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Thinking about getting stax headphones.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Is there some kind of converter cord for them? I would like to use them with my computer until I can afford a nice amp. Or can you not do that with electrostatic headphones? If this won't work, could you recommend a good over the ear pair for me? I have mdr v6 headphones now...



post #2 of 5

You'll definitely need an energizer or an amp to run stax headphones. You'll need a "pro-biased" output to run the one in your picture. However, there are some self-biasing transformer boxes spritzer made, which are very small and portable. I'd say it's close enough to a converter-cord. PM duggeh, he might still have it. 


If you really don't want to deal with all the troubles of finding an amp, I'd say get a pair of used HD600 or HD650 here on the forums. They offer very close performance to the stax headphones I've heard. Sounds great straight out of a laptop too.

post #3 of 5

Because of how differently they operate, electrostatics need specialized driver units. They can either be cheap transformer boxes that need speaker power amps to feed them, or direct-drive amplifiers that tend to cost just as much, if not more, than the headphones themselves. I think that's the main barrier to entry for electrostatics; at least with dynamics and orthos, you can just plug them into anything and at least get some sound, even if underdriven.


However, it's not impossible to get Stax setups at a relatively low price, otherwise I wouldn't have two Lambda setups by now. You just have to keep your eyes peeled for the right deals.

post #4 of 5

The issue with Stax headphones is that they're electrostats.  Electrostats have two stators with a thin diaphragm stretched between them.


You have to put a good amount of power on the stators for them to work.  A few hundred volts for headphones and the electrostat speakers will put a few thousand on them.  


Soyou have to have an amp that can charge the stators.  A computer soundcard is not designed to do that.  Speakers have the stator supply built into them, which is why they work with regular speaker amps.


I'd recommend a pair of good dynamic headphones that will work out of your soundcard.

post #5 of 5

The closest you can get to electrostats without requiring a Stax amp or a transformer box in my mind are orthos. That would be a Hifiman HE-4, HE-5LE, or HE-500 depending on your budget and preferences. Alternatively, you could buy the $75 Fostex T50RP, and have it converted into a Thunderpants. None of these will work that well straight out of a soundcard, but a $100 amp should drive them perfectly well, and you really can't get away with spending that little on the electrostatic side, not unless you already own a speaker amp to drive an old Stax transformer box.

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