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The Stax Thread III - Page 171

post #2551 of 4634
Quote:
I'd rather allocate funds differently so I can get the best headphones in the world and then whatever amp/DAC is good enough so I won't notice flaws

What fool talk is this? Honestly, you think a budget DAC or transport and amp will sound good on a top (revealing) headphone?

Spend more time with better quality components and you will understand.

I am not at my normal home at the moment, thus have my 009s and Stax 717 driven by a budget Denon CD player (400US) and it sound simply awefull.
Yes, better than walkman headphones out of a portable, but really, it is MILES off what they sound like fed by a good source.

Like I said in my earlier post, if you are going to upgrade for certain later, then get the 009s. If not, a 507 and a better front end would be money
wisely spent. A microscope on a poor source will sound like, eer a poor sound....
post #2552 of 4634
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgep View Post


For whatever it is worth, I have only ever heard heard the opposite. The 323s on the other hand is on par with Stax's current top-of-the-line offerings.

 

Thanks. The 323S is probably where I'll go next if necessary, since I really want solid-state.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by astrostar59 View Post


What fool talk is this? Honestly, you think a budget DAC or transport and amp will sound good on a top (revealing) headphone?

 

This is the kind of thinking that gets people to perceive differences that aren't there and spend too much money (and advise others to do the same).

 

Your correlation between price and quality is a fallacy. Some great stuff is expensive, but some isn't — and not all expensive stuff is great. Not every "upgrade" is really an upgrade in anything but price, and not every "requirement" is really a requirement.

 

To quote the wise Louis C.K. when his agent told him he "had to" promote local radio DJs on his tour:

 

Quote:

I said to him, “Let’s do none of it.” … “Let’s find out if this is a huge mistake. Let’s find out. I’m willing to sacrifice my first theater tour and have the places empty and identify that it’s because I wouldn’t let the radio people participate. But we also might find out that it didn’t make a difference and that I never have to do it.” [Laughs.] Because you can’t roll that s*** back once you’ve started. 

 

Anyway, the obvious story is that it didn’t make a f***ing difference. It didn’t matter. It’s like, there’s some joke about a guy with a banana in his ear to keep the crocodiles away and he says, “It’s working.”

 

That's how I like to approach the common wisdom about some of this stuff, especially as so much of it fails ABX testing. Do I really need a $5,000 boutique amp for these $3,500 headphones? Well, I'm willing to find out.

 

And I'd absolutely call into question your recommendation that I buy inferior headphones if I'm not willing to spend a ton on an amp. As I've said before, my HD 800 with my $250 Schiit amp sounds much better than or indistinguishable from anything else I've ever heard, including the same headphones on $5,000+ boutique tube setups. I say get the headphones right from the start, and worry about the rest of the stack if you actually hear problems that an amp/DAC/source/cable/magic power brick are actually capable of and likely to fix.

post #2553 of 4634
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcoarment View Post
 

Rather than spending nearly equal amounts on headphones and amps like the common wisdom around here, I'd rather allocate funds differently so I can get the best headphones in the world and then whatever amp/DAC is good enough so I won't notice flaws.


A wise choice, I think. By far the most decisive part of your (headphone) system are your headphones.

post #2554 of 4634

The 323S amp is actually pretty good considering the price. I was surprised when I had them with the 007 when I first ventured into Stax. The 717 amp I have is better and so are the KGSSHV and BHSE but of course those are much more expensive and one is DIY. I do find that there are improvements however it really depends on budget as well as if one thinks it is worth it or not.

post #2555 of 4634
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcoarment View PostThis is the kind of thinking that gets people to perceive differences that aren't there and spend too much money (and advise others to do the same).

 

Your correlation between price and quality is a fallacy. Some great stuff is expensive, but some isn't — and not all expensive stuff is great. Not every "upgrade" is really an upgrade in anything but price, and not every "requirement" is really a requirement.

 

That's how I like to approach the common wisdom about some of this stuff, especially as so much of it fails ABX testing. Do I really need a $5,000 boutique amp for these $3,500 headphones? Well, I'm willing to find out.

 

And I'd absolutely call into question your recommendation that I buy inferior headphones if I'm not willing to spend a ton on an amp. As I've said before, my HD 800 with my $250 Schiit amp sounds much better than or indistinguishable from anything else I've ever heard, including the same headphones on $5,000+ boutique tube setups. I say get the headphones right from the start, and worry about the rest of the stack if you actually hear problems that an amp/DAC/source/cable/magic power brick are actually capable of and likely to fix.

I'm using the 323S with the SR-Omega and it's good. The Omega is said to be "harder to drive" than the SR-009 (whatever that means). I've been told by at least a few educated ears that the setup does not have audible flaws.

 

My thinking is consistent with yours but we're in the minority. Many perceived differences can be based on quantifiable error as a result of insufficient level matching (at or greater than 2dB). If you level-match by ear, the resulting error will be apparent by ear. This (along with a few other fallacies in comparison) is why I don't trust comparisons unless they are framed in the appropriate context.


Edited by 3X0 - 6/12/14 at 1:36pm
post #2556 of 4634
So are you talking from personal experience of the 252 with the 009?
Please don't underestimate it just because its the entry level amplifier or its predecessors like 212 or XRM for that matter. For the money its a very capable amp and yes the 007 will be better in some areas for five times the cost but it's not 5 times better.
I often use my 009 with a 252 when travelling or when I can't be bothered stokeing up my main outfit, Given the choice of buying a more expensive amp or a much better source, the money spent on the source will be much better spent.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrostar59 View Post


I agree, the 252 'may' drive the 009s, but what SQ would you get. It is slightly bonkers using 5K phones with a budget amp (bottom of the range). It will open all the flaws and may have a fatiguing sound due to revealing all the issues upstream. A better amp with the 507s may make more sense? It depends if the system is going to get an upgrade or that is it. If upgrade is planned, then yes, get the 009s and run with a 323S for now.

I have the 009s, and bought a second hand 717 that DOES sound good with the 009s. And a 727 modded would be the same. Then sell the 717 or 727 later for minimal loss and if money goes far enough, go for a KGSSHV or BHSE.

On the balanced with Stax amps, I am not convinced XLR does sound better. It tried XLR v RCA into my 717 and RCA sounded a lot better. Balanced can (should) sound better, but unless the manufacturer has gone to the (big) expense of doubled up transformers (Stax amps haven't) , a good quality single ended nearly always works better IMO. It does with my SET amps as well.

Keep the cable runs short, and get a decent RCA interconnect, and you will be fine.

Edited by complin - 6/12/14 at 1:55pm
post #2557 of 4634

It means that you need an amplifier that puts out lots of current especially with the original omega. Stax designed the T2 which output almost 700 volts, about twice that of the average Stax amp at that time.

I'm certain if you heard your Omega on something like the BHSE you would immediately hear the difference. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post
 

I'm using the 323S with the SR-Omega and it's good. The Omega is said to be "harder to drive" than the SR-009 (whatever that means). I've been told by at least a few educated ears that the setup does not have audible flaws.

 

My thinking is consistent with yours but we're in the minority. Many perceived differences can be based on quantifiable error as a result of insufficient level matching (at or greater than 2dB). If you level-match by ear, the resulting error will be apparent by ear. This (along with a few other fallacies in comparison) is why I don't trust comparisons unless they are framed in the appropriate context.

post #2558 of 4634
Quote:
Originally Posted by complin View Post
 

Oh, I know. I meant that I was unsure why the Omega would be particularly difficult to drive, though I suppose it has a larger transducer.

 

I wasn't able to distinguish an audible improvement with a KGSSHV but this was not in my own home. Whereas other individuals are vulnerable to confirmation bias in subpar listening conditions (i.e. meets), I tend to behave contrariwise.

post #2559 of 4634
Quote:
Originally Posted by complin View Post

Please don't underestimate it just because its the entry level amplifier or its predecessors like 212 or XRM for that matter. For the money its a very capable amp and yes the 007 will be better in some areas for five times the cost but it's not 5 times better.

I often use my 009 with a 252 when travelling or when I can't be bothered stokeing up my main outfit, Given the choice of buying a more expensive amp or a much better source, the money spent on the source will be much better spent.

 

As one of the (apparently) few people who use a SR-009 with a 252 sometimes and a bigger amp some other times, I'd love to know if you can elaborate on what some of the differences are, or what some of the 252's flaws might be so I can listen for them and know what I'd be getting into if I chose to do a future upgrade.

post #2560 of 4634

This is some good reading.

 

-FWIW I would not pair the 323s with the o2mk1.  I don't like the combo very much and the 717 is absolutely a better call.  With Lambdas that I've heard the 323s and 252s is actually a great combo.  I have recently heard from a user or two in recent memory the 323s is an amp they cannot stand to listen to so not everyone universally likes the sound.

 

-Going with a 009 on a 252s and whatever source is good enough?  Sounds like a plan!  We all learn on our own dime :)

post #2561 of 4634

Personally I think the more expensive amps are a little more refined so the 727 is more refined than the 323/252 for example

The power supply on the 252 is more limited than its bigger brothers so the bass is not quite so sustained and powerful. You can improve this by using a better supply than the wall-wart supply it comes with. Arbow rebadge the 252 with a better power supply 

http://ippinkan.jp/18360608196615#global_navi

http://www.ippinkan.co.jp/airbow/product/headphone/srsc21_11.html

It only puts out 280v compared to 350/400v on the more expensive amps so it won't have as much headroom and will be a little less dynamic

All these things are relative so unless you do a lot of side by side comparisons you are not likely to notice huge differences unless you listen mostly to highly dynamic and complex music.

 

Inputs and outputs are limited to one or two pairs of RCA's but if you don't use a lot of sources or balanced out then a non issue

On the more expensive amps the volume control is ergonomically nicer and smoother, and the ability to adjust the volume on each channel. The 252 volume works fine but its look and feel is just a more basic single control

.

The one thing you shouldn't skimp on with the 009 is the source, as with all stats it will expose any shortcomings. If you put garbage in thats what you will get out. A cheap bright sounding DAC with a poor output stage will sound awful, so choose carefully.


Edited by complin - 6/12/14 at 3:37pm
post #2562 of 4634

I think his point is that he's going to try his plan for the hell of it and if it sucks then it sucks and he's going to learn on it and go from there.  Nothing wrong with that!  Good luck convincing him otherwise.  Personally I see nothing wrong with the approach if it works for him, no skin off my back!

post #2563 of 4634
I will wholeheartedly agree with Marco that the 009s running off a cheaper amp/dac is going to sound better than the same amount spent on a cheaper headphone but nicer dac/amp. The headphones make the single largest difference in the sound of the rig.
post #2564 of 4634

Be careful what you wish for!

Headphones like Stax 009 and Senn HD800 are very sensitive to the source, both the recording and the DAC, so if you skimp on this it will undermine the overall quality and enjoyment of the headphone. This is often why these headphones are can be accused of being very bright, fatiguing, poor bass etc etc.. Poor recordings will be exposed for what they are compressed, volume equalised and not very pleasant to listen too.  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SoupRKnowva View Post

I will wholeheartedly agree with Marco that the 009s running off a cheaper amp/dac is going to sound better than the same amount spent on a cheaper headphone but nicer dac/amp. The headphones make the single largest difference in the sound of the rig.
post #2565 of 4634
Quote:
Originally Posted by complin View Post

Headphones like Stax 009 and Senn HD800 are very sensitive to the source, both the recording and the DAC, so if you skimp on this it will undermine the overall quality and enjoyment of the headphone. This is often why these headphones are can be accused of being very bright, fatiguing, poor bass etc etc..

 

This is why it's important to know what you like, even if it's not what everyone else considers "best".

 

I actually like brightness in a headphone. I really enjoyed the bright Beyer T90 for months and thought the HD 650 sounded muffled. People say the HD 800 is too bright, but I think it's just right and might even be better with a bit more brightness. I love sound that many describe as "analytical", and I believe brightness and detail are good things — they don't need to equal harshness. Based on these preferences, in David Mahler's epic review, I was convinced that the SR-009 is likely to be the better choice for me than the more laid-back, less-bright 007s, despite many people preferring the 007s.

 

Many regard the high-end all-tube amps as the best because they roll off the high end, and that's pleasing to many, but I learned that I actually don't want that — to me, a rolled-off high end is a flaw to be avoided. I see "warmth" as reducing detail, and that seems like a waste of an electrostatic. That's one reason why I'm only considering solid-state amps.

 

Anyway, my 252S is here and my 009 arrives on Monday, so I'll let you know how it goes. But if the 252S ends up not being sufficient for me, I'm only really looking at a 323S, 727II, or KGSSHV, not an all-out tube bonanza like the BHSE or WES.

 

Or maybe it'll get here, my ears will be overwhelmed with levels of detail that I never thought possible, all of my lossy recordings will sound awful, my cheap cables will corrode to dust, you'll be proven right, and I'll immediately order a $5,000 tube amp. I suppose we'll see.

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