DT-880 or Stax SR-001?
Mar 29, 2006 at 6:02 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 24


Sep 27, 2005
I am having a lot of difficult time choosing between the DT-880 and the Stax SR-001 MkII system. I prefer headphones that reproduce the music exactly as it was recorded, I am a basshead
only occasionally. I know the DT-880 sounds neutral, and the Stax is (a little bit?) on the warm side. One of my biggest concerns is DT-880 is an mid-high range headphone, while the Stax SR-001 is the most basic electrostatic headphone someone can get. I wish to control my spending by getting one very good headphone, instead of moving up from different headphones. My budget is severely limited so don't say "get them both!"

If I am getting the DT-880 I won't be getting another amp for them, since I already have a CMoy Amp (dual opamp). Choosing whether or not to get another amp won't be a problem for the Stax system.

Some people commented on the comfort of the stax in ear design. Being a seeker of (budget) precision audio is it worth it to take the pain?

The last question I want to ask is how durable are the two headphones? I am most likely to toss them into one of my empty backpack compartments when not listening to them.

Another option for me would be to get IEMs, however I don't think I can stand their microphonic property. Never used one before, but had used corded earplugs.
Mar 29, 2006 at 6:40 AM Post #2 of 24
Never heard the DT880, but I expect it to be much brighter than the SR-001, which is very warm, smooth, and fatigue-free at the expense of a rolled-off treble. In terms of what will be better - I'm pretty sure the DT880 has more of a high-end potential once you start getting into good amps and sources, but out of a Cmoy, I expect the two are on the same level, with the SR-001 being perhaps slightly ahead. I know this is the case with the HD600, and I expect the DT880 to be on the same level.

Not all IEM's are microphonic, BTW. The UM2 isn't, though it may be now that Westone has switched to the new greening-resistant cable. The SR-001 actually is pretty microphonic by itself, even though it's an open design - rub the cable or the headband and you really hear it! Same goes for the first foot or so of the HD600's cable. Microphonics (or more precisely cable noise, since microphonics refers to a vacuum-tube picking up external noise like a microphone and introducing it into the signal) is not entirely an IEM-only phenomenon.

Lastly, the SR-001 is really unforgiving when it comes to source quality and synergy. Basically, you need a source that's slightly bright, has a very large soundstage, and plenty of drive and dynamics. Match them with the wrong source and they fall asleep. My Rega Planet 2000 has a very nice sound, warmish, smooth, with very good dynamics but a somewhat smallish soundstage and a slight roll-off on both ends. It really sounds bad with the SR-001, worse than my vintage PCDP's. The soundstage is too narrow and the high-end is too soft. It's not a question of the Rega's quality but a matter of bad synergy. The Rega sounds awesome with the ES2 and HD600. Ditto for the MicroDAC - it's very clear but the soundstage is too small with the SR-001.

So, be prepared for some component swapping. This might be the case with the DT880 too, though I wouldn't know.
Mar 29, 2006 at 7:25 AM Post #3 of 24
DT880 is more flexible in terms of amps, at least price-wise. If you plan on sticking with the SR-001's included amp, it will be the constant limiting factor on the phones.
Mar 29, 2006 at 9:13 AM Post #4 of 24
That's the difficult part eh? Deciding between headphones that I haven't even tested yet. I guess that's why I need to ask for Head-fi'ers advices and experiences.

^^I wouldn't be using them with any high-end sources as of yet. Just my vintage Venturer PCDP, a Rio Carbon, and probably off my computer once I get a chaintech sound card.

^My budget limits me to keep my Cmoy right now, but what I'll get in the future I am not sure yet. And I hope I don't end up like most of the head-fi'ers buying multiple equipment and headphones (no offence :p).
Mar 29, 2006 at 10:34 AM Post #5 of 24
I tend to agree with catscratch,as I also own the 001 rig and have not heard the 880.
The 001 is a great little headphone setup but does need all the help it can
get to achieve decent top end 'sparkle'.
Besides the sound issues there are also those of comfort fit and convenience.
The 880s follow usual Beyer practice of being great big comfy chairs for the
head, just plonk them on and listen.
On the other hand the 001 phones sit at the entrance of the ear canal and are
not to everyones tastes,but they are light and unobtrusive.
Maybe better for hot climates, but don't sweat on them!!

I hope you get a chance to audition before you buy.

Good luck and happy listening with whatever choice you make.

Mar 29, 2006 at 3:19 PM Post #6 of 24
I live in Calgary! LOL
I don't think I'll be able to audition any of the headphones I am looking for. Sugguestions for other headphones that will sound great either with or without my CMoy amp is also welcome. I have been looking at the HD 600, HD 580, and the SR 60.
Apr 2, 2006 at 1:29 AM Post #7 of 24
It took me about a week to get accustomed to the feel of the SRM-001in my ear, but now I hardly notice them, even after listening for 4 hours or more per day.
I wouldn't throw them into a backpack though.. they are quite light and they seem a bit fragile to me.
Apr 13, 2006 at 10:37 PM Post #8 of 24
Had to bring this old thread backup. I just purchased an E2C to try out, I don't really like the small soundstage (or headstage, whatever) of the earphones. I still prefer my HD201 over the E2C's. Will the Stax SR-001 MkII be better than the E2C in terms of the sound/headstage? And I assume the Stax won't beat the DT-880 in terms of sound/headstage? The E2C also felt a lot like earplugs, is it the same for the Stax? Is the E4 much better than the E2C and SR-001 in terms of soundstage?

What other headphones around the same price range would be good for me?
Apr 13, 2006 at 10:58 PM Post #9 of 24
All I will say is this - Try the Stax! A person should hear a Stax at least once in life.. it is really a case of hearing is believing.

Speaking from personal experience I would say that after the first few days you will forget the Stax in your ear..except for the SOUND!
Apr 13, 2006 at 11:05 PM Post #10 of 24

Originally Posted by c001m4n
I live in Calgary! LOL
I don't think I'll be able to audition any of the headphones I am looking for. Sugguestions for other headphones that will sound great either with or without my CMoy amp is also welcome. I have been looking at the HD 600, HD 580, and the SR 60.

Ahh a fellow Calgarian.

I have tried the Stax SR-001 and I like BluePhone said, it's pretty good
Apr 13, 2006 at 11:08 PM Post #12 of 24

Originally Posted by mb3k
Ahh a fellow Calgarian.

I have tried the Stax SR-001 and I like BluePhone said, it's pretty good

Can you comment on that? How's the soundstage, and does it feel like earplugs? Is it as good as people say it is? Where did you try them? How are they compared to other phones you tried or have?
Apr 14, 2006 at 6:43 AM Post #13 of 24
Hi c001m4n

I talked with you on the Taiwanese forum andaudio on these phones -
I thought you had purchased them! To repeat what others had said
about these portable Stax, these are, in many ways, halfway between
open style supraural earphones and IEM's: soundstage, comfort,
isolation etc., with a tonal balance similar to that of the Omega II.
The sound is very good for the price, and one can wear them for long
stretches (even with headband on) once the trick of positioning these
phones for one's ears is mastered. Those without the necessary
patience and time to "wrestle" with these phones, however, will
be better off trying high-end open and over-the-ear type phones.
Apr 14, 2006 at 8:37 AM Post #15 of 24

Originally Posted by smeggy
Comfort: Aaaaah!

Only at the beginning.....one week is all it takes for the
silicon pads to "melt" and start fitting in one's ears.

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