stax headphones question
May 3, 2002 at 6:26 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

zspradlin

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I was wondering about Stax headphones (electrostatics), are you required to have a certain type of headphone amp to use them or will something like an MG Head OTL work? I was wondering because the other day a guy I know was telling me that he used to own some Stax headphones and how he really liked them. How to the Stax stack up to the Senn. 600's. Right now I've got AKG-501's and Beyerdynamics 831's with an MG Head OLT. Any opinions????
 
May 3, 2002 at 6:55 AM Post #2 of 6

TimSchirmer

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Stax normally use their own amps. I would not recommend anything before the lambda nova series.
 
May 3, 2002 at 7:14 AM Post #3 of 6

DanG

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Z, electrostatic headphones require far more power than a dynamic headphone amp like the MG Head DT can provide. My guess is that you could use electrostatic amps from other companies if they have the same connectors (which is not always the case -- there's not a standard as with the 1/4" jack of dynamic headphones), but your best bet would likely be to get a Stax-manufactured headphone amp to go with the headphones.

Depending on which headphones you do get from Stax, certain Stax headphone amps might not cut it, either. Also, different Stax headphones can have characteristics varying enough that you might love their top-of-the-line headphones, the Omega II, but hate something lower down, like the Stax Basic or Stax Classic headphones. Some Stax headphones have been accused of having treble "etch," which I think has to do with sharp trebles. I've only heard the Stax Omega II with the SRM-007t tube amplifier but the combination was wonderful. It's expensive, though, costing several thousand dollars.

Unless you're willing to make such a big jump, I'd suggest you make a more moderate change like buying a different dynamic headphone amp or maybe the Sennheiser HD600 for your MG Head DT.
smily_headphones1.gif


Good luck!
 
May 3, 2002 at 3:10 PM Post #5 of 6

joelongwood

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Earlier Stax models used an adapter box that hooked up to the speaker terminals on the back of an amp or receiver. I've read that this is the weakest link in the chain. However, right now I have an early (1982) model SR-5N hooked up to my early 1980s Carver Receiver (Model 6250). To my ears, the sound, particularly in the midrange area, is simply stunning. The speed of the 'phones is amazing........they impart a crispness and snap to guitars and cymbals that has to be heard to be believed. My dynamic 'phones, including the Grado HP-1s, and even the Etys, sound slower and a tad sluggish in comparison.
There is an excellent article posted by Shivohum in the Members' Lounge comparing dynamic and electrostatic speakers. I believe it holds true pretty much for headphones as well.
If you want to experience a little bit of what electrostatics are all about, I would recommend getting a hold of the smallest Stax made.....the SRM-001 MKII system. It comes with in-the-ear 'phones and a portable amp. While it doesn't possess the wide-frequency range or larger soundstage of its bigger siblings, it still possesses the speed and crispness in the midrange.
Some people love electrostatics for what they do........other's don't find them appealing. Only your ears can tell you. My ears have told me in no uncertain terms that electrostatics are the way to go.
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May 3, 2002 at 5:05 PM Post #6 of 6

AndreYew

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Technically speaking, electrostatic headphones require far more voltage than normal headphones, not power, with the bias voltages on Staxes and Senns being in the 500 to 800 Volt range. That's why tubes are such a natural application for electrostatic amps.

--Andre
 

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