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ESP 950 with Stax SRM-1/MK-2 Pro?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm a happy owner of the ESP 950 electrostatic headphones, but have read around that the sound will be so much better using a Stax SRM-1/MK-2 Pro instead? So how can I get my hands on a converter cable from ESP 950 to Stax SRM-1/MK-2 Pro?

post #2 of 15

http://apuresound.com/ehrc.html  has adaptors and will also change the Koss cable on your ESP-950 for a Stax cable/

 

I've got ESP-950's with a Stax cable on them, and I have a Stax-to-Koss adaptor so I can listen to my Stax or my Koss headphones on the Koss E-90 amp OR on Stax amps.

 

I had an SRM-1 mk II  but I sold it.  I have an SRM-T1  that I like better.

 

The Stax amps sound better on the ESP-950's than the E-90, but not WAY better.  10% better?  15%?  7%?  Better, but not much better.

 

You might consider just saving your money and stay with the E-90.  Yeah it's made of plastic, but actually it's a well designed amp.

 

Of course, if you have a supply of spare cash, and just want to try it out- then go for it. 

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by milosz View Post

http://apuresound.com/ehrc.html  has adaptors and will also change the Koss cable on your ESP-950 for a Stax cable/

 

I've got ESP-950's with a Stax cable on them, and I have a Stax-to-Koss adaptor so I can listen to my Stax or my Koss headphones on the Koss E-90 amp OR on Stax amps.

 

I had an SRM-1 mk II  but I sold it.  I have an SRM-T1  that I like better.

 

The Stax amps sound better on the ESP-950's than the E-90, but not WAY better.  10% better?  15%?  7%?  Better, but not much better.

 

You might consider just saving your money and stay with the E-90.  Yeah it's made of plastic, but actually it's a well designed amp.

 

Of course, if you have a supply of spare cash, and just want to try it out- then go for it. 

 

Thanks a lot for the inforrmation!  I just love the clearness and how my ESP-950 sounds, but the bass could be a little bit stronger I think, and I've heard that the bass improves by changing amp quite a bit, is that true?

post #4 of 15
They're just not bassy headphones - I always giggle a little when I see people wanting to buy an amplifier to "improve bass and open up soundstage" (it's become a trope by now). I'm not trying to rip on you - it's just kind of a never-ending carousel of "buy buy buy" and after a point it gets silly. My best advice? If you want "a little bit stronger" bass - use an EQ or tone controls (they'll take it). If, however, what you actually mean is A LOT of additional bass (relatively speaking), get a different headphone. Also remember that bass on a 'stat sounds a little different than on a dynamic headphone, so if you just got these a week ago and they're your first 'stat, I'd say give them a month or two to grow on you - play with tone controls a little bit, and then come back and re-evaluate.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

I've had them for a few years now, and I absolutely love them. I get a red lamp every now and then when I try to play really loud, I thought maybe it was the amp that was too weak, so I thought about buying a stronger amp that also would allow me to like you say tune the bass up a bit more also would help. I normally use a more classical EQ setup so I wouldn't say that I am a heavy bass kind of person.

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by XzifT View Post

I've had them for a few years now, and I absolutely love them. I get a red lamp every now and then when I try to play really loud, I thought maybe it was the amp that was too weak, so I thought about buying a stronger amp that also would allow me to like you say tune the bass up a bit more also would help. I normally use a more classical EQ setup so I wouldn't say that I am a heavy bass kind of person.

I can't imagine how loud you're listening if you're lighting the OL lamp...(by spec they'll push out something like 120 dB before the amp goes into cilpping).
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by XzifT View Post

 

Thanks a lot for the inforrmation!  I just love the clearness and how my ESP-950 sounds, but the bass could be a little bit stronger I think, and I've heard that the bass improves by changing amp quite a bit, is that true?

No, I wouldn't say the bass improves "a lot."  Not much change in bass really.  A little extra bass texture on the SRM-1 mk II  but no increase in the AMOUNT of bass.

 

Electrostatic headphones don't have the kind of bass "punch" that dynamic and planar headphones can have, probably this is related to limited diaphragm excursion in electrostatic drivers.  The ESP-950's have the biggest drivers of any electrostatic 'phones made, and in my opinion, the most bass "impact" of any electrostatics that I've heard.  But there are limits.  A different amp isn't going to change the physics involved.

 

For bass power and "impact,"  as well as quality and texture, in my opinion the best is the Audeze line of planar headphones. But of course they don't have the transparency of electrostatic headphones.

 

Many bass lovers also like the Denon AH-D7000, and while I agree it "has it goin' on"  in the lower registers, it's not as pure and extended as the Audeze.  (I have Audeze LCD-2 as well as Denon AH-D7000's)

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


I can't imagine how loud you're listening if you're lighting the OL lamp...(by spec they'll push out something like 120 dB before the amp goes into cilpping).

Most people actually judge LOUDNESS by gauging the amount of distortion in the sound.  You turn up your car radio really loud and there's some distortion and you back it off a little... but with a good amp like the E90 and electrostatic headphones the sound is VIRTUALLY DISTORTION FREE AT ANY LEVEL!  This tends to encourage people to CRANK IT UP!  This lack of distortion at high SPL is one of the reasons that many people turn up their headphones too loud and damage their hearing.

 

You home stereo is not capable of producing these volume high levels with so little distortion even if you paid $500,000 for it. People are much more likely to listen LOUD on headphones.

 

Also note that listening while drinking alcohol is not a good idea; alcohol reduces sensitivity to ear pain, people who are drinking (even if not actually drunk) are more likely to turn up the volume more than they should.

 

EVERYONE should measure how loud they are listening on occasion!  Buy a cheap SPL meter off ebay ($25)  and make a rig to seal the mic to your earcup by taking a piece of cardboard and punching a hole in it the size of the mic. Now you can press the cardboard with the mic poking through it against the earpad and get some kind of a seal, and you can make your measurement.  Listen to your 'phones for a while at your loudest level and then take them off and measure the sound level; it is best to keep it no higher than about 90 dB

 

If you listen over 100 dB for more than 15 minutes, you will probably begin damaging your hearing.  You'll kill the hair cells in your inner ear which sense sound, starting with the ones that sense the highest frequencies first.

 

 

 Sound Pressure Level (SPL)    Permissible Exposure Time 
115 dB   0.46875 minutes (~30 sec)
112 dB   0.9375 minutes (~1 min)
109 dB   1.875 minutes (< 2 min)
106 dB   3.75 minutes (< 4 min)
103 dB   7.5 minutes
100 dB   15 minutes
  97 dB   30 minutes
  94 dB    1 hour 
  91 dB   2 hours
  88 dB   4 hours
  85 dB   8 hours
  82 dB   16 hours

 

 

 

DATA SOURCE: http://www.sengpielaudio.com/PermissibleExposureTime.htm


Edited by milosz - 1/14/13 at 3:29am
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

I often have it near the area where it starts going red and "fall apart". I could easily pull it further if it was possible. It's like I can't it tuned up high enough, are you sure I wont be able to get higher volume with a stronger amp?

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by milosz View Post

Most people actually judge LOUDNESS by gauging the amount of distortion in the sound.  You turn up your car radio really loud and there's some distortion and you back it off a little... but with a good amp like the E90 and electrostatic headphones the sound is VIRTUALLY DISTORTION FREE AT ANY LEVEL!  This tends to encourage people to CRANK IT UP!  This lack of distortion at high SPL is one of the reasons that many people turn up their headphones too loud and damage their hearing.

This is terrifying to think about - I mean it makes perfect sense to me when you say it this way, but it still scares me to think about. Seriously the ESP/950 setup get LOUD for what they are (I even remember the original Stereophile review commenting on this - Koss even makes a few points about it in the owner's manual). I've never actually tripped the OL light on the E/90, but have while testing the E/10 (headphones were on the table at the time) - was absurdly loud (the headphones could've been used as speakers; not kidding). And the E/10 is nowhere near the E/90 in terms of pure output (afaik the E/90 still has the highest voltage swing of any production ES amp).
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Yes, that is true, I take them off every now and then and use them as speakers. Great quality still.

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by XzifT View Post

Yes, that is true, I take them off every now and then and use them as speakers. Great quality still.

 

 

You could build some big horn to couple them to your room....use them as upper midrange / treble drivers..... biggrin.gif

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm starting to think that you guys are from the US and that somehow you get way more power into the amp than what I do here in Norway. My sound isn't really that loud.

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by XzifT View Post

I'm starting to think that you guys are from the US and that somehow you get way more power into the amp than what I do here in Norway. My sound isn't really that loud.

The DC power supply should be outputting the same DC signal no matter what it's designed to take on the AC side.
post #15 of 15

The gain of these amps is fixed so AC power input has no bearing on how loud they are.  The Vrms coming from the source is what makes them loud or indeed, not. 

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