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The Stax Thread III - Page 155

post #2311 of 5037

It's funny how much battle is going on about amps, cables, sound signature compensations etc, but there is much less talk about properly tuning the variable parts of the headphones, i.e. ear pads, headband, and internal lining/filling where it applies. This is also true with (electrodynamic) speakers.

 

Perhaps because positive experiences with tuning speakers in the past, I couldn't help tweaking further the ear pads of the 007.

After trying a variety of materials inside the pads, it was shocking how different they all sounded - much bigger differences than between amps. Will post a report with pictures soon, but the good news first: I ended up with an ear pad mod that makes the 007 Mk1 sound quite much more open, with much bigger sound stage, and also with more defined and snappier bass (or another option for lush, wet, softer bass lines a la old reel tape players, depending on your taste). In parallel, I have also experimented with the TH900 with the goal to get the mids work better - and I have very good news there, too.

 

Out of the available stock pads for various headphones, the SR Omega and the 009 pads may be the best choice for the 007, but couldn't find any source for them, original or 3rd party - so these remain to be tested.

post #2312 of 5037
Sorry, I see that. KGSS I meant, my correction. My message was, why has Justin concentrated on the valve route?
My listening with SS and tubed amps, is I prefer tubes.

SS front end plus SS amps - never found a happy solution.....
post #2313 of 5037
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrostar59 View Post

Sorry, I see that. KGSS I meant, my correction. My message was, why has Justin concentrated on the valve route?
My listening with SS and tubed amps, is I prefer tubes.

SS front end plus SS amps - never found a happy solution.....

Ahhh, this is getting so annoying! Would you mind doing us all a favor and reading a bit more background info? I don't know, you could start with keywords like "high voltage amplification" or "electrostatic amplifier". It's not like this is the first time evaaa this stuff is discussed.
post #2314 of 5037
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post

You're kind of an idiot - that is badly informed, dude.
Careful man. You can't make personal attacks. You can imply, but just don't say. Lol
post #2315 of 5037
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post


Ahhh, this is getting so annoying! Would you mind doing us all a favor and reading a bit more background info? I don't know, you could start with keywords like "high voltage amplification" or "electrostatic amplifier". It's not like this is the first time evaaa this stuff is discussed.

Don't you forget to report your talk with Stax's people :ph34r:

 

Ali

post #2316 of 5037

That's a ridiculous price...

post #2317 of 5037
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post
 

That's a ridiculous price...

post #2318 of 5037
I find this rather odd. For me I listen then I make choices. I don't try or want to get off on who knows how stuff works
better than anyone else. That route leads to a bullying type forum where 2 or 3 folk have the last say.

At the end of the day, we are all here to discover a system (in my case) that sounds right to my ears.
For me that has led me to where I am now. Healthy discussions are great to share, and some love SS others valves,
some get off on classical, others like heavy rock.

Leave the egos alone. Or the forum may head the way many others have IMHO.

There is room for eveyone's view without getting Thor's hammer out.....

Now I'm off to chill out listening to some tunes, which is why I visited this forum in the first place.
post #2319 of 5037
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post
 

I will talk to Stax people this week end during the headphone festival, will report here as usual, but don't expect much news I am afraid...

 

Since you are in Japan, you might be interested applying to this lecture at "Center of the History of Japanese Industrial Technology": http://sts.kahaku.go.jp/diversity/lecture/index.php. Maybe nothing new to you, but I bet it is fun.

post #2320 of 5037

I just got a Lambda Pro on SRM-1.  Just like I heard at a meet, trumpet horns are AMAZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZING!!!  :eek: These output horns really well.

 

Thank you Louie Armstrong.


Edited by SilverEars - 5/10/14 at 8:26pm
post #2321 of 5037
Quote:

Perhaps because positive experiences with tuning speakers in the past, I couldn't help tweaking further the ear pads of the 007.

After trying a variety of materials inside the pads, it was shocking how different they all sounded - much bigger differences than between amps. Will post a report with pictures soon, but the good news first: I ended up with an ear pad mod that makes the 007 Mk1 sound quite much more open, with much bigger sound stage, and also with more defined and snappier bass (or another option for lush, wet, softer bass lines a la old reel tape players, depending on your taste). In parallel, I have also experimented with the TH900 with the goal to get the mids work better - and I have very good news there, too.

 

Out of the available stock pads for various headphones, the SR Omega and the 009 pads may be the best choice for the 007, but couldn't find any source for them, original or 3rd party - so these remain to be tested.

 

Some more details on this.

Having two sets of brown 007 pads, I decided to destroy modify one of them to imitate the SR Omega pads. During the previous (http://www.head-fi.org/t/677809/the-stax-thread-iii/2040#post_10459375) experiments, I noticed tendencies I wanted to check further. So far, no springs, inner earpad foam front side trimmed ~2 mm, opening made larger cca 4 mm in diameter.

Now it was time to adjust the leather pad to these, and experiment with various fillings.

 

Initial state:

 

Undo the sewing and take off the inner cover (on the right) and the other side of the flank, resulting in 3 parts: the inner cover (below), the inner flank, and rest of the ear pad.

First, enlarge the opening by cutting a circle: 

 

The result is circular, rather than the original trimmed circlar shape (this was intended).

 

Do the same to the other part:

 

The results so far:

 

Then, redo the sewing (manually or with a sewing machine, depending on your skills).

Note that since the inner diameter has been increased, a ~3 cm long leather extension is needed for the flank.

When sewing, leave the extension part to the end, then cut as it's required and finish the end.

 

In the next phase, cut new fillings and assemble the ear pads.

The picture above is just to suggest the thickness in the front.

 

Next, I experimented with the ear pad fillings. The method was just to push the pads against the drivers (without mounting) and try that way for gross comparison. Then, the winner combinations were tested assembled on the drivers.

 

I have tried 5 materials for the filling: (a) the original foam, (b) open cell foam, (c) active carbon filter pad (for house ventilation machines :), (d) polyester fiber acoustic pad, (e) natural wool felt pads. I ruled out non-carded natural wool filling as it was not practical. The selection was based upon what materials I had at home from earlier speaker tuning, but there may be a lot of materials which sound better than these. One thing to say, there was considerable difference in how did they sound compared to each other:

- original foam has softer, rounded bass lines, good slam, kind of old reel tape sound

- open cell foam had somewhat cleaner bass, and it's still foam (easy to deal with and people are used to it)

- active carbon filter pads increased the effect above, resulting in very spacious, deep, extended, clean bass with superior piano/base strings attack and decay, also making the treble cleaner, and somehow the timing was more consistent over the frequency range, resulting in higher perceived PRAT and resolution

- polyester pads were OK but nothing special; slightly softer sound but so much as the foams

- wool felt is tricky, since it depends very much on density, much more than for the rest. I had medium density pads, they took away all boominess and dark signature, but the results were a bit too shiny perhaps. 

Since the carbon pads were quite stiff, I have put a very thin layer of polyester pad on them, and ended up using this.

The carbon pads are 14-15 mm thick (angle-trimmed 2 mm in the front), and the poly pad 2-3 mm.

 

 

I have tested the same things for the TH900, with the same tendencies, and end result, so this seems to be pretty consistent so far. The sound stage with these pads is huge both in width and depth (perhaps higher, too), and pin-point. Saxophone sounds more direct and velvety, as do synth and strings, violin/cello has more physical body, piano is more transparent and resonant - all welcome.

 

I have tested again using the springs, but again it sounded better without them. However, that is an option to make a darker, more distant sound.

 

Now my 007's sound the same open as with the previous mod, but with the differences described above with the carbon pads. I am eager to compare it to 009 and other flagships, and will get back in a few weeks with the results.

 

Meanwhile, if you can source SR Omega and/or SR-009 pads, please notify me, too :).

post #2322 of 5037
Great, I love modding smily_headphones1.gif
post #2323 of 5037
Keep up the modding. If it works I may have a bash myself, though on an older set.

On another subject
Anyone know what the size of the e-stat market actually is? How many Stax headphones are made per month for example?

I wonder if the market for them is not promoted enough, has no real sized dealer network and thus the audiophile mainstream
customers are ignorant to the SQ on offer.

It may be a pity huge companies (in head phone world) like Sennheiser have not managed to market such a product in real world
volume. The other side of the market IEM is booming I guess because of the portability aspect.

And if the e-stat market was bigger, had more players, surely the prices would come down as mass production went up?

Dunno. I am not complaining, the SQ of Stax gear is that good I will find the money for it somehow, as do other die hards.
It is an expensive hobby though.
post #2324 of 5037

I think people tend to think it's 007, 009 or nothing.

 

And then I think people are scared of weak bass and slim genre bandwidth along with the amplification requirenments.

 

Then there's also the looks and the fact that it seems as such a niche product.. And the horror stories of imbalance and stuff.

post #2325 of 5037
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post
 

I think people tend to think it's 007, 009 or nothing.

 

And then I think people are scared of weak bass and slim genre bandwidth along with the amplification requirements.

 

Then there's also the looks and the fact that it seems as such a niche product.. And the horror stories of imbalance and stuff.

Based on my session with Lambada pro, I have to say that bass is just about right.  It's definitely not bassy, but not weak as to the point where tracks that emphasizes bass gets way too little, but yeah, if somebody is a bass head, this is not it(they should go for a closed back).  

 

I've been hearing Lambda is bright, which is definitely not coming out of SRM-1.  It has right amount of treble, but I think what happens when you raise the volume, everything scales up together, and therefore treble will be much harder to your ears.

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