Old Stax Have Potential?
Mar 4, 2006 at 3:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

TomH

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First, thank you all for an informative and enjoyable forum.

I own two pair of older Stax cans, an SR-Lambda S/N 05808 and an SR-Lambda Professional S/N 32777, each with its original SRD-7 adapter. I'm getting back into headphone listening and am wondering if these are worth hanging on to and what their potential is with dedicated amplification. I've tried running them off my Rotel separates and HK Citation I/II tube system and they work and sound reasonably good, but have never heard an electrostat with a purpose-built amp to have a reference point.

Thanks,

Tom
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 3:29 AM Post #2 of 15

Jahn

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Welcome to Head-fi, sorry about your wallet! I use a dedicated electrostatic amp for my Lambda Pros, but it's as old as the cans are, hehe! Here's a link to my SQ impressions of this ancient rig- It sounds Darn Good for a 1984 System!
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 3:31 AM Post #3 of 15

Tachikoma

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Lol, if you ever tire of your stax lambda pros, I'll be waiting
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Mar 4, 2006 at 3:45 AM Post #5 of 15

gpalmer

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I ws at one meet where the Lambda Pros stood up to the newer Stax very well, in fact at least one person preferred them.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 3:49 AM Post #6 of 15

Jahn

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Mar 4, 2006 at 4:05 AM Post #7 of 15

smeggy

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If they still work as when new then you have a very nice headphone. I would suggest getting a dedicated amp for them. You can buy used Stax amps like the 313 for a little over $300 and for that price it's a very good sound inded for a (relatiely) minimal outlay. I say go for it. Wallet be damned!
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*edit*
there is a Stax SRM1 Mk2 on the forums right now for $400 Aus. (~$300-ish + P&P)

http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=166763
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 4:23 AM Post #8 of 15

Hirsch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gpalmer
I ws at one meet where the Lambda Pros stood up to the newer Stax very well, in fact at least one person preferred them.


That would likely be me
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In fact, I went out an bought one after hearing it at that meet.

I do think that the Lambda Pro is a better headphone than the SR-404, which is the current top of the Lambda series. The only Stax headphone that can match or exceed it in terms of performance is the Omega II, IMO, and then only with some serious amplification. The OII has a silky smoothness that the Lambda Pro can't match, but it also has that smoothness when the music isn't supposed to be smooth.

The SRD-7 Pro is good for what it is. If you have a good speaker amp in front of it, that might be all that you need for the Lambda Pro. Note: if your SRD-7 is not the Pro version, with five-pin plugs, you won't get anywhere near the performance possible with the Lambda Pro.

That said, something like the Stax SRM-006t or SRM-007t will make the Lambda Pro sing, if it's in good condition. If you're going to go higher up the amp chain, I'd recommend considering an Omega II.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 4:39 AM Post #9 of 15

TomH

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This is very helpful. Thank you for the responses.

The SRD-7 is the professional high bias version. As far as I can tell, the unit and the phones work as new. They have not had heavy use as I have historically been a loudspeaker listener thanks to the HK stuff and vinyl.

Are they likely to have changed much with the passage of time? Are they as durable as dynamic designs?

I'd love to learn more about the design, materials and manufacturing methods, it is an intriguing technology.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 2:49 PM Post #11 of 15

trbl

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TomH
Are they likely to have changed much with the passage of time? Are they as durable as dynamic designs?


The fragile parts of the Staxes are the foam covering inside the earcup in front of the protective screening and the headband. The foam tends to disintegrate pretty quickly, and this doesn't really cause any problems. The headband on the original Lambdas was a poor design that put a lot of stress on the two sharp angled bends. If you're unlucky as I was, one day you'll get a clean break there when putting the headphones on or off. This happened to me the first time after about 8 years steady use, and a little superglue fixed things right up. After another 12 years, it broke again, at the same spot, and could not be mended again. Stax no longer has the old style headbands for repairs, so be warned.

Other than this, if the Staxes are kept clean and not abused, they can last a long time and sound good as new (making them still among the best available headphones even now, 20 years after they were made). They do sound best with a good dedicated electrostatic amp as opposed to one of the transformer based adapters that plug into a power amplifier. I'd recommend trying to get a good used Stax SRM-1 Mk 2 amp. Those were what shipped with the Lambda Pros as the top of the line system back in the day, and that's what I've happily used with my Lambda Pros for the past 20 years. The higher maximum output voltage of the SRM-1 Mk 2 compared with most of Stax's later (and current) amplifiers makes it a good choice.

Because I liked my old Staxes so much, and they performed better for me than a new Stax Signature II system, I ended up getting a second set on EBay as a means of dealing with the broken headband. So I actually have a spare SRM-1 Mk 2 amp right now, as well as a good set of earspeakers with a broken headband. I've thought of putting these up for sale on Head-Fi but haven't gotten around to it yet.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 3:50 PM Post #12 of 15

Lazarus Short

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...on the amp thing. If you want your Stax to really sing, power them with a driver which takes line-level input rather than speaker-level input. My SR-5's run off an SRD-3S which operates off my DVD player, and is single-ended triode itself. Sounds great! If your present driver takes signal from a power amp's speaker outs, think about using a class-A amp. The Yamaha M-35 would be perfect, they're low powered, small, light, CHEAP, and they sound better than they have any natural right to. I think they're out of production, you'll find 'em cheap on eBay. Mine replaced a $1200 tube amp in my main system.

Laz
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Mar 4, 2006 at 7:49 PM Post #13 of 15

TomH

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Well, I feel very fortunate as it seems a good system can be put together with these phones. The headbands and even the thin foam are intact and they function perfectly. A mint condition SRM-1 MKII sounds like the place to start the now inevitable wallet pain, then some experimentation with the SRD-7 and various high quality smallish power amplifiers.

I notice the non-professional Lambda sounds good, too - not as fast and a little more lush but the same kind of frequency extension and tonal balance.

As financially painful as this little hobby may be, it must be preferable to going down the loudspeaker road to ruin - starting with the architecturally and acoustically correct home with listening room.

Thanks again
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 9:13 PM Post #14 of 15

swt61

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TomH
First, thank you all for an informative and enjoyable forum.

I own two pair of older Stax cans, an SR-Lambda S/N 05808 and an SR-Lambda Professional S/N 32777, each with its original SRD-7 adapter. I'm getting back into headphone listening and am wondering if these are worth hanging on to and what their potential is with dedicated amplification.
Thanks,

Tom



No they're not worth holding onto! They have no value whatsoever! I run a Stax disposal service however, and for a small fee i can properly dispose of them for you. Please reply for shipping info.
 
Mar 5, 2006 at 6:30 AM Post #15 of 15

Lloyd297

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Hirsch said:
I do think that the Lambda Pro is a better headphone than the SR-404, which is the current top of the Lambda series.
Interesting! When I bought my 404's I was a bit disappointed and wondered if they were as good as the Lambda Pro's, at that time a fading memory.

One thing: I'd prefer to dispense with my Stax 006t amp driving the 404's but don't have the requisite pro adapter box. The SR-XIII phones sound superior driven by the Nuforce RF9/SRD7 than they do through the 006t. I assume the 404's would likewise benefit.
 

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