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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. AnakChan Moderator
    I've tried the Abyss twice & had conversations with Arnaud & other friends about it before. I was one of those who considered switching over from the Stax to the Abyss. But what Arnaud said to me was right - although the Abyss excels in other ways, it doesn't have the ethereal qualities of the Stax.

    If anything it'll be more ideal to have both to compliment each other than to have one replacing the other.
    baronkatz likes this.
  2. eric65
    If I understand correctly, it is better to have the two headphone (SR-009 + Abyss) that would be complementary.
    A big snag, however, the addition of price (10,000 + 10,000 US dollars, with high-end amplifiers that go well with); It starts to cost very much this "completeness".
    Many people will have to make a choice: the SR-009 or the Abyss (and not, fault of sufficient financial means, SR-009 and the Abyss); It remains to define which of these two headphone is the most deserving...
  3. baronkatz
    This is down to personal opinion as I have heard people who like one or the other better or both equally as well but sonic qualities aside, the build quality, design, and comfort of the STAX is WAYYYY better than the Abyss. For the price that they charge for the Abyss they could have at least worked out a decent design and comfort, etc... and not focused solely on the sound. That's like having a car that handles as well as a Ferrari or Lamborghini and is just as fast, but looks like an old Volvo from the 80s... An old Volvo with metal fold out chairs for comfort instead of luxurious leather Recaro seats... This alone makes the STAX a better choice, for I could not be caught dead seen with the Abyss and if you plan to listen for more than a half hour, then the STAX wins there too...
  4. eric65
    To go in your way,  I know two people preferring to have the Abyss and the SR-009 instead of having only one of these two headphones.
    Superfred21 who just bought the Abyss wants preserved its 009
    Meloman57 who just bought the Abyss had to project (and projects always?) to also buy SR-009.

    Once more, the main problem comes from the cost of this double acquisition.
    So much the better for those who can afford it.
    Personally, it's more the problem of my big head and the absence of adjustment of the Abyss in height (and limited to 2 cm in width), not to mention his particular aesthetic, that is the main obstacle to such double acquisition.

    Otherwise, having to spend € 10,000 to have a sound different, but not necessarily better than that provided by my Stax (009 + RKV amp) system and, in addition, which satisfies me fully, makes me think : you sometimes need to know keep reason; the price to pay for the novelty seems (for me) very unreasonable...
    baronkatz likes this.
  5. elton7033
    i just opened a classified and try to look for some kind people to sell me a pair of second hand abyss i think 4900usd will be the correct price for a second hand. hope i have luck.
  6. AnakChan Moderator
    It's a pity. If you asked this question a month ago, Naras had one for sale in the classifieds...slightly less than what you quoted above even if I'm not mistaken.
    Yes cost is a huge factor and that's where it's hard for one to give one up for the other 'cos as baronkatz had alluded to it boils down to personal preference. As such the reason for my original post was that I disagreed with you that the Abyss is "competition" to the Stax.
    So for me, as much as I'd like to have an Abyss, despite hearing it twice, it's not enough to let go of my Stax rig.
    I'm surprised Arnaud hasn't jumped onto this yet so (and I could be out of line) speaking on his behalf, I don't think Arnaud isn't fazed at all with the introduction and existence of the Abyss as being "a threat" to the SR-009. At least this is the impression I get in my past conversations with him.
    P.S. BTW, do you know i met superfred21 last year :D? We had a Stax amp & DAC shootout last year in Tokyo. It was his reassurance on the Electra that made me feel confident about my purchase of that amp (pre-delivered at that time).
    baronkatz likes this.
  7. elton7033
    too bad, gonna wait for a nice guy to give me a nice price, i am going to lower the price abit on my classified XD 
  8. eric65
    Hello AnakChan,
    Personally, I have lived the introduction (and promotion) in France of the Abyss as a 'threat' to the headphones Stax SR-009 in the sense where two people in France (which I had the name) have, for the first person, put in closet the SR-009 and to swear more than by the Abyss, saying high and strong that the Abyss was the best headphone in production to the point that (almost) everybody in France is convinced of this fact, and that the second person has purchased an Abyss (probably influenced by first-person), whereas it had initially the project to buy a SR-009.

     In the United States (and on Head-Fi) the opinion seem more shared (and nuanced) concerning the respective merits of these two headphones.
    P.S. : To return to the Stax SR-009 headphone  (your 009) "the best headphone ever made" (for some but not for all... [​IMG]), what do you think of your upgrade of amplifier, passing from the Stax SRM-727 amp at the Eddie Current Electra.
    What concrete improvements have you noticed?
  9. arnaud Contributor
    My opinion in a nutshell:

    1. I heard the abyss under pretty nasty conditions (who in his right mind uses an ipod line out to drive a Lau/abyss pair?). As expected, it was thus meh at best.

    2. Apparently, I failed to read the noticed when I tried it, was trying to make a seal but there was no way to adjust the system for that to happen (I must be falling outside the average population head size the can was designed for).

    3. I find the can ugly looking and too expensive for me to consider it a complement to my rig (considering I'd also need to get an amp...). Maybe the lower models coming will be more attractive to me (but I just don't imagine myself with two full blown amps at home though).

    4. My listening impressions are likely skewed because I had (and still have to some extent) strong reservations against various part of the design including the single stator, light damping applied to orthos (i just don't like many of what I feel are "underdamped" orthos that have been released in the past year, alpha dog before the mod, lcd-x for instance ). Some people refuse to hear about objective stuff, I probably read too much into theories and measurements :wink:.

    5. Let's face it, I seem to be an incurable stat fanboy. I have been swayed by the stat sound for a few years now. The 009 has put a damper on my headphone quest, except for portable gear maybe. I don't perceive the lack of body some find with it and absolutely crave the resolved, low distortion sound and natural voices & treble. I have an omega 2 mk1 when the mood strikes for different / warmer sound. Really, there's limited room for another product.

    My comment on the 009 being out of fashion over on the french forum was just humour, maybe that was not very good joke eric :wink:.
    baronkatz likes this.
  10. eric65
    I know appreciate your humor to the second degree, Arnaud, on the French forum; Ali Pacha also.[​IMG]
    Otherwise, very good response on your part on this thread; I appreciate.[​IMG]
  11. eric65
    Arnaud, I fear the worst (for the Stax SR-009) during the mini "CanJam" organized in Paris on 15 March where the Stax SR-009 will face the Abyss. 

    This confrontation may not be equitable for Stax because one side will be a 009 amplified by a 'simple' SRM-727, and on the other an Abyss amplified by an RKV Audiovalve mk3, all in a noisy environment where the noise levels are pushed upward, which will not benefit to the Stax headphone listening used with the 727 (which may lose consistency in being less well (under) amplified) Unlike the Abyss which will be when to him over amplified. 

    Pity that the 009 is not used directly on the RKV (in my own way) or, in a more orthodox manner, with a BHSE (or an Electra), it would be more rewarding for the Stax SR-009 whose potential, of confession of Frederic, is flanged by the Stax amps currently in production (SRM 323 S, 727 and 007t 2))

    Other hand, will have to play the screwdriver to adapt the headphone Abyss to the physiognomy of each head of participants. Small (and large) heads, abstain! [​IMG] 
  12. arnaud Contributor
    Considering the vendor and distributor sell both the stax and abyss, i wouldn't put too much thought into this conspiracy theory where the 009 wouldn't be shown under the best light possible. I guess it's more a question of logistics as they can't bring in all the gear possible...

    In any case, who cares about the outcome, this isn't going to replace your own ears. Maybe it's time to stop rambling about this supposed 009/abyss war ...
  13. eric65
    OK, sorry, no war, no commercial interest, the 009 will be presented in Paris in all objectivity with what there is better (just like the Abyss) and everyone will have an objective view of the exposed materials during such a meeting. "Everything bathes"; so, expect returns, and we'll see...
    P.S.: the opinion of Igor interests me as a sound engineer.
    Bis P.S. :
    Not 'conspiracy theory' of course, but the simple fact that the 009 is not used his best with a 727 with a noisy environment, without counting that qualitatively speaking the RKV is better than the 727 (I speak knowingly); I consider that the 009 starting with a disadvantage for an inevitable 'friend confrontation' with the Abyss. Thats all.
  14. Jonathan66100
    Hi Eric : ) Hi Arnaud : ) Hi All : ) 
    Personally, seen the pleasure that my Stax headphone give me, I board not want to try another headphones. 
    Is it ( it's :p )  good or bad? I do not know ... 
    All I know, is that I take a great pleasure to listen to my system every night.
  15. eric65
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