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Replacing Stax Lambdas... ATH-M50, DT990, or Fostex T50RP

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Circumstances (financial and otherwise) have changed and I need to replace my Stax lambdas (I had a couple pairs, I liked the originals paired with a new amp most, but all were similar) with something cheaper, more durable, and with more noise attenuation.

 

I'm looking for dynamic headphones that are as fast/detailed as possible, but my new circumstances require something that leaks a lot less than my old Stax headphones did. I'd prefer a bit more bass (maybe) and less treble, but overall the frequency response of the lambas is just great. Really nice. I also have triplefis and dig the sounds from those, too, but less, just for reference... they lack the smoothness and detail.

 

At work we currently have MDR-7506. Too flat, they sound muddy by comparison. None of the sparkly pristine detail. I had HD-280s and they were similar, maybe a bit better. I like Grados a bit for the livelier sound (more treble, I guess?) but they don't compare side-by-side. Total mud, just with a bit of treble boost, I think.

 

So... of the three I've listed, which will get me closest. I'm assuming the Beyerdynamic will be a bit better for being open, and the Fostex will be fastest, but the Audio Technica seems nice for field monitoring and I want to use my headphones for monitoring video, too! It seems all three offer an advantage...

 

Will I never find a dynamic headphone that sounds similar and is closed? I listen to Joanna Newsom and Skrillex and sometimes the Pumpkins. Not much else. If I can find a good closed pair that really isolates the bonus is I can bring it to work and stop using these 7506 headphones, which I like for monitoring but not as much for music, though they aren't bad.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 14

Heya,

 

Based on what you described, I'm thinking of a few:

 

HE-400 primarily, if you want the detail, mids, low end extension, that you're used to.

Beyer DT880 if you want to keep the cost down.

Sennheiser HD650 if you want something mellow with less treble and a little mid-bass warmth added.

 

Very best,

post #3 of 14

Well the op did say he wanted something closed. So all of those are out of the window, none of those will leak sound a lot less than the lambdas. And unfortunately for him, he won't find a closed headphone in the price range of those mentioned that will come close to what the lambdas can do. In fact, the lambdas competes nicely with some high end open headphones. I really can't think of anything to suggest to the op, unless he's willing to spend a good amount of cash. The akg550 may be an option, the  limited edition dt770 is another good option and sounds really good for it's price. But neither of those are going to sound as good as the lambdas imo.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I figured this wouldn't be easy... but I'm not super demanding.

 

How do the ATH-M50 and D770 and T50RP compare with the 7506 and HD280? That's my point of reference.

 

My earbuds are triplefis and although they sound significantly worse than the Stax, if I can get something that's closed and sounds about that good but more neutral I'll be satisfied. I don't have a quiet environment in which to listen and I can't afford to hang on to such expensive headphones so I know I'll have to compromise somewhere. I'd like to use these both for monitoring sound (I shoot video) and listening, but I could also buy a cheap $20 closed pair to monitor and then something better for at home.

 

Oh well. Thanks again.

post #5 of 14
It's been a long time since I've listened to those. I did own the 280 and 770. And IMO the 770 is far better than the 280. Much more bass impact, extension and quantity with a wider soundstage and clearer mids and treble. To me, it's just a much better headphone.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Policar View Post

Thanks, I figured this wouldn't be easy... but I'm not super demanding.

 

How do the ATH-M50 and D770 and T50RP compare with the 7506 and HD280? That's my point of reference.

 

My earbuds are triplefis and although they sound significantly worse than the Stax, if I can get something that's closed and sounds about that good but more neutral I'll be satisfied. I don't have a quiet environment in which to listen and I can't afford to hang on to such expensive headphones so I know I'll have to compromise somewhere. I'd like to use these both for monitoring sound (I shoot video) and listening, but I could also buy a cheap $20 closed pair to monitor and then something better for at home.

 

Oh well. Thanks again.

 

In that case, go for the Mr Speakers Mad Dog and get some SR007 Stax Pads. It will cover everything.

 

Very best,

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

In that case, go for the Mr Speakers Mad Dog and get some SR007 Stax Pads. It will cover everything.

 

Very best,

Stax pads are better than the dog pads?

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by syryanyang View Post

Stax pads are better than the dog pads?

 

Yes.

 

Very little can do better than Stax Pads. They're not cheap either.

 

Very best,

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Sounds expensive... Maybe I should just keep the Stax!

 

For now I'm enjoying the $18 monoprice. They're surprisingly fast. They seem worse than the M50s primarily in ways that make them slightly more fun.

 

Odd that the Fostex performs so much better in another housing. You think they'd capitalize on such good drivers.

post #10 of 14

I understand what you mean about the difference with speed and resolution being seen as "muddy" compared to Stats. In a general sense and in this price-range you seem to be in. And closed back options being another limiting factor.

If you can find the SR-50 it is a supraaural closed back Stax electret ( SR-40 drivers ), very rare though.

 

There are a couple of options in the closed back you could look into try to find on the "cheap" like you want to.

  The original Fostex T40 (not the new one ) with white/yellowish lettering can be found from time to time, By all accounts in the various ortho threads and wiki these can apparently produce close to a statty type response. Ask around in the Orthodynamic Roundup thread for sure you will get some responses on that particular one.

 

And the other is the current version of the Fostex T50, with a bit of mods you can tune the things to approach the more than decent highs, or even go the opposite. It's not all that hard and most of it is spelled out for you in a giant thread, the BMF mod ( among many ) is fully documented ( with pictures and graphs )step by easy step, and can approach close to neutral response , bump up the highs , or bump the bass depending. No end of advice and help there in the T50rp Incremental Mod  thread ( might even be a sticky in the top of this page under WIKI. ) Also Just Listened to Some Fostex T50RP WOW thread is good. Don't get scared. Supplies are cheap. Cans themselves are the main cost really.

 Easy. You'd be shocked, then have somethign tuend to what you like, and something you can be proud of doing yourself.

 

This will get you a little closer to the speed I think you are wanting, it won't be a stat but it won't be as "muddy" when you follow a few key guidelines ,as what you might find in that price-range of dynamicville.

I know there are other options, but with price, closed back, ability to hit a neutral response or close to it, and a speedier presentation with the nice highs, one of these two I think, though with the original T40 there is talk of lower bass levels, so best option for variability and personal tuning would be the T50, IMHO

 

phew, by the way which Lambda? Rocking some Nova Classics here. and other stuff...

 

 

so yeah Malveaux i agree with you in recommending a look into the Mad Dogs ( or LFF ) but price is a consideration it seems.

You've got me wanting to take up briar pipes each time i see that picture!bigsmile_face.gif


Edited by nick n - 2/15/13 at 11:47pm
post #11 of 14

It would help to clarify exactly which Lambda model you're coming from, because despite being based on the same frame, they can sound VERY different.

 

The SR-Lambda (Normal bias) has an unrivaled midrange in my experience, something even its numerical successors can't match. Bass and treble extension may fall a bit short compared to later iterations.

 

The SR-202 is quite like an electrostatic HE-400. Somewhat recessed midrange when coming from the SR-Lambda, and a strange texture present on everything, even moreso if you EQ the mids up to bring them to original Lambda level.

 

The SR-303, which I couldn't really judge it properly due to the lack of a Pro bias source at the time (and a right driver with issues), sounded closer to the SR-202 than the original Lambda in overall sound signature.

 

I haven't heard any of the others, though. Hearsay suggests that the Nova Signature is among the most neutral of Stax's offerings, at least.

 

Regardless, you're going to have a tough time finding any sort of alternative to Stax, especially a closed-back one, since soundstage is one of the Lambda series' greatest strengths. But it may be easier if you're coming from a "numerical" Lambda set and you don't mind a more closed-in soundstage...

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

I have the SR3030 and a set of original Lambas and an energizer. If there were a way to get a cheap ($200) amp I'd be glad to sell the SR3030 and keep the originals, which I prefer just slightly. But it's really a wash. I like Lambdas more for vocals the SR303s more for hip hope. What's the going value for these? A big part of this is that I really need money.

 

They are divisive... I have a friend who prefers his M50s to either by a huge margin. For me they are the most detailed I've heard, but I do miss the pass punch for high end Sennheiser headphones, for instance.

 

I'm pretty happy with my new Monoprice, enough so that I no longer plan to get M50s as my closed headphones/monitors. They're half decent.

post #13 of 14

If you decide to sell the lambdas, let me know. I have been searching for a pair for a LONG while. 

post #14 of 14

Rest assured, if you wish to sell a Stax system of any sort, you won't have much trouble finding buyers with plenty of dosh to hand to you.

 

However, I haven't heard of any "SR-3030"s, just the SR-303, and a "system" bundle with that same headphone bundled with an amp, probably something like the SRM-313. But if you had a Stax amp in the first place, you'd probably keep it unless it doesn't have Normal bias output for the SR-Lambda, because those things are expensive!

 

As for being divisive, I'm not surprised. Your friend is probably a basshead, and Stax never really appeals to bassheads. There's a discussion in the Stax thread about why they have that reputation compared to more conventional driver types, actually. All I can say is that this SR-Lambda of mine isn't that different bass-wise compared to the HE-400 (which may be because they both use planar driver structures), just that the HE-400 has a bit more tactile impact at the same level of volume. (But they also have opposite frequency responses in terms of being A-shaped vs. V-shaped, which makes comparisons difficult.)

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