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Question about amps for the Stax SR-009 - Page 38

post #556 of 874
EN_R: I think we'll be able to comment a bit more with anakchan once I receive my BHSE. For now, for the SR009, between the SRM727, LLmk2, and Electra (with Anakchan's tubes, e.g. what Radio_head chose), my pick is the Electra without thinking twice. It was that good when I heard / compared it to other amps.

The LL might have been defective, but I doubt it as other experienced people did not find issue with it and even preferred it over the 727 amp when we had mini-meet in Tokyo some weeks back. For me, the first thing that jumped at me is the lack of drastic differences with the stax amp when using the sr009. I was so disappointed after hearing all about how critical it was to pair the 009 with a high end stat amp. I thought this whole thing was just wishful thinking and major mind conditionning to spur a market of third party makers. I want to post more detailed impressions at some point but was waiting to hear the BHSE to do so. My appreciation of the Electra when I heard it at anackhan's place the other day came as a total surprise as I was quite skeptical coming in, based on extended home audition of the LLmk2.

One thing that sounded really off with the LLmk2 is the transients. The bass is both forward and cuts very shortly so it completely lacks realism (I am talking about acoustic bass here). The 727 is wooly sounding in comparison but quite a bit more natural to my ears (I probably got used to this presentation). The Electra is both much more dynamic but also has just the right amount of bass quantity, and most important of all, it sounds natural in that register.

Along the same lines, I could not get used to the treble presentation of the LL which was laid back but at the same time sizzly, completely missing the texture / decay which makes cymbal crash sound like it should. It's as if the LLmk2 had strong overshoot in its transient response but somehow masks micro-information such as the decay after the attack. The Electra managed to sound more lively / brigther than 727 amp while keeping it all so convincing and effortless.

The 727 amp does sound stressed and dynamically challenged compared to both amps. The 727 simply sounds anemic and boring compared to both other amps. The LLmk2 sounds punchier but it feels artificial in terms of decay. The Electra simply outshines both amps in that regard.

Last but not least, imaging. I was again here quite disappointed with the LLmk2 as it did not bring anything to the table coming from my 727 amp. I had so much more success with the short trial of high end ladder dac (TotalDAC D1) that superfred21 brought with him to japan for us to listen. Before I hear the Electra, I was so convinced it did not make any sense to upgrade the amp before DAC. The thing is, the Electra again very positively surprised me here. Mind you, this criteria of instrument placement in the room, soundstage width and depth requires more than a couple of hours of audition but the improvement from the Electra coming from 727 was significant enough to be immediatly noticeable.

Overall, what I loved about the Electra is the prat, sense of ease / lack of strain, abundant macro and micro dynamics (reminiscent of craig's gear I heard in the past), realistic soundstaging, placement and separation. It's pretty difficult to put this into words but the easiest way for me to express it is I had the goose bumps when listening to such tune as Dire Straits "You And Your Friend" from the record "On Every Street".

Which brings me to the list of tunes I listened to during this three way comparison:
Miles Davis - Sketches Of Spain - Will O' The Wisp
Chris Isaak - Wicked Game - Blue Spanish Sky
Carla Bruni - Quelqu'un m'a dit - L’excessive
Ben Harper - The Will To Live - Faded
Rebecca Pidgeon - The New York Girl's Club - The Word Around Town
Dire Straits - On Every Street - You And Your Friend
Bounce - This Is K2 HD Sound - Star Dust
Beck - Sea Change - Paper Tiger
Feist - Open Season: Remixes & Collabs - Tout Doucement
Hugh Coltman - Stories From The Safe House - Could you be trusted
Tigran Hamasyan - Red Hail - Chinar Es (You Are as Tall as a Plane Tree)
Emily Loizeau - L'autre Bout Du Monde - Je Suis Jalouse
Marilyn Mazur - Elixir - Mother Drum

As a conclusion, I am now anxiously waiting for the BHSE, with the hope that I will not be disappointed like I was with the LLmk2, and hopefully finding similar qualities to the Electra. At the moment though, I cannot guess I will be preferring the BHSE with the 009. One reason is because I never heard it, the other is because the electra just sounded plain awesome with the Electra.

Now, about the Abyss outshining all this, I guess it will depend on what you're looking for in your sound system...

Arnaud
Edited by arnaud - 11/30/13 at 10:36pm
post #557 of 874
Quote:
Originally Posted by purk View Post
 

I'm sure you would retract that statement after one listening session from the SR-009 + BHSE or even better the DIY T2 combo.

 

Hello,

 

I want to clarify that I was not involved in this comparison headphone (Abyss vs 009 vs LCD3 vs PS1000, vs TH900).

Personally, I'm a fan of Stax and I love my 009.

I am quite surprised and skeptical about these first listening with Abyss results. Time will tell whether or not the Abyss became the best headphone in the world. Personally I doubt it.

Otherwise, there is something new on the French site with some pictures.

 

http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/post177887423.html#p177887423

 

Good day.

 

Eric

 

PS: Congratulations Arnaud for your review above and your very good analysis of the response curves of the Abyss vs. Stax 009 

http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/post177887211.html#p177887211


Edited by eric65 - 12/1/13 at 2:34am
post #558 of 874
Quote:
Originally Posted by En_R View Post
 

 

Yeah the 009s are definitely easier to drive, but I have yet to hear an amp that fully utilizes their potential- while the 007 and the original Omega have the T2 and the BHSE.

 

I do agree with you on this and it's something we have looked into.  It's quite clear what the SR-009 needs from an amp but it's a fine line to take between masking the top and bottom end issues and drowning it all in some syrupy mess. 

 

There are a number of projects that have priority over this one but I will draw up a prototype PCB at some point.  Probably do two of them, one SS and one tube hybrid. 

post #559 of 874

Quote:

Originally Posted by complin View Post
So whats missing (or added) in the current offerings which makes you feel the 009's are not suited to the current crop of amps?
 

 

I'm confused, I thought I already described in detail why I do not like the current crop of amps- which is why I'm looking forward to hearing the LLv2 and Electra when paired with the 009s.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric65 View Post
 

Hello,

It seems that your discussion (very interesting) is now thing of the past, since a large comparative test in progress, with the new headphone JPS ABYSS seems presently preferred to the Stax SR-009 headphone + Electra of Superfred (without counting the 727 SRM Pierre) and also that PS1000, LCD3 and TH900  headphones.
(more details in the coming hours in the french forum)
http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/post177886629.html#p177886629
Eric

 

 

Nice! Wasen't the Abyss released a couple of months ago? I'm glad you guys finally caught up!

post #560 of 874

Ah I thought you had already heard the LL and Electra :blink:

 

Personally not keen on the LL but cannot comment on the Electra as have not heard.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by En_R View Post
 

Quote:

 

I'm confused, I thought I already described in detail why I do not like the current crop of amps- which is why I'm looking forward to hearing the LLv2 and Electra when paired with the 009s.

 

 

 

Nice! Wasen't the Abyss released a couple of months ago? I'm glad you guys finally caught up!

post #561 of 874
Quote:
Originally Posted by En_R View Post
 

Quote:

 

I'm confused, I thought I already described in detail why I do not like the current crop of amps- which is why I'm looking forward to hearing the LLv2 and Electra when paired with the 009s.

 

 

 

Nice! Wasen't the Abyss released a couple of months ago? I'm glad you guys finally caught up!

 

Yes, you are right, and the topic (new in France) is currently quite controversial. We follow with interest the debate on HCFR and Head-Fi. :) 


Edited by eric65 - 12/1/13 at 6:30am
post #562 of 874
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by eric65 View Post
 

Hello,

It seems that your discussion (very interesting) is now thing of the past, since a large comparative test in progress, with the new headphone JPS ABYSS seems presently preferred to the Stax SR-009 headphone + Electra of Superfred (without counting the 727 SRM Pierre) and also that PS1000, LCD3 and TH900  headphones.
(more details in the coming hours in the french forum)
http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/post177886629.html#p177886629
Eric

 

Originally Posted by purk View Post
 

I'm sure you would retract that statement after one listening session from the SR-009 + BHSE or even better the DIY T2 combo.

 

It's a matter of taste / sonic priorities. I had many months of listening sessions with the DIY T2 + (insert whatever electrostatic headphone here) and I prefer the Abyss, even from the lowly Vali. Really comparing apples and oranges though.

 

I believe the Eric65 has also heard the SR009 from the Electra, which is no slouch compared to the BHSE - although quite a different presentation.


Edited by purrin - 12/1/13 at 8:28am
post #563 of 874
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

 

It's a matter of taste / sonic priorities. I had many months of listening sessions with the DIY T2 + (insert whatever electrostatic headphone here) and I prefer the Abyss, even from the lowly Vali. Really comparing apples and oranges though.

 

Which sonic priorities/aspects put the Abyss ahead of DIY T2/009?

post #564 of 874
Quote:
Originally Posted by complin View Post

Ah I thought you had already heard the LL and Electra :blink:

 

Personally not keen on the LL but cannot comment on the Electra as have not heard.

 

Nope. I've owned the LLmk1.. when paired with the 009 it had the warmer sound I was looking for with certain genres but resolution and low level detail were not as good as some of the other amps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric65 View Post
 

 

Yes, you are right, and the topic (new in France) is currently quite controversial. We follow with interest the debate on HCFR and Head-Fi. :) 

 

Let me know how your apple and oranges compare. I prefer kiwi.

post #565 of 874
Quote:
Originally Posted by negura View Post
 

Which sonic priorities/aspects put the Abyss ahead of DIY T2/009?

 

I've tweaked the Abyss slightly to ameliorate some issues with the steely treble (really depends on the rest of the chain) of the stock. The contest (if there even were any) would be harder for me to call against the DIY T2 / Electra + SR009mk1 or the Jades (modded). I'm simply not a big fan of the SR-009 because of its funky tonal balance, a concentration in the mids with a slight slope / decreasing volume toward the bass extremes, and lack of impact and power. 

 

But to answer your question - in summary: 1) tonal balance; 2) bass impact; 3) I simply tired of the trademark STAX "ethereal" presentation; 4) I decided I was too much of a fan of SET amps to have any lesser amplification (still waiting for a semi-custom 4x45 SET to be built for the few dynamic headphones I still own). The best stat amp I've heard was one of Frank Cooter's SET creations with the blue glowie mercury rectifier tubes at the Bay Area meet many years ago. The best stat headphone I've heard is the Orpheus (which by the way doesn't have the STAX "ethereal" thing and is probably the most resolving headphone on the planet.)

 

If I didn't go back to speakers mostly, I would have kept my electrostatic headphone rig. It's not black and white really where A+B > X+Y. I've already commented extensively on the differences elsewhere so don't want to rehash everything again here. As I've said numerous times before, if you like the SR-009, have stuck with it for a while, and hear absolutely no problems with it, you are not going to prefer the Abyss.


Edited by purrin - 12/1/13 at 9:05am
post #566 of 874

I gather that some listeners find the treble of the Abyss a little problematic too

 

Tyll from Innerfidelity review:

The second fault I found much more problematic. High frequency information was lightning quick and articulate, but was accompanied by a haze of low level, high frequency noise in the 10kHz area. Cymbals, brushes on snare, the breathiness of wind over a flute emboucher hole were markedly unnatural when compared with the three competitors. This character, coupled with the somewhat recessed lower treble tended to significantly raise the perceived pitch of some treble material. For example, brushes on a snare which sounded organic and mellow on the other cans, would sound more metallic on the Abyss AB-1266. One recording I use for evaluations is a slow shuffle where the drummer alternates brush strokes on the snare and high-hat closes, with the AB-1266 I simply couldn't tell them apart. On simple arrangements it did at times add a sense of sparkle to the treble that was pleasing, but once the treble became crowded with information it tended to create a blur of low-level white noise surrounding the details.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

 

I've tweaked the Abyss slightly to ameliorate some issues with the steely treble (really depends on the rest of the chain) of the stock. The contest (if there even were any) would be harder for me to call against the DIY T2 / Electra + SR009mk1 or the Jades (modded). I'm simply not a big fan of the SR-009 because of its funky tonal balance, a concentration in the mids with a slight slope / decreasing volume toward the bass extremes, and lack of impact and power. 

 

But to answer your question - in summary: 1) tonal balance; 2) bass impact; 3) I simply tired of the trademark STAX "ethereal" presentation; 4) I decided I was too much of a fan of SET amps to have any lesser amplification (still waiting for a semi-custom 4x45 SET to be built for the few dynamic headphones I still own). The best stat amp I've heard was one of Frank Cooter's SET creations with the blue glowie mercury rectifier tubes at the Bay Area meet many years ago. The best stat headphone I've heard is the Orpheus (which by the way doesn't have the STAX "ethereal" thing and is probably the most resolving headphone on the planet.)

 

If I didn't go back to speakers mostly, I would have kept my electrostatic headphone rig. It's not black and white really where A+B > X+Y. I've already commented extensively on the differences elsewhere so don't want to rehash everything again here. As I've said numerous times before, if you like the SR-009, have stuck with it for a while, and hear absolutely no problems with it, you are not going to prefer the Abyss.

post #567 of 874

I believe Tyll's unit was fubar or something and his issue was may have been different than mine. He heard the unit I had on hand at the LA Meet and said "WTF man" (in reference to his unit sounding very different.)


Edited by purrin - 12/1/13 at 11:50am
post #568 of 874

Given the issues Audeze have had over the years with planar driver reliability and consistency, perhaps there are similar issues going on here ?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

I believe Tyll's unit was fubar or something and his issue was may have been different than mine. He heard the unit I had on hand at the LA Meet and said "WTF man" (in reference to his unit sounding very different.)

post #569 of 874
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

I'm simply not a big fan of the SR-009 because of its funky tonal balance, a concentration in the mids with a slight slope / decreasing volume toward the bass extremes, and lack of impact and power. 

 

...4) I decided I was too much of a fan of SET amps to have any lesser amplification

I can empathize and agree with above, as I've been messing around with SR-009 myself to "bend it" to my preferences.  Luckily, I am quite satisfied with my speaker system, so I have all the time and patience in the world to work on the SR-009.  Computer audio has been useful, as I found minor adjustments in digital EQ to be immensely helpful with tonal balance and bass dynamics; e.g. -0.8 dB cut in certain top bands and 1-2 dB boost in bass regions.  

 

Seeing how there is no viable SET electrostat amp available, I am using my speaker SET amp with transformers for now.  While clearly not as dynamic as something like BHSE, I rather prefer the microdynamic life the system provides.  Adding a couple of tweaks to system, i.e. sympathetic power cord, AC products, fine-tuned it enough that I now truly enjoy the SR-009 system; it's a stunning transducer in need of TLC.

post #570 of 874

Don’t forget the source... I think it’s completely relevant for complete synergy.

I’m one those weird people that are loving the BHSE and 009.

Or maybe my Buffalo SE DAC is a good match, who knows...

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