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Mini-Review: Stax SR-009 - Page 4

post #46 of 74

What struck me about the 009 once I got the electronics right was surprising.   They are not known to be euphoric, or musical-  just very detailed, clear, and exacting.

 

However, when I got some electronics with a soul behind them, they became not only clear and exacting, but beautiful, musical, and highly involving.  To a large degree, I am hearing much of that emotional beauty I heard with the R-10 but with superior clarity.

 

The SR-009 will put out whatever you give it.   If you feed it sterile sound- it outputs the same.  If you feed it colored organic or euphoric sound- yes- you get it, and you get it in the most honest straight forwad manner possible.

 

The SR-009 is not a nonemotional sterile headphone.  It is as musical as the electronics behind it and it can sound not only exacting, but beautiful.


Edited by rsbrsvp - 1/8/13 at 9:06pm
post #47 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsbrsvp View Post

There is a constant balancing act gong on between coloration and truthful sound in any headphone system.   I believe that with a speaker system, coloration is unnecessary; however with headphones, because the drivers are on your ears, there must be SOME softening and or manipulation of the sonics - or we would blow our ears off.  I just see no other way.  The coloration need not be a lot.  Each one of us must create that balancing act on our own.  However, if we put the neutral electronic equipment which is appropriate for the 007 behind the 009, there is a reasonable chance we may find it to revealing, and lacking any magic and or musicality.

 

Now the 007 already has that coloration built in and therefore just needs electronics with plenty of power and neutrality behind it to sound it's best.

 

The 009 is so much more neutral and revealing, and if there is not SOME coloration in the electronics behind it- it will be harsh directly on the ears unless listened to at low volumes.

 

To create the proper balance for the 009, I have found I need: 

 

1.  Tube DAC

2.  No upsampling, as it puts a hyperfocus on the higher frequencies.

3.  With computer audio- I use "Pure Music" as the transport from "memory play".  It smoothes things out and anchors the higher frequencies while sounding very very natural.

 

Copper IC's may be another option- to add some musicality and tame the high frequencies, although I have not chosen this option myself.

 

Just like the 007 needs specially tuned equipment behind it to sound it's best, so does the 009.  And when I found the right electronics for the 009, I was stunned at how beautiful it sounded.

 

 

I prefer a neutral DAC and amp whilst if the headphones are slightly north of neutral so be it. Compensating around a bright or overly revealing headphone is hit and miss at best. And when you do come to upgrade you phones in the future your system will be tuned to a specific headphone, where will this leave you?

post #48 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwmclean View Post

 

 

I prefer a neutral DAC and amp whilst if the headphones are slightly north of neutral so be it. Compensating around a bright or overly revealing headphone is hit and miss at best. And when you do come to upgrade you phones in the future your system will be tuned to a specific headphone, where will this leave you?

I understand your point and it is well taken.   However, I am not sure I agree with the term "compensating".   

 

I remember when I bought my BHSE.   I still owned my ES-1   and although I was impressed by the extra power and punch of the BHSE,  I was saddened as to how honest it was; it had NO draw to my emotions.   The ES-1 had a soul that drew me into the music, and the BHSE was flavorless.

 

So what did I do? I bought a DAC with a "soul" and hooked it up to the BHSE.  Now I have the soul of the ES-1 and the power of the BHSE.  I don't feel that the DAC I bought was a compensation for the short-comings of the BHSE, rather I needed some flavor back there- and so I added it.  SYNERGY rather than COMPENSATION I believe is how I would describe it- but either way- the result is the same.

 

In addition,  I still use my 007 in my system while making two changes.  1. I upsample to get that more precise sound.  2.  I switch from "pure Music" to "Amarra" to get a clearer more detailed, less euphoric, more exacting sound.  Works great- and no need to change equipment.

post #49 of 74

IMHO the only soul injection should be limited to the transducer and I did mean “compensation”, I’m really am not a fan of tube DACs, the practice of running tubes at low voltage gain is not what they do best from my experience.

post #50 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwmclean View Post

IMHO the only soul injection should be limited to the transducer and I did mean “compensation”, I’m really am not a fan of tube DACs, the practice of running tubes at low voltage gain is not what they do best from my experience.

Many people feel like you do about this issue- and I respect that.

 

I still believe some coloration MUST exist somewhere in the chain- be it the electronics or the headphones- or the results will be just to revealing.

post #51 of 74

I don't think there's such thing as too revealing.  I wouldn't want a band to keep the curtains closed and play from the back of the stage.

post #52 of 74

Agree. Just want the cleanest sound without any adulteration. No coloration for me.

post #53 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by gilency View Post

Agree. Just want the cleanest sound without any adulteration. No coloration for me.

In theory I agree.  But my ears cannot take it.

 

A concert uses speakers- not transducers that sit right on my ears.

 

For those who can take the most revealing electronics through the 009- you are in luck.  I can't, and I believe others like me complain about the 009 because they also can't take so much.

 

For those whose ears are like mine, subtle, gentle colorations in the electronics may do the trick.  It does for me.


Edited by rsbrsvp - 1/8/13 at 11:17pm
post #54 of 74

A concert does not use speakers. At least not the ones I attend.

post #55 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsbrsvp View Post

In theory I agree.  But my ears cannot take it.

A concert uses speakers- not transducers that sit right on my ears.

This is silly, why buy a wonderful piece of kit like the BHSE, neutral to a fault and dick around at the source?
I've used Amarra and have tried Pure Music, blind testing I could not tell any difference between them, including iTunes.
Perhaps some gentle cross feed software would have made a better choice than a DAC that is softening the signal?
I realise everyone's hears differently and these are my opinions. But a coloured DAC is a bad investment, no matter which way you look at it. What becomes of your system when Stax releases the next flagship that is voiced differently...
post #56 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwmclean View Post



I've used Amarra and have tried Pure Music, blind testing I could not tell any difference between them, including iTunes.
 

But you still could hear a difference between either Amarra or Pure Music and none of them, do you? -- I mean with the 009 (not to be too much off topic!).


Edited by satorarepotenet - 1/9/13 at 12:11am
post #57 of 74
I agree with John on these also. I have heard Amarra, Fidelia and others. The difference is more placebo than anything else.
I use Fidelia because of its crossfeed which is handy with old recordings.
IMHO of course.
post #58 of 74

The ES-1 having soul is some of the funniest things I've ever read.  The first time I heard one I was simply astounded anybody had considered this crap good at any point in time.  The -110VDC worth of offset they all had was perhaps this soul you speak of.?

 

Tubed output sources only mean one thing, very high levels of distortion.  Even the very best tube outputs have distortion orders of magnitude higher than the SS counterparts and those circuits are very rare.  Most tube outputs are far worse.Upsampling  lessens the effect of the brickwall filtering with 16 bit material so it makes the top end smoother and more extended.  So the bottom line is we should use "the best headphone in the world" with the worst amps, sources and source material we can find to make up for the transducer issues.  Makes very little sense to me... 

post #59 of 74

Neutrality isn't always the best approach to things. Unfortunately a lot of good music just sounds terrible when you 'wire with gain' it. 

 

For instance...I've just purchased a pretty colored and romantic speaker rig. It makes some poor recordings that I love much more tolerable. 

 

There are 2 recordings in my collection that I love but just could not stand to listen to on my 009s that I can now just rock out to on the speakers. 

 

Iggy & the Stooges - Raw Power

Clutch - Pure Rock Fury

 

Some people will say 'listen to better music' or 'life's too short for crappy recordings' but we like what we like...and if neutrality (or lack there of in some cases) makes me enjoy it more...who's to say it's wrong?

post #60 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

I personally preferred both the LCD-2 and LCD-3 to the SR-007 MKII. The MKI was closer and I did prefer it to the LCD-2, but I'd still take the LCD-3s over them. Now that said, the SR-009s have made me a very happy member of the mafia (never thought I'd come to this conclusion). I didn't think I'd hear an e-stat that is simply this magical, technically proficient and portray layer upon layer of so much sonic goodness. Just sharing my experiences and two cents. smile.gif

You use(d) the Stax SRM-727II for the Stax SR-007&009, right?


Edited by achri-d - 1/9/13 at 1:42pm
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