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Stax SR-009 vs. Wilson Audio

post #1 of 109
Thread Starter 

Just curious. Has anyone ever listened to and compared Stax SR-009 (with Woo Audio's WES) with any set of speakers from Wilson Audio? I'm thinking of switching from speakers to headphones.

post #2 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by peregrinare View Post

Just curious. Has anyone ever listened to and compared Stax SR-009 (with Woo Audio's WES) with any set of speakers from Wilson Audio? I'm thinking of switching from speakers to headphones.


It's a very different listening experience (see headstage vs. soundstage). High-end Stax headphones image wonderfully, but at their very best the sound like monitors (bass roll-off is similar to monitors) in a small room. The tonal balance of Stax headphones though is much better than Wilson speakers, or at least the Wilsons I've heard anyway.

 

post #3 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by peregrinare View Post

Just curious. Has anyone ever listened to and compared Stax SR-009 (with Woo Audio's WES) with any set of speakers from Wilson Audio? I'm thinking of switching from speakers to headphones.



Do you currently have Wilson speakers (which one?) or just like Wilson sound?  IMO Stax SR009 sound is VERY different from any Wilsons I have ever listened to, and they sound more like the better electrostat speakers from Quad, Martin Logan, Sanders, etc but with better physical slam than 'stat speakers in real room.  

post #4 of 109
The one headphone that has a similar sound to the wilsons are the out of production
Sony Qualia O10s,pinpoint imaging,extended treble,open sounding.
Proper fit is a must to achieve this.
post #5 of 109
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies, everyone. Dave hit it on the nose. I wonder whether I will miss the soundstage. I move a lot and I am tired of packing up the speakers and setting them up. After you guys made the switch from speakers to headphones (let's say over a year), do you find yourselves missing the soundstage or other aspects of speaker listening?

 

I have Sophia 2. I would love to get the R10, but those are difficult to hunt down. I figure since I like Martin Logan's, the Stax would be a terrific substitute.

 

So, I would love to get people's long-term experience in making the switch. Any nostalgia, etc. It's a personal decision, but since I won't know what I'll be missing until I've made the switch, I want to poll the masses. Your input would be very welcome. Thanks.

post #6 of 109

Having moved out of the family home for university, I was forcefully moved from WA Grand Slamm X-1 to the HD800 (sadly no Stax yet). My general feeling is that I still miss those giants. Wilson's can generally do more than headphones over a greater range of genres. My personal defining pieces are Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture- the reason being that I have heard them played by an orchestra live. The Wilson's come very close to how I felt it live, the imaging, dynamics, the imperfections of the instruments, the tones of the individual instruments each are reproduced very closely to what I remembered in Royal Albert Hall. 

 

The HD800s are not quite as faithful. Most aspects are reproduced well but as with speakers v headphones, the imaging isn't there. The tonal balance of the HD800 isn't quite the Slamms; it's a compromise of size and portability v 1100lb monsters. 

 

One more thing about the Wilson's I have noticed is that positioning the speakers and the listening sweet spot is not quite the easiest thing to get right. 

 

I was close to buying Stax but then those speakers broke down. Replacing and reconing the old drivers are costing $10K. Goodbye Stax... 

 

P/S: Maybe one day, when I do get the Stax, I'll reply on this thread (but wait a few more years).

post #7 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by peregrinare View Post

Thanks for the replies, everyone. Dave hit it on the nose. I wonder whether I will miss the soundstage. I move a lot and I am tired of packing up the speakers and setting them up. After you guys made the switch from speakers to headphones (let's say over a year), do you find yourselves missing the soundstage or other aspects of speaker listening?


The main reason why I chose to sell off my speaker system was that I just wasn't really using it enough. Being forced to sit in the sweetspot and essentially not move for more than an hour started to get tiresome. I couldn't even rest my head back because the reflections from the couch messed up the imaging if I sat that way. I spend most of my day in my office, and it just seemed silly to have this expensive loudspeaker system just sitting there turned off while I spent most of my time listening to studio monitors in a small room with poor acoustics.

 

Compared to that, the convenience of having my Omega 2 in my office is wonderful. I still sometimes use my monitors instead for background music, as the Omega 2 sounds so good that I often get distracted by the music while trying to get work done. Whenever I feel like a break though, they are sitting right there ready to go - and they are completely immune to the lousy acoustics or whatever position I'm in, and they easily image better than my monitors do. So to answer your question, I don't miss my speakers at all. If I were stuck with more average headphones - the Beyer DT880 for example, or Sennheiser HD650, then I would probably still want a speaker rig. With the Omega 2, I just don't feel that one is necessary.

 

 

 

post #8 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post


The main reason why I chose to sell off my speaker system was that I just wasn't really using it enough. Being forced to sit in the sweetspot and essentially not move for more than an hour started to get tiresome. I couldn't even rest my head back because the reflections from the couch messed up the imaging if I sat that way. I spend most of my day in my office, and it just seemed silly to have this expensive loudspeaker system just sitting there turned off while I spent most of my time listening to studio monitors in a small room with poor acoustics.

 

Compared to that, the convenience of having my Omega 2 in my office is wonderful. I still sometimes use my monitors instead for background music, as the Omega 2 sounds so good that I often get distracted by the music while trying to get work done. Whenever I feel like a break though, they are sitting right there ready to go - and they are completely immune to the lousy acoustics or whatever position I'm in, and they easily image better than my monitors do. So to answer your question, I don't miss my speakers at all. If I were stuck with more average headphones - the Beyer DT880 for example, or Sennheiser HD650, then I would probably still want a speaker rig. With the Omega 2, I just don't feel that one is necessary.

 

 

 



Hi Dave,

Do you have any plans on getting some SR-009's ?

 

 

post #9 of 109

Good topic, I think and funnily I just got to hear the Stax for the first time in the last couple of days. My own thoughts would be, you will definitely miss the visceral experience and Wilsons are very good at that without a doubt. But the quality of micro dynamics and nuances that is achieved by the Stax is hard to reproduce even going to watch a live un-amp classical or acoustic performance. I think Wilson missed the boat and have been overtaken by many manufacturers now such as Magico and Tidal.

 

It is interesting that many have said that the sweet spot with Wilson is very narrow, I found when I had Wilsons that it had one of the largest sweets spots and yes placement is of the utmost importance but easier than other speakers using WASP(if I remember correctly) as you really only need to tune the bass response and dial the rest in. 


Edited by spkrs01 - 2/19/12 at 12:48am
post #10 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by David1961 View Post

Hi Dave,

Do you have any plans on getting some SR-009's ?


Not in the near term, no. My KGSSHV should be arriving this week, so that will be my amp until Dr. Gilmore comes up with a better solid-state design. With the amp out of the way, the next step is the source. I want to compare redbook on a CD player available on Audiogon in the $5-7K range (Esoteric, Meridian, Accuphase, etc.) vs. a music server and USB DAC for similar money and see which I like better.

 

When that's done, and I'm finished with cables, power conditioning and everything else, then I may consider the SR-009. I really like the overall balance of my SR-007Mk1, and I get fatigued easily by bright headphones, which is the main reason why I'm just not in a hurry to upgrade. Even more transparency and the other 009 improvements would be welcome, but I'm wary of the increased presence in the upper frequencies.

 

post #11 of 109


If you can stretch a bit or find a demo or 2nd hand, I urge you to try the Neodio CDp it is really stirring things up in the redbook CD player market place. Only the Stahltek Vekian Opus combo surpasses it!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post


Not in the near term, no. My KGSSHV should be arriving this week, so that will be my amp until Dr. Gilmore comes up with a better solid-state design. With the amp out of the way, the next step is the source. I want to compare redbook on a CD player available on Audiogon in the $5-7K range (Esoteric, Meridian, Accuphase, etc.) vs. a music server and USB DAC for similar money and see which I like better.

 

When that's done, and I'm finished with cables, power conditioning and everything else, then I may consider the SR-009. I really like the overall balance of my SR-007Mk1, and I get fatigued easily by bright headphones, which is the main reason why I'm just not in a hurry to upgrade. Even more transparency and the other 009 improvements would be welcome, but I'm wary of the increased presence in the upper frequencies.

 



 

post #12 of 109

Hi Dave,

I have the SR-009's but until I receive the BHSE hopefully sometime in March, I've nothing to drive them with. I panic bought them after hearing about Stax being sold to a Chinese company. You say your next step is a source, I have the K-01 and if your money will stretch into getting that incredible piece of audio equipment, I'd strongly recommend you do that. The only speaker system I have [ if you can call it that ] is a Yamaha sound bar which still sounds great via the K-01.

post #13 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by spkrs01 View Post


If you can stretch a bit or find a demo or 2nd hand, I urge you to try the Neodio CDp it is really stirring things up in the redbook CD player market place. Only the Stahltek Vekian Opus combo surpasses it!


Sorry, but this quote from Hi-fi+ writes it off as a possible choice for me:

 

"One final point; ignore the XLR option where possible. It’s not dreadful, but the single-ended is considerably better which means it’s probably something of an afterthought."

 

From what I can tell there only seems to be a single DAC chip used, combine that with the above quote and my guess is that it's a quasi-balanced output via a phase splitter. The rest of the design seems fairly pedestrian. Not that "basic" components are necessarily the end of the world, the Meridian 808 Signature CD players also use plastic DVD-Rom drives and are very highly regarded. My KGSSHV is balanced input only though, so any source that performs worse via balanced out isn't going to cut it.

post #14 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by David1961 View Post

Hi Dave,

I have the SR-009's but until I receive the BHSE hopefully sometime in March, I've nothing to drive them with. I panic bought them after hearing about Stax being sold to a Chinese company. You say your next step is a source, I have the K-01 and if your money will stretch into getting that incredible piece of audio equipment, I'd strongly recommend you do that. The only speaker system I have [ if you can call it that ] is a Yamaha sound bar which still sounds great via the K-01.

 

I know how it is. I saw a great deal on my O2 Mk1 a few years ago and snatched them up, with no amp to use them with. I ended up buying an old SRM-1Mk2 on the for sale forums here to use as temporary place holder while I waited for an SRM-717 to come along. The SRM-1 wasn't nearly as bad as you might expect for $350. You might want to grab one (or a T1) to use, there's a fairly steady supply and they are pretty easy to resell with little to no loss.

 

The K-01 probably won't happen. K-03s are over $9K on Audiogon, and that's really as much as I can see myself spending, and before I even go that high, I want to make sure that a disc spinner is even worth it at all or whether it would make more sense to invest in a music server.

post #15 of 109

To be honest, I'm happy to wait for the BHSE rather than get a Stax amp, simply because the combination of K-01 + Pico Slim + Shure se535's gives me quite amazing SQ. I've never heard the K-03 so I can't comment about it. Before I got the K-01 my previous source was the Esoteric X-03se and the K-01 is in a completely different league. There are other sources that will probably sound as good if not better than Esoteric, but I don't believe Esoteric can be touched when it comes to build quality. Which ever source you decide to get I hope it gives you the SQ you're looking for.

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