With a completely new multi-layer diaphragm, electrodes and aluminium enclosure, the SR-009 goes...

Stax SR-009 Electrostatic Headphones

Average User Rating:
4.77778/5,
  • With a completely new multi-layer diaphragm, electrodes and aluminium enclosure, the SR-009 goes further than even the highly regarded SR-007 "Omega II" in resolving the finest details in music with pin-point imaging. Voices and instruments are reproduced with astounding realism, limited only by the resolution of the source used. The absolute pinnacle of headphone listening.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Large Ensemble
    4.5/5,
    "If one can afford the set, this is a state of the art headphones/earspeakers set. "
    Pros - Very well made and thought through. Beautiful, natural sound. It works very well with the equally well sounding complementing SRM-007tII.
    Cons - The prize tag is a burden. But great quality has and should have a prize.
    I own the Stax SR-009 along with the SRM-007tII since February 2013 and I am still very happy with the purchase.

    I want to say, that I use the SRM-007tII as the amplifiier and my source is an AVM Audio CD 5.2 Evolution CD Player, which I also use for streaming with my Macbook. I have a set of Kimble 1126 XLR cables, Fisch Audiotechnik Performance 2 main plugs and a MFE powerboard. So I can say, that I have my fair share of High Fidelity at its price.

    That being said, let me state, that, counting the SR-5 Gold, the Signature I, II and for a couple of weeks a pair of SR-007, this is my fifth Stax set in a row. I haven't compared Stax headphones/earspeakers with competitors for more than 10 years. In that regard, I am not objective, nor do I claim to be.

    The set comes in a wooden box, which seems appropriate considering a 5'000 € earspeakers set.

    The SR 009 has a very natural sound. I can't complain about the basses, maybe they could be stronger. Perhaps I am just used to the sound of a Stax. In general, the instruments are very clearly separated and balanced (I hear instrumental Free Jazz, Improvised Music and Post Bebop). The musical proponents more often than not go to the limits of the their respective instruments and beyond them, which is well heard through the SR-009 set. At least I couldn't detect any overstated mids or highs.

    The set is a very easy to wear, the leather pads are well crafted and a jiy to wear (I clean them with a wet drying towel from time to time). I am worrying that the Stax energizer, which is not a subject here, can get very hot after a couple of hours of listening; I am just saying.

    As I have said, at the beginning, I had the SR-007 for some time. But honestly, I always missed something and accordingly upgraded to the SR-009. And believe me, it was and is worth the difference in price and sound. The SR-009 looks much better (the mix of used colors and materials are for favorable), sounds much clearer and more balanced. If you can spend so much money and willing to do so, the SR-009 is a serious shoe in.

    I have read in other forums, that stereo devices that much expensive are not worth the "admission". I can't totally disagree, as everyone has to figure out, if he or she can and is willing to spent that much money for a stereo equipment.

    All I can share here is, that the Stax was and is a pleasure to use and hear. In many ways, it has opened a whole new universe of listening experience to me. Each Stax set had its time and now it is the SR-009 and the SRM-007tII, which offer a great deal.
    knopi likes this.
  2. Kiats
    5.0/5,
    "Peerless (When the Conditions are Right)"
    Pros - Quick; Nuanced; Smooth; Transparent; Detailed
    Cons - Cost; Needs TOTL amp to excel; Needs good quality source to shine
    As I have pointed out before in my review of the Stax SR L700, electrostatics and Stax are the latest port of call in my journey of discovery in the world of audio bliss. I recall it was April or May 2015 when Spkrs01 opened the door to the intriguing world of Stax. Prior to this, Stax was only something that I heard about occasionally, but always referred to in hushed tones of deference, especially when the subject was the venerable Stax SR-009. Everyone swore blind that it is the best headphone in current production, bar none. Pity about the lack of bass but what ethereal sonics: so the conventional wisdom went. Admittedly, when I heard the SR-009 off a Stax amp, this seemed to be borne out – great atmospheric trebles and very quick, but where did the bass go?!
    In this journey into Stax territory, two persons get honourable mention as my trusted and patient guides: Spkrs01 and AnakChan. No question was too trivial or frivolous. Poor Spkrs01, in particular, bears the brunt of my insatiable curiosity.
     
    I have since learned that fed sufficient driving power, the SR-009 is peerless in its transparency, details and texture. While it will never match the visceral bass of the Abyss, it possessed a bass that was detailed and layered. And I would never accuse the SR-009 of sounding “thin” when properly set up and driven.
     
    I started off with the SR-009 and SR-007 Mk1. Since then I have added the SR-007 Mk2 and the SR L700 to the stable of Stax cans. On an aside, I have a tidy little collection of non-electrostatic cans comprising most of the top tier Grados, the LCD 2 & 3, HD800, Hifiman HE-6, HE-5LE, HE-560, HE-500, HE-1000, Fostex TH900, AKG K702 & K812, and the Final Sonorous X and the Abyss.
     
     
    Home Desktop Stax Set Up
     
    The Stax setup  starts with an Auralic Aries (with external linear PSU), connected via a Audiquest Diamond USB 3 cable to a Bricasti M1 DAC and then a pair of Tralucent Uber balanced interconnects to the Cavalli Liquid Lightning 2, and then pass through to the VAW 8PS via a pair of Toxic Cables Silver Venom balanced interconnects. Power cord for the DAC and the Liquid Lightning 2 is a Tralucent Uber power cord, while power to the VAW 8PS is supplied by a Tralucent Silver/Gold power cord. Power to the components of the desktop rig and sources is fed through an Isotek Aquarus and all the power cords use US plugs. Mains power is fed to the Isotek Aquarius via a Tralucent Uber power cord.
     
    My Synology DS 414 and a Seagate Backup Plus HDD (connected directly via USB to the Aries) are powered by the new Plixir Elite BDC Power Supply kindly customized for me by James Soh of Sound Affairs in Singapore. James had also helpfully suggested that I run a separate switch for the audio components away from the wifi access point. The switch is also powered by the Plixir Elite BDC Power Supply that James customized for me. The Aries and the Synology DS414 NAS are connected via the dedicated switch by a pair of Ranko Acoustics OCC audio LAN cables.
     
     
    Build Quality
     
    The build quality of the SR-009 is really top notch. Even my personal preference for the headband of the SR-007 doesn’t detract from this.
     
     
    Comfort and Isolation
     
    The round ear cups of the SR-009 sit very comfortably  over my ears. The use of lambskin for the earpads help in that respect. The other thing that helps is the light clamping force, while being sufficiently firm.  At the same time, it is amazingly light in my hand or on my head. It puts some of the planar magnetics like the Audezes and the older Hifiman to shame in this area.
    The Stax SR-009 is an open can and isolation practically non-existent. The fact that I can hear almost every word the Mrs says when I have them on is testament to that.
     
     
    Music Genres
     
    My digital music collection extends about 12-15 TB. In my collection, you will find most genres from classical music all the way to acoustic vocals, modern jazz vocals and mandopop music. I even do rock and pop.
     
    I wish I could say that the SR-009 is incredibly versatile and can handle anything I throw at it with finesse and aplomb. That would be music to the ears of those who complain about how much it costs. Well, I am not going to say that. However, I will say that it does classical music, jazz , mandopop and vocals very well. In fact, no other can does female vocals like the Stax Omegas, in particular the SR-009. I still recall Spkrs01 warning me that one may pee in one’s pants listening to the magical quality of female vocals on the SR-009.
     
    One word of caution: the SR-009 is very transparent – if you feed it badly recorded music, it will chew it up and spit it back in your face. This is no shy retiring ice princess. If you music sucks, it will let it all through, magnified, back to you.
     
     
    Sound Quality
     
    I own the HD800 and I have it paired with a crystal piccolino balanced cable. I also thought it was the last word on refinement and transparency. At least until I heard the Stax SR-009. I recall that I used to wince now and then at certain sibilance in vocals by Alison Krauss in her plaintive and lilting voice beloved by Bluegrass aficionados. At other times, there would be certain hard edges in the trebles. 
     
    Well, with the SR-009, there are no such issues to fix. Ms Krauss sings with the voice of an angel as she is.  The trebles on the SR-009 are extended and yet are clear and pristine with nary a harsh edge. While I am not a big fan of treble extension as some other hobbyists, this smooth and flawless treble extension can be very useful if you listen to someone like Sarah Brightman…
     
    The mids of the SR-009 are lethal: other than the possibility of incontinence, you get lulled in this state of swooning when you listen to lovely voices belonging to Anita Mui, Sandy Lam, Stacey Kent, Diana Krall and their ilk. The nuances, inflection of their voices and emoting of their heart felt feelings can be almost unbearable.  With regard to the music generally, the SR-009 conveys great texture and timbre. The soundstage is wide as it is dense, layered and deep.
     
    The bass of the SR-009 is the one area which attracts a lot of adverse comments. Like I had said earlier, do not expect this to be like the Abyss. Nothing will come close to the Abyss for its visceral bass. Yet, the SR-009 does have a deep and tight bass. Whenever I play the album, Audiophile Percussions by Gabrielle Roth and the Mirrors, which features 9 divine tracks exploring the various types of percussion instruments on the SR-009, it leaves me picking up my jaw from the floor. I defy anyone to listen to that album on the SR-009 off a TOTL electrostatic amp and say thereafter that the SR-009 has no bass… What you will also notice when you play this album is how quick the SR-009 is.
     
    At the end of the day, the SR-009 is a very unusual can. It is very transparent. It is quick. It is smooth, refined and nuanced. However, it will hiss and spit at you if you dare to try to insult it by playing crappy music.
     
     
    Pairing
     
    The SR-009 does appreciate the driving power of the Cavalli LL2 and VAW 8PS. It is so transparent that the differences in character between my two amps are easily apparent: the slightly more laid presentation of the LL2 in mid concert hall, while the VAW is more immediate in its presentation where you are seated in the first few rows of the same concert hall. Both pairings are absolute joy and very musical. This is very important to me. I fear that I am not quite an audiophile who listens to my gear: what I want and demand from my rig is that I should enjoy the music and be moved by its presentation.
     
     
    Conclusion
     
    Thus far, I am happy to say that, despite Spkrs01’s promise, I have yet to suffer any incontinence while listening to my favourite female singers, like Diana Krall or Sandy Lam, on the SR-009. However, when I feed the rig well recorded and mastered music, whether red book or high res, the SR-009 is peerless in moving me. It doesn’t get any better than this.
    Pokemonn likes this.
  3. kendetamas
    5.0/5,
    "the king of headphones"
    Pros - soundstage, imaging, details, extension, honesty, comfort, look
    Cons - lows are not that powerful
    the first time I tried an electrostatic headphones I did not believe what I heard: the amount of details the Stax L700 delivered made my literally cry. the next one was the SR-009...
     
    i tried them with the Stax SRM-727 II,  and a German made Mal Valve Headamp (mark II?).
     
     
    design
    i would not say that these are the best looking headphones on the market, however, I still like the way they look a lot. it does feel premium. the headbands are well made and it fits to most heads. the pads are soft.
     
    comfort
    I personally find the Stax L700 more comfortable, however, the SR-009 is also very comfortable. and it is lightweight. especially compared to the Audeze headphones.
     
    soundstage
    these cans have a smaller soundstage than the Sennheiser hd800, and it is not that much in front of you as with the hd800, rather next and behind you, but the quality of the soundstage is better with the Stax. The hd800 is almost too loose, too unorganised, too wide. The sr-009's soundstage makes sense. everything is at its right place on all the three axis.
     
    imaging
    just as the soundstage, the imaging is fantastic. everything has its own aura.
     
    details
    this is where these electrostatic headphones are waaaay ahead of any other headphones (I haven't tried the 2016 Orpheus though). I even tried them with a 320kbps mp3 track too see how they react and I never thought that such a poor source has so much detail (information) embedded. There is such a big discussion about music compression, however, I believe that there are barely any headphones out there that can reveal all the details even in a poor audio source... 
     
    highs
    the highs sound soo true and so amazingly clear and detailed, it is hard to describe.
     
    mids
    the same goes for the mids. they are amazing.
     
    lows
    this is probably the only point where I can complain a bit. though they are well extended, I think that the average quality of the lows are falling behind the other frequencies. I think they could be more detailed and more articulated. Sometimes I had the impression that these cans don't care much about the lows that much. sometimes they felt "empty".
     
    speed
    these cans are extremely fast. almost too fast. :) 
     
    general characteristic
    they are bright and for my taste too bright. So I had to try them with different cube amps until I reached the point where they were soft enough for my ears (the Stax  cube driver failed to soften them enough but the Mal Valve was able to do it). The Stax SRM-727 II made them more organised, more "on the spot", but too bright for my taste. they are very-very musical but analytic as well. a perfect combination of the HD800 and the LCD-2.
     
    price
    in Europe you have to pay about 5000 Euros for these, in the US less, and in Japan about 2500 Euros. That is a huge difference. They are an amazing deal for 2500 euros (that is approximately the price for the HifiMan HE-1000).
    HiFiChris likes this.

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