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STAX SR-009S new flagship electrostatic earspeakers released (with impressions)

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by padam, Apr 20, 2018.
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  1. buzzlulu
    Mine just arrived from Justin as well. My wife says I cannot open it until I pay the upcoming college tuition bills for my kids :)
    HoloSpice likes this.
  2. purk Contributor
    Folks and he is nearly 40!
    marhol, HoloSpice and mulveling like this.
  3. SeaWo|f
    I think there was work stated on this some time ago. Idk if it ever resulted in a completed design.
  4. Ali-Pacha
    Interesting. I'm among those who think 009 bass is better than 007mk1 one (needless to say 007mk2 with its vents), with more thightness, impact and extension.
    Spritzer doesn't share this thought, as most of 007 lovers.
    Very curious about more feedback on bass from 009S :)

  5. arnaud Contributor
    Interesting first impressions, bass definitely sounded cleaner on 009S vs 009 out of t8000... makes me curious to try the 009S pads on 009!
  6. Whitigir
    Cleaner is different than lighter bass though, unless Stax has thrown in their new technology that only allow Stax headphones to sound good when paired with Stax made amplifiers, because so far bass light is only from non Stax brand-amplifiers.....joking ofcourse LOL
  7. astrostar59
    Agree. In my demo I thought it was micro levels ahead of my old 717 amp, but well behind my off-board KGSSHV (Sanyo version) , which BTW is a great pairing with the 009 IMO, maybe better than the Carbon. If I was buying Stax again and not wanting to go DIY or buy DIY, I would get the BHSE and be done with it, but run it with NOS Mullards to 'tame' the top end, plus use a tubed R-2R DAC.

    I get mad talking about the Stax amps, it isn't that they are crap, it is that they are expensive for the average performance on offer, and having had the 007s and 009s with DIY built amps, can hear how the HPs can scale, i.e. find what is missing. Stax are an odd ball company, why they could get it right on the T8000 I have no idea....
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
  8. mulveling Contributor
    Vintage British Mullards in a BHSE are definitely a good way to slightly "tame" the old 009 without sacrificing too much detail. I'm not sold on the R2R superiority thing though - I ended up with a little ECP Audio DAC (Wolfson chip, not R2R) that I found to be slightly smother and more analog sounding than my Yggy. Again, without sacrificing too much detail. Just don't pick an aggressive sounding DAC, whichever variant. But of course none of this sounds as analog as vinyl.

    I've never had an issue with the 009's forwardness (no issues with Focal Utopia either), and I've long advocated the 009's superiority over 007 Mk I, so it'll be curious to see how I react to 009S. I'm stoked that you guys have killed my expectations before I finally get settled at home late tonight for a listen. Nothing worse that getting expectations way too high before a movie and then not enjoying it! :D
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
    purk likes this.
  9. Whitigir
    You need to grab Purk T2 to enjoy 009S :D, by any means !! Just kidding, I can’t wait to hear the impressions from you
  10. mulveling Contributor
    Sure, but he's afraid that if he does that, he'll never see me or the T2 again. He's not entirely wrong to worry :D
    purk and Whitigir like this.
  11. mulveling Contributor
    Bad news, plus some good. Right out of the box, mine has a noisy R driver. Adds a sour flavor to this new-flagship-toy day. I've got 2 other 009 and a L700 (yes, I’m crazy), with about 11 total years amongst them, that have been nothing less than dead quiet from day 1. So these will have to go back for service/replacement soon.

    Past that, I do think I quite enjoy these. I DON’T hear any loss in bass, transparencey, speed, or soundstage. No worries there. The main difference, as others have hit upon - the upper midrange/lower treble “push” that the original 009 had is noticeably reduced if not flattened. This reduces the forward sounding, analytical edge of the predecessor, and instead gives the 009S a lovely, engagingly musical flow. The actual treble doesn’t seem to be reduced or altered in any significant way. So this can make it seem to “pop” more relative to the reduced low treble. I’d be a happy camper if not for the bum driver. I think these are poised to become my favorite, albeit not by that much.

    It's not a huge change, and I never really had a problem with the original 009, but I think this will open up the 009S for more diverse amp/source gear pairings that would have pushed things a bit too much with the original 009.

    Amp is Headamp BHSE with quad of Phillips (Holland) xf4/xf5 EL34. Source is ECP Audio Mx DAC (Wolfson chip) that I downsized to from a Yggy. SOTA Nova V turntable is due back soon to become the main source for this rig.

    Need to get a real camera so I can take cool pics again. Here's what my cellphone sees:
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
    Jimmy24, Whitigir, HoloSpice and 2 others like this.
  12. Benny-x
    I didn't know their topologies were different. For me personally, that's good to understand. But, you know the guy we were referring to, he never said he picked the T8000 because of its exact topology. He mentioned liking the enclosed tubes due to having family concerns to contend with.

    You know the guy we're talking about posted right here on the forums, right? That's what started this suggestion.

    I agree with your points, the amp isn't disfunctional and it is probably Stax's best current-production amp, and it's meant as a package for people who aren't looking around for improved, enthusiast units. But your points aren't aligned with the context of this situation, respectfully.

    009 feedback:
    So initial feedback isn't so hot... The mention of Spritzer's feedback isn't good, he sorta knows a thing or two about Stax and how they work over their 18 years of burn in.

    And damn, that DIY T2 is still listed in the classifieds.

    Was there honestly work done on a DIY T8000DR? And would DR also try to shoot for the high voltages that help make the DIY T2 make Electrostats sing?
  13. mulveling Contributor
    Yes, the baker's voice carries a lot of weight. He didn't like the 009, and made a big swath of people biased against it. A lot of us strongly disagreed. Now he's in position to do the same all over again with a second great 009 - doughy ears? I'd be MUCH more interested in Dr. Kevin Gilmore's take on the 009S. Does Icelandic headphone Bourdain even have an old 009 on hand for comparison? Or is this all from memory?

    I know quite well the Stax won't change at all with burn in. Maybe with pad conditioning. But I'm liking them a lot as-is. Just a bit miffed about the noisy driver.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  14. padam
    The reason I wrote that down is because from what I've gathered those amps don't share the same "house" sound. Yes, one gives you much more for the money, that's a fact, but it won't sound the same.
    So I would also recommend going with either a 007t or a modded 727 instead which are much less of a departure, having more of that Stax in-house sound (that is the problem in the first place) and move on from there (but honestly, SR-009 really didn't seem to perform poorly on either of these unlike the SR-007, although some still very much like this combination - or 717 which is very close - to this day, just don't try to post about it).

    I do see people using other equipment which are considered to be overpriced or inferior (a Stax headphone and amp combo is probably still superior in many ways to a lot of other stuff), and yet I don't see them getting harassed like this (and in a style like this, I don't mind that much as long as it is respectful)

    I did write a long reply to Ali's comments on the bass and its relation to the SR-007 SR-009 and SR-Omega (and HE90) but now I am unsure about posting it, because all the impressions might be considered as "invalid" because I am not using the absolute best equipment. Despite the big rise in DIY designs, I think the majority still use Stax amps and happy about it, they just aren't on forums anymore.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
    Ali-Pacha likes this.
  15. purk Contributor
    Well we all have preference. I do love my HE90 especially out of the T2 and I enjoy the SR007 & the SR009 immensely as well. Often time I feel the bass on the SR007 is too strong and the tonality is a bit dark for me...then some evening I feel that the SR009 could be even better with a smoother treble. I'm not so much of a bass head and do enjoy the R10 immensely and feel that the real bargain is the HD800 with my favorite ECP L3 amplifier.
    Whitigir and HoloSpice like this.
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