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Review & Story: Stax SR-007 / HeadAmp Blue Hawaii SE - Page 3

post #31 of 35
Thread Starter 

A few things I want to add, both to the review and in response to some posts:

 

- I've also sort of heard the Accuphase DP-75 on a SR-007/BH-type system, which was at a recent meet. My impressions from that meet can be read here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/595457/nor-cal-feb-11-2012-impressions-thread/135#post_8149394

 

I'll add one more thing specifically about the Accuphase DP-75: it was really intriguing-sounding to me. So much that I wouldn't mind doing serious critical listening with it if I had the chance. There was something about it that made me want to get under its hood, sonically speaking.

 

- I wrote that it's not possible to just throw the headphone and amp together and have a great system. However, I think I'd definitely say that the SR-007 + BHSE + Plinius CD-101 system in its entirety forms a truly excellent system. There could very well be better source components than mine of course, but I'd rather not think about those. I love this system, it's just absolutely amazing. I think anyone who replicated my system would definitely be blown away by it - in fact, I'd go so far to recommend replicating my system for anyone who wants to hear truly top-class sound.

 

- I also want to repeat something I wrote from a previous review that best sums up how I feel about the SR-007/BHSE: "When I listen to the OII/BHSE, there are simply no words that can describe it. You need to listen, and when you listen, and close your eyes, the real world disappears and the music takes over, and then the only thing you're left with is an emotional, soul-stirring experience that just doesn't leave you when you're done listening. No, it changes you on the inside forever. It's something like that." (From my mini-review of the HeadAmp KGSS vs BHSE.)

 

- There are only 3 CDPs I'm aware of that use 4x PCM1704 to generate proper dual-differential balanced output, the Resolution Audio Opus 21 (discontinued), Ayon Audio CD-5s, and Simaudio Moon Andromeda. Resolution Audio's new Cantata CDP/DAC seems to have 4x PCM1704 too, as does Ayon Audio's Skylla II (just a DAC). I haven't heard any of these sources though - but would definitely jump at a chance to listen to any of them, especially the Simaudio. (I've briefly heard Ayon's original Skylla but that was at a meet, and not with an SR-007 or BH-based amp.)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post
Asr: I also find it bizarre that you lock out on the sr009 price relative to the rest of your rig. Per your impressions at past norcal meet, it would seem more like you prefer the voicing of the omega2 and that the 009 doesn't sound right to you?
I was also perplexed by your negative impressions of the 009 not bringing much to the table vs the O2. I never heard a properly driven O2 and really only started to dig stax from the mk2 version so this probably explains it a bit (or a lot). But to my ears, in my rig, the 009 fed with a good recording and listened to at reasonable level are simply another league from my O2mk2. There's not a single aspect where I prefer the O2 except maybe the darker tonal balance for harsh recordings. Soundstage width/depth and placement, bass firmness and extension, dynamics, treble extension and speed, all these are a clear step up.
Anyhow, I hope you will at least get a chance to listen to the 009 in your home rig for a while. If price is an issue, I see a used pair at Fujiya Avic for jpy290,000 at the moment... ;)

 

I'll just say that I have personal reasons for not wanting to drive up the cost of my electrostatic system further than it already is, especially when I'd rather spend $5K on stuff unrelated to audio. I did prefer the OII MKI, but I didn't say the SR-009 didn't sound right to me, I only said that it'd have limited use if I owned one. My meet-based opinion of the SR-009 should not be considered as being worth much either, since I didn't listen long and had to mentally fight a lot of meet noise. No one should be using my meet impressions of the SR-009 to help with any decisions given my limited and less-than-ideal listening so far.

 

At this point in my headphone journey I really have no interest in acquiring any more headphones, amps, or sources. I'm 100% satisfied with what I own now and the only thing I've really been buying recently has been music. Considering I've already spent more than the cost of an SR-009 towards other hobbies recently (specifically travel and photography), I think I can say now that my headphone journey is over. If I really wanted to own an SR-009, I would've bought one by now. It just didn't interest me enough to buy it since hearing it at CanJam@RMAF 2011 and this year's SF Bay Area meet.

 

And just because I thought the SR-009 didn't offer much over the SR-007, doesn't mean it won't offer anything for other people. It's only what I thought for myself. I'm sure that in time there'll be other Head-Fiers who will have much more helpful things to say about the SR-009 vs SR-007.


Edited by Asr - 3/3/12 at 11:05pm
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post

- I wrote that it's not possible to just throw the headphone and amp together and have a great system. However, I think I'd definitely say that the SR-007 + BHSE + Plinius CD-101 system in its entirety forms a truly excellent system. There could very well be better source components than mine of course, but I'd rather not think about those. I love this system, it's just absolutely amazing. I think anyone who replicated my system would definitely be blown away by it - in fact, I'd go so far to recommend replicating my system for anyone who wants to hear truly top-class sound.


- There are only 3 CDPs I'm aware of that use 4x PCM1704 to generate proper dual-differential balanced output, the Resolution Audio Opus 21 (discontinued), Ayon Audio CD-5s, and Simaudio Moon Andromeda. Resolution Audio's new Cantata CDP/DAC seems to have 4x PCM1704 too, as does Ayon Audio's Skylla II (just a DAC). I haven't heard any of these sources though - but would definitely jump at a chance to listen to any of them, especially the Simaudio. (I've briefly heard Ayon's original Skylla but that was at a meet, and not with an SR-007 or BH-based amp.)


Do you use the balanced or single ended outputs of the Plinius? There's a couple of them on Audiogon, listed for about the same as what Ayre CX-7es, Cary CD-500s, and Esoteric SA-60s usually go for. I may be interested in trying one of them, but only if the balanced outs don't reduce the performance compared to SE output, as is the case on some quasi-balanced CD players and DACs. 

 

There are a few other 4X PCM1704 CD Players that I'm aware of. The Primare CD-31 that you said you didn't care for actually used four 1704s. So did the Ayre D-1, many of the older Krell players, a bunch of Shanlings (eight of them in the CD-T300), the Simaudio Moon Eclipse, some of the old Esoterics, and the Wadia 861.

 

I had thought that the Mark Levinson 390S used the same 4X PCM1704 DACs as the 360S DAC, but it doesn't, it used two AD1853s. The Accuphase player you mentioned used the PCM1702, the 20-bit predecessor to the 1704. Sixteen(!) 1702s, to be exact. The more recent delta-sigma based Accuphase models use Analog Devices DACs, either the AD1955 or the AD1863. Analog Devices chips seem to show up in many of the very best digital products these days.


Edited by DaveBSC - 3/4/12 at 6:39am
post #33 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post
Do you use the balanced or single ended outputs of the Plinius? There's a couple of them on Audiogon, listed for about the same as what Ayre CX-7es, Cary CD-500s, and Esoteric SA-60s usually go for. I may be interested in trying one of them, but only if the balanced outs don't reduce the performance compared to SE output, as is the case on some quasi-balanced CD players and DACs.

 

From post #14 of this very thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/598589/review-story-stax-sr-007-headamp-blue-hawaii-se#post_8189639. All of my reviews have also mentioned that I always listen in balanced mode. The Plinius' XLR output is clearly sonically better than the RCA output to my ears, for whatever technical reason. Both outputs can be used at the same time as well.

 

Those $1800 CD-101s on Audiogon are practically a steal. At that price I'm half-tempted to pick up a 2nd one! I honestly can't think of a better CDP for up to $2K - anyone looking to buy a good CDP should definitely buy one of those!

post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post


If you mean the best dynamic headphones vs other dynamics in general, that's pretty subjective and my opinion won't really help anyone else, and there's no single headphone I'd place over another either. But in no particular order these were all at the top of my list: Audio-Technica AD2000, Grado HP1000, Sony Qualia 010, and maybe even the Audeze LCD-3.

 

None of the dynamic headphones I've heard have really compared to the SR-007/BHSE, that goes for the HP1000/GS-X as well. I liked the HP1000 a lot, and if there's one thing that headphone offers over every other dynamic headphone I've heard that'd have to be its "living soul" x-factor combined with its natural tonality. But I never really got past its supra-aural design and I sold it partly because of that. Sonically it was probably the closest hair-splitting I ever did against the SR-007/BHSE - both were really amazing for classical & jazz in very different ways. In fact, the HP1000 probably ended up being my top favorite dynamic headphone for classical & jazz, beating out the LCD-2 r1 that I had at the time. I definitely preferred the HP1000 slightly more for jazz than classical too, mostly because of its compressed soundstage. If I could compare the HP1000 to the LCD-3, I'm pretty sure I'd think the HP1000 would beat that out too, but only for classical & jazz, as I think the LCD-3 is probably more versatile with other genres like electronica & metal. The limiting frequency extension of the HP1000 (lack of low bass and high treble) made me never use it for electronica specifically.

 

I would've liked to have kept the HP1000 but ultimately it was only "really good". I liked its sound a lot, even loved it, but it never got to the level that I could think of it as anything truly, unequivocally excellent-sounding with minimal minor flaws. It had pretty big flaws to me - lack of frequency extension in both directions, lack of clarity, and an over-compressed soundstage. It never really affected my emotional state either - that is something only the SR-007/BHSE has ever achieved.

 


Thanks taking the time ASR-

 Do you remember which hp-1000 you had? Recently I had the chance to compare the UWBC version vs the standard reference version and came to the conclusion that the UWBC has extremely deep bass, and the standard lacks low bass. I think this is more than just a product of the cable, but that the hp-1000s with UWBC were released later and use slightly different materials (the shells themselves are made of different types of aluminum and made to slightly different measurements).

 Also curious if you have heard any of the hp-1000's that have been gone through the joe grado "upgrade", which seems to helps with the clarity.

 

Again great review, while I haven't heard the sr-007 on the bhSE yet, I have heard it on a standard BH and have come to pretty much the same conclusion as you... except I haven't gone that path because I believe that the strengths of the hp-2i more or less fits my "perfect headphone" better. Not to mention the insane waiting time on getting a bhse.

 

 
 
post #35 of 35
Thread Starter 

My HP1000 was an HP2 with the APureSound V3 cable, so neither the UWBC or the standard cable. I've heard other HP1000s at meets only, which seemed to sound similar enough. Pretty sure none of the HP1000s I've heard were upgraded.

 

[Moderator note: This thread was locked at Asr's request]

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