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The Stax Thread III - Page 137

post #2041 of 4360
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crashem View Post


Never really compared them that way given that one is tube vs SS. I would say more prefer bhse from what I can see, but not close to universal. But I would never say that bhse is better than kgsshv from what I can see. However, I'll have both soon enough and be able to do long term impression and see how I personally feel.

Your modded kgsshv sounds amazing. Be really interested in having you do test with both your modded and the two main versions of kgsshv (off and on board) side by side.

 

My base of comparison before/after is I having a nice class A speaker amplifier and a Woo Wee. It's not nearly the same class as the KGSSHV, but it's not bad either. More importantly it's steady base for comparison. However Geoff (the builder) has very likely compared all the KGSSHV flavors side by side directly.

It's not me but punters around these parts suggesting the KGSSHV 9-10mA was already very close to the BHSE in SQ when the line is drawn. However as we also know, close could even be described as leagues away in audiophile land depending who's doing the count. 

 

Regarding tube/SS sound this is always interesting to me. I've heard and owned tube amplifiers that are quite close to (my) standard definition of what is good "solid state" sound as well as solid states with good elements of "tubey" sound. My preference is for a clean, detailed, transparent reproduction, with holographic presentation and fast transients. And no glaring errors of comission (spikey/grainy treble, underwhelming bass etc). Oh look I just described how the SR-009 sounds. :)


Edited by negura - 4/14/14 at 3:17am
post #2042 of 4360
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crashem View Post

Never really compared them that way given that one is tube vs SS. I would say more prefer bhse from what I can see, but not close to universal. But I would never say that bhse is better than kgsshv from what I can see. However, I'll have both soon enough and be able to do long term impression and see how I personally feel.

Your modded kgsshv sounds amazing. Be really interested in having you do test with both your modded and the two main versions of kgsshv (off and on board) side by side.
As a noob that just got a KGSSHV from Geoff, can you guys explain the pros/cons of onboard vs off board please? I have the onboard version. Thanks.
post #2043 of 4360
Quote:
Originally Posted by yawg View Post
 


Excuse me but why don't you appreciate tube amps? I've been listening to transistor amps (only the best ;-)) since the early 70s but discovered tubes about 10 years ago. When I was comparing my 100W class-A Stax SS monos with the custom-built 50W tube monos of a friend I was blown away, I had Martin Logan CLS IIz ELS then. If you use good tubes in a well-designed amp - especially in the driver section I only use excellent NOS tubes - you will get amazing results. The sound is more "organic" (using a food metaphor) instead of "fast". I never look back.

 

But if you have speakers with low efficiency you have to be careful as tube amps, especially the SE type are not very powerful. I have low-efficiency panel speakers, 3.6 Maggies and use 200W tube monos for the mid/treble section and 300W transistor monos for the bass panels (bi-amping). That gives a quite impressive result and I have no plans to change this set.

 

So don't be prejudiced. Try everything - you'll be amazed. Like I am right now, having accidentally destroyed my beloved Dynavector MC cartridges and dug up the old original MI cart that came with my Empire turntable. It's designed to play Quadro-LPs which means it has a very sharp needle with very low mass that can reproduce up to 50.000 Hz. That thang is almost 40 years old but blew away my expensive DVs - better dynamics, resolution and spatial sound ...

 

Go figure.

I have tried all kinds of tube and solid state designs in the speaker realm. In a level-matched ceteris paribus environment I was unable to distinguish between most solid state equipment. The effects of valve equipment were in comparison random, with a few designs sounding indistinguishable from solid state counterparts and others being a bit unpredictable. Like I stated earlier, I prefer a predictable (boring?) upstream so that I know colorations are products of my transducers.

 

I do respect the converse approach of mixing-and-matching different pieces of non-reference-sounding (e.g. "hi-fi") upstream equipment to strike upon something that sounds euphonic, but that's not for me.

 

I'll echo dude_500's sentiment that the SR-009 are intolerably bright with the KGSSHV (haven't spent enough time with them on the BHSE, but that's where his opinion is derived). What makes them so bright out of those KG designs but docile (by comparison) out of some more budget Stax amps?

post #2044 of 4360
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post

I'll echo dude_500's sentiment that the SR-009 are intolerably bright with the KGSSHV (haven't spent enough time with them on the BHSE, but that's where his opinion is derived). What makes them so bright out of those KG designs but docile (by comparison) out of some more budget Stax amps?

I recall reading that one of the shortcomings of stax amps compared to amps like bhse is limited drive to provide sufficient current all the way to 20kHz (characterised as slew rate). The bias current discussed earlier and voltage swing defines this (but not all agree on what is an acceptable minimum slew rate for actual music).

So, basically, all commercial stax amps barely cut the mustard for driving stax phones but it actually may be beneficial for some users, in particular hf roll off that could make the 009 more palletable for those that find the 009 a bit too revealing of source and / or recording issues or simply are more comfortable with a bit more laid back sound because of the music and/or loudness level they usually listen at.

Edit: more discussion about SR, its relevance or lack thereof...
Questions: http://www.head-fi.org/t/223263/the-stax-thread-new/18570_30#post_8459918
Answers: http://www.head-fi.org/t/223263/the-stax-thread-new/18570_30#post_8459947
Alternative viewpoint: http://www.head-fi.org/t/223263/the-stax-thread-new/18600_30#post_8466826
Edited by arnaud - 4/14/14 at 6:34am
post #2045 of 4360
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post
 

I have tried all kinds of tube and solid state designs in the speaker realm. In a level-matched ceteris paribus environment I was unable to distinguish between most solid state equipment. The effects of valve equipment were in comparison random, with a few designs sounding indistinguishable from solid state counterparts and others being a bit unpredictable. Like I stated earlier, I prefer a predictable (boring?) upstream so that I know colorations are products of my transducers.

 

I do respect the converse approach of mixing-and-matching different pieces of non-reference-sounding (e.g. "hi-fi") upstream equipment to strike upon something that sounds euphonic, but that's not for me.

 

I'll echo dude_500's sentiment that the SR-009 are intolerably bright with the KGSSHV (haven't spent enough time with them on the BHSE, but that's where his opinion is derived). What makes them so bright out of those KG designs but docile (by comparison) out of some more budget Stax amps?


Did you evaluate the amps you tried with speakers using "conventional" speaker designs (dynamic) or ELS, mangnetostatic, horns? Especially using Martin Logan full-range electrostatics I heard that every amp I tried, SS or tubes, had its own special sound signature.

 

BTW I'm not a tube "fanatic". My preamp is a transistor and my tube monoblocs don't have a "tubey" sound.

post #2046 of 4360
Quote:
Originally Posted by kothganesh View Post


As a noob that just got a KGSSHV from Geoff, can you guys explain the pros/cons of onboard vs off board please? I have the onboard version. Thanks.

 

First off, it has been a while (since my last college EE class) that I really studied circuit design so forgive me if I get any facts wrong.

 

On board vs off board is referring to specifically where the heat sinks are located.  In terms of the KGSSHV, I believe that they use on/off board really just to name the two main designs of the KGSSHV.  You could easily just name them Bill and Ralph.  But a more specific and helpful name would be the 450V 1968 Sanyo on board vs 500v IXYS off board

 

Here is a link to KG's design page with detailed design specs:

 

http://tee8tee4388.blogspot.com/2013/07/kgsshv-amplifier.html

 

The obvious difference is the voltage as on board is 450V and off board is 500V.  Typically, my first inclination is that the higher voltage design would be better as electrostats love their high SLEW rate.  But from my research, my understanding is that the on board 450V design is actually preferred given the use of the Sanyo parts.

 

This goes to show you with DYI, all the normal factors us consumers use to make decisions don't necessarily apply.  Obtainable parts make a huge difference that has to be taken into account on which design to go with.  If you are worried you picked the wrong build, I would guess most would say you got the right build as you likely have Sanyo parts.

post #2047 of 4360

You can use either parts and build for offboard or onboard builds.. the only thing is the Sanyo can only take up to 450V supplies. In context of the KGSSHV, offboard just means the transistors on the amp boards have heat dissipating through the larger offboard heatsinks, while with the onboard builds the amp transistors are dissipating heat through smaller 2.5inch heatsinks.

 

Higher heat dissipation allows for you to bump up the current substantially without having the transistors overheat/die/shorten its life.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crashem View Post
 

 

First off, it has been a while (since my last college EE class) that I really studied circuit design so forgive me if I get any facts wrong.

 

On board vs off board is referring to specifically where the heat sinks are located.  In terms of the KGSSHV, I believe that they use on/off board really just to name the two main designs of the KGSSHV.  You could easily just name them Bill and Ralph.  But a more specific and helpful name would be the 450V 1968 Sanyo on board vs 500v IXYS off board

 

Here is a link to KG's design page with detailed design specs:

 

http://tee8tee4388.blogspot.com/2013/07/kgsshv-amplifier.html

 

The obvious difference is the voltage as on board is 450V and off board is 500V.  Typically, my first inclination is that the higher voltage design would be better as electrostats love their high SLEW rate.  But from my research, my understanding is that the on board 450V design is actually preferred given the use of the Sanyo parts.

 

This goes to show you with DYI, all the normal factors us consumers use to make decisions don't necessarily apply.  Obtainable parts make a huge difference that has to be taken into account on which design to go with.  If you are worried you picked the wrong build, I would guess most would say you got the right build as you likely have Sanyo parts.

post #2048 of 4360
Quote:
Originally Posted by yawg View Post
 


Did you evaluate the amps you tried with speakers using "conventional" speaker designs (dynamic) or ELS, mangnetostatic, horns? Especially using Martin Logan full-range electrostatics I heard that every amp I tried, SS or tubes, had its own special sound signature.

 

BTW I'm not a tube "fanatic". My preamp is a transistor and my tube monoblocs don't have a "tubey" sound.


I have had and do have multiple ML speakers.  The problem is these amps are not designed to drive speakers.  Typically you need way more power except for high efficiency speakers like horns.  Electrostatic head amps would need significant changes to drive any non electrostatic speaker and I don't know of any high efficiency electrostatic speaker as they are basically the opposite of efficient..  Even though you can reduce the distance between plate and membrane to increase efficiency, that is one big membrane to drive.

post #2049 of 4360
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiStaR View Post

You can use either parts and build for offboard or onboard builds.. the only thing is the Sanyo can only take up to 450V supplies. In context of the KGSSHV, offboard just means the transistors on the amp boards have heat dissipating through the larger offboard heatsinks, while with the onboard builds the amp transistors are dissipating heat through smaller 2.5inch heatsinks.

 

Higher heat dissipation allows for you to bump up the current substantially without having the transistors overheat/die/shorten its life.

 

Gotcha.  I guess I muddled my main point which was the on/off board is really just naming convention referring to basic two KGSSHV designs.  That the "typical" builds of each of these designs look like as I described. 

post #2050 of 4360
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crashem View Post
 

 

Gotcha.  I guess I muddled my main point which was the on/off board is really just naming convention referring to basic two KGSSHV designs.  That the "typical" builds of each of these designs look like as I described. 

 

I agree... you described them really well but just thought I made that distinction clearer in the context of the question "offboard vs onboard" that's all :)

 

There are also newer variants of the KGSSHV design - KG and Spritzer have been continually working on this to keep sourcing of parts easy and reducing footprint. The Stax community should be thankful to have such dedicated folks that allow for more of us to experience well-amped headphones.

post #2051 of 4360
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiStaR View Post
 

 

I agree... you described them really well but just thought I made that distinction clearer in the context of the question "offboard vs onboard" that's all :)

 

There are also newer variants of the KGSSHV design - KG and Spritzer have been continually working on this to keep sourcing of parts easy and reducing footprint. The Stax community should be thankful to have such dedicated folks that allow for more of us to experience well-amped headphones.

 

I agree with everything you said including your clearer explanation on differences, but especially thanks to KG and Spritz.

post #2052 of 4360

In case anyone wanted a case for their Lambdas, I was able to barely fit my SR-202s inside a Pelican 1200 case. I had to cut the very ends of the foam off on the side with the cups, but nonetheless they fit with a big of gentle pushing. 

It may have been better to get a case with a little bit extra breathing room, but the larger ones are much more expensive than this 1200.

post #2053 of 4360

RiStar, Crashem:

 

Thanks a lot for the details. When I initially posted, I was under the impression that it was a simple matter of upgrading to the 14mA builds of the KGSShv. Geoff quickly disabused me of that notion. Boy this upgraditis is the worst feeling at times !

post #2054 of 4360
Quote:
Originally Posted by rx79ez08 View Post
 

All the talk of Stax headphones' fragility aside. There are still a lot of older Stax headphones kicking around (Lambda, LP, LS, LNS, etc), and most of them are 20 - 30 years old. I think you treat them right these headphones can last for a long time.

My Lambda Signatures appear to work perfectly.  I have replaced the earpads.

post #2055 of 4360

Ear pad issues.

 

Has anyone tried the SR-009 ear pads with the 007's? AFAIK the EP-009 are slightly (~3 mm?) larger in diameter (both inside and outside), but are about the same height.

Based on images I've found I couldn't figure out whether are they similar construction, i.e. can the EP-009 be mounted to the 007?

 

Then, some of you seem to be using the black EP-007 with also the 007 Mk1. Is there any sound difference between the brown and black pads? Again, as much as I could learn from these forums, the black pads are somewhat higher and a bit stiffer (more stuffing?).

 

I know this will sound intrusive, and there will be people scratching their heads, but I still share my 007 ear pad mod experiences. After months of experimenting with the old brown ear pads, the best sound I could get from the 007 Mk1 is this:

- removed the cloth grill and the spring, and mounted the ear pads directly on the frame. Looks better, sounds more open and more clear. Still a bit "shut in" compared to reference (HD800, SR-507). So far this is reversible.

- trimmed the inner foam (soft upper part) about 4 mm in the front and 2-3 mm in the back

- cut ~2mm from the inner circumference of the inner foam pads, making the opening larger.

That's it. Beware, these are destructive mods, but I thought it was worth trying.

Of course all this happened very slowly, with a lot of testing, mostly with all kinds of instruments.

- fine tuning was done by inserting small blobs (~5-6 mm diameter) of wool under the pads from the inside. The goal was to "dial back" the openness in favor of bass impact until the point of optimum. Ended up using one blob under the thick part of the pad spread over ~2-3 cm circumferal length. Yes, the difference is absolutely hearable, and also where you put the blobs :). That's the amazing thing with the 007.

 

These mods basically imitate the SR Omega ear pad design, AFAIK. Believe me, I tried to keep the springs with all might, and tested them with every mod I have made. To my ears, it always sounded better without them. Also, I kept my new pair of brown ear pads unmodified, and tested the mods against them every time.

After all was done, I have put the trimmed foam into the new skin.

 

The effects:

- the headphone still looks the same, but the pads are softer of course

- sound stage wider and deeper, but not taller

- much, much, much more open and clear sound; actually now it sounds more open than the SR-507 and more natural, too

- bass feels having the same depth and impact, but the more open midrange balances the sound; actually the bass feels more freely extended and relaxed than with the more "shut-in" sound before the mods

- piano, wind instruments, big orchestra, percussions sound like real, with a slightly warm euphony (it's still a 007)

- I don't think I could find any fault with the sound now. I just enjoy the music. When I put them on in the morning, it's like fresh breeze to my ears.

- I am less eager to get a 009.

 

The cons:

- irreversible mod, you may lose the price of an ear pad

- have to keep the headphones in the box when not used (it used to be there anyway)

- your ears may touch the metal; mine do not, but this may not hold true with many, if not most people.

 

Now the 009 ear pads inner diameter is a bit larger, and they are also the same bit higher than my current setting, so it might work equally well as my modded 007 ear pads, but allowing bigger distance from ears (good for most), and bigger volume - not necessarily a bad thing for sound stage either. If that assumption holds, I am almost certain the 007 Mk1 would be preferable to many over the 009. Unfortunately the EP-009 seem to be basically unobtainable, except singular opportunities asking (not necessarily selling at) exorbitant prices. Too high price for uncertainty at the moment, when my pads work for me, but there could be people out there who have already tried this.


Edited by zolkis - 4/15/14 at 3:15am
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