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Stax SR-009: Best Headphone Ever Made? - Head-Fi TV, Episode 008

Discussion in 'Head-Fi Network & Industry News' started by jude, Jun 28, 2011.
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  1. Alghazanth


    Quote:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. earfanatic
    I am actually going to buy one of these.
    I do not care the price.
    I mean 20-30 years from now these must be an affordabe pair of headphones right? [​IMG]
    If it is the best earphones ever made in 2011, then it will be good enough for me in 2041 too. [​IMG]
     
  3. Alghazanth


    Quote:
    There is no such thing as the "Best" HEADphones ever made. It's all personal taste once you're up to the flagships. Most, if not all, people will tell you the SR-009 is superior to pretty much everything, but I know it's signature doesn't fit my musical taste as well as some other cans.If your tastes fit the high-end Stax signature though, you're in for a hell of a treat.
     
  4. earfanatic
     
    Quote:
     
    I do not know yet. We will see in 30 years! [​IMG]
     
  5. AudioRook
    Great review, Jude!
     
  6. KingLocal
    I am am looking to downsize a speaker rig to headphones--I am at my desk all day and so almost never listen to my speaker rig.  I have heard Stax at shows and such, and was impressed.  But, considering what I can sell my speakers for, I could EITHER get a pair of O2s and a very high-end headphone amp, OR get the 009s and a more modest amp (e.g. 717); I simply cannot afford the 009s and a top-tier amp--as Jude suggests (though many have opined that the 009 is more forgiving of amps than the O2s).  So, my question: would I be better off with the top-tier cans and a good amp or a mega-amp and some very good cans?  Given the difficulty of seeking out high-end can/amp combinations for demo., any thoughts and/or suggestions would be very, very welcome.  Thanks.  BTW, I love the Head-Fi video podcasts, they are a super addition to a great site!  Please, keep up the good work.
     
  7. Lunatique


    Quote:

    Personally, if I were in your shoes, I would just get the LCD-2 and use standard pro audio headphone amp. I really don't feel the expensive Stax rigs are so much better that their prices are justified. I also don't believe that expensive amps are justified because they really don't sound significantly better than just standard $100 pro audio monitor/headphone controllers/amps. Will you hear any differences? Yeah, probably. But are those differences worth spending the extra thousands of dollars? For me, hell no. The differences are not that dramatic at all in terms of overall sonic enjoyment. The money you save could be spend on so many other things in life.
     
     
     
  8. KingLocal

    Quote:
     

    ... an interesting take,Lunatique, one I will certainly consider.  
     
    I have not heard the LCD-2, but I have been very favorably impressed with the Hifi-Mans that are often mentioned in the same breath.  I am going to buy a Smyth Realizer (I am waiting on some revisions that I was promised but that seem to have been delayed, no surprise there); I am not sure whether Smyth will sell you a Realizer without a Stax rig.  After speaking to them in person, the best answer I could get was: "You do have to buy the Stax 'package' with our processor... except for when you don't."  Anyway, although they say that their processor will work with any cans, they strongly prefer the Staxs.  So, anyway, if I do have to go the Stax rout....
     
    As for hearing (big) differences between amps, I am not at all familiar with headphones in the way I am with speaker rigs (which is why I am posting questions here), but I have heard similar claims about AC cables, digital front-ends, isolation shelves, etc. (e.g. they make no/little difference), and have found through experience that although the differences they yield may be small, these can be all the difference between a convincing and engaging system and one that is far less so.  Again, maybe the same is not true for head-amps, but I am hesitant to give away sound quality....  
     
     
  9. arnesto
    Lunatique, I hope you don't take this the wrong way or anything like that.
     
    But don't you own the Stax SR007 headphones? If it was worth it for you, why don't you think it will be worth it for someone else?
     
    I think anyone reading this tread should first listen to the SR009, and if you can afford it. Go for it. Life if too short to listen to music from inferior headphones.


     
    Quote:


     
     
  10. wind016
    Don't settle for less. Go with Stax. They're like sex.
     
  11. Lunatique


    Quote:
     
    Yes, and I think about selling the Stax rig all the time, but I don't really need the money at the moment and I don't mind having a different flavor around in my studio just for the sake of kicks and giggles. Right now the Stax rig is just an luxury item to me--one I rarely even turn on (maybe once a couple of months, sometimes longer).
     
    Before comparing the 007mk2 to the LCD-2, I was so in love with the 007mk2, because I originally had the D7000 as my main headphone and the 007mk2 just completely destroyed the D7000. But once I got the LCD-2, everything changed. After extensively comparing the LCD-2 to my other headphones and my speakers, my definitive conclusion is that the LCD-2 does everything I need it to do once I apply my custom EQ curve to it. Other headphones can be EQ'd too, but the starting point of the LCD-2 is so good that it just gets closer to my ideal of neutral/accurate, while other headphones, even with EQ, are still a bit behind.
     
    I did so much intensive A/B comparison and EQ comparisons between the LCD-2 and the 007mk2 that I know their sonic signatures like the back of my hands, and the 007mk2 really doesn't bring anything more to the table in terms of actual enjoyment. Its ethereal elegance, speed, and treble detail are all good things, but it's not like the LCD-2 are bad in those departments--it's just that they are more exaggerated on the 007mk2. The LCD-2 is so full-bodied, solid, detailed, and natural sounding that you just can't find anything really missing, and if you it to be a bit brighter like some people, just EQ it, and it'll be pretty much perfect. When the 007mk2 is EQ'd, it still cannot convey the same sense of gravity because electrostatic drivers just have that lightness in its sense of weight. From all the comments about the 009 I've read, it too cannot escape that inherent sonic signature of the electrostatic driver. It's not a "fault," but simply the basic characteristic of the electrostatic technology. None of my other headphones can reach LCD-2's quality even when EQ'd--that's why it is the king of all my headphones (but it still is just a headphone and cannot compete against my Klein + Hummel O 300D's in terms dimensionality, visceral impact, and overall sense of engagement).
     
    I'm a pretty pragmatic guy. I never wanted to "collect" headphones. I might spend a lot of time and money to find what I'm looking for, but it was always with the goal of finding "the one" that I can be totally satisfied with, and along the way I ended up with more headphones than I need. I could sell them all tomorrow and keep just the LCD-2, and I wouldn't miss any of them (but I'll keep the M50 because I need at least one good closed-back cans for doing tracking). I haven't sold them simply because I don't need the money at the moment and I enjoy having different flavors to double-check my mixes and masters on.
     
     
     
     
     
     
  12. wind016
     
    Quote:


    True words, but when I auditioned the LCD2, it didn't move me as much as the Stax O2 mk1.  I wanted something that sounds special and the Stax effortless sound is it. The O2 mk1 is the most relaxing, non-fatiguing headphone I've ever heard and to be as detailed as it is, is a wonderful plus. I have a similar feeling about headphones and I'm just going end with the O2 mk1. An O2 mk1 rig doesn't cost much more than an LCD2 rig.
     
  13. arnesto
    I thought I wanted the Stax 007 headphones until I listened to them. They were a dissapointment to me.
     
    I just felt they didn't have the slam I was used to with dynamic headphones.
     
    But I really liked the Orpheus headphones and if the 009 headphones are better?
     
    I have to listen to them first to know, but if they are better than the Orpheus, then I want to get a pair.
     
    Just my two cents.
     
     
  14. wind016

    Quote:

    What is different about the Orpheus and slam? I think slam also equates to fatigue.
     
     
  15. arnesto

    The Orpheus just had a different presentation. For example, the sound of cymbals had a sparkle to it. It didn't sound flat, maybe slam was the wrong word used to describe the sound. 
     
    I just felt the 007 sounded flat and boring. I'm just trying to describe it the best as I can. I think maybe the proportion of bass, mid range, and highs didn't sound realistic to me.  
     
    Quote:


     
     
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