I am currently selling off almost all of my dynamic and planar headphones. And selling a bunch of headphone amps too. I have just gotten to like electrostatic headphones too much, I don't listen to the others any more. I went through 2 months where I tried to listen to my LCD-2's and HD800s more- and they do have their strengths- but then I went back to Stax and ESP-950's and I just don't think I can listen to the HD800s or LCD2s any more. I mean, I really WANT to love the HD800's, they do a lot things right. But I just can't handle their treble. It hurts my ears. I have a bit of hyperacusis right right the HD800's have their emphasis and I just can't listen to them.
I think there's also something about my overall sound preferences - I have had a TON of speakers over the years including some very pricey models. Right now my favorites are my refurbished Quad ESL-57's. Yeah, they don't play REAL loud. The deepest bass is M.I.A., and the treble is a little "plasticky" sounding. But there is something about their sound, especially the midrange and upper bass, that is just what I want, what I'm looking for, from music playback. My other system, which I also like very much, is a pair of Magneplanar MG-3.6's, triamped using a DEQX. These have subwoofers as well, below 45 Hz using an additional digital crossover. The imaging from these is amazing- the DEQX brings the performance of this system in the time domain into incredible focus.
So BOTH of my favorite speakers are panel speakers. Whatever it is that they do so well is apparently what I also like about electrostatic headphones. More accurate? Flatter? Lower distortion? Better time-domain performance? I don't know. I don't think it's really related to "accuracy" or "neutrality" - there's just something in the way they present sound that I lock onto.
I wonder- are the other Stax fanatics also big fans of electrostatic speakers like I am?
Yep, I'm one of those. My first ESLs were Martin Logan CLS IIz, very good but couldn't play loud enough for my taste. Then I tried the big Maggies, I have the 3.6R but the original XOs are ridiculous. After getting the Mye stands and new custom XOs I'm bi-amping now with 200W EAR tube monos, tweaked with NOS tubes (mid/treble) and 300W Marantz MA-700 THX monos (bass). For the lowest octave I have an active sub. Very satisfied although when playing really loud I'd like to try another pair of MA-700s to use in bridged mode - bass-impact/kick drums get a tad woolly sometimes. There is always a possibility to improve but the returns get less and less ...
I use a Cayin DAC with old German tubes in the line stage, very natural and musical. Tried this and that for about 40 years, but couldn't find significant improvements in recent years - I'm a happy music junkie now.
I use my LNS mostly for watching movies, with the SRM-3. For music I have a T1S.
Edited by yawg - 3/24/14 at 1:01pm