- Mar 21, 2017
The word Stax is originally derived from the word ‘electrostatic.’
Tokyo Audio Fair 1959, Stax introduced the world’s first electrostatic headphones. The SR1
Stax founder Naotake Hayashi compares his ear-speakers to the resolution to hi-end loud-speakers as he puts it. The whole point of Stax is to have a loud-Speaker in the form of a headphone. Hence the word Ear-speaker coined by Naotake Hayashi. Mr. Hayashi’s main goal was to get the most transparent and highest resolution possible. He believes it can only be achieved through electrostatic ear-speakers.
Electrostatics are a whole different animal to the more common dynamic/planar headphones. Conventional dynamic headphones use a coil inside a magnet to create an electromagnetic force and vibrate the coil, which is attached to the cone, moving the cone in and out.
Electrostatic ear-speakers work using an ultra-light film. A static electric charge is applied to the film (without touching it), and when audio voltages are applied, the static cling and repulsion cause the film to move. This means that no energy is stored, and there are no resonances, leading to a superior, less distorted sound.
Electrostatic ear-speakers require high-voltage amps, around 580V to be precise.
Out of all the ear-speakers, Stax created one ear-speaker to ruled as supreme, and that was the Omega, which is technically their highest achievement.
■ Price 180,000 yen
■ Model Electrostatec type
■ Diaphragm film thickness 1.5 micron
■ Reproduction frequency band 6-41,000Hz
■ Allowable input
■ Sensitivity 99dB / 100Vr.ms
■ Code 2.5m Parallel wide PC-OCC
■ Weight 380g ( (Code not included)
■ Release 1993
■ End of sale Around 1995
■ Units: #650 (Most likely less. Highest model found # 609)
STAX SR-Ω Build: Earpad were made out of high-class artificial leather. The headband strap was made out of velour fabric. The material over here is not that great. The cable is a flat ribbon comprising solid-class conductors, made of aluminum alloy.
The cable is detachable. It is the first electrostatic Ear-Speaker to have detachable cables. The removable cables was not a easy task but easy enough to do still. But it is still detachable.
The biggest con for the build is it pathetic cheap plastic Lambda Headband that is attached to cups
STAX SR-Ω Driver: The Omega driver is 90mm across. This was one of the largest driver ever to be put into a Ear-Speaker/Headphone compared to its predecessors . Inside the Omega driver is a resin frame which has a cartwheel that supports the driver. And a gold plated copper mesh was gel to it. There was also rings that supported the diaphragm in place and everything else including the dust cover was put inside a resin framework inside the cups.
STAX SR-Ω Sound: The Omega is a natural, neutral sounding ear-speaker. Its has an extremely huge sound stage. It is very spacious and airy. The deepness and far reaching of it sound is still able to perfectly display instrumental accurately. The Omega has all the resolution and clarity of any modern headphone. It is not muddy or shy from detail. Separation on the Omega is best to none. This has some of the best imaging, separation and detail.
The treble is extremely on the top side of things but not too harsh. This can be bothersome to some, but I do not notice any sibilance. Because of this I find it smooth with precise detail accuracy. It can be overall fatiguing but to me it is non-fatiguing and somewhat very gentle. The Omega also displays a very transparent quality to it. These are somewhat similar to Abyss headphones. But I will prefer the OMEGA of course! Dynamic matches that of the 1991 Orpheus. Details great with the sound and that's it only. Very enjoyable and musical.
STAX OMEGA VS. ALL
Next is a small comparison of all the legendary headphones. I hope everyone understands that we are talking at the absolute pinnacle of headphones here.
Omega to the HE90, I consider the HE90 an all-rounder headphone. Excellent in everything. But can sound boring and dull compare to the sparkly high energy OMEGA. The OMEGA is somewhat a detail monster and the HE90 is more laidback and soft. A HD650 type. If you just own the HE90 and do not have the OMEGA, you can consider the HE90 king and never understand the steroids the OMEGA is on.
I think I prefer both on different days. Both wins!
OMEGA to the 007MK1? One of my favorite headphones ever is 007MK1. Moreover, I will pick the 007MK1 over the OMEGA. The 007MK1 to me is just thick and juicy and full of sound and warmness I enjoy. I get more pleasure with the 007MK1. The 007MK1 is similar to the HE90. Maybe I prefer the HE90 over the 007MK1, but they are just too good to figure out which one at times. But I notice the HE90 is boring (mellow) compare to the Omega; 'that means the Omega is better right?' It comes down to bright vs warm signature.
OMEGA to the HE AUDIO JADE, the notorious JADE. The JADE has some of the best imaging, separation, and detail retrieval I ever heard. It is quite astonishing how good it is for what it is. The detail and resolution is there but relaxed and warm. The Omega has all that but with more energy and sparkle. The JADE is more of relaxing and soft sound to compared to the hyper OMEGA.
Overall, the best way to describe the OMEGA for people that might understand; it is an HD800 and Utopia fused together. It has all the resolution, detail, accuracy and soundstage. It is not intimate like the Utopia. It is wide and open like the HD800. It is controlled like the Utopia.