KGSShv Carbon - hows it sound with the 009s?
Dec 7, 2018 at 11:55 AM Post #723 of 833

Whitigir

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Thank you :)

As an aside, whoever said the SR-009 is not capable of bass is clearly wrong, the Carbon gives it in spades :)

Oh hell, I had been saying this for a long long time :D...Stax doesn’t lack bass. It has the best bass there is...the only thing that lacks is the owner money from his empty pocket
 
Dec 8, 2018 at 1:21 AM Post #724 of 833

tunes

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I also agree about the call that Stax has 3 flagship headphones , the 007, 009, and 009S.

When I listened to 007 MKI out of a Carbon, it was an excellent pair up

Same as 009 out of a Tubes version of the Carbon, Grounded Grid

Then I decided to build the T2 because I love 009, and then luckily, my T2 can also make my 009S perform wonderfully too, but 009 is still unbeatable out of the T2. Then may be the 009S was made for Carbon ? Lol...anyways, I am not in the mood to get Carbon again, maybe one day in the future.
What are the essential differences in SQ between the 009 and 009S? What is the difference in price, new?
 
Dec 13, 2018 at 2:09 AM Post #725 of 833
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Thank you :)

As an aside, whoever said the SR-009 is not capable of bass is clearly wrong, the Carbon gives it in spades :)
Bass impact/extension/quality and soundstage are the Carbon's speciality - really awesome there with any of: 009/009S/007; it pretty damn near taps the full potential of these attributes on these headphones. The BHSE gives you a much more liquid gorgeous midrange (especially of interest to 009 owners), but at some notable expense to the bass/soundstage attributes. I also thought the 009S paired with Carbon rendered a reasonable (though not perfect) impression of a "009 with tubes" midrange, while still giving great bass & soundstage. The KG DIY T2 gives a combination of all these attributes at their very best, plus then some!

And the T2 cannot be thought of as "just" a typical amp upgrade. It somehow felt like a substantial amp AND source upgrade, at the same time, from the moment I plugged in my new T2. And that was upgrading from a BHSE, itself a pretty amazing amplifier.

I never went really crazy into high-end digital sources, but from what I did experiment with I agree (again) with Whitigir that the digital transport seems to matter a whole heck of a lot, despite whatever buffers/anti-jitters/etc are advertised in the DAC.
 
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Dec 13, 2018 at 1:42 PM Post #726 of 833

audiobean

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I never went really crazy into high-end digital sources, but from what I did experiment with I agree (again) with Whitigir that the digital transport seems to matter a whole heck of a lot, despite whatever buffers/anti-jitters/etc are advertised in the DAC.

Seems like there is always another rabbit hole to travel down after hitting a peak...I love it! But I agree with signal transport having something to do with the audio experience.

I have the Carbon and 007a which are fantastic together regardless of tweaks...bass impact and detail retrieval was what I heard immediately from both USB and coaxial over my previous Stax amp, lifting the veil/muddiness sometimes attributed to the 007. My dac (Gustard x20 pro), I feel does very well synergy-wise with my set up and is a fine transparent source. How can I improve it w/o spending a few thousand?

Believing the hype, I ventured into DDC (Singer su-1, using HDMI: which bypasses aspects of the dac that may or may not add jitter sending an isolated signal straight to the D to A process) which has been a solid improvement in a "blacker" background bringing out the details and a sense in head space gains YMMV. Also, I've added the iFi Micro iUSB to my chain recently (clean power, clean signal). And tbh it helps the music sound more cohesive. I could feel more depth in my music. Queens' Another One Bites the Dust's bass was tighter and the whistles from Freddie's nostrils were more audible (for better or for worse lol); the instrument separation in Hotel California was more present, giving the bass the space it needed for me to appreciate it more. These experiences tell me that the digital transport was helped in some way. Obviously, you'll have a tailored experience depending on what is in your chain. But I am satisfied. Perhaps a better dac could have no improvements because it is already doing what my usb tweak, ddc, and dac are doing but w/o the extra devices.

Each addition to helping my digital transport gave me something. If I can feel/hear an improvement and I could afford it, then sign me up. I am a believer in what the Singxer and iFi devices do and feel they do it right.
 
Dec 13, 2018 at 2:20 PM Post #727 of 833

Whitigir

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Seems like there is always another rabbit hole to travel down after hitting a peak...I love it! But I agree with signal transport having something to do with the audio experience.

I have the Carbon and 007a which are fantastic together regardless of tweaks...bass impact and detail retrieval was what I heard immediately from both USB and coaxial over my previous Stax amp, lifting the veil/muddiness sometimes attributed to the 007. My dac (Gustard x20 pro), I feel does very well synergy-wise with my set up and is a fine transparent source. How can I improve it w/o spending a few thousand?

Believing the hype, I ventured into DDC (Singer su-1, using HDMI: which bypasses aspects of the dac that may or may not add jitter sending an isolated signal straight to the D to A process) which has been a solid improvement in a "blacker" background bringing out the details and a sense in head space gains YMMV. Also, I've added the iFi Micro iUSB to my chain recently (clean power, clean signal). And tbh it helps the music sound more cohesive. I could feel more depth in my music. Queens' Another One Bites the Dust's bass was tighter and the whistles from Freddie's nostrils were more audible (for better or for worse lol); the instrument separation in Hotel California was more present, giving the bass the space it needed for me to appreciate it more. These experiences tell me that the digital transport was helped in some way. Obviously, you'll have a tailored experience depending on what is in your chain. But I am satisfied. Perhaps a better dac could have no improvements because it is already doing what my usb tweak, ddc, and dac are doing but w/o the extra devices.

Each addition to helping my digital transport gave me something. If I can feel/hear an improvement and I could afford it, then sign me up. I am a believer in what the Singxer and iFi devices do and feel they do it right.


It is a rabbit hole but it is easier if you know exactly what you want though.

The source is very important in both : Hardware and then Software :D, digital music is complicated. But who said Analog or Vinyl is any less complicated ?
 
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Dec 13, 2018 at 5:39 PM Post #729 of 833

buzzlulu

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Could've put a kid through college with my analog obsession lol :D

Could have put my TWINS through college :)
They are on their last year so I guess too late for that
 
Dec 13, 2018 at 5:49 PM Post #730 of 833

Failed Engineer

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Could have put my TWINS through college :)
They are on their last year so I guess too late for that

I guess analog isn't for me. Still have 7 year old twins to ship to college. It's also good I'm too lazy to remotely try analog setups. LOL

Congrats on getting twins almost graduated! There have been many days my wife and I have thought we wouldn't make it 7 years!
 
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Dec 13, 2018 at 5:56 PM Post #731 of 833

buzzlulu

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Trust me - you will make it and actually look back and miss all of the challenging times :)

For no hassle vinyl just get a Rega turntable - choose how high up the scale you want to go - and then stop. They are literally plug and play
 
Dec 13, 2018 at 11:13 PM Post #732 of 833
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Trust me - you will make it and actually look back and miss all of the challenging times :)

For no hassle vinyl just get a Rega turntable - choose how high up the scale you want to go - and then stop. They are literally plug and play
The Rega tables, especially the new ones, have a style and clean aesthetic that appeals to me. Plus I believe the arms are much better than other contenders in that range. The Planar 3 and 6 models is where the line looks to really hit its stride. I really want to play with one! If my girlfriend ever gets a budget up to say $1-2K for her first deck (she's curious and interested lol), it's going to be hard to recommend anything other than a Rega, or maybe a Clearaudio Concept - and below that range, I don't feel like anything's a "keeper", besides a good score on a vintage/refurbished deck. But I do worry about teaching her proper stylus care...
 
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Dec 16, 2018 at 11:58 AM Post #733 of 833

songmic

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After having owned the KGSSHV Carbon for a couple months, I would like to chime in my opinions. First and foremost, an obligatory photo is in order.

SInq8qu.jpg


Simply put, the Carbon rekindled my long-lost love for electrostats. This is without a doubt the best electrostatic amp/headphone combo I've owned, and arguably the best headphone system I've heard to date.

Now, for some context...

My first electrostatic experience was nearly 10 years ago, at an audio show where I stood in line to listen to the venerated Sennheiser Orpheus. This was out of whim and curiostiy; how would the world's most expensive headphone sound like? I had initially attended the exhibition to listen to stereo loudspeakers, and had virtually zero experience with head-fi. Yet, it was this revelatory 10-minute session that decisively converted me to a headphile. My profile avatar says it all.

However, as I listened to more and more headphones, I found myself becoming detached to electrostats. Not because they were expensive, but they just didn't have the bass impact, oomph, viscerality, PRaT--curse myself for using this term--and toe-tapping factor of a well-implemented dynamic system. They were too polite and ethereal sounding in general for my tastes. I got to listen to the Orpheus again at an audio shop later, but the experience was far more underwhelming than what I had originally remembered. I was excited when the SR-009 (a.k.a. Omega 3, or fish oil) was released, but that excitement soon turned into a major disappointment when I realized it was a unnaturally brighter and more expensive version of the SR-007 (a.k.a. Omega 2) being advertised as more high-end.

After making one of the worst mistakes in my hobby, i.e. buying the Woo Audio WES, I eventually settled for HeadAmp BHSE. It was, at the time, the best electrostatic amp available in the market that money could buy, without going into DIY territory. And I did really enjoy it, especially with the SR-007 MK1, as it was the best electrostatic setup I had heard in terms of technicalities while sounding acceptable tonality-wise. Neither too bright nor dark, just right with a hint of organic warmth.

However, my love didn't last forever, because even the BHSE/SR-007 MK1 left a lot to be desired in the bass and tactility departments. I eventually ended up selling the whole system and started building a dedicated dynamic setup, making my way up to the Eddie Current Studio/HD650 (modded) and Zana Deux Super/Utopia as the best sounding headphone systems I've owned.

And a couple months ago, again on a whim, I sold everything and contacted Birgir (a.k.a. Spritzer) of Mjolnir Audio for his best electrostatic amp. I ended up with the regular, not CC (Certified Crazy) version of KGSSHV Carbon, which had not existed when I had given up my love for stats years ago. He also told me that while SR-007 MK1 was superior sounding th SR-007 MK2 many years ago, the latest MK2 underwent changes and improvements that made it much better sounding, especially with his Blu Tack port mod in place. So I also jumped at a SR-007A, carefully performed the mod per his instructions, and gave them a listen. And boy was I relieved that I made the right choice.

The Carbon/007A (port modded) addressed every issue I had in regard to bass with stats in general. As Birgir assured me with confidence, the Carbon delivered the best bass out of any electrostatic amp I've experienced. Had it been a blind test, I wouldn't have guessed that this was bass coming out a thin electrostatic membrane. Another aspect that impressed me, as many have already pointed out, was how expansive the soundstage was. Although I didn't have the BHSE around for a side-by-side comparison, I don't remember the BHSE throwing such a holographic soundstage, if anything it had a more intimate sonic presentation. This was somewhat counterintuitive because reflecting on my past experience with dynamic systems, amps with tubes in them (be it OPT, OTL or even tube-SS hybrid) tend to have a deeper/wider soundstage than their pure SS counterparts in the similar price league. This is why I tended to prefer tube amps in general, but this was clearly not the case here, and more surprising given the fact that the BHSE is $1-2K more expensive (depending on the pot).

I'm not saying the BHSE is all-around inferior to Carbon. While I found the BHSE somewhat too polite for my tastes, it had a more natural and organic tone that is less fatiguing and pleasurable to the ear in the long run. The Carbon, on the other hand, sounds quite dynamic but does sound a tad bright overall even when paired with SR-007, and being exposed to its relatively aggressive sound for hours does make listening fatigue kick in. If only the BHSE had Carbon's bass, or the Carbon had BHSE's warmer tonality... but I guess we can't always get what we want.

Still, taking everything into consideration, I find the Carbon to be a superior amp overall for my preferences. The BHSE made me miss dynamic headphones, but the Carbon won't. Right now I'm driving the Carbon with Yggdrasil A2, but perhaps a more forgiving source may mitigate some of that ever-so-slight harshess in the upper registers and extend my fatigue-free listening period.

I cannot comment on the T2 because I haven't heard it, but I would definitely love to someday.
 
Dec 16, 2018 at 9:58 PM Post #735 of 833

songmic

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So which serial numbers are we talking about when you say "the latest MK2 underwent improvments" ? Thanks

The latest MK2 improvement (a.k.a MK2.9) actually seem to have been implemented sometime during 2014-2015. I bought a brand new unit produced in 2018, but any MK2 that was purchased new in 2016 or later should guarantee being the latest revision.

For some reason, it is not possible to tell the revision from the serial no. anymore. When I bought mine, the serial no. was actually SZ2-xxxx, which at first glance implies that it is even before the MK2.5 (the previous inferior sounding version), which was produced before 2011 and had the serial SZ3-xxxx. I asked STAX about this and they told me that the serial no. no longer reflects the revision, and that I got the so-called MK2.9 produced in 2018.
 

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