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The Stax Thread III - Page 179

post #2671 of 5114
Quote:
Originally Posted by gepardcv View Post
 

I'll give it a shot. I've never done running translation like this before, so it might be a bit rough. Bear with me. ;) I'll record times from the video in case you want to watch and read along.

 

"Testing Stax [headphones]. Here is the classic model [points at 307s], the previous flagship, model 007, and the new flagship, model 009. The source is [a brand or model I can't make out], and we have two amplifiers, one solid state and one vacuum tube [he doesn't say what models]. We obviously prefer tubes. But let me try to figure this out: [0:52] what distinguishes the three headphone models: 009, 007, and 307? Everyone knows these [points at 307s], they're Stax classics, but does the new flagship sound 10 times better than the classic model? Because it certainly costs 10 times more. [1:23] Technologically, everything is the same: electrostatic transducers, except these are rectangular [holds up 307s], and these are round [points at 009s]. [shrugs, puts on 307s] Classic Stax sound, incredibly transparent, wide ["large scale"], beautiful, everything is great. Now the 007s [puts them on, 1:41]. [1:53] A bit more detail, there's a certain elegance in the presentation... [1:59] 009s. And here is also space [spreads his arms wide at 2:07], and breath... [2:17] Well guys, if you don't have money for monitors from [some brand I can't make out] or speakers from [another brand; I either have don't know these speaker companies or don't recognize their Russified names], then... you just have to spend the same amount of money on headphones! [fade out and in] It should be obvious that the sound you've been hearing in the video clip has nothing to do with the sound I heard from these headphones. I had to substitute a fake for the video, because I couldn't have recorded from inside my ears... could I?"

 

One of the comments on the video points out that the guy in the video seems to have worn the 009s backwards. Which means they should have been uncomfortable and didn't seal properly.

 

The accompanying article only discusses the 007s. Very little new information here. The author basically loves them, and spends most of the text explaining how electrostatic transducers work, and notes a bit about their history. Notes that conventional headphones he used to love don't sound so great anymore, not after listening to Stax. He also talks about the measurements, noting that treble fall-off in the FR chart (NB: I didn't look for any other measurements of 007s to see if the graphs look reasonable), but says he doesn't really feel it. (Which surprises me: my brief time with 007s made me think they're rather dark, compared to 009s and SR-Omegas.)


The source is a Wadia. Unfortunately the measurements in that article are utter crap; it's not just that they contradict all of the other 009 measurements, which they do, it's that they didn't even bother to use the proper settings. See the weird smoothing on the frequency response and the accompanying poor capture of the impulse response.

post #2672 of 5114

After briefly hearing the o2mk2, I would say it is the best headphone I've heard that is not AKG :popcorn:

post #2673 of 5114

Hi guys,

I'm new to this forum so please don't kill me if I'm asking stupid questions. There is huge amount of information in here and it's pretty hard to go through all of it, though, I'm trying. So anyway I've bought STAX lambda Signature with SRM-T1 energiser. I also bought Stax lambda pros but that's another story ;). Are there any mod's that improve sound and can be easily done? Also, I was also trying to search through head-fi.org in order to find out what DAC to buy. As of now I'm connecting SRM-T1 into laptop's headphone jack. Will I hear a lot of improvement with dedicated DAC? If so, what's recommended DAC for it? I could't find anything in the forums.

Thx guys for any help.

 

side question:

Are these Stax really comparable to HD800 and similar dynamic headphones? This guys prefers them to HD800 for example:
http://kenrockwell.com/audio/stax/sr-lambda-pro.htm


Edited by timkk - 7/11/14 at 2:35pm
post #2674 of 5114

So what's wrong with the sound and why do you want to mod them?

 

Lets not discuss Mr Rockwell and his opinions, just say we are likely to get banned if we do!

 

The HD800's are undoubtedly great dynamic phones but they are very difficult to get right in terms of amplification and source, more so than Stax 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by timkk View Post
 

Hi guys,

I'm new to this forum so please don't kill me if I'm asking stupid questions. There is huge amount of information in here and it's pretty hard to go through all of it, though, I'm trying. So anyway I've bought STAX lambda Signature with SRM-T1 energiser. I also bought Stax lambda pros but that's another story ;). Are there any mod's that improve sound and can be easily done? Also, I was also trying to search through head-fi.org in order to find out what DAC to buy. As of now I'm connecting SRM-T1 into laptop's headphone jack. Will I hear a lot of improvement with dedicated DAC? If so, what's recommended DAC for it? I could't find anything in the forums.

Thx guys for any help.

 

side question:

Are these Stax really comparable to HD800 and similar dynamic headphones? This guys prefers them to HD800 for example:
http://kenrockwell.com/audio/stax/sr-lambda-pro.htm

post #2675 of 5114
Hehe, is he really that controversial? He seems to have a ton of high end equipment on his hands and looks to be doing alright in life as well ;)... Anyway, nothing wrong really, just thought they could be improved easily ;). So I guess the most important question is about DAC vs laptop's headphone jack. Is it worth buying proper DAC? If so, what's recommended?
post #2676 of 5114

Depends what type of sound you are looking for from your DAC

They range from dull and laid back to bright, dry and analytical and several flavors in between :eek: Whats your poison?

post #2677 of 5114
Quote:
Originally Posted by complin View Post
 

Depends what type of sound you are looking for from your DAC

They range from dull and laid back to bright, dry and analytical and several flavors in between :eek: Whats your poison?

I bought SRM-T1 to help with stax's slight brightness (at least that's what was written in some of the reviews). I prefer a little warm side of things. 

post #2678 of 5114

I can't believe I'm defending Ken Rockwell, but the guy has a lot of great info and opinions out there, and only a handful of really wild stuff that's highly arguable. Lots of pros disagree with some of what he says, but overall, I'd say he hits more often than he misses. If you write off everything he says, you're missing out on a lot of good stuff. But like any opinion you read, you shouldn't take it as 100% gospel.

 

I disagree with "pro" reviewers all the time. I still can't hear any noticeable difference between different DACs, amps, or cables unless a DAC is actually passing audible noise through, an amp is underpowered for the load, or a cable is cut in half. People claiming to hear huge differences make me think one of us is nuts, and I hope it's not me, but I really don't know. (I assume it's me. At least I can save a ton of money.)

 

Those are pretty big disagreements, but I still read and consider as many informed opinions as I can find when making a buying decision. You're doing yourself a disservice if you rule someone out completely because you disagree with a few of their opinions.

post #2679 of 5114
Quote:
Originally Posted by timkk View Post
 

I bought SRM-T1 to help with stax's slight brightness (at least that's what was written in some of the reviews). I prefer a little warm side of things. 

 

For a darker sounding dac, I've heard and liked the Neko D100 and the Audio-GD SA-1, with the Neko being somewhat warmer sounding in my opinion. Both are great single ended options and should work well with the SRM-T1 (the Neko dac has a balanced variant as well).

 

The sound signature of your dac is one of those personal love-it or hate-it things. Given a minimum level of technical proficiency, most dacs can be said to have some merit.

post #2680 of 5114
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcoarment View Post
 

I can't believe I'm defending Ken Rockwell, but the guy has a lot of great info and opinions out there, and only a handful of really wild stuff that's highly arguable. Lots of pros disagree with some of what he says, but overall, I'd say he hits more often than he misses. If you write off everything he says, you're missing out on a lot of good stuff. But like any opinion you read, you shouldn't take it as 100% gospel.

 

I disagree with "pro" reviewers all the time. I still can't hear any noticeable difference between different DACs, amps, or cables unless a DAC is actually passing audible noise through, an amp is underpowered for the load, or a cable is cut in half. People claiming to hear huge differences make me think one of us is nuts, and I hope it's not me, but I really don't know. (I assume it's me. At least I can save a ton of money.)

 

Those are pretty big disagreements, but I still read and consider as many informed opinions as I can find when making a buying decision. You're doing yourself a disservice if you rule someone out completely because you disagree with a few of their opinions.

Agreed, though theey are clearly nuts, come to sound science and you will feel better :D

 

Besides, T1 and LS sound great. Someone recommended trying the RCA clear tops btw.

post #2681 of 5114
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcoarment View Post

I can't believe I'm defending Ken Rockwell, but the guy has a lot of great info and opinions out there, and only a handful of really wild stuff that's highly arguable. Lots of pros disagree with some of what he says, but overall, I'd say he hits more often than he misses. If you write off everything he says, you're missing out on a lot of good stuff. But like any opinion you read, you shouldn't take it as 100% gospel.

I disagree with "pro" reviewers all the time. I still can't hear any noticeable difference between different DACs, amps, or cables unless a DAC is actually passing audible noise through, an amp is underpowered for the load, or a cable is cut in half. People claiming to hear huge differences make me think one of us is nuts, and I hope it's not me, but I really don't know. (I assume it's me. At least I can save a ton of money.)

Those are pretty big disagreements, but I still read and consider as many informed opinions as I can find when making a buying decision. You're doing yourself a disservice if you rule someone out completely because you disagree with a few of their opinions.

Going against the grain for the sake of provocating or exaggerating things doesn't put much credibility into the reviewer although it probably helps with page views wink.gif.

As for dac not affectibg the output, or very little, it's all about what little improvement means a lot to some (and various degrees of placebo probably but the result is the same). In any case, best for you is to run away while you're still sane as the unfortunate thing I discovered is that truly excellent sources still cost a lot of money today (but again good deals abound more than ever and that´s probably your point).

Arnaud

Ps: too bad you're giving up on the 009 but on the other end, it certainly isn't a transducer much accodmodating with failures upstream.
post #2682 of 5114
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve2151 View Post
 

 

For a darker sounding dac, I've heard and liked the Neko D100 and the Audio-GD SA-1, with the Neko being somewhat warmer sounding in my opinion. Both are great single ended options and should work well with the SRM-T1 (the Neko dac has a balanced variant as well).

 

The sound signature of your dac is one of those personal love-it or hate-it things. Given a minimum level of technical proficiency, most dacs can be said to have some merit.

Thx. I'll look into them. 

Guys, what about lifespan of those headphones? I've searched through threads and it looks like you can still find SR-1 (The first stax's electrostat headphone fromn 1960) in working condition so I'm assuming 50 years+ and they're still alive... although not too many of them. So probably around 50 years for a stax headphone? That leaves me with about +-20 years of life for those headphones...

post #2683 of 5114

Well I veer this direction myself and hate the glare you sometimes get from digital recordings. Often its not the DAC that the problem but over-produced compressed recordings more suitable for car radios and low quality ipod/earbuds :D

 

First thing would be to get your T1 checked out to make sure its up to snuff as its possible some of the components may be past their sell by date by now. You can also experiment with some tube rolling if you want a slightly brighter or more euphonic sound. Personally I prefer the original Stax Gold Aero valves for the T1 but they are very difficult to obtain these days, so a good Japanese produced one (Toshiba, Matsu****a etc) are good alternatives as they are near to the original voicing of the amplifier. If you want to try something brighter then the RCA clear tops. Personally I wouldn't just replace the tubes for the sake of it as some service engineers fell obliged too. If they are still in spec and you like the sound then stick with them.

Personally I don't find the Stax bright unless the recording has hot treble and is that way inclined. The Stax have such extended treble in comparison to what else is out there some people interpret this as bright.

 

On the DAC front I would listen to some NOS DAC's first, like the Metrum and AudioNote. The battery based DAC's from John Kenny JKDAC32 and Ciúnas are well worth a listen.

Try comparing these to some of the over/up samplers like the Benchmak, Arcam, Renaissance etc whch might give you a hint as to which direction you want to go in. Often its not necessarily the DAC chip that has a specific sound but how its been implemented, output stage, jitter reduction, quality of USB implementation. So its usually the sum of the parts which make for a good or less good sound IMO.

 

  

Quote:

Originally Posted by timkk View Post
 

I bought SRM-T1 to help with stax's slight brightness (at least that's what was written in some of the reviews). I prefer a little warm side of things. 


Edited by complin - 7/12/14 at 5:36am
post #2684 of 5114

Yep  by and large most stuff is very long lived, but obviously you need to treat it with respect when its vintage

I still have lots of Stax fully functional headphones 20, 30 or more years old, Its just the plastic is more brittle and the earpad foam deteriorates, but most of its fixable either from spares or cannibalizing a broken one. Thats not to say drivers don't fail at this age they do, but you will find a lot of working vintage Stax around compared to other manufacturers. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by timkk View Post
 

Thx. I'll look into them. 

Guys, what about lifespan of those headphones? I've searched through threads and it looks like you can still find SR-1 (The first stax's electrostat headphone fromn 1960) in working condition so I'm assuming 50 years+ and they're still alive... although not too many of them. So probably around 50 years for a stax headphone? That leaves me with about +-20 years of life for those headphones...


Edited by complin - 7/12/14 at 5:28am
post #2685 of 5114
Hi Timkk
Quote:
I'm new to this forum so please don't kill me if I'm asking stupid questions. There is huge amount of information in here and it's pretty hard to go through all of it, though, I'm trying. So anyway I've bought STAX lambda Signature with SRM-T1 energiser. I also bought Stax lambda pros but that's another story wink.gif. Are there any mod's that improve sound and can be easily done? Also, I was also trying to search through head-fi.org in order to find out what DAC to buy. As of now I'm connecting SRM-T1 into laptop's headphone jack. Will I hear a lot of improvement with dedicated DAC? If so, what's recommended DAC for it? I could't find anything in the forums.
Thx guys for any hel
p.

First, congrats on entering the weird and wonderful world of Stax headphones (Ear Speakers).

1. Buy a decent budget DAC like a Musical Fidelity - great quality for low money:
http://www.musicalfidelity.com/v90-dac/

Yes the headphone out is a disaster buddy. Once you get streaming USB data to your new DAC you will be AMAZED trust me.
Your T1 will work fine from the RCA out of the DAC.

2. DACs do make a significant difference so the SQ. I know many will say not. But I have tried 20 or more DACs over the years, and some are good, others horrid.
The thing to test a DAC is the quality of the treble. Many can sound processed and 'hifi' not real. I prefer none oversampling but that is another subject.

3. Make sure you use Audirvana+ or similar on your Laptop. iTunes is a step back on its own. And optimise your Laptop by closing apps and turning of WiFi when
using it for tunes. If it has 2 meg of RAM and enough room for Flac or WAV/AIFF files cool. Avoid Mp3s as they sound rough compared to full resolution CD files.

4. Ripp your Cds with XLD (free app.).

5. Mods on the headphones, not really. buy new earpads, that's about it. If they work leave them alone.

I think that covers the basics. I hope this helps you. There is shed loads of info on this forum, but it can get overwhelming.
Bottom line is, you can get a great for for not much money. Yes, you can spend 10K on the 009s and fancy amps, but the Lamda Novas
(I had 2 for years) can bring lots of musical pleasure. I like to look at the Stax sound as a sophisticated sound, not bass monsters or V shaped
happy response. They are very detailed, transparent and fast. The caveit of that, as even with good dynamics, is you need a good base system
to enjoy them. I think you can get that on a small budget if you are careful what you buy.

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