Calling all electrolytes to my can of worms
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Gigabomber

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As I began climbing the headphone tree, I hypothesized that eventually my gear would reach sufficient quality that the inferiority of my hodgepodge collection of mp3s would be revealed. That day has come and gone, and with it has come an interesting plan that may serve to direct my efforts toward the more worthwhile goal of working to the source instead of the being distracted by the cans. I think it may save me quite a bit of time and subvert quite a bit of my angst if I cough up the cash for a known synergetic setup, a Stax or AKG K1000 bundle, and after that, work toward finding either a suitable DAC or CD player, and – more importantly – a better true source in CDs; heck, I might even end up at vinyl.

All of this was prompted by my recent purchase of an Emmeline SR-71 and my discovery that only a very small minority of my mp3s – mainly the ones I ripped – showed a slight difference through my Chaintech av-710, the amp and to my 120 ohm Sennheiser 595s.

I know that my source is lacking and is begging to be upgraded (I keep looking at 300 dollar plus DAC), but I began to consider how much it costs for a nice set of cans and an amp anyway. I began to see the numbers lining up: ms-2is fully beyered cost around 450 with the c-pads and headband, a pair of SA5000s or recabled Senns aren’t too far off of those numbers either; throw in a Supermacro 3 or SR-71 and you’re well off toward 800 without one bit of synergy guaranteed. I noticed that I don’t enjoy bloated bass like I used to, and my ears are particularly sensitive around the 10k and 12k bands with ninety percent of the cans I tried at the last meet, and eventually I found myself lusting after the AKG K501s because they are rumored to be particularly smooth in the midrange with tight bass.

True or not, it got me looking at the K1000s, and from that I stumbled upon Audiocubes ridiculously cheap Stax deals : Stax 2020 set for 450, 3030 for 750, 4040 for 1250, Stax 313 Amp for 450, so on and so forth. No muss no fuss on the amp and ear end if things go right.

So I came up with the plan above and am wondering what thoughts you folks may have on any of the above, mainly if anyone has had this same mp3 source issue, or what you think of this approach entirely. And if you think it is a good idea, what should I get? Perhaps Todd's recommended K1000s and Sophia Baby amp pieced out so to save a couple bucks instead of one of the Stax setups? Signature comparisons would also be greatly appreciated as i have no experience with these electrostatics.

Thanks for reading,
Gigs
 
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PATB

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The HD595 and the SR-71 are both highly regarded here. If I were you, I would try to upgrade my source first, perhaps getting a DAC (DAC1?) if your sound card has decent optical out.

Stax headphones are very revealing -- if your source is not up to par, you will regret getting the Stax. I have not heard the K1000 is I can't comment there. Still, you already have an excellent headphone and amp. Try to upgrade your source next. If your source sucks, no amount of amplification will make it sound better.
 
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Banfi T.

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I have to agree with PATB. The better headphone/amp combo you have the more detail you will hear. If your source is not up to the task you might end up listening to the few records you can bear (the good quality ones) and that is clearly not the point of this hobby. However, I have good news too, if you have a really good source you find something enjoyable in *every* record. This happens above the average audiophile level though, so don't give up halfway.
 
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Gigabomber

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My idea was to sell everything I have (100 dollar cable, sr-71 at 400, teds earcandy at 60 or so, Senn 595s at 160; seems to total around 700) and cash in on an entry level Stax or K1000 setup with inherent synergy so that I may work towards finding a great source and true source (CDs that id have to buy a TON of or super high bitrate files paid for off the net through a DAC1) without all of this lower level amp and headphone quibbling. The main drawback to this is that it is going to cost a bundle, but I have already lost cash in trading cans to this juncture and will lose more if i continue on this route. Perhaps I should have been clearer in my article
I have a tendency to veil my questions when I spend a lot of time editing.
 
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Snake

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Here's one of the dirty little secrets of the Stax world - you don't have to spend a lot of money to get great sound. System synergy happens regardless of price paid for the components - it's just a matter of looking very carefully.

Don't focus on price, focus on the sound. If it sounds good that is all that matters - if you can do it inexpensively yet still make yourself happy then stop there and count your blessings.

Just make sure you listen intently to a Stax rig prior to purchase to make sure they are "your speed".
 
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Gigabomber

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Snake
Here's one of the dirty little secrets of the Stax world - you don't have to spend a lot of money to get great sound. System synergy happens regardless of price paid for the components - it's just a matter of looking very carefully. Just make sure you listen intently to a Stax rig prior to purchase to make sure they are "your speed".


I figured the Stax 2020 for 450 or the 3030 for 750 don't seem like too much of a risk considering that they would be so easy to resell out of folks pure curiosity.
 
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