General Information

"SR-002" is an in-the-ear speaker system of canal type evolved. This product is based on a S-001MK2 successor of the first generation S-001, was lighter thin about 15% more vibration film. Ear pad of the three types of improved comfortable fit is obtained has been attached. It also comes with a head band dedicated more stable fit is obtained. Driver unit SRM-002 newly designed to improve the power supply unit, alkaline power was made possible, of course, be able to performance well with rechargeable batteries with low electromotive force. It is now possible to enjoy the change of sound quality and make it possible to switch the normal mode and eco mode. AC adapter is specified as an option, please purchase separately (product name: AC-002). (Those of you who are interested in becoming your do not care about the consumption of the battery in particular)

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1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: natural balanced overall sound, perfect midrange, impressive treble and a very pleasant bass
Cons: zero isolation, comfort can be a problem for some people, cheap look & feel
STAX SR-002 - little exotic, once quite large - A Review

A Stax as earphone - seriously? These were my first thoughts when I heard from the Stax SR-002. The strange appearance, the additional amp module, the strange proprietary cable and this completely open design and funny shape, let them me to put the idea back from buying one. A big mistake as I was able to notice soon ...

... therefore now my review about this interesting but unusual earphone.


The Stax SRS-002 set includes:

Stax SRM-002 (portable Stax amp)
Stax SR-002 earphones including a replaceable cable
Three different silicone tips (S, M and L)
A headband
A 3.5mm interconnect
Two AA batteries

The PSU Stax AC 002 is not mentioned in the English manual, only the Japanese section, I came across the optional AC Stax-002 power supply.

First impression and look and feel:

The SR-002 looks itself quite "cheap" - to say at least in a friendly meaning. The plastic and the appearance is not exactly a confidence - for a first impression. The cable is very sensitive (even at the Y splitter) and it seems to me not very stable. The SRM-002 also acts not like a high quality product, the volume potentiometer is also like the rest of plastic, aluminium or a metal housing I would liked better here. The headband is separate and from the style as that of my Walkman headphones from the 90s.
That brings back memories - the "Old School" headband from the SR-002. But I don't use it.
All in all is all a not really a good start for the almost 700 Euro value, but fortunately it did not "sound" like it looks and feels.This set is only designed for enjoying music at home and not as robust daily companion. For storage, I can recommend the Peli Micro Case 1050, it fits perfectly for the SRS-002 set, including spare batteries.
Enough space. For the SRM-002, SR-002, including cables, 8 battery's plus a dry capsule.
Mobile usage:

The SRM-002 amp module, has a bay for batteries in the AA format. This is very positive, that were not taken any proprietary solution or permanently installed batteries here. I use primarily high-quality batteries, there would be the following highly recommended:

Panasonic Eneloop XX PRO (1.2V @ 2550 mAh)

The Eneloop XX PRO providing a very long run time. In normal mode, at moderate volume, the batteries last at good 6 to 6.5 hours (the duration information from Stax are in just about 4 hours in normal mode with standard batteries). In Eco mode, which I use normally, the batteries lasting again a bit longer, around good 7 to 7.5 hours. I wonder what the normal mode should be good, any normal (good) stereo source device supplies the SRM-002 with sufficient level, so that even the lowest level in the volume me nearly blows my brain away and I'm not exactly the "silent listener" at all. I guess the normal mode should be for source devices from non-typical HiFi where the output levels are below 1 Vrms.
Some time ago, I had two SRM-002 to the to compare various batteries easier. Interestingly, S/N: 18XX, with the blue bands and S/N: 19XX has black bands - there's more colors?
I've tested regular batteries with 1.5V and also rechargeable batteries with a higher voltage as the Conrad NiZn energy HR06 (1.6V @ 1500 mAh), the differences were not really worth talking about, minimally higher dynamics with the 1.6V battery or 1.5V batteries, but here I think that this is due to the higher power + higher volume. In further experiments, I have omitted. With the Eneloop's batteries I'm more than happy to have 8 pieces of them and they are still my recommendation number one. Side note - while conventional AA batteries are just under 14mm diameter, my used batteries are slightly larger than 14mm diameter. Although it is only apparently a touch thicker, but that is enough already, these are harder to get these out again. Meanwhile after some time more play is gotten and the batteries go now much easier than at the beginning. I would not have minded if the interior of the battery part would have been minimal larger from the beginning.

Small negative report: My first SRM-002 unfortunately had a defect and caused an unpleasant permanent high-frequency buzzing after power on - at the beginning I still thought it was the SR-002 itself. Even though the Stax Support said this issue they hear for the first time. But I've often read in forums of this issue. At the end I got a replacement unit from my local HiFi dealer and all went well after that - without any high-frequency buzzing.
Here again the SRM 002 amp module in detail and mentioned batteries.
With the open design of the SR-002 you hear any ambient noise and of course since you apparently automatically hear the Stax much quieter, i.e. the volume considerably less used than usual, you get in addition more ambient noise. When turning the volume a little more up on moderate loadness levels, then it is all about with less ambient noise. But these Stax earphones definitely not made for public places. At home, in the garden, etc. all good, but for loud public places a really bad idea.

Fit and comfort:

A difficult topic, because it depends from your own ear anatomy. I prefer generally only custom earphones, but the SR-002 provides me with a quite acceptable seal, even with the standard silicone tips which made me more than surprised. Although I had a bit practising until they fit perfectly, but if the optimal position has been reached, then it was quite ok. Really weak I find that Stax only puts 3 silicone tips in the box. For much more affordable earphones, there are dozens of tips with a great selection. But it is fortunately even better, I found the JVC spiral dot fits very well in the large nozzle of the SR-002 and provide a much better seal and comfort.
Here carrying method with and without the headband of SR-002.
Here is a comparison with the some good Hama tips (better than stock Stax tips) and even better JVC spiral dot tips.
I tried to get my SR-002 to a custom. We have tried it, but sadly my ear canals to small for a adequate result, so we gave up. The main problem is the large long and relatively wide nozzle.
Here the tried SR-002 custom tips, but my ear canals too small.
The sound:

The Stax SR-002 I use mixed my following rigs:

DIY Daphile Music Box > USB > Gustard U12 > toslink > Schiit Bifrost Uber > analogue > iFi Audio Micro iCAN > Stax SRM-002
iBasso DX50 > coaxial > iFi Audio Micro iDSD> analogue > Stax SRM-002
iBasso DX50 > coaxial > Chord Mojo > analogue > Stax SRM-002
Samsung Galaxy S4 > USB > Hifime Sabre ES9018K2M > line-out > Meier Audio Corda Quickstep > analogue > Stax SRM-002
A great portable combination - the iDSD including SR-002 - Stax sound on the go without compromises.

Primary I use portable rig number two because the iDSD plus the crossfeed feature is a big advantage for the SR-002, I will explain later why.
General sound signature:

Where do I start? First, you can't compare these special Stax sound with a multiple balanced armature driver earphone as the Custom Art Harmony 8 Pro, or a dynamic headphone like the Sennheiser HD 800, or a planar magnetic headphone like the Audeze LCD-X (I call the three, because I will use them for comparison - even if they themselves are very differently tuned and all three are in themselves absolute top class headphones/earphones).

If I had to sum up the sound signature of the SR-002 in short I would put it this way: very transparent, airy and relaxed, sounds not so spectacular for you I guess? There is a such a natural light ground color that you can not find something really pronounced in the sound signature. The SR-002 plays very freely and airy - absolutely not a typical earphone feeling that is what the first impression will be for you.

You can fall lose quite fast in music for a long time because this small "baby Stax" simply has nothing to offer what one could interfere with long-term listening - an absolutely long-term-compatible earphone. Is this unspectacular characteristic good or bad? In my eyes (ears) it is very good. The SR-002 gives a very honest sound and therefore it is for me personally quite close to absolutely natural tonality and comes with this characteristic even to its very big brother - the SR-009 already pleasantly close - if I remember correctly back having my listening with the SR-009.

The SR-002 sound stage is of course not with a Sennheiser HD 800 or the other two to compare - No, the stage is much smaller, but the instrument separation and imaging is still quite high. While it has a very airy and crystal clear sound, but the depth and width staggering is definitely only middle class, now this is not necessarily the great strength of the little ones. But from what the SR-002 more than just respond well I think, is the usage of my amps with analogue crossfeed feature (iFi Audio micro iDSD or micro ICAN), that the non-headphone enhances feeling is a big step up again. My other headphones compared match not so awesome to the analogue crossfeed as the SR-002 do.

If you believe with the SR-002 you will get impressed within few minutes with a first "WOW effect" is completely mistaken - a HD 800 provides this with its high detail reproduction and enormous sound stage presentation, an LCD-X impressed with the excellent bass and excellent warm tonality and the Harmony 8 Pro impresses with its very high resolution and high brilliance in the treble. So what makes the SR-002 so special now? How does the SR-002 gave me goosebumps moments? It is this already mentioned natural light ground color that really prepares you the feeling that it just sounds right - in the sense of perfect balance with a superb midrange and treble representation, which I will return in more detail later. Whether if this is now because of the electrostatic drivers, or the tuning I don't know really - but what is proof is, since I own the SR-002 are the other nice gear can be often times rest on the "bench". Especially if you consume a lot of classical music like me, to me up to date, the HD 800, is the headphone choice number one for this kind of music, the reason should all know already. Or if you listens generally instrumental music, sacred vocal music or film music, then with the SR-002 it has something special, but again not trough any "WOW effects" as in i.e. HD 800, but the perfectly harmonious and quiet (but not meant in a negative sense ) sound. Basically, the SR-002 with its characteristics actually just fits about every genre - classical, rock, metal, hip hop, electronic music, J-pop, etc. clear, according to taste and form on the day, it could have been more here and there, but basically the SR-002 delivers really good together.

The SR-002 detail reproduction is as already mentioned, quite good and with its only mediocre stage presentation, the precision is at a high level and does not need to hide too far behind my personal mentioned flagships. As I have also mentioned, with the SR-002 you will listen significantly quieter than usual you can trust me. At first I thought "Hmm I came accidentally to the volume potentiometer from the SRM-002?" - No as longer you listen to the SR-002, they more "real" acting is the music and you automatically regulates somehow the volume slightly down and you lose nothing of dynamic range that never happened to me with the other headphones.


My biggest fear was - there can come out of this little driver really a useful bass? The answer is: yes and no. In general, the bass very impressive (no really, I was pleasantly surprised), thus making rock & metal music really fun and I hear also like me by my favourite bands such as Dragonforce, Devildriver, Amon Amarth, Static-X, Nightwish, Soulfly or Rammstein. From PRaT (Pace, Rhythm and Timing) the SR-002 already sets the bar quite high, but still far from the Harmony 8 Pro - as it remains the lone king with these characteristic. The bass from the SR-002 is really fine, the middle and upper bass bass are very pleasant and go seamlessly into the lower midrange on (highly linear response). Qualitatively, I find the bass really good, but not as outstanding as correct headphones like the HD 800 or LCD-X, even if the comparison is not quite fair. The control the bass is excellent, always accurate and fine on the spot, as is typical when I using the Harmony 8 Pro. To make the SR-002 not too quite sterile depending on the music genre, therefore I like very much to enable the analogue circuits of my two amps (iDSD or iCAN), from my rigs, to add even more punch in the lower bass.
Here the X-Bass function from micro iDSD and from micro iCAN (only look at the white line which level I use).

You have a lot more punch, without provoking distortions, or to be imprecise. Thus SR-002 plays then for example even Hip Hop with Iggy Azalea or Azealia Banks with a lot fun.


Now we come to the first highlight - there are these magical Stax midrange that have drawn me into its review. These midrange will think you again all over again about all headphones from which you taught before that the midrange is natural and balanced. The midrange is neither analytic nor spectacular, but simply unobtrusive, homogeneous, fresh and really authentic. This little Stax playing with a grandiose ease and naturalness that is simply fascinating. Playback shines through this effortless way if I compare it with the HD 800 and his superior resolving power, where even the smallest nuances are very through audible - what are really great features in HD 800 - compare that now acts almost exhausting and thereby with the the SR 002. The SR-002 provide very smooth without any loose of details or sufficiently dynamics. Voices sound still emotionally and credible, without having a strong overemphasis, that's one of the reasons why you can thus enjoy music for hours. None of the three comparison headphones can stand up with these relaxed midrange - in the sense of perfectly balanced. For this purpose, a direct comparison with classical music: we take yet again some of my favourites, for example: the most beautiful ecclesiastical works by Handel, Messiah or Israel in Egypt, or Bach's Magnificat, St. Matthew Passion, or to speak of absolute perfection, let's take my favourite work - Stabat Mater by Pergolesi, sung by the one and only soprano Julia Lezhneva (Sorry I'm a big fan boy of her). If we compare these music with my reference headphones for - the HD 800 - I promise you, despite the smaller sound stage by the SR-002, which has not quite the detail and resolution as the HD 800, the SR-002 will spend you goosebumps moments, truly amazing what the little Stax provides with these magical midrange / lower treble.


Since I can't find no real overemphasis on the upper midrange, these go wonderfully seamlessly on the lower treble. This smooth transition is very pleasant and gives the area continue this naturalness. The treble are pretty harmless, but without losing brilliance and play despite some emphasis on the middle and upper treble, they will never unpleasantly intrusive. The middle and upper treble are very delicate and dissolve well and tend to no sizzle. There is a lack SR-002 which, however, something on very high frequency and the SR-002 does resolve in this area as in my two headphones as the HD 800 or the Harmony 8 Pro, but the SR-002 also plays not like the LCD-X, it is in the golden middle of both worlds. Despite this rather slightly restrained treble – the treble of the SR-002 also a very impressive perfection in itself because the treble also play so wonderfully unobtrusive, homogeneous, fresh and really authentic as with the midrange. More energy and liveliness of the upper treble / very high frequency would be very good for the SR-002 in my opinion. In overall impression I like the treble of the SR-002 very and find it really optimally balanced. The treble are just not so thick, but more plain and conventional, and I do not mean in a negative sense, more in a positive sense. But I think that if here would be more presence in the upper treble available, it would push the sound stage in a good way up. But that's nagging at a high level.


Referring now all individual points together the SR-002 provides of a really nice overall sound package. This small exotic has earned a lot of my attention more than justly. To find potential new friends for the SR-002 is definitely possible - who also wants Stax sound to enjoy portable - by me as Stax beginner a full recommendation.
Coming new revision of this baby will have XMOS USB input, but when it will come - nobody know - since CES 2014/2015 (I think aorund thistime frame) Stax announced and showed prototype already. So it can be next year a release, or it will take another 2-3 years, who knows.
Peter Sovinc
I am using SR-002 at work (working in architecture office). I could not be more happy with them!

For comparison I had LCD-X at home, impressive bass, strength of sound...
I bet most people would chose those at first impression.
But when you learn to listen for clarity... this is simply so much better.

After having such a good impression with small ones, I got myself L300 limited for home use.
They are better, but not at work place (working in architecture office).
With small stax i have no issue of people around me listening to my sound.
And i can hear what is going in in office. They are open enough so I know if somebody calls me.

Comfort - well, lets just say you can get use to anything...
Peter Sovinc
I got Unique Melody Mest - surely the most talked about iem, that costs two or three times as much and is on top of many charts will blow relatively obscure small Stax out of water. well... No! ok: yes and no... to be fair: Mest has way more power, goes deeper, has more slam and it even goes higher... It is not about detail in the highs, it is about coherence of sound. If you listen to high volumes: there is no doubt, Mest wins. For all bass heads and rock and roll people: Mest is a way to go. But in terms of proper sound at relatively low volumes: Stax!

Dont get me wrong: I want to love my Mest, i really do. I want it to replace Stax, so i can take it anywhere. Damn, now i need to sell Mest and get u12t. This is my last hope.

...this is kind of like comparing sushi to a burger. Most people will go for a juicy burger. But if you develop taste for sushi, almost everything else tastes/sounds a bit offensive. I tried it on my co-workers, most choose Mest. Well. Noobs, what can i say.


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