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Stax factory tour and interview in Japan approved during my trip to Tokyo Japan December 6th to December 13th 2012. - Page 3

post #31 of 83
Originally Posted by Scottsmrnyc View Post

Okay Currawong and Arnaud- it is going to be on 12/12. I will forward this information onto the Stax USA people who will then forward it to Stax Japan.  Not much else to finalize now.  Thanks. 


Great. Look forward to meeting you then.

post #32 of 83
Thread Starter 

Okay, Currawong and Arnaud, I will touch base with you just before I leave NYC.  Looking forward to this experience. 

post #33 of 83
Thread Starter 

Just a note to Arnaud and Currawong that I am alive and will be flying into Tokyo; landing on Dec 5th.  I will need  a day to recover but will contact you soon after.  I am looking forward to meeting you etc.

post #34 of 83
Hi Scott,

glad to see you survived the storm! hope you home is ok too.

I just sent you a PM about logistics...


post #35 of 83
Edited 12/2/2012: refreshed based on feedback I received. These are the questions being sent to Stax.

Good news about the Stax visit, I could confirm today that we are visiting Stax in a couple of weeks time.

Questions have been left private until but we thought it would be nice to hear from all those interested what you would like to see covered during the interview.

The only hiccup is that I need to send the questions this week to Stax and translate to Japanese before hand so there is only a very short window to hear your requests. Tentatively, I am waiting until Wednesday (2 days from now), so fire away!

FYI, I could not hear what questions scottsmrnyc had prepared but here's my list:

About Stax Japan:
A1. What is the size of the company and staff allocation for the various departments? For instance, how many designers?
A2. What are the typical staff experience at Stax (e.g. how many years people have been there)? 

About product design process:
B1. What is the typical design process for your headphones and amplifiers?
B2. Do you start 1) from a target performance curve (such as diffuse field or free field frequency response) , 2) from a concept / geometry, 3) from a target market segment / product price?
B3. It seems like Stax house sound has evolved toward a more lively / bright tonal signature over the years. Is this 1) a reaction to the market, 2) a change in the taste of the designer, 3) a result of advances in materials (such as thinner stronger diaphragm)?
B4. What amplifier does Stax uses to design your earspeakers? For instance do you use high power amps like the T2 or production amps for the design and / or final voicing?
B5. Do you rely on testing, and / or simulation, and / or listening impressions for the product design and optimization?
B6. What is the typical design cycle duration for a product (either a product evolution like mkII or new product like 009)?
B7. What are Stax testing facilities and equipment?
B8. What are the design aspects of your earspeakers that you feel make them very special products (such as diaphragm material, stator design, earpad material

About manufacturing:
C1. Is the manufacturing and assembly of Stax earspeakers and amps fully performed in-house and, if partly outsourced, what are the typical companies you work with (machine shops, part suppliers ...)?
C2. What are the typical assembly conditions (clean room, ...) and equipment verifications before shipment?
C3. For instance, is every headphone run-in for some time and / or measured prior to shipment.
C4. Stax is practically the only manufacturer of electrostatic headphones in the world. Do you think this is because designing a robust and good sounding electrostatic headphone requires experience that few people have? Or is it due to manufacturing issues (such as the need for a very tight tolerance in electrode design)?

About future products:
D1. Will there be a flagship amp to go along with the 009 and can we expect a product reminiscent of the SRM-T2?
D2. If a product like the SRM-T2 if out of question, what are the typical barriers to produce again (weight, size, end price)?
D3. Do you feel like you have maximized earspeaker performance with the SR009 or do you see potential evolutions / improvements?
D4. Are you aware that some companies bundle Stax headphones with their products due to their high transparency and speed? This is the case with Smyth Research (http://smyth-research.com/indexjp.html/) and their virtualiser, a product that attempts to alleviate limitations of stereo playback through headphones and even enable realistic playback of multi-channel soundtracks through the use of personalized HRTFs. Does Stax have some interest in such realtime "equalization" of headphone response to further improve the user experience, in particular in terms of imaging?

About the future of Stax:
E1. Stax used to make more than earspeakers / drivers. For instance, some power amplifiers and DACs from Stax were very famous at the time. Is there a plan to expand the business again in the future? 
E2. What was the influence of the purchase by Edifier? Do you see Stax changing direction in terms of product designs (for instance to reduce manufacturing costs)?
E3. Is there some joint development in the plan? 
E4. Customers have often expressed the need for additional support in some regions and/or wondered about the high price of Stax products in their country. Do you plan to use Edifier to strenghen your overseas distribution?
Edited by arnaud - 12/2/12 at 6:50am
post #36 of 83

Looks like an excellent set of questions - it might take more than a day to answer these biggrin.gif

post #37 of 83

Thanks complain! If that's the one feedback I get until tomorrow my life will be easier as I can then simply send what I got already ;). I agree too that there's only so much ground we can cover during a 1-2 hour interview so it can't really grow much bigger either. As for getting answers to these, I would guess the answer will be vague for a good half of it ;).

post #38 of 83

I'd like to know what changes they've noticed since the acquisition by Edifier - do they see Stax changing directions? 

Do they plan to release a closed electrostat again?

Any info on their transducer design would be cool too.

post #39 of 83
N3rdling, the Edifier topic is covered (E2). The closed back stat topic will be added. For the transducer technology, I think it needs to go beyond the standard talk about push pull stat principle as disclosed on their website. Maybe ask something along the lines of what makes they stat technology so unique? For instance, there was a technical discussion from the tech. Director prior to launch of the 009 about its achievements: http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=wKTuBjI4Cp4&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DwKTuBjI4Cp4.
post #40 of 83


post #41 of 83

Additional questions:


How about asking about a service center, parts and dealers in the USA?  I am new to Stax products (and my recently acquired used one is not working well) but everything I read on line talks about how terrible support is.  Yama doesn't answer emails and seldom answers questions on the phone?


My work has had me travel to Japan ( >50 times) and I've worked with many Japanese companies and supporting customers is usually taken to extremes that gaijin find hard to believe.  I'm shocked that North American customers (I don't know about rest of world) of Stax are treated so poorly.  The only channel that I see being active is the gray market eBay sales from Japan.


ps - can they fix my SR-3's if i bring them to Japan?  :-)


Thanks and I am sure you will enjoy your visit.

post #42 of 83
Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post

I'd like to know what changes they've noticed since the acquisition by Edifier - do they see Stax changing directions? 
Do they plan to release a closed electrostat again?
Any info on their transducer design would be cool too.

Doesn't the 4070 still exist as a current but special/batch-order model?
post #43 of 83
Arnaud, Currawong, Scott,

I know your private tour is closed but thought that if you guys wanna meet up after (or before) your tour I'm happy to grab a coffee or a meal with you guys.

Scott, contrary to my PM convo with you, looks like I'll be back in Tokyo from my vacation before the event. So I can meet you guys for a get-together.

P.S. plan some time to get out to Stax. It's pretty far out there. Also just prepare not to have any holes in your socks. You may need to take your shoes off ;-).
post #44 of 83
Oh, that's a brilliant input Sean! Definitely got caught before with a hole in the socks wink.gif.

Would definitely be up for drinks / dinner, I guess we can't really have a proper lunch before going there given the time it takes (Amos, bring you veggie sandwiches in the plane smily_headphones1.gif ).

I wish you could come Sean, but the Stax person was already surprised 3 of us are going ... I guess if any one of us can't make it, you should jump onboard!

Cheers, Arnaud
post #45 of 83

I'm particularly interested in D1-D4 (future products, especially any updates to the 009).


However, I don't hold much hope that you'll get a straight answer. Manufacturers are generally very coy about divulging such information, on the basis that it will stop some people from buying the current models. But we'll see...

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Stax factory tour and interview in Japan approved during my trip to Tokyo Japan December 6th to December 13th 2012.