question seriously, or don't know enough about speakers vs. headphones. Discussing it gives them a helpful point of reference in which to base their own decisions on.

 


 

 

post #116 of 393
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique View Post

...This discussion is not for the benefit of the already converted or those who are firmly in the other camp, but for the benefit of those who may not have thought about this question seriously, or don't know enough about speakers vs. headphones. Discussing it gives them a helpful point of reference in which to base their own decisions on.

 

I think this price range for a headphone system is also a filter of sorts.  That is, I suspect few (if any) newbs stumble unsuspectingly into the purchase of a headphone system priced at $10,000 to $12,000 (not even including source components, etc.).

 

"Honey, I'm not sure how this happened!  Retracing my steps...I was on eBay Motors looking for a used car, just like I told you I'd do...and then somehow I ordered this damn headphone system instead!  And it doesn't even work with my iPod!"

 

tongue.gif

post #117 of 393

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by jude View Post
 

 

 

I'm not debating loudspeakers versus headphones, in case it wasn't clear.  I understand the differences, as do most here (I hope).

 

When you post a statement like this,

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post
 
But none of the loudspeaker rigs I've heard--and I've heard some dandies--have been able to match the inner detail from the best headphone rigs I've heard.  None.  And no headphone has the inner detail that the SR-009 does (in my experience).

 

that can of worms is pretty much cracked wide open....along with the obvious price comparison already noted....I guess we could also compare it to used cars of various makes and models....in case someone actually uses that eBay Motors ploy they might have some ammunition for that eminent confrontation with the significant other.

 

Quote:
As I said earlier, I fully understand the advantages of speakers.  And as I've said before, over the years, I'd rather listen over a good loudspeaker setup, too, when the opportunity presents itself.

Me too. beerchug.gif

post #118 of 393
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique View Post

 A great set of speakers can have multiple individually designed drivers pulling different duties, and because physically there so much more room to design and engineer sound-shaping baffles, driver arrangements, interior structure...etc, there's far more freedom than something that has to fit on your ears and not weigh your head down. When you add up those qualities, they become very compelling.

That said, I certainly wouldn't say no to an opportunity to test out the SR-009 against my own rigs, including my Klein + Hummel O 300D's. o2smile.gif


Dear Lunatique: I'd say, wait until you hear the 009 before proclaiming that your speaker are so much better. As for your arguing about the multiple drivers, it's a pretty false statement. People don't use multiple drivers for the sake of having more tuning options but simply because they can't achieve proper results with a single driver. Absolutely nothing in multi-driver loudspeakers helps with better sound reproduction:

> Non coincident driver yield severe directivity patterns which are particularly nasty for listening in nearfield

> Multiple drivers force you to use likely passive filter which can have serious impact on the speaker response (both transparency and coherence). Although I assume your monitors are active ones but still the electronic filters prior to the amplification stage do affect the sound negatively.

> Multiple drivers each have their own character and some pairings don't always sound natural because simply you don't have a coherent sound from top to bottom

> Enclosure is just one more set of troubles to deal with (internal acoustic resonances, baffle structural resonance, sound diffraction off the baffle which affect imaging severly)

 

In my own experience, I am yet to hear a loudspeaker that gives give the same amount of detail in the same natural way and with the least amount of coloration as a Stax system does for a reasonable price (e.g. 10kUSD for a pair of speaker, I still consider very reasonable). With the 009 and the reproduction of the high frequencies in particular, I think there are only very few tweeters out there that can come any close, and I am no giving a price limit here.

 

As for the usual argumentation about what headphones cannot do and all, well, best is to leave that for another thread because it's not news with the 009. I also don't buy your argument that the price justifies talking about this. For instance,  go see the threads with +5kUSD headphone amps, nobody's going there and saying that speaker is the way to go then...

 

Having said all that, no question that 5kUSD is too much for a headphone!! I bit the bullet and don't regret a thing though but I'd still wish it could have been cheaper, especially for those who can't stretch it that far.

post #119 of 393
Quote:

Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

 

Dear Lunatique: I'd say, wait until you hear the 009 before proclaiming that your speaker are so much better. As for your arguing about the multiple drivers, it's a pretty false statement. People don't use multiple drivers for the sake of having more tuning options but simply because they can't achieve proper results with a single driver. Absolutely nothing in multi-driver loudspeakers helps with better sound reproduction:

> Non coincident driver yield severe directivity patterns which are particularly nasty for listening in nearfield

> Multiple drivers force you to use likely passive filter which can have serious impact on the speaker response (both transparency and coherence). Although I assume your monitors are active ones but still the electronic filters prior to the amplification stage do affect the sound negatively.

> Multiple drivers each have their own character and some pairings don't always sound natural because simply you don't have a coherent sound from top to bottom

> Enclosure is just one more set of troubles to deal with (internal acoustic resonances, baffle structural resonance, sound diffraction off the baffle which affect imaging severly)

 

In my own experience, I am yet to hear a loudspeaker that gives give the same amount of detail in the same natural way and with the least amount of coloration as a Stax system does for a reasonable price (e.g. 10kUSD for a pair of speaker, I still consider very reasonable). With the 009 and the reproduction of the high frequencies in particular, I think there are only very few tweeters out there that can come any close, and I am no giving a price limit here.

 

As for the usual argumentation about what headphones cannot do and all, well, best is to leave that for another thread because it's not news with the 009. I also don't buy your argument that the price justifies talking about this. For instance,  go see the threads with +5kUSD headphone amps, nobody's going there and saying that speaker is the way to go then...

 

Having said all that, no question that 5kUSD is too much for a headphone!! I bit the bullet and don't regret a thing though but I'd still wish it could have been cheaper, especially for those who can't stretch it that far.


 

It all depends on what company and what speakers I think. Klein + Hummel are damn good at what they do, and they've managed to do some incredible design/engineering with the O 300D. The guys that run Sound On Sound have heard plenty of high-end studio monitors, and the O 300D remains one of their absolute favorites in all the years they've done professional monitor reviews.

 

For me personally, even if the SR-009 has mind-blowing detail retrieval beyond any speakers I've ever heard, it is still a compromise in the grand scheme of what "satisfying" audio reproduction is to me. Without the visceral impact, powerful dynamics, and life-like dimensionality we take for granted with speakers, no amount of detail can make up for the missing qualities I would never want to be without when I want to experience sonic bliss.

 

Man, I so wish we lived close to each other. I'd totally invite you to my studio so we can listen to each other's rig and compare notes. It would be so much fun! :D

post #120 of 393
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique View Post

For me personally, even if the SR-009 has mind-blowing detail retrieval beyond any speakers I've ever heard, it is still a compromise in the grand scheme of what "satisfying" audio reproduction is to me. Without the visceral impact, powerful dynamics, and life-like dimensionality we take for granted with speakers, no amount of detail can make up for the missing qualities I would never want to be without when I want to experience sonic bliss.

 

Man, I so wish we lived close to each other. I'd totally invite you to my studio so we can listen to each other's rig and compare notes. It would be so much fun! :D


Fair enough, I agree that some may never get fully satisfied with headphones. I am glad that I can make abstraction of these inherent differences and enjoy headphone without feeling I am missing speakers.

 

As for listening to your studio rig, indeed I am curious! I just googled your place in China and, while we're not that far, and although I do travel fairly frequently to China, I doubt I could get any closer than Chongqing or Shanghai! Maybe someday though, or you can always come to Tokyo to sample the 009 ;)

 

cheers, arnaud 

 

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