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Why are STAX headphones unwanted?

post #1 of 114
Thread Starter 

While I was browsing these forums, I heard people mentioning "This headphone is the closest you can get to STAX headphones" and I saw a thread named "Would you give up your entire collection of headphones for this STAX headphone?" (I forgot the name). I noticed that STAX headphones are generally considered the best, but then why don't people get them? Is it something to do with them being electrostats?

post #2 of 114
it has to do with a top end STAX rig being extremely expensive. 10k or so for a SR-009 and top end electrostatic amp.
post #3 of 114

They require bulky energizers to be used at all, and amplifiers to sound good at all, restricting them solely to home usage. Lots of people are on the go with their music these days, what with the iPods and all.

post #4 of 114

and the stax portables (they are stax iems) are a "hit or miss" due to comfort and fit reasons...

post #5 of 114

Zero isolation with an IEM needing a bulky energizer kinda doesn't help with the fit issues.

post #6 of 114

You dont have to spend 10k to get great sound.  The Stax basic system for $500 including amp is superior to many dynamics costing twice as much.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draygonn View Post

it has to do with a top end STAX rig being extremely expensive. 10k or so for a SR-009 and top end electrostatic amp.
post #7 of 114

There is the also the SRDX battery mains energiser but its more bulky than an iPod.  Depends on the quality you want and if its serious listening or just casual on the move 

Srd-x.jpgSRDXpro-AlpfaPro.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundstige View Post

They require bulky energizers to be used at all, and amplifiers to sound good at all, restricting them solely to home usage. Lots of people are on the go with their music these days, what with the iPods and all.

post #8 of 114

Dont think they make them anymore.  However their new Chinese owners might change that, so watch this space 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyaems View Post

and the stax portables (they are stax iems) are a "hit or miss" due to comfort and fit reasons...

post #9 of 114

While they present music with a degree of refinement that makes a mockery of many dynamic headphones, they don't delivery the music with the same impact as dynamic headphones do and, as has already been pointed out, they have effectively zero isolation and require a special amp to be used.

post #10 of 114

Electrostatic headphones, STAX - including the SR-009, has a very unique airy sound. That can hardly be attained by dynamic headphone, and for classical or jazz, that's killer win. Yet that doesn't mean something so great and niche will be the most preferred sound for everyone.

 

For myself it's finance and the fear for getting shocked.

post #11 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

While they present music with a degree of refinement that makes a mockery of many dynamic headphones, they don't delivery the music with the same impact as dynamic headphones do and, as has already been pointed out, they have effectively zero isolation and require a special amp to be used.

Once they completely opened the backs, they lost some of their weight and boogie factor. I actually (God forbid wink_face.gif) add a small bit of acoustic resistance the back of my LNS's. Love them. I think the removing of all back resistance from older models is not all good.

 

To the OP. You'll find a lot of Stax discussion in the HiEnd section here and units for sale in the buy/sell section. Far from an afterthought on headfi.


Edited by goodvibes - 10/15/12 at 6:15am
post #12 of 114

Level of Impact depends on the amplifier you use and source as with dynamics. Its a fallacy IMO that stats don't have impact. If you want real bass impact then you probably need to look at orthos like the Audeze or Fostex but then I think you miss out in other areas like head stage image and comfort issues like higher weight.  

 

If you need an Isolated electrostatic then Stax used to make the 4070 for pro use http://www.stax.co.jp/Export/4070e.html  you can still pick these up on the used market

You will also find that the majority of top dynamic phones are also open like the Stax, such as the Sennheiser HD800, 650 and 600, Beyer T1, AKG K701 etc. 

 

Stats provided quite a balanced frequency range and you wont find them over emphasizing any particular frequency range or get what I call one note bass.  If you are a bass head and want bloated over bearing bass or in your face hifi sound then there are many dynamics out there that offer this sort of presentation, especially in the lower cost offerings.

 

However; if you are looking for naturalness, subtlety, texture and layering of the sound you should give stats a try, you never know you might like them.

 

I guess many people go for dynamics in preference as they are more accessible being easy to use with many different devices, without the need for an amplifier to provide the polarizing voltage required for the electrostatic drivers.   

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

While they present music with a degree of refinement that makes a mockery of many dynamic headphones, they don't delivery the music with the same impact as dynamic headphones do and, as has already been pointed out, they have effectively zero isolation and require a special amp to be used.


Edited by complin - 10/15/12 at 8:28am
post #13 of 114

Most of the recent references on this forum are about the Stax 009 paired with very expensive high end special purpose electrostatic amps. The entry level Stax systems do some things better than many of the dynamics and are more transparent than the orthos, but for overall musicality you really have to climb the Stax ladder to get to the best of the Stax line. That is a very expensive road and some of the amps require a years waiting list. I own a modest Stax 4170 system and I enjoy it but I am well aware that I would have to spend far more to get the "to die for" Stax sound that you see posts about so often on the forum. I kept my dynamics and trade off depending on my mood and the music I choose.


Edited by Chodi - 10/15/12 at 9:11am
post #14 of 114

Depends on the requirements and sensibilities of the listener. If you want to listen to some heavy bass driven tunes, they are far from optimum choice. If you want any part of the spectrum colored, the same. If you want isolation, same. If you are on tight budget - you do not enter a Ferrari salon when shopping for a new car under 10 K - and so on and so on. Except for the IEM version, not portable at all - SRD-X can fairly be described as transportable and is way underpowered compared to desktop line electricity counterparts( to save on power consumption and give reasonable autonomy on batteries); IMO, Stax should have never produced such underpowered amps, it is like a Ferrari with 70 HP engine. Looks nice, but when you want to really drive the thing ... giving electrostatics driven in such compromised way bad name and misrepresenting their true capabilities. Ferrari would never produce a totally underpowered car, even if there was demand from the prospective customers.

 

If your journey through music and audio has brought you to the point you would like for certain tell a Stradivari from Guarnieri, between MODELS of Paiste or Zildjan cymbals etc - and your wallet can survive at least say 500 $/Euro for a good used  set of amplifier/phones - then Stax may well be the best choice you can make for listening in quiet surroundings, particularly at home. IEM "Baby Stax" do not isolate at all and are useless outdoors, although they are only slightly less porftable than dynamic counterparts + separate amp. As noted above, there can be fit issues with those; if possible to try before buying, definitely do so.

 

Electrostatics shine at high frequencies and low levels - NOT a good choice if you listen mainly to MP3, as these compressed impersonations of recordings will get mercilessly exposed for what they are. The better the signal into electrostatics - the better the sound quality.  

 

Ask yourself above questions - if you are ripe enough and can feed them with good signal, your choice should be clear. If not - the same. Do not get Stax solely for the simple reason no matter what other audiophilles might be using, upon your mention that you are a Stax user  , you will get taken seriously and appreciated in the community. Do it for yourself. And remember - many that criticize Stax  (except those who are true bassheads supremes, as Stax or any electrostatic can not rally deliver in that department ) are actually doing it out of jealousy for not being able to afford them themselves. Sad - but true.

post #15 of 114

STAX being forbiddenly expensive is just not right. A modest STAX system can easily outperform a more expensive dynamic system in the area they excel in. Even with mp3, STAX doesn't have the fatiguing treble that many dynamic that try to squeeze out details tend to have. In that sense, if you have lower quailty files a good STAX system will easily expose the flaws but yet won't rip your ear drums in the process which quite a few dynamic tend to do.

 

Moreover, having a pair of STAX doesn't make you superior. That is just silly.

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