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What should I buy next? SR-009?

post #1 of 274
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

This is the first new thread I've authored myself. I just wanted to know your opinions concerning the STAX SR-009 compared to the a speaker system of around $10,000+ and other great set-ups. I've owned the LCD-2, and I now own the HD800 and T1, along with a very good Polk 2-channel floorstanding speaker set up (I know it's Polk, but I think it sounds great, I actually prefer it to the LCD-2, HD800, T1 for just pure listening pleasure). I think the HD800 and T1 sound great, but now I'm at the point that if I want to go to the next step for headphones, I might as well go with STAX, namely the SR-009, I'm not going to buy a used Orpheus system, that's even more expensive, the SR-009 is my upper limit. Is it really worth it to invest in a great system with an SR-009, or spend the same amount with a pair of great floorstanding speakers? Like Paradigm, B&W, etc. I just wanted to know any thoughts about this matter.

 

Thanks,

 

Jacks

post #2 of 274

While I do believe the transducer to be by far the most important part of the chain, if your profile is updated (Nuforce DAC100, Schiit Lyr) you might want to update those elements of your chain first, as the HD800 is an amazing headphone that could be done better justice.  A well amped HD800 is a marvelous thing.  If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you could get a headphone amp that doubles as a speaker amp for more sensitive speakers, or at least have one that doubles as a preamp for your speaker system.  Eddie Current's Super 7 comes to mind, as does the Mytek DAC - together they'd run you ~$3,000, which is $1.2-2.2K cheaper than the 009.  

 

If you want to try Stax, I'd recommend finding a used 007 and a decent Stax amp before going "whole hog" with the 009.  The presentation will be totally different and you can see if its for you.  Contrary to what we're told, stats aren't for everyone, and they are a very pricey game.

 

There are some great cheapish options in the speaker world these days, and as you probably know from the system you have they can do some tremendous things that headphones can't really do, with the spatial aspects being the biggest key.  However, they have downsides in detail (especially low level), issues with room reflections, and transients that just can't really match headphones in my experience.  You can get a good speaker system for as much or less than an "end game" 009 system, so its just a matter of picking your poison.


Edited by Radio_head - 12/8/12 at 9:05pm
post #3 of 274
Thread Starter 

Thanks Radio_head,

 

A very informative reply. I just want the absolute best, so I think I might as well get the SR-009. I feel like the HD800 and the DAC-100 sound quite great, I mean, it can't get that much better, it seems. I'm a classical pianist, and I go to live concerts all the time, I've just recently been to see the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, so I know what great music sounds like in person. I hope the SR-009 sounds close. :)

 

Jacks

post #4 of 274

Jacks,

 

I'm a classical pianist as well.  The problem with my Stax rig is sometimes I listen to a piece and then go to the piano to play it and it sounds less real.  What a crazy world we live in when reproduction seems a more accurate representation of the production than the production itself.

 

One thing I'd add, and I'm sure there are some who disagree with me - amps are much more important in the stat game than the dynamic one.  A top flight (BHSE, LL, possibly upcoming Electra) amp with a 007 would really be preferable to a 009 + cheaper amp.

post #5 of 274
Thread Starter 

What is the best Electrostatic Amp? I mean, what is the Citizen Kane of Electrostatic Amps?

post #6 of 274

I will suggest you look into three amps, two of which I have had and one which I have on pre-order:

 

The Headamp BHSE ($5,000-$6,000) (hybrid, uses tubes if you're averse to that kind of thing)

The Cavalli Liquid Lightning ($4,250) (solid state)

The Eddie Current Electra (upcoming release, projected $3,500 first run) (all tube)

 

The BHSE has a pretty long lead time (months), the LL ships in batches (next one in the Spring), the Electra is about to enter its first run in the coming week(s).  I would add I haven't heard the Electra yet but I have high hopes for it given recent impressions and my own experiences with Craig at Eddie Current.

 

Edit - I just noticed you are in Houston, that's Alex Cavalli's neck of the woods - you could shoot him an email and see if he has a loaner he could send you with a deposit.

post #7 of 274
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much,

 

I will either get that or a great loudspeaker system. It's something I'm debating...

 

Jacks

post #8 of 274

I reckon the answer to your question is: How often do you wish you could listen to your speaker system but can't? The reason I got into headphones so heavily  was because I couldn't listen as often as I wanted with speakers. In the end, I've gone down a mixed route, getting both good active monitors to put on my desk and a high-end headphone system.

 

What you get in a top-end Stax-based system is ultra detail at the expense of the soundstage you get with speakers. What you gain is not needing to worry about the room set-up or sit in a sweet spot (unless you buy KEFs or omni-directional speakers).

 

For the Stax, I've always said you can never have a good enough source for them. It's not at all unusual to find people spending as much or more on the entire 'stat rig again on a high-end source.

post #9 of 274

Nods speakers are more enjoyable than headphones regardless of level.  If you can use your speakers... go that way.  I can only use speakers when alone and during the day so... headphone is my focus.  But if I could use speakers, I would.

post #10 of 274

I have 30 years experience in high end audio.  When I first wrote this I should have made it clearer that the 30 years is as a member of the industry.   I go to several shows per year including international.  Speakers are a huge interest of mine so I seek out and listen to every raved speaker, and walk the halls checking out every potentially great speaker that I hear any promise from.  I've picked my favorites to own.  Yet my first foray into headphones (Stax) has shown me that all speakers I have heard are more flawed than the headphones.  That is a strong statement, but it is not born of bias when you consider that I own hudreds of thousands of dollars worth of speakers and yet still make the preceeding statements.  

 

So, it comes down to, for me, more the pleasure factor of listening to headphones versus that of listening to speakers.  For some reason it was very easy for me to adapt and I seem to get as much pleasure from the headphones, but I hear more information in a more coherent manner.  Many questions about the scoring, particular instrumental sounds, the lowest level details that I struggled with before have been answered with the headphones.

 

For sonic quality, low distortion, the ultimate detail, in my opinion the headphones are far more sound per dollar than speakers. 

 

Nobody can argue about personal preference, so if you are more comfortable listening to speakers, if the sound of an energized room is more "real" to you, if you love sharing with friends, if the "feeling" of bass over your whole body is a huge advantage, so be it: you may get more pleasure out of a speaker.  But on a pure distortion, ultimate detail, seamless coherency basis I don't think a speaker is made that can equal the best headphones - except for the factors that can only be given by a set of speakers, that of being surrounded by sound, feeling the sound especially the bass, and "looking" at the soundstage in front of you in the room. 

 

A strange thing is that my headphones cause me to enjoy my speakers more than I did before.  It seems that having a transducer that delivers such extreme detail and coherency makes me accept the limitations of speakers, while also appreciating their visceral aspects that headphones cannot deliver.  

 

For me, an "either/or" decision or piece of advice would be very difficult.  I think "both" is  the best situation: a great set of headpones and a great pair of speakers.  


Edited by Operakid - 12/9/12 at 1:36pm
post #11 of 274

Very well stated.

post #12 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Operakid View Post

Yet my first foray into headphones (Stax) has shown me that all speakers I have heard are more flawed than the headphones. 

 

Headphones do have advantages but even the best don't have the linearity of a half decent speaker.  Those half decent speaker are available under $500 ;)

post #13 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Operakid View Post

I have 30 years experience in high end audio.  I go to several shows per year including international.  Speakers are a huge interest of mine so I seek out and listen to every raved speaker, and walk the halls checking out every potentially great speaker that I hear any promise from.  I've picked my favorites to own.  Yet my first foray into headphones (Stax) has shown me that all speakers I have heard are more flawed than the headphones.  That is a strong statement, but it is not born of bias when you consider that I own hudreds of thousands of dollars worth of speakers and yet still make the preceeding statements.  

 

So, it comes down to, for me, more the pleasure factor of listening to headphones versus that of listening to speakers.  For some reason it was very easy for me to adapt and I seem to get as much pleasure from the headphones, but I hear more information in a more coherent manner.  Many questions about the scoring, particular instrumental sounds, the lowest level details that I struggled with before have been answered with the headphones.

 

For sonic quality, low distortion, the ultimate detail, in my opinion the headphones are far more sound per dollar than speakers. 

 

Nobody can argue about personal preference, so if you are more comfortable listening to speakers, if the sound of an energized room is more "real" to you, if you love sharing with friends, if the "feeling" of bass over your whole body is a huge advantage, so be it: you may get more pleasure out of a speaker.  But on a pure distortion, ultimate detail, seamless coherency basis I don't think a speaker is made that can equal the best headphones - except for the factors that can only be given by a set of speakers, that of being surrounded by sound, feeling the sound especially the bass, and "looking" at the soundstage in front of you in the room. 

 

A strange thing is that my headphones cause me to enjoy my speakers more than I did before.  It seems that having a transducer that delivers such extreme detail and coherency makes me accept the limitations of speakers, while also appreciating their visceral aspects that headphones cannot delivery.  

 

For me, an "either/or" decision or piece of advice would be very difficult.  I think "both" is  the best situation: a great set of headpones and a great pair of speakers.  

 

One of the best posts I've read in awhile. Very sound advise indeed - no pun intended. wink.gif

post #14 of 274

Audition, audition and audition. That's all I can say when it comes to buying expensive gear. Now, the benchmark for expensive is up to your spending capabilities and your disposable income.

 

Another advise I can give is that the joy of this hobby is to climb through the level and appreciate/enjoy each of the level. Then you'll have an idea how much you have progressed.

post #15 of 274

With Wife+Kids I don't have any time for a speaker system.  Someone is studying/working/sleeping so my chance at dedicated listening with speakers ended up being almost non-existent.  After dialing in here and reading more at 6Moons(where he was saying a few years back how a great phone system would take on the best speaker systems at mega multiples of price.  I would vote phones now totally where a few years ago the opposite.  I am really happy with my LCD2+Liquid Fire+W4S DAC2 rig.  I would like to go with LCD3's soon and maybe next year a Smyth Realiser(that should take care of any speaker jonesing I'm harboring.  Given more $$ I would definitely be putting the 009 and a great amp like the LL or BHSE on my list.

 

So I've taken the long way around here but I would definitely go with the headphone system and skip the speakers.

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