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Stax SR-009 vs. Wilson Audio - Page 3

post #31 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by David1961 View Post

As I've said in some of my posts, looks are very important to me in audio equipment, IMO the best looking available electro amp and by some distance is the BHSE, but I feel it still comes second to the DIY T2. If I won the lottery I'd make Justin an offer to build me a T2 he wouldn't what to refuse, but the most I've won on the lottery is £10.  However this thread is partly about the SR-009's and because I'm rattling on about looks, I thought I might aswell say what I think about them. While they're not bad looking Earspeakers, I think it's headband looks odd, so much so I'm enquiring about having an headband made from a drawing I've done.


Yeah the SR-009 is a bit of an odd looking duck. I think the all black US market Omega 2 Mk2 is the best looking Stax headphone ever, but I'll keep my champagne/brown Mk1 for the sound. I'm with you on looks in general. Soulution electronics are supposed to be some of the very best products in the world, but they look like computer servers. Spectral's '80s lab equipment look doesn't work for me either.

 

Zanden shows how to do things properly, everything they make is just incredibly elegant and beautiful.

 

post #32 of 109

You're right about Zanden, they are very nice looking, I've been making some enquiries about an headband for my SR-009's but with no success. I'll keep trying though.

post #33 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post


Yeah the SR-009 is a bit of an odd looking duck. I think the all black US market Omega 2 Mk2 is the best looking Stax headphone ever, but I'll keep my champagne/brown Mk1 for the sound. I'm with you on looks in general. Soulution electronics are supposed to be some of the very best products in the world, but they look like computer servers. Spectral's '80s lab equipment look doesn't work for me either.

 

Zanden shows how to do things properly, everything they make is just incredibly elegant and beautiful.

 



The headphone I had before the SR-009's was the black version of the SR-007mk1 but I used it as part exchange for the K-01. I do prefer the look of the SR-009's over the SR-007's, but I can't do with the SR-009's protruding headband, while I'd never get rid of them I will try and sort something out about that band. I'm sorry for rattling on about an headband, simply because this thread is about SR-009's vs Wilson Audio, so on that point I'll stop polluting it.

 

 

post #34 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

In terms of sheer life-like scale, the Rockport Arrakis to my ears is untouchable. Better than the Dynaudio Evidence Master and every other mega speaker I've heard. If I were still interested in speakers, it would be a choice between Rockport and NOLA.

 


Just goes to show that SOTA speaker rig will cost WAY, WAY more than SOTA headphone rigs.  $150K is a lot to spend on speakers, but Rockport is possibly one of the very few that might even be worth it in build quality..

 

 

 

6910548833_f717974ca6_b.jpg

post #35 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post


Just goes to show that SOTA speaker rig will cost WAY, WAY more than SOTA headphone rigs.  $150K is a lot to spend on speakers, but Rockport is possibly one of the very few that might even be worth it in build quality..


Yep, the carbon fiber/composite monocoque enclosure that they use in their higher-end speakers is incredible stuff. It takes $15K just to get in the door at Rockport or NOLA's Reference series, which is pretty much the maximum you can spend on a headphone rig including the amplifier. To get to the real meat of their ranges you have to spend more like $30K, plus at least another $10K or so on amplification, and for the big guys you're not really doing them justice unless you spend a lot more than that on Gryphons, Boulders, etc. Then of course you can't forget about spending thousands of dollars treating the acoustics of the room. Contrast that with the SR-009, which can be enjoyed at maximum performance in a broom closet.

 

Even a $15K speaker rig is just too hard to justify for me, for the maybe four hours a week that I might use it. A $15K headphone rig that gets used a few hours a day makes a lot more sense.

 

214-ER-Rockport-Altair-5.jpg


Edited by DaveBSC - 2/20/12 at 3:35pm
post #36 of 109

Let's not forget that the major benefit derived from speakers is that you get to justify a listening room and more than one person can listen at a time. But headphones do provide some 'portability'. 

 

I really wonder how much R&D goes into the development of these enclosure materials though.

post #37 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post


Yep, the carbon fiber/composite monocoque enclosure that they use in their higher-end speakers is incredible stuff. It takes $15K just to get in the door at Rockport or NOLA's Reference series, which is pretty much the maximum you can spend on a headphone rig including the amplifier. To get to the real meat of their ranges you have to spend more like $30K, plus at least another $10K or so on amplification, and for the big guys you're not really doing them justice unless you spend a lot more than that on Gryphons, Boulders, etc. Then of course you can't forget about spending thousands of dollars treating the acoustics of the room. Contrast that with the SR-009, which can be enjoyed at maximum performance in a broom closet.

 

Even a $15K speaker rig is just too hard to justify for me, for the maybe four hours a week that I might use it. A $15K headphone rig that gets used a few hours a day makes a lot more sense.

 

214-ER-Rockport-Altair-5.jpg



You make a few good points.  I'd again, say it is an apples to oranges comparison in terms of how the two allow you experience music, prices and broom closets not withstanding.  In terms of prices you most certainly don't have to drop that kind of coin on a pair of Rockports any other exotic speaker, including Wilsons, to get the full effect of what makes speaker listening so very different from headphone listening.  I'd rather listen to my office pair of self-powered studio monitors in nearfield then to a $5K pair of 009's with the accompanying $4K amp of choice.  I'd choose the speakers every time simply because I prefer that experience of listening to music.  I hate being confined to the in-my-head wired to a box limitations of headphones, and much prefer the soundstage, even nearfield, that occurs as an illusion in space in front of me rather than in my head.  The speakers are every bit as revealing and musically engaging for me.  It has nothing at all to do with exotic speakers and that particular comparison doesn't make much sense to me other than you are looking at the extremes of both ends of the line for each technology.  With speakers you just don't need to go there in even the most remote sense to get enjoyment from a system.  Very precious few do, or would indulge themselves in that way.  I realize the question by the OP begs this question, and understand the contribution of the subsequent post, but the difference is much more in the nature of how music is presented and experienced, and not so much in the level of product in this case.  IMHO.

post #38 of 109

i am a professional dj and my set up is 2x pioneer cdj2000s nexus 900 midi a mcintosh mt10 turntable with 2 krell evolution ones a evolution 2 preamp with westlake audio tower sm1s and a reactable going through a krell fbi and wilson audios thor's hammer.. i have got a krell evolution 525 on order but still even with the cdj2000s i still can't believe what i am hearing i have to put the sub woofer outside the building because it makes the walls shake and the mcintosh turntable sounds glorious i am a big fan of the mcintosh sound aswell i have a dodge challenger rt classic and i replaced the boston acoustic premium sound system with a mcintosh car stereo (i thought about going the burmester route but they aren't as good as mcintosh) and i have got a mcintosh manhatton home hifi in central park west and i could listen to them all day i love the sound but still can't compete with krell but who can..p.s i live in england my krell gear is at my villa in san antonio ibiza outside the villa! 


Edited by our martin - 2/22/12 at 9:23am
post #39 of 109
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the replies. Really appreciate the different perspectives. I've been switching between headphones and speakers. Both indeed are different experiences. That said, I still get a big smile when I listen to the speakers and can almost see the band/vocalist in front of me.

post #40 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by jax View Post

In terms of prices you most certainly don't have to drop that kind of coin on a pair of Rockports any other exotic speaker, including Wilsons, to get the full effect of what makes speaker listening so very different from headphone listening.  I'd rather listen to my office pair of self-powered studio monitors in nearfield then to a $5K pair of 009's with the accompanying $4K amp of choice.  I'd choose the speakers every time simply because I prefer that experience of listening to music.  I hate being confined to the in-my-head wired to a box limitations of headphones, and much prefer the soundstage, even nearfield, that occurs as an illusion in space in front of me rather than in my head.  The speakers are every bit as revealing and musically engaging for me.  It has nothing at all to do with exotic speakers and that particular comparison doesn't make much sense to me other than you are looking at the extremes of both ends of the line for each technology. 


Certainly, the point I was making is that the point at which you essentially top out with headphones is the point where you are just getting warmed up with really outstanding speakers. You certainly don't have to spend anything like that. I've raved about the Vapor Audio Cirrus, which is a superb 2-way that costs less than the SR-009 does. I'm also a big fan of Merlin speakers, and their TSM monitors are also very affordable.

 

Where I have to disagree with you is office monitors vs. headphones. I've had some very high-end monitors in my office, including $2K/pr Dynaudios, and I was never that impressed with the sound. The maximum height of the soundstage was maybe two feet above the desk, and unless my chair was in the exact right spot, the depth of the image completely collapsed so that it sounded like the music was painted on the wall in front of me. Yet another issue is a huge notch in room response right around 60Hz at the listening position. Combine that with the lower limit of most 6" or even 8" monitors, and there's essentially no bass below about 65Hz. I tried to solve the issue with a sub woofer, which opened yet another can of worms in regards to acoustics given the small size of the room.

 

Given all of those issues, I switched to a more basic pair of monitors which I use now mostly for background music, and I easily prefer my headphones for any sort of serious listening. Perhaps if I were willing to throw tube and corner traps and diffusors at the problem I might enjoy monitor listening in the office more, but it's a work space, not a sound room.

 

post #41 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post


Certainly, the point I was making is that the point at which you essentially top out with headphones is the point where you are just getting warmed up with really outstanding speakers. You certainly don't have to spend anything like that. I've raved about the Vapor Audio Cirrus, which is a superb 2-way that costs less than the SR-009 does. I'm also a big fan of Merlin speakers, and their TSM monitors are also very affordable.

 

Where I have to disagree with you is office monitors vs. headphones. I've had some very high-end monitors in my office, including $2K/pr Dynaudios, and I was never that impressed with the sound. The maximum height of the soundstage was maybe two feet above the desk, and unless my chair was in the exact right spot, the depth of the image completely collapsed so that it sounded like the music was painted on the wall in front of me. Yet another issue is a huge notch in room response right around 60Hz at the listening position. Combine that with the lower limit of most 6" or even 8" monitors, and there's essentially no bass below about 65Hz. I tried to solve the issue with a sub woofer, which opened yet another can of worms in regards to acoustics given the small size of the room.

 

Given all of those issues, I switched to a more basic pair of monitors which I use now mostly for background music, and I easily prefer my headphones for any sort of serious listening. Perhaps if I were willing to throw tube and corner traps and diffusors at the problem I might enjoy monitor listening in the office more, but it's a work space, not a sound room.

 

 

 

We agree to disagree then.  It is not the specs or dynamic range that impress me at all about speakers in the case of office monitors (I settled on very modest Adam Audio monitors - the new Maggie system is calling me though and if I spent more time down there I might go that way).  It is the way speakers present music to me in an illusion of a performance happening in front of me and between and behind the speakers.  That illusion when translated by headphones into my wee cranium is no illusion at all.  It does not make me smile or tap my feet the way speakers can engage me.  I don't do much "serious listening" (I hate that term) in my office. I also hate, hate, hate being tethered by my head to a box.  I'm usually working if I'm in there, and would opt to go to my big rig if I did not have to be working at something or other.  In either case, working or devoting more attention to listening, I hate having music pumped directly into my skull without the interface of the room and the rest of my body, and the illusion of actual musicians in space in front of me (yes, even if the scale is smaller in the case of monitors - with headphones the scale involves some large suspension of disbelief which never really happens for me, even with the best of headphone rigs.  With speakers, that suspension of disbelief comes far more naturally to me - it occurs more like the experience of actually listening to music performed within a space, regardless of whether all the other cues are optimized.  Headphones never achieve that for me.  I doubt that throwing room treatments into an office desk nearfield listening scenario where the speakers are perhaps two feet from your ears, would improve much for you, so I'd stick to headphones if that's what you prefer. Different strokes, and all that.
 

 

post #42 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by peregrinare View Post

Thanks for all of the replies. Really appreciate the different perspectives. I've been switching between headphones and speakers. Both indeed are different experiences. That said, I still get a big smile when I listen to the speakers and can almost see the band/vocalist in front of me.


IMO, headphones are wonderful things, with the detail especially enthralling for whatever price point, especially below 5000 for a system. However, when you look at the 009, though it is a brilliant headphone, the price of a 009 system is about 10k. For that money, I personally find a good pair of speakers much more musical engaging, mainly due to the soundstage.

 

post #43 of 109
I've listened to Alexandria X-2s in a properly setup listening room with all Krell gear, belongs to a local big wig attorney, and nothing I've heard before or since touches it. It's perfect audio symmetry, to a fault. Hollywood Bowl size soundstage, flawless tone, and pin-point imaging. I have some B&W N802s, they're amazing speakers, but those Wilsons shame them, badly. SR-009s are nice, very nice, but I wouldn't think of comparing them to those monoliths. In fact, my B&Ws do better in most areas (at 2-3x the Stax price).

However, that's $400k (or $25k) compared to $10k for a really nice SR-009 setup. If I'm the only one to listen, there isn't $390k worth of difference there, IMO. Then there's the need to drive them at the volume they crave... I hope you have tolerant neighbors, that includes everyone who lives within a quarter mile. If you think about it, for what you get, the Stax rig is one hell of a bargain.
Edited by Magick Man - 2/25/12 at 1:33am
post #44 of 109

If you have $400k to blow on a hobby, one would think your listening hall is well insulated and your neighbours aren't that near your mansion. I foresee some issues trying to fit these babies into an apartment unit. 

It's hard to compare that $400k to $10k either way. I think headphones are a God-sent as a compromise, just like how speakers are a compromise to a live orchestra/band. 

post #45 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by silwen View Post


It's hard to compare that $400k to $10k either way. I think headphones are a God-sent as a compromise, just like how speakers are a compromise to a live orchestra/band. 



You never have people unwrapping candies or playing with their program and making this horrible noise or talking to each other when you listen to music through headphones or speakers... Of course, a live concert could be much better, if only I could be the only one in the audience!

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