STAX SR-L700

zealsoijun

New Head-Fier
Pros: Everything
Cons: Nothing
I was looking for a headphone that I could listen to continuously throughout the day and get me through college without any fatigue.

The Stax SR-L700 are being run by a Stax SRM-252II and a Schiit Modi 2 (with my eyes on a MHDT Lab Orchid DAC). The SRM-252II drives them more than loud enough, there isn’t any distortion at high volumes nor any channel imbalance. I also listen to pretty much every genre and they work well with it all (I actually appreciate rap producers alot more now with these headphones, as there is alot more going on in the background production-wise than I thought).

The build is not as bad as everybody makes it out to be. Just be careful as you should with any headphones and they’ll last you a lifetime.

Honestly I was unimpressed for the first two days that I had the SR-L700, but then as I got to listening to more and more music I realized that they are in fact amazing. You simply cannot imagine the treble; it is so different from any other headphone. It is so non-fatiguing as there is no resonance to excite the treble in music. The same occurs with the bass, there is no distortion to produce any form of resonance, so everything just comes off very smooth, non-fatiguing and clear. These headphones can seem a bit bass-light, lean, and lacking impact, but I honestly think it makes it more fatigue-free that way. Between the lack of air being forced into your ears, there being no ringing at all, and the sound being almost too fast, you simply don’t get auditory fatigue. Add the fact that they are very comfortable, and you have a headphone that you can listen to all day without any discomfort.

The smoothness and lack of impact will definately turn many off of these headphones, as they lack the slam and texture of other headphones. Even with my very basic amp/dac setup, these headphones are fatigue-free. I am simply looking towards the MHDT dac to give more body and dimensionality to the sound (essentially making digital more analog-sounding). They are also not forward, so everything gets pushed back just enough for you to stretch out, breathe, relax, and take in.

They are super clear and allowed me to hear ALOT of things I never heard before in my playlists, and the imaging and soundstage are pretty good. They remind me alot of my JBL LSR308’s; they are that smooth and natural sounding. The thing though, is that they are so revealing that I can hear all the errors in the music when it comes to the production side of things, like tape malfunctions, overloaded levels, off-centered vocals, etc, and that can get a little annoying (it makes you realize just how rare a genuinely well-produced and dynamic recording really is).

To sum this up, if you are looking for a pair of headphones that are fatigue-free, comfortable, super clear, and thus enjoyable, these are the way to go.

Yoram Diamand

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: informative, affordable high end.
Cons: poor bass, a bit bright, plastic yokes do break
My sister brought me some Stax SR-L700 mk1 from Japan. I combine it with a SRM T1-S energizer, and an Ayre QB-9 24/96 for the nice records of Qobuz-Studio. I quit the Gumby for a better Dac. The old Ayre is better than new Schiit it seems. It is a good thing that Stax produced the aluminum yokes of the L700 mk 2. I once broke the plastic yokes of the mk 1. Even without letting them fall from a height. With the L700 I am able to enjoy the better recording quality of modern record studios. But, like the SR- 009, the L700 needs a too expensive energizer. I don't like spending 3000 euro to Mjolnir Audio. My solution for the future upgrade is eBay. For 1100 euro you can buy a 100 Volt SRM 007tA, taxes excluded. Then I can use a stepdown adaptor since I start with 230 Volt. Energizers can easily be more expensive than a budget is large. But I can enjoy some music with the T1-S.


I compared the Stax with the Hifiman Ananda. In a shop. I liked the Ananda with hires new recordings, but I disliked the old remastered hires Ella & Louis. The treble was too sharp. No fun. At home with Stax, Ella & Louis hires sounded nice to my ears. The Ananda is a cheaper headphone; perhaps I can hear it is too cheap. The Stax does not play the deepest bass very well. Maybe with a better energizer, I could hear more low.

At Qobuz-Studio there is a lot of hires, not only Diana Krall. I don’t mind Diana Krall though.

Today the Beyerdynamic T1 gen. 2 was in the mail. (Second hand, no breaking in). Not to begin with buying a Woo WA2 or a Feliks Audio Elise or Euforia, I had bought the Schiit Valhalla 2. And I had to warm up the tubes a bit before the T1 sounded any good. The L700 sounds more transparent in the treble, more informative, but the bass of the T1 is more there. Still although the T1 is lovely, the music is farther away from the listener. Is the L700 too bright? It is a bit brighter than the T1. The amp situation is also a point, how much am I judging the amps? Nice cans, I guess I like them both.


Best wishes Yoram
astromaddie
astromaddie
Hey Yoram, nice review. I just wanted to say that I have the L700 and T1S amp too, and the weak bass issue is actually due to a lack of seal in the headphones, rather than a driver power deficiency. You can fix this with silicone putty (eg, Blu-tack) in a ring around the drivers, underneath the ear pads. Like this: https://photos.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Audio/n-6fh3fz/i-bNwLWQw/0/fe7a6097/O/i-bNwLWQw.jpg (only fully sealed in a ring).
astromaddie
astromaddie
Addendum: The acoustic seal is key to avoiding a roll-off in the low end, as a leak will increase diaphragm resonance, cutting off sound at those lower frequencies. Give it a shot, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Terozzzz
Terozzzz
With the acoustic seal L700 is far superior to my ananda. I got T1 tube amp with better russian tubes and the soundstage is as big as in my HD800 but he detail, OMG. never have i heard anything like this. And the bass is there, truly and EQ is needed for sure. STAX take EQ the best, it totally changes to tonality as you want them to sound. With STAX EQ is a must. With it these are the best headphones in the world. Well at least under 3000€. :D Havent heard the 009s yet so im leaving little room for them hehe..

Shure or bust

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Perfect treble, spot on vocals, impeccable mids.
Cons: Plastic build and electrostat bass
I have never owned a pair of STAX or any electrostatic headphones or iems prior. I had the opportunity to hear the best available at Can Jam LA 2017. After hearing the MrSpeakers Electrostat, Sennheiser Orpheus, Sonoma, and STAX sr-009, sr-007, L-700, L-500, L-300 on the Headamp Blue Hawaii Special Edition. I was set on buying a pair of L-700's, which I am wearing right now! I am using a Headamp Koss DX Edition electrostatic amplifier.

I have owned and had a chance to listen to numerous dynamic driver and planar magnetic headphones, such as the Focal Utopia/ Elear, Hifiman Susvara, Hek/v2, Abyss 1266/ phi, HD800/s, Sony z1r, Pioneer SE-M1, and Audeze LCD-4.

With that being said, the only thing that the L-700 loses on is the lack of bass response compared to planar magnetic and dynamic driver headphones. In every other aspect, the Stax L-700 beats every pair of headphones in tonality and musicality.

I personally Used EQ to improve the bass response to make up for the lack of bass. I also attached Mrspeakers Electrostat pads onto the stock brackets with bass ports unblocked. The size of the pads are identical to the Sennheiser Orpheus dimensions.

I listen to every genre you can imagine, the only sonic imperfection is the lack of bass that is improved with EQ and the Mrspeakers ear pads. The soundstage also increases with the electrostat earpads too. Having heard the Sr-009/007 side-by-side, I would still take the L-700 over them due to their price vs performance bargain. They beat out the sr- 007 and aren't far off from the famed sr-009. I personally sold my other headphones and am completely satisfied with the L-700!

18121874_441697212846992_5468188287047000267_o.jpg IMG_20170512_110148.jpg IMG_20170512_110315.jpg IMG_20170509_134749.jpg

Just a sample of the tracks used to evaluate measurements.

Kpop:

신해철 (Shin HaeChul) - 일상으로의 초대



하현우



The Cross - Don't Cry



런일은"_화요비 -



Gummy(거미) _ The only thing I can't do(해줄 수 없는 일)



Jpop:

宇多田ヒカル - Be My Last

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR-IIj4YClI

YUI - Good-bye days (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujJN3lobdSs)

Cpop:

張雨生-口是心非 官方 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAmsnJQEb20&list=PL79C9F9706A232071)

Ann白安 - 是什麼讓我遇見這樣的你What brings me to you (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVmZpcrQBU4)

張信哲 過火 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urtJ79AQjqo)

優客李林 Ukulele - 不知所措 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0eDDZ43Fug)

G.E.M. - 泡沫 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHXr4bBxHCo)

Instruments:

Harp: Lavinia Meijer - Koyaanisqatsi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikn4B7jq6Ic)

Catrin Finch - Bach (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSDLzgDroNM)

Piano: Alice Sara Ott - Grieg – To Spring (Lyric Pieces Book III) - Wonderland (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYORFMwujaI)

Yuja Wang Plays Schubert and Liszt (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ypx9fH-OHk)

Violin: Esther Yoo plays Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gdXpCmS9yc)

Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1 Hilary Hahn
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MenIhT7umeM)

Ukulele: Taimane - Battle (HiSessions.com Acoustic Live!) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ijpbSpQkE4)

Eagles - Hotel California (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcf6wQWN0-8)

Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JWTaaS7LdU)

王若琳 Joanna Wang - Let's Start from Here
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEyESh3pblo)

The Traveler - Joe Satriani
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMRdEpUXefk)

Sound of Silence - Susan Wong
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUWgsrQ5hsw)

Andrea Bocelli, Sarah Brightman - Time To Say Goodbye
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L_yCwFD6Jo)

Boston - Boston
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zDR5jmCXOg)

Aerosmith's Greatest Hits
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j17zIKp030)

Gun's N' Roses - Knockin On Heavens Door
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tmc8rJgxUI)

Robert Miles - Children
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwqmJilXxJY)

Paul van Dyk - For An Angel 2009
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnRmwhaoDU8)

Kiats

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Excellent tonality; musical; easily enjoyable sonic signature; easy to match with amps
Cons: May be fragile because of plastic parts
I am a relative newcomer to Stax and electrostatics. I would say that my journey began in or about April 2015 when Gavin, aka Spkrs01, was kind enough to introduce me to this wonderful part of the music world. Spkrs01 was absolutely wonderful in that he was unfailingly patient and kind with my endless stream of questions. Anakchan has also patiently offered reliable and honest views.
 
I started off with the SR-009 and SR-007 Mk1. Thereafter I picked up a pair of SR-007 Mk2 late last year to complete the line-up of Stax Omegas. Aside from my Stax set-up, I also have a little collection of other full sized cans: most of the top tier Grados, the LCD 2 & 3, HD700 & 800, Hifiman HE-6, HE-5LE, HE-560, HE-500, HE-1000, Fostex TH900, AKG K702 & K812, and  the Final Sonorous X and the Abyss.
 
I still remember when Spkrs01 and Anakchan were at the May Avic Fujiya Show, they had both heard the new Stax Lambdas which were being unveiled at the show. Both of them gave glowing impressions of the L500 and L700. The common thread was they liked the tonality of the Lambdas. Especially the L700 which was more refined and perhaps may extended in its range.  It was indeed exciting to read the specs and other details about the L700: http://www.stax.co.jp/Pdf/Export/Web_News_SR-L700-E.pdf. I had mentioned the impending release when I had dinner with Anakchan in early April when I was in Tokyo for meetings. I am glad that I did and both Anakchan and Spkrs01 gave it a listen at the show.
 
I immediately dropped a note to Claire of Jaben Singapore for her to secure me a pair when it became available in Singapore. The exact date escapes me but I recall that the new Lambdas were launched in Singapore in time for the International Sight & Sound Exhibition 2015 which was held at the end of November 2015. When Claire informed me that my set had arrived, I quickly drove down and made a pay, grab and run. The lovely Sheila, who works with Claire, bore witness to my famous whirlwind check out process.
 
 
Home Desktop Stax Set Up
 
Currently, the Stax chain comprises 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 L700 is pretty good for its price point. There is probably more plastic or synthetic material on this Stax can that I have seen prior to this, as compared to the Omegas. However, I am not saying that it is flimsy. It is well made and put together. The nice touch is the genuine lambskin on the ear pads, which is probably the most important part, if you ask me.
 
 
Comfort and Isolation
 
Although the ear cups of the L700 is in the classic rectangular shape of all Lambdas I have come across, it was surprisingly comfortable. This is not least because of the lambskin ear pads. The clamping force was also quite light, although still adequately firm.
 
As for isolation, well, it is as isolated or not as the rest of the Stax cans. It was is really an open can and if isolation is what you are after, this not the can for you.
 
 
Music Genres
 
I have a decently comprehensive music collection with a wide repertoire. Early church music, classical music, classic jazz and  extends to modern jazz, rock, pop, acoustic vocals and even some EDM and Indie (thanks to Awry and Destrozer who are happy to educate me).
 
What I will say about the L700 is that it is such an easy can to match with different genres. It handles them without skipping a beat. It is also pretty forgiving of the less than perfect recordings because of its tonality. It lends itself to pure musical enjoyment.
 
 
Sound Quality
 
I think the L700 is fairly well balanced: the trebles are extended, the mids border on lush. The bass, while it is quality bass, is not quite in the same class at the 009 or 007 for the matter. In terms of tonality, I think it sits somewhere between the 009 and the 007. Which suits me perfectly as I was looking for something which would have a place in my current range of Stax cans.
 
The L700 is very musical and enjoyable. One can just sit back and relax, be absorbed by the music. That is the most charming characteristic of the L700: it is wonderfully enjoyable and even addictive. If you are looking for a Stax can which is relatively easy to drive, thoroughly enjoyable with excellent sound density and depth and yet carries the quickness in response of an electrostatic, this is the Stax for you.
 
While there have been some exuberant suggestions that the L700 is better than the 007 and a possible candidate for 009 replacement, I think these are perhaps a tad euphoric. Do not get me wrong: I thoroughly enjoy the L700 and think it is an excellent Stax can. However, in terms of soundstage (both width and depth), detail retrieval, nuances and suppleness, the Omegas are still in a class of their own.
 
 
Pairing
 
While the L700 is admittedly not as finicky or difficult to pair with amps as the Omegas, it still appears to appreciate the additional driving power of the LL2 and VAW, and is sufficiently transparent to allow the differences in character between the two amps to be apparent.
 
 
Conclusion
 
I am glad that two reliable pairs of ears in Spkrs01 and Anakchan got to hear the L700 at the Avic Fujiya Show and that I was able to take the leap of faith as a result. I am as always grateful that Claire was able to secure me a set as soon as it was available in Singapore. The L700, while hardly being the last word in electrostatic technology is a very musical and easily enjoyable pair of Stax can at a very attractive price..
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