I think this is a very good statement. The HE-6 when hooked up properly sounds divine, and the only thing I have heard that sways me from buying Stax.
But, under $1k I think either the HE-500 or Mad Dogs are really the best "bang for buck" options. I could see people sitting down at a table and comparing the Mad Dogs and HE-500 and there being a split on which pair they prefer more. Toss in the fact the MD cost less than half the cost of the HE-500, and really this is a rare winner in headphones.
The only drawback for the HE-6 is how fussy it is. For now, it's more of a distraction than anything else. However
I'm certain within some time of eventually I'll grab me up a nice speaker amp to discover their true potential.
I tend to look at how good I feel x headphone is..not how good of a value x headphone is.
But definitely for those with budget constrictions that statement holds true.
I just look at the HE-400-500, Paradox, Sennheiser HD650-700, LCD-2 and I'd take the Mad Dog over all of them.
It is important to note these are just my preferences and you're free to think the MD sucks compared to LCD-2, etc etc.
Funny you should mention that. I had the rare opportunity at the SF meet to A/B the Stax 009 on its own Stax amp, whatever it was, and the HE6 out of a little tripath or some such speaker amp. What great fun that was! Arguably two "best of the bests" (thank you Jazzfan!). Finesse, speed, air and effortlessness vs. a more visceral finesse, impact, richness and air. In the little time I had, I couldn't pick a favorite. If I were to purchase one of the setups, it would hands down be the HE6 rig - it's gotta be 1/3 the price.
As for the MDs being best under $1000 - definitely best closed under $1000 that I've heard, arguably the best open or closed under $1000 - there is some great competition in the open category - even the venerable HD650.
That is my gripe with Stax; they lack the visceral/physically emotional qualities I appreciate from ortho's.
I've considered a Stax rig, however I can't justify the $10k when I know it would be my second-tier rig.
Then again, I've caught a lot of flack for my opinions. The SR-009 has its shortcoming's same as any can. IMHO.
Definitely best closed under $1k and you can always argue (as I will) best under $1k.
However I will not forget the entire HD650 experience. They are still my all-time fav headphone.
So with all the great competition, there's sure to be a can that fits your preference.
It's one of the biggest reasons I recommend people stay in "mid-fi" you can amp/can roll like crazy.