Better Stax driver or Sennheiser 580/590/600?
May 20, 2002 at 8:23 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

Per Stomgren

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Cheers!

(This was posted to uk.rec.audio but is repeated here. Thanks Jude for the hint!)

I have Stax Lambda (no "Pro", no "Signature") earphones (or
"earspeakers" as they prefer to call them) driven by the
tranformerbased SRD7B unit. They do sound good but a little harsh compared to my speakers, Quad ESl-63. I suspect that the drive unit may be the unit at fault here, but I don't know. It is probably not broken; it has sounded this way since I bought them, some 13 years ago. I have now started to use the more and thought I should do something about it. I have two alternatives:

1. Get a better (transformerless) drive unit.
2. Sell the Staxes and buy good dynamic headphones. Sennheiser 580 / 590 / 600 comes to mind.

Have any of you compared my drive unit and a better one? Or compared my Stax to any of the Sennheisers?


Per Stromgren,
Karlstad,
Sweden
 
May 20, 2002 at 9:14 PM Post #2 of 9

Nezer

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I heard a few stax on the headroom tour but I didn't care for them at all. *WAY* too harsh!

I prefer the HD600s w/ Cardas cable and a good amp any day.

IMHO the HD600s on the airhead sounds better than the even the Stax Omega-IIs!

I would sell the Stax and get the HD600s/Cardas (or Equinox or Clou) and use whatever is left and get the best amp you can afford. Headroom amps are a great value and they have models in just about all price ranges.

(Tyll, if your out there I'[m gonna want to start collecting a commision here soon! :wink:)
 
May 20, 2002 at 10:07 PM Post #3 of 9

Anders

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Hi Per,
Just some loose suggestions:
If it is a solid state unit it may help with a newer version or a tubed one.
You can also try with a better interconnect cable instead the out of box cable. In high resolution systems cheap cables can introduce distortion in the system, by my experience. Or at least, not letting one get out all what they are able to do.
You should be able to borrow the Senn 600 in a shop for a test.
Greetings from Malmö / Anders
 
May 20, 2002 at 10:46 PM Post #4 of 9

Mr.Toad

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Quote:

Originally posted by Per Stomgren
Cheers!

(This was posted to uk.rec.audio but is repeated here. Thanks Jude for the hint!)

I have Stax Lambda (no "Pro", no "Signature") earphones (or
"earspeakers" as they prefer to call them) driven by the
tranformerbased SRD7B unit. They do sound good but a little harsh compared to my speakers, Quad ESl-63. I suspect that the drive unit may be the unit at fault here, but I don't know. It is probably not broken; it has sounded this way since I bought them, some 13 years ago. I have now started to use the more and thought I should do something about it. I have two alternatives:

1. Get a better (transformerless) drive unit.
2. Sell the Staxes and buy good dynamic headphones. Sennheiser 580 / 590 / 600 comes to mind.

Have any of you compared my drive unit and a better one? Or compared my Stax to any of the Sennheisers?


Per Stromgren,
Karlstad,
Sweden


I have a pair of Quad ESL 57s and to my ears, the old AKG K340 (they have an electrostatic tweeter and dynamic bass driver) sound as close as headphones get to the Quad ESLs.

Following that, I like the Sennheiser 580 and 600.

One of the things that always amuses me when people talk about cables (not that you were
biggrin.gif
)is that the ESL-63 has about 5 miles of plain old copper wire in it acting as a delay line. Still sounds pretty good, though.
 
May 21, 2002 at 10:52 AM Post #5 of 9

setmenu

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Per Stomgren
I too have used the Lamda/step up transformer combo.
And used to find it [especially with the 80s cd player I was using back then] could on occasion 'spit nails' into the ears.

If you obtain one of staxs modern amps [+ there newer phones are
a real improvement] you should be a lot happier.

I use a 4040 system and that is on a different planet from my old
lamda/stepup system.
Highly recomended.

And yes no doubt the HD600 beats all comers in everything
everywhere as many people say here.

I have had little experience with the 600s.

Enjoy the chioce you make!
Happy listening.


setmenu
smily_headphones1.gif
 
May 21, 2002 at 1:30 PM Post #6 of 9

kelly

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At the Headroom tour, I did not find the Stax units to be "harsh." I did, however, find them to be very revealing of the source and recording and I also thought the expensive BAT, which a nice player, was a little thin and bright on top. With the wrong recording and on that player, I could see someone coming up with the idea that the Stax is harsh but I don't subscribe to the same perspective.

This does, however, highlight the critical difference between the two company philosophies. Ultimately, the Sennheiser headphones will probably be more forgiving and less revealing. Details appear more with the HD600 than with the other headphones, more still with better amplification and an awesome source and still more with the Cardas cable upgrade but never reaching the Stax 007 level and likely falling short of the other Stax as well... in detail. In other areas, you can easily make a case for the HD600. The HD600 WITH a good amplifier has good body, weight and a strong consistent presentation.

A good question before upgrading would be: What are your system goals in this upgrade? What sound characteristics do you hope to improve?
 
May 21, 2002 at 11:51 PM Post #7 of 9

insanefred

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Just my two pence (east of the Atlantic!)... I got a Stax Basic setup (the cheapest!) this morning, but have only been able to test it out on a severely crap Akai Cd player, and someone else's cd collection so far! Previous to that I was using HD600's and a Creek OBH11-SE. Even with the crappy CDP, I think the sound of the Staxes is great! Transparent is the word that sprung to mind. I've noticed no evidence of the harsh treble that some have mentioned, but the bass isn't great, although this could be source-related. I liked the 600's when I had them, I thought they were very capable, but I have a feeling that the Staxes are going to keep me happy, at least until the upgrade bug starts to bite again!
Obviously I recommend listening to the Sennheisers and new Stax setups (these are hard to find!). I saw a Stax tube energiser for around $1000 secondhand today, that sort of thing might be worth a look. You obviously like the electrostatic sound, are you ready for the changeover to dynamic? :wink:
Good luck!
Andrew
 
May 23, 2002 at 2:50 AM Post #8 of 9

Matt

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...have the SRS-3030 Classic System II and I am very much enjoying it. Initially, I was ultra-freaked out at the typical Stax complaints: harsh and too revealing, lack of body, etc.

I can't say much for the lack of body, but as far as the harshness goes, I can definitely say that they are very system dependant. They are like HD600's and amps, in that regard: you need a good back-end to get even a tolerable good from them.

Though I had serious misgivings about them (having come off that drug trip known as ATH-W100 + EarMax Pro), I was intrigued by a few things that kept me hanging on, not the least of which is the utterly unfatiguing sound. I have no idea what is causing this, but I am pretty sure (conjecturally) that it is the electrostat principle. UN-fatiguing, unfatiguing, unfatiguing.

Anyhow, I have since purchased a power filter and an Art DI/O, so this is sorta forcing me to upgrade at the source level, something I'd previously ignored.

Anyhow, to directly answer your question, I feel the SRM-313 amp (solid state) to be a good value (from EIFL, especially) that is burning in nicely. Initially, the cans were not terribly transparent (which was shocking, considering their priniciple advantages), but they are getting better and I have a feeling that no small part of that is the amp.

Best,
Matt
 
May 23, 2002 at 11:49 AM Post #9 of 9

HarHar

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Hi Per,

I also have a pair of Quad ESL-63 and own the Sennheiser HD600 driven by a dedicated headphone-amp (the prototype of Jan's HA-1 - which is something like a "beefed-up" HA-1).

I would not recommend going the "HD590 way", because you will find this phone unnatural bright compared with the Quads. In my opinion the HD600 is much better in this respect - more natural in the top range. However, I'm quite sure that the bass will somewhat dissapoint you. It is not as clean and defined as the bass of your loudspeakers. Of course the HD600 goes much deeper - but as far as I understand that's not your problem here.

I find it difficult to better the Quads neutrality with a headphone. Even the K1000 won't do the job.

I have never heared a Stax - so I can't comment on this issue.

Well, that's not much help...anyway.

All the best - HarHar.
 

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