My 507 doesn't have etch either, and it's warm sounding. As open as the HD800, but warmer and less grainy.
But this post is about the SR-007 Mk1. I always wondered why Spritzer says it's the best headphones Stax made. He called my attention to setting the headband properly.
I've been playing a lot with the 007, and have ended up with some delightful discoveries.
While wobbling around the 009, I discovered the versatility of the 007-Mk1, which I can now make sound like... I want it. It can sound closed in with a lot of deep bass or as open as the 009 (within some debated limits of course) with more neutral and dry sound. Cutting the crap, here are my learnings:
1. It is so extremely sensitive to headband and earpad adjustments (even slight mods). The first revelation came when I made the headbands shape similar to that of the 507, i.e. flatter in the middle, the leather headband almost touching the metal bands. Then, set the angle of the drivers from the ends of the metal headbands, to follow the head and ensure even and the right amount of pressure around the ear. A lot of variables on how to achieve this one. The effect is opening up the sound and maximizing the snap and bass impact.
2. After the headbands are properly adjusted, then by rotating the earpad springs around the clock while keeping the pads still, the sound is affected between warm, melodic & a bit closed sound to completely open, neutral and more dry, and in between the two ends. I love it - and for what it's worth, I usually end up settling the spring at the positions mapping to 4-5 pm on the clock, where it has deep, well defined bass with an excellent base resonance, and it's open and fluid sounding in the same time. It can sound a bit syrupy and laid back around the 3 pm position, and getting more dry and more forward at 6 pm.
3. Setting the spring is easy since after a lot of testing, I stopped using the grills, and keep the phones in the box when not used, to prevent dust damage. Fortunately the air is very clean here.
4. Since I have 2 pads, and older and a new one, I modified the old pads while comparing them to the new. Based on countless experiments, I can say the best mod is to trim the soft part of the internal foam just lightly (~ 2 mm) from the thin (front) end, making it tilt more. This also accentuates the effect of setting the spring position. Skip this if you want, as this is non-reversible, or like me, do it with one pad and keep the other unchanged.
In the end I love this versatility to set the sonics to my mood and the music. I don't miss the 009 that much any more (the 007 is kind of more fluid). The SR-009 definitely has its own merits, but now I know what Spritzer meant about the excellency of the 007 Mk1. I can still imagine better sound, but it's good enough for me for a long while.
I think it is impossible to review the 007 Mk1 properly, unless the reviewer takes the time to properly adjust and personalize the 007. My settings are likely non-optimal for others, but my wife and kids hear similar differences with it as I do, so the mods definitely have some value.
I would be useful if 007 Mk1 owners could try and verify these, except perhaps step 4.
Edited by zolkis - 3/20/14 at 2:44pm