Moving Into the Electrostatic High-End
Nov 16, 2008 at 7:01 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

Dutchess of York

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Posts
447
Likes
10
Over two months of the summer obsessively checking the FS forums, I was finally able to piece together my first electrostatic system. I wound up with a set of Lambda Pros, a NuForce Icon DAC/amp, and a SRD-7 pro. This system produces some beautiful music, but while their detail blows me away after every listen, I seem to reach for my HD650s significantly more. I always feel like there is something missing from the Lambdas, but I cant put my finger on it.

So, my question to the high end forum is, what electrostatic equipment would fill the void that the pros are leaving? Can I go straight to the O2s on this setup? Would it be cheaper to upgrade the amp w/ srd, or go to a dedicated stax amp (with o2 or other)? Also, I do still love the signature of the senns, but I dont think I could now live without the detail the electrostatics give me; would it be a better idea to go balanced on a dynamic rig?

basically, what would be the most direct route to sonic bliss? (within reason guys, im a college student with a college budget that has no right to be posting in the high end forum)

Hopefully I can reach true 'summit-fi' status within a few yeas, but what would be a good stepping stone for my setup?
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 12:26 AM Post #2 of 14

Zuglufttier

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 20, 2003
Posts
234
Likes
11
If you like the sound that electrostatic headphones produce, I'd say go for the O2!

No headphone is perfect and you may even want to keep some dynamic phones once you have a O2 at home
wink.gif


It's just too easy to have more than one at a time...
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 1:06 AM Post #3 of 14

gp_hebert

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 15, 2007
Posts
1,059
Likes
10
I'd say keep the Lambda Pro and the SRD-7 Pro and upgrade the integrated amp to something better. Using a Nuforce Icon to power your Stax is like using a CMoy or a Hornet with HD650, it works and give you enough volume, but...That way, if you get into speaker-fi, you'll already have a good amp.

Another option would be to get a dedicated Stax amp, but good ones don't come cheap. Or jump on an O2 Mk1 deal if you can find one. It all depends on how much you're prepared to spend.
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 1:53 AM Post #4 of 14

powertoold

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Posts
1,594
Likes
40
I love my Lambda Pros but mostly for digital classical and jazz recordings. For everything else, I prefer my custom IEMs for more bass quantity.

Also, I agree with gp-hebert. The amp driving your Lambdas is important! I'd try to get a hold of the SRM-717, then work my way up to the O2. Of course, I'm sure you don't want to go that route as it is expensive.
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 2:24 AM Post #5 of 14

Dutchess of York

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Posts
447
Likes
10
Expensive is ok, basically I am looking to make an investment in my system that I can build around. I like the qualities of the lambdas and the HD650s, and have heard the O2mk1s described as a fusion of the two.

I am curious if I will be highly dissatisfied if I buy the O2s with my rig, then upgrade the amp.

What single peice of equipment (or equipments) should I invest with a budget of $1500.
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 3:11 AM Post #6 of 14

Ricey20

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Posts
1,421
Likes
21
Quote:

Originally Posted by gp_hebert /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'd say keep the Lambda Pro and the SRD-7 Pro and upgrade the integrated amp to something better. Using a Nuforce Icon to power your Stax is like using a CMoy or a Hornet with HD650, it works and give you enough volume, but...That way, if you get into speaker-fi, you'll already have a good amp.

Another option would be to get a dedicated Stax amp, but good ones don't come cheap. Or jump on an O2 Mk1 deal if you can find one. It all depends on how much you're prepared to spend.



I agree, it would probably be a good idea to get a better source. Electrostatics seem to be really sensitive to what source you use. Actually its sensitive to just about everything in your setup, including interconnects. You could try the O2, but from what I've read, they do sound quite different than the Lambdas so its up to you. I'd say upgrade to a better source as well as a separate amp if you can though, as if you do get an O2, its brutal in showing the faults in a setup.
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 8:02 AM Post #7 of 14

HeadphoneAddict

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 18, 2007
Posts
17,428
Likes
791
I'm gonna be the one dissenter here then. I would change the headphones first.

I have owned the SR-Lambda Pro on two different occasions, and they are missing something. It's called a midrange. I felt they had a big midrange suckout. I have SR-Lambda (normal bias) and SR-Lambda Signature which are both much better, although when compared to the Koss ESP950 or O2 Mk2 these Lambdas are also missing some midrange presence - but nothing as bad as the Pros I had.

I find the Nuforce Icon and SRD-7 Pro still does an admirable job driving the O2 Mk2 and all my other stats for that matter, and it is especially good with my HE60 and ESP950 and SR-Lambda Signature. If the O2 are too expensive, look at getting a Koss ESP950 and having APureSound re-cable them with the Stax PC-OCC cable for an extra $250. This will still cost half what a new pair of O2 would cost, or $700 less than a used pair of O2. Since I got the Koss, I don't listen to my Lambdas (either one) unless it is with a mini-meet with someone who wants to hear them. And, the Koss and O2 both scale up and the better the amp the better they sound, but I would first try them on the amp/transformer box that you have now. I'm actually just about ready to sell the Lambda Sigs now.
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 8:42 AM Post #8 of 14

Dutchess of York

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Posts
447
Likes
10
Could anyone speculate if the Jades would be listenable on this system? Ive been slowly working my way through the thread, and finally crossed the finish line today. It sounds like there a bit power hungry but would be competitive with the 02 for 3/4 the price.
 
Nov 18, 2008 at 8:50 PM Post #9 of 14

tako_tsubo

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 1, 2007
Posts
518
Likes
10
I have to Agree with HPA...get a new phone.
With $1.5K you can upgrade your amp ( either a good tube integrated to use with the srd 7 or a used SR717) but you have to be patient for the right ones to show up on the used market. It hasn't really been picked up much by the Stax crowd but I have found the Dared MP5 or a clone, works very well( with the right tubes) with the SRD in bringing the mids out of the LP and taming the upper mid sizzle some too. Very near the SR 717 actually...and better than on a srm1mk2. Although I use my SRD 7mk2 Dared combo best with the Sigma...sounding close to the SR007 out of the srm1mk2 pro.

Or you can get new headphones/earspeakers. Of course then you have to wait for a SR007 to show up (email Craig at kuboten) or go over your price for a new O2mk2. Hey this is Headfi! Or the Jade. Lots of speculation on the Jade as only a few have heard it. It is bias'd high but it will probably sound "good enough" on the srd7/nuforce...just like the SR007 sounds"pretty good" on the SRM12mk2pro. The Jades are "bright-ish" so would speculate that their overall sound would come thru on the srd system. They would probably sound decently on a srm1mk2pro...again the 007's do. I have just ordered one so will know in a few weeks as they are backordered.
 
Nov 19, 2008 at 12:00 AM Post #10 of 14

spacemanspliff

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 19, 2005
Posts
4,050
Likes
36
The Stax Lambda normals are great for the $$. I got mine for $200 and doubt that I could do better until I hit the very top end. The Pros just are not the ticket.

I would try the normal bias stax and maybe upgrade the dac?

I am getting a Pop Pulse T40i amp for my Srd-7. Might work great. Might have an issue with noise. It is a weird amp. We'll see. At least I know that it will work great with my speakers.
 
Nov 19, 2008 at 4:22 PM Post #12 of 14

tako_tsubo

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 1, 2007
Posts
518
Likes
10
One on audiogon now!
 
Nov 19, 2008 at 5:27 PM Post #13 of 14

robm321

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Posts
7,957
Likes
198
I guess I will be the one to say stick with your HD650 and put money into it. I find the stats to be amazing and enjoyable at first but after a CD or so I switch back to dynamics and just prefer that sound.

It is good to have both, but I think if you reach for the 650s more, it is probably to your preference. I actually like the sound signature of the Lambdas better than the O2s.

That being said the O2s are better and really amazing. They aren't for everyone, but I think if your not too into the Lambdas, then stats may not be your main phone and dumping lots of money into it might be a mistake.
 
Nov 19, 2008 at 6:22 PM Post #14 of 14

krmathis

Head-Fi's Most Prolific Poster
Joined
Jan 13, 2004
Posts
34,764
Likes
76
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sony_R10 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
you shouldn't go around. Just save money for the O2 and you won't regret it. O2 is the best headphone of stax


Yeah, jump straight for one of the SR-007's. Like I did..
o2smile.gif


Quote:

Originally Posted by tako_tsubo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
One on audiogon now!


I noticed!
'lobstersan' sell a SR-007 for $1,475. Probably not too bad of a deal.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top