Electrostatic or Dynamic?
Sep 15, 2002 at 6:56 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 25

fyleow

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If anyone remembers my Stax thread due to unforseen cirumstances I might not be going to Japan
frown.gif


So if I want to upgrade to Electrostatics my budget pretty much limits me to the Basic 2020 system....

My current setup is just Nomad Jukebox 3/SB Live --> Sennheiser HD580s. Horrible I know, especially since it's unamped.

I can spend my money two ways. Keep using my crappy sources and get the Stax Basic system or upgrade my current one. I was thinking of getting maybe the Art DI/O to couple with the Kevin Gilmore Dynamic Amplifier. A real CDP is not an option for me because I listen to music when I'm on the computer and desk space is limited, I also like not having to switch CDs around (all the music on my Nomad are encoded in WAV, too bad it doesn't have digital out though).

I think that upgrading my sources would be a better idea, since I use my headphones for gaming as well. The lack of bass from electrostatics might pose a problem. I probably won't be getting the most out of them with my sources anyway and most seem to agree that the 2020 are not really a good entry (3030 seem to be more in favor).

What do you guys think? If you are in favor of upgrading my sources I would take suggestions on alternatives for the Art DI/O as well.

Also if anyone has an Art DI/O could you answer some questions?

Does it work well with sound cards? Unsampling 16 bit....
I heard that the Gain is really high? Has that been a problem?

Thanks.
 
Sep 15, 2002 at 10:35 AM Post #3 of 25

kfaiman

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I'm using my Art DI/O with my Optimus CD-3400 PCDP's digital coaxial out. I used to listen to MP3s all the time, until I heard CDs from this setup. No more MP3s. My amp is currently an AC-powered META42, but I'll be building Antness' KG dynamic amp/PS-kit in a week or two (can compare to my META42 then).

The DI/O is modded w/ Jensen transformers at the output (bypasses opamps), two 4700uF Black Gates in PS, Canare/Cardas RCAs, etc. I am about to order some Black Gate HiQ caps and Riken-Ohm resistors for the digital board.

It's not cheap, about $100 for stock DI/O, $70/each for the Jensens, $50 for caps, $15 for resistors, $20 for RCAs, $5 for wall-wart. This config is over $350, about the same as Bolder's mod package and a new DI/O. It could be done for well under $350 (w/ Panasonic caps, Vishay resistors, cheaper jacks, larger transformers, etc), but I am trying to go "all-out" and keep things contained in the original case.

A lot of people prefer the transformer output over the opamp mods (check Yahoo's DIOmods group). They say it's smoother, especially in the mid-range, without losing detail, more "vinyl-like." All I can say is, I've never heard CDs sound so good (no experience w/ other stand-alone DACs tho).

This was my first DIY project and it wasn't too hard, so I encourage you to give it a try. It's very rewarding. If you want to go this route, lemme know and I can give you some advice on parts/options.
 
Sep 15, 2002 at 12:09 PM Post #4 of 25

zzz

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Quote:

Originally posted by fyleow
If anyone remembers my Stax thread due to unforseen cirumstances I might not be going to Japan
frown.gif


So if I want to upgrade to Electrostatics my budget pretty much limits me to the Basic 2020 system....


Bummer.

Now, I cannot comment on either 2020 or ART DI/O (even though I have the latter... none of my amps seems to like 7V output, but I'm too cheap to send it in for the mods and too lazy to do them myself) yet, but one thing to keep in mind if you're still considering getting some staxes and building kgss for them: that amp is not at all cheap to build.
 
Sep 15, 2002 at 7:27 PM Post #6 of 25

Matt

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...you've a budet, the Stax will push you (violently) towards buying a better source, IC's, etc. So, the question really is "should I get a better source, or Stax AND a better source?"

- Sir Mister Matt
 
Sep 15, 2002 at 8:07 PM Post #7 of 25

fyleow

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Think it is worth it to get the Stax 303 earspeakers with the 212 driver? Stax claims that they are identicle except that the 313 has a Normal and Pro slot while the 212 only has one.
 
Sep 15, 2002 at 10:50 PM Post #8 of 25

Vertigo-1

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By everything I've read, I get the impression the 212 is pretty shoddy. I'd save some pennies and stretch for a 313 minimally if I were you. It has a better power supply with an IEC port which is what makes up its extra length over the 212. The 212 just runs off a wall wart.
 
Sep 15, 2002 at 11:25 PM Post #9 of 25

fyleow

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Ok It seems that I have no choice but to get the Stax 3030 then. There will be much yelling from my mom. She was shocked when I got my 580s ($160 for a pair of headphones?!?!) and she will be horrified when she discovers the price of the 3030s
 
Sep 16, 2002 at 2:41 AM Post #10 of 25

JohnActon

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I would venture to say that with your setup, you might get better sound upgrading your sources (and keeping the 580s) than you would with going for the Stax.

The 580s are (I feel) better than the Stax 2020 setup. You'd have to move to the 3030 to do better (and that's still a matter of personal preference). However, if you stretch to the 3030, you'll be forced to use your current soundcard setup. And unfortunately, the Stax are more revealing of upstream deficiencies than the 580s. Likewise, the Stax will point out every compression-related shortcoming inherent in the MP3 format. You may find you enjoy them less than the Sennheisers, at least until such time as you can acquire a nice CD-based source.

I've heard good things about the ART piece; it might transform your 580s (garbage in/garbage out and all that).

Good luck!
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Sep 16, 2002 at 3:06 AM Post #11 of 25

kelly

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The Stax amps need really low input voltage and 7V would be seriously overdriving the amp. You'd have no play in the volume control at all with an unmodified ART DI/O without the modification or attenuating cables. As much as I like both the Stax and the ART DI/O, I can't recommend the combination without solving the voltage problem. Of course, I haven't heard the combination myself, I'm just putting two and two together here.

I concur with Vertigo's recommendation. I absolutely would not bother with Stax below the 3030 system.

I'm sorry this leaves you in a bit of a quandry. The modded ART DI/O would run you $125 for the DAC and $250 or so for the mods, not counting a little shipping and the custom PSU. I know that eats seriously into your Stax budget. The Stax 3030 system is selling for $779 at AudioCubes--you'll have to email EIFL for their price, it could be lower. You may want to start watching Audiogon if your mind is made up, too.

I am also a firm believer that every child should learn to effectively lie to his or her parents before reaching age 18. This is a critical problem-solving ability that you should probably develop.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Sep 16, 2002 at 3:53 AM Post #12 of 25

eric343

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Of course you could always just get Etys... I'd wager they have better bass than most ES phones... Vert? (actually, you might want to ask Kevin Gilmore, who IIRC has damn near every ES phone ever made and Etys; he's also a rabid audiophile [in his own words] so if there's anything wrong with them, he'll tell you)
 
Sep 16, 2002 at 4:28 AM Post #13 of 25

fyleow

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John I was thinking of using the Stax with my Nomad Jukebox 3, and IMO the line out isn't that bad. I think it can stack up with a decent CD player since I am using uncompressed wavs and not MP3s.

Kelly I wasn't planning to use the Art DI/O with the Stax that is way over my budget (If I go for the 3030s). I was thinking of using it with the Kevin Gilmore Amp that I will make, I think it will be fine with the 7V because I'm using an Alps Black Beauty for the volume control and that goes up to 100k. Anyway I heard the mod isn't that hard, just a few resistor changes right?

Eric I would love to get the Etys and I have been thinking about it, unfortunately I don't think I'm going to be the only one using these headphones (sometimes my brother will use them for gaming.....thought I could just put in my 497s for my computer). The Etys are attractive to me because my house is noisy and the isolation would be cool.

I am concerned about maintenance though, I heard it gets pretty nasty if you don't clean your ears out and you need to clean the filters....

I noticed that you have both the Etys and the HD 600s. How do they compare to each other?

I think that the Art DI/O with a PCDP with digital out coupled with the Kevin Gilmore Amp and the 580s would be a good setup but since the Radio shack wonder has been discontinued I'm not sure if I can get an affordable one anymore.
 
Sep 16, 2002 at 5:18 AM Post #14 of 25

eric343

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Actually, I don't clean my eartips that often and they aren't that bad
eek.gif
And the filters are disposable- you can't clean them, you just stick new ones in.

Regarding the HD600s vs. the Etys, I've never actually compared the two, really. (believe it or not) I use the Etys for on the road, and the HD600s at home, and they're both happy. Which is the important bit, of course
wink.gif


Regarding the PCDP thing (I assume that's what you meant by the RadioShack wonder), check eBay for a d-555 (if you can find one, they're pretty rare). I've got a (broken) one in my hand, and it's got a digital optical out. It's also a fantastic CD player, if only it would WORK!
mad.gif
(D-555s normally are tough as bricks. This one just has some issues. Can anyone recommend a good PCDP repairman?)

If you can't find a D-555, look around the FS/T forum and eBay for an older Sony D-series player (they all look relatively the same: About the size and shape as two jewel cases stacked) with a digital out. I believe the D-25s (of which there's usually one on the Bay) does not have a digital out, alas.

Otherwise, RUN, don't walk, over to Circuitcity.com and buy a Sony NS500V. It's a desktop player that competes (especially with an ART DI/O) with ones costing muy mucho $$$. And you can get it modded, too... (the NS500V can be had for $180)
 
Sep 16, 2002 at 12:32 PM Post #15 of 25

Vertigo-1

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Quote:

Originally posted by eric343
Of course you could always just get Etys... I'd wager they have better bass than most ES phones... Vert?


Sorry, but I think both the Lambdas and Omega II have considerably better bass than the Etys. I can barely hear cello string plucks on the Etys...while such plucks are resoundingly clear on the electrostats, particularly so on the Omega II.
 

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