STAX SR-009S new flagship electrostatic earspeakers released (with impressions)
Apr 26, 2020 at 7:11 PM Post #1,051 of 1,311

thomaskong78

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Just chiming in given the recent discussion. I think it's hard justifying paying for a top tier Stax amp (whether that's a carbon, BHSE, whatever it is to the individual) when there's truly only 3-5 TOTL headphones to pair with it. I've bought a lot of gear recently with the hopes of pairing down to one rig and I don't think I can do so. Stats just have a magic that's hard to replicate. That said, it feels quite silly having a $5k amp and only a few choices of TOTL headphones to try out/pair with them.. with no sign of anything in the future to be released (at least that's unique and isn't the 007 and 009). Outside of the MK1, HE60 and 009, I have no desire to buy any of the other stats.. I can't say that's the case for non-stat cans. At least if I purchase a top of the line dynamic amp I know I'll have new exciting headphones to try or settle on for years to come and usually cheaper. That said, a great stat rig is just pure magic and does some things better that non-stat rigs rarely can.

As far as the commentary on the TC, definitely one of the best HPs I've ever heard. The fit is a PITA though and it needs to be dialed in right to sound that way. The issue with this is that the fit sometimes needs to be changed based on the genre or song you're listening to. I've figured it out for the most part and I'm willing to deal with it, but it couldn't be my only headphone..just feels impractical. However, the 009 or HE60 could. I go back and forth over which presentation I prefer between the TC and the 009.. I think ultimately the 009 for overall cohesion of the sound. But the TC has better bass and a true holographic sound, both very enjoyable.
I had listened to 1266 Phi CC driven Dave direct for brief time but it was impressive with accurate presentation although I had felt Dave is not up to driving 1266 to full force.

Side by side, I had also listened to same music through Sr1a driven by Chord amplifier.

I had difficulty in choosing between Sr1a or Phi or TC for two months.

Then I had pulled the trigger for Sr1a to add to my headphone collection including 009s and HD 800s.

I had been happy with Sr1a driven by Jot R for the first two months but it sound too aggressive from time to time.

To tame the sound of Sr1a, I got Schitt Freya in front of Jot R.

After fitting Freya with Nos tubes like Sylvania GTB made in 1955, it seems to work making sound out of Sr1a slightly relaxed and nuanced.


I also had tried Freya in front of Kgsshv Carbon amp to drive 009s.


Somehow, Freya makes 009s sounds fuller and deeper with more relaxed details.

My source is Dave and HMS which sounds neutral or slightly cool side.

I am going back and forth between Sr1a and 009s.

Sometimes I still like open and fast sound out of Sr1a, but now I realize 009s has overall cohesion of sound with correct tonality,

while Sr1a still shows some metallic edge from time to time( although much better after driven by Freya, it is really terrible without Freya).

Another thing to note is that 009s driven by Carbon has fuller and deeper bass than Sr1a driven by Jot R without any eq.


To conclude, addition of Freya really helped to make sound of 009s driven by Kgsshv Carbon musically satisfying.

I had never tried T2 in front of 009s.

But I do not feel the need to get T2 at the cost of 10k$ or more.

I am happy with Freya(fitted with Nos tube, stock tubes also sound decent but not refined as Nos tubes) and Kgsshv Carbon to drive 009s.

It is quite musical and enjoyable with excellent details and bass slam.
 
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Apr 30, 2020 at 1:51 PM Post #1,052 of 1,311

thomaskong78

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New kid on the block

I am intrigued by this Linear Tube Audio Z10e Integrated Electrostatic/Magnetic Headphone/Speaker Amplifier .

https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/revi...aticmagnetic-headphonespeaker-amplifier-r873/

I have also recently had the pleasure of auditioning a pair of new Abyss AB-1266 isodynamic phones powered by Headamp’s GSX Mark II amplifier in balanced mode. These very expensive headphones sound great, but they lack the detail, cleanliness and effortless extension afforded by the Z10e when paired with the Stax SR-009s!

quoted from above audiophilestyle review.

https://www.stereophile.com/content...r-tube-audio-z10e-integrated-amplifier-page-2

On a good night, I can stay locked on for, at best, 180 seconds. With the SR-009S 'phones and Z10e amp, I listened to four complete tracks without once remembering where I was or what I was doing. Complete enthrallment. While listening to Melnikov, my ears and mind's eyes were in the microphones located about 30" from Alexander's piano strings. Everything I heard seemed extremely nuanced.

With the LTA amp, the new "S-type" Stax 009 created a tear-inducing, lightning-fast sound that kept me engrossed for record lengths of time. Best of all, this newfound bass response came with genuine boogie-factor. Even the subtlest musical rhythms had a distinct, engaging pulse.

Nice expression by Herb!
 
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Apr 30, 2020 at 2:39 PM Post #1,053 of 1,311

davesa

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The Linear Tube Audio gives you the ability to drive estats like the SR-009, traditional headphones and high efficiency speakers, so it is a pretty versatile piece of gear - if you are space constrained or want to add a tube amp to your setup it should be pretty interesting to you.

I would point out, that if you read the review they had an earlier unit and they have since improved the output on the HI and LO headphone jacks. That was one of the potential negatives mentioned in the review, and the manufacturer added a comment about it.

Also one other thing to note, is that the electrostatic port is on all the time ( regardless of the position of the headphone / speaker switch ) - this may be good, like if you wanted to listen to a similarly efficient pair of electrostatic headphones and traditional headphones. It may not be as good, if you forget to unplug your electrostatic headphones and crank your speakers or inefficient headphones. For me, if I am not listening to the electrostatics I would unplug them.
 
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Apr 30, 2020 at 3:34 PM Post #1,054 of 1,311

Pastwa

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I have also recently had the pleasure of auditioning a pair of new Abyss AB-1266 isodynamic phones powered by Headamp’s GSX Mark II amplifier in balanced mode. These very expensive headphones sound great, but they lack the detail, cleanliness and effortless extension afforded by the Z10e when paired with the Stax SR-009s!

It seems you should try the Abyss with the Z10a also, according to the Stereophile's review:

''Through the Z10e's headphone jack, the Abyss-LTA combination played recordings in a manner that simply did not sound like audio reproduction. The AB-1266 Phi TC 'phones delivered purity and transparency to the source at a level that, if I'd never experienced it directly, I would never have imagined it existed.''

It is a pity it apparently can't power sufficiently the Susvaras.
 
Apr 30, 2020 at 3:43 PM Post #1,055 of 1,311

thomaskong78

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It seems you should try the Abyss with the Z10a also, according to the Stereophile's review:

''Through the Z10e's headphone jack, the Abyss-LTA combination played recordings in a manner that simply did not sound like audio reproduction. The AB-1266 Phi TC 'phones delivered purity and transparency to the source at a level that, if I'd never experienced it directly, I would never have imagined it existed.''

It is a pity it apparently can't power sufficiently the Susvaras.
After reworking the amp to give full 3 v on 50 ohm, it may work well with Susvaras.

If I get the amp, then I may get the temptation to get 1266 TC.

Next year they may release1266 EC(extreme clarity) over TC(top clarity).:darthsmile:
 
Apr 30, 2020 at 3:56 PM Post #1,056 of 1,311

davesa

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I am surprised at the amount of attention that the $6k Susvaras get in regard to selection of amplifiers... it would be an interesting poll that if someone dropped $6k in your headphone / equipment piggy bank how many would buy a set of Susvaras instead of something like a SR-009s, or some other brand - spending the rest on upgrading some other aspect of their system.
 
Apr 30, 2020 at 4:11 PM Post #1,057 of 1,311

thomaskong78

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I am surprised at the amount of attention that the $6k Susvaras get in regard to selection of amplifiers... it would be an interesting poll that if someone dropped $6k in your headphone / equipment piggy bank how many would buy a set of Susvaras instead of something like a SR-009s, or some other brand - spending the rest on upgrading some other aspect of their system.
if you can spend more than 5k$ on either headphone or headphone amp, then it is up to your personal taste

I never listened to Susvaras but only Sundara which gave me good impression but with closed in treble I returned it to Amazon.

But after listening to 1266 Phi cc, I understand why some people are crazy about 1266 headphones.

009s has special magic as electrostatic HP but with some limitation.

Some people criticize 009s for plastic timber which I regard as relaxed presentation.:)

On the other hand, Sr1a sounds fast and exciting, but could be fatiguing in the long term.

But I will also keep Sr1a in addition to 009s because of different merits.
 
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May 7, 2020 at 5:17 PM Post #1,058 of 1,311

thomaskong78

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Update on the tube rolling for Schitt Freya.

Sylvania vt231 in gain stage and RCA gray bottle in buffer stage give ideal combination of details speed and wide and deep soundstage but without hot edges.

Freya fitted with above Nos tubes and Kgsshv Carbon drive 009s with sublime air, fast speed and textured bass.

I had been going back and forth between 009s and Raal Sr1a driven by Freya and Rogue Cronus Magnum II fitted with Nos Telefuken 12ax7s and Amperex 12au7.

They sound very similar to each other with excellent details and fast speed.

009s sound slightly more nuanced while sr1a sounds slightly faster.

I am still curious about 009s driven by T2.

If anyone living near Seattle has T2, I am willing to bring 009s, Freya and Kgsshv for comparison.
 
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May 7, 2020 at 5:21 PM Post #1,059 of 1,311

koven

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I am surprised at the amount of attention that the $6k Susvaras get in regard to selection of amplifiers... it would be an interesting poll that if someone dropped $6k in your headphone / equipment piggy bank how many would buy a set of Susvaras instead of something like a SR-009s, or some other brand - spending the rest on upgrading some other aspect of their system.

Susvara MSRP is 6K but no one (I hope) is paying that, you can easily find them new for +/- $3700. As a former 009 + BHSE owner a well amped Susvara edges out electrostats for me mainly due to bass difference. Though I know many prefer Carbon over BHSE so maybe that bridges the bass gap vs planar but ultimately I think Susvara couples a lot of the Stax sound appeal w/ a more textured and visceral planar bass.
 
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May 13, 2020 at 1:01 PM Post #1,060 of 1,311

moltening

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Hey everyone. Just a quick question...

Is there anyone EQ-ing their Stax 009 / 009S when listening to certain types of music that demand more bass?

I'm currently running Chord Qutest (w/ Warm Filter) > SRM-D50 > SR-009S. A 100hz low-shelf filter with about +6db gain w/ Q factor 0.7 and pre-amp offset does the trick for me. IMHO, it provides an entertaining yet relaxed sound while retaining the same level of detail and clarity.
 
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May 13, 2020 at 7:27 PM Post #1,061 of 1,311

Crashem

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New kid on the block

I am intrigued by this Linear Tube Audio Z10e Integrated Electrostatic/Magnetic Headphone/Speaker Amplifier .

https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/revi...aticmagnetic-headphonespeaker-amplifier-r873/

I have also recently had the pleasure of auditioning a pair of new Abyss AB-1266 isodynamic phones powered by Headamp’s GSX Mark II amplifier in balanced mode. These very expensive headphones sound great, but they lack the detail, cleanliness and effortless extension afforded by the Z10e when paired with the Stax SR-009s!

quoted from above audiophilestyle review.

https://www.stereophile.com/content...r-tube-audio-z10e-integrated-amplifier-page-2

On a good night, I can stay locked on for, at best, 180 seconds. With the SR-009S 'phones and Z10e amp, I listened to four complete tracks without once remembering where I was or what I was doing. Complete enthrallment. While listening to Melnikov, my ears and mind's eyes were in the microphones located about 30" from Alexander's piano strings. Everything I heard seemed extremely nuanced.

With the LTA amp, the new "S-type" Stax 009 created a tear-inducing, lightning-fast sound that kept me engrossed for record lengths of time. Best of all, this newfound bass response came with genuine boogie-factor. Even the subtlest musical rhythms had a distinct, engaging pulse.

Nice expression by Herb!

I also have been curious about this amp. Curious if you have compared the Z10e vs. BHSE?
 
May 14, 2020 at 1:43 PM Post #1,062 of 1,311

davesa

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I do not have a BHSE, nor have I heard one but I think the Z10e offers a great value prop in that it would work for both electrostatic, and planar/dynamic headphones. The fact that it also drives speakers is cool too... depending on where you wanted to set up your listening station and how much room you had this could be important. As I started thinking about a new amp I was thinking BHSE ( since I had seen a few used coming up here), but I have a mix of headphones... and I thought it would be cool to get something like a Woo WA-22 to have a tube amp for my planar headphones too. Reality set in and I thought - but where would I put two more amps... especially amps that get hot and need some ventilation.

The LTA has an Apple remote that controls the volume... I did not think of that as a big selling feature since I can just reach over and adjust the volume on my amps normally - but it has been really nice. If I am sitting in the chair in my office relaxing and listening or reading I can also tweak the volume up or down a little depending on the content, without having to get up. The volume on the LTA makes a little click sound as it adjusts, some have said that they don't care for it, but I like it.

As has been stated, the LTA does get warm, but not so hot that you can't set your hands on the case over the four EL-84's
 
May 14, 2020 at 6:57 PM Post #1,063 of 1,311

number1sixerfan

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I do not have a BHSE, nor have I heard one but I think the Z10e offers a great value prop in that it would work for both electrostatic, and planar/dynamic headphones. The fact that it also drives speakers is cool too... depending on where you wanted to set up your listening station and how much room you had this could be important. As I started thinking about a new amp I was thinking BHSE ( since I had seen a few used coming up here), but I have a mix of headphones... and I thought it would be cool to get something like a Woo WA-22 to have a tube amp for my planar headphones too. Reality set in and I thought - but where would I put two more amps... especially amps that get hot and need some ventilation.

The LTA has an Apple remote that controls the volume... I did not think of that as a big selling feature since I can just reach over and adjust the volume on my amps normally - but it has been really nice. If I am sitting in the chair in my office relaxing and listening or reading I can also tweak the volume up or down a little depending on the content, without having to get up. The volume on the LTA makes a little click sound as it adjusts, some have said that they don't care for it, but I like it.

As has been stated, the LTA does get warm, but not so hot that you can't set your hands on the case over the four EL-84's

This honestly is really intriguing. Using separate amps is not only a pain at times (although it looks really cool).. it also takes up additional cash that could be used for a better DAC, more headphones, etc. Would love to know if and when someone actually compares it to a BHSE with driving the 009.

edit* also, any care to compare/contrast against the carbon?
 
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May 15, 2020 at 5:06 PM Post #1,064 of 1,311

davesa

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Well since I have both a LTE Z10e and a Mjolnir Audio Carbon I can do a comparison there. I have had my Carbon, since April 2016... so I have some time with it.

I have a pair of Stax SR-009 I bought just before that... and I really enjoy the sound of the Carbon with the SR-009, it sounds awesome to me with things like Jesse Cook, Andreas Vollenweider, Ottmar Liebert - I feed it with a Cambridge CXC thru my Yggy, as well as via Spotify and recently ( last couple weeks ) Qobuz. On Spotify I listen to a lot of Tiesto, Aviici, and EDM.

I also have a THX 887 I bought at the beginning of the year, and after getting it I sold my Oppo HA-1, I thought the Monoprice sounded better on the amp side, and I was not using the HA-1 as a DAC as I like the sound of the Yggy better. On the THX 887 I listen to Ether 2's for open and LCD-XC for closed.

I like the Ether 2's so was interested in getting a set of Voce - LTA offers a bundle that includes the Z10e and the Voce so I decided to go that way. It offered a nice discount on both - but if you need a longer cable on the Voce there was no discount on that.

The Voce came about 15 days before the Z10e so I had a chance to just compare the Sr-009 and the Voce on the Carbon. I like the Voce with the Carbon, I feel it has more bass that the SR-009. It sounds different, but also good - I was happy with the Voce - but I also was not going to sell my SR-009, I think the SR-009 played the music more "in my head" and was better with some of the guitar stuff I like - the Voce played with a wider soundstage, more outside my head... everyone has different ears and preferences so I won't get too crazy with descriptive language.

Once the the Z10e arrived I tried a variety of combos, and music types - so far I love the Ether 2's on the Z10e - they sound amazing, and the LCD-XC also sound amazing - I have been using them both on the LO jack - the Ethers with a 1/4" to balanced adapter as I have the balanced cable. I think the Z10e sounds more lush/enjoyable with the Ethers, so I have not been using my THX amp as much.

The Stax also sound great on the Z10e - being a tube amp you would have the ability to change tubes on the Z10e if you wanted to. It has two 12AU7 pre amp tubes, that feed into two 12AT7, through two more 12AU7 and then to the four EL84 tubes. So you could experiment with different tubes and potentially change the signature of the Z10e.

For me, the Voce sounds better on the Carbon - it just sounds punchier, if I did not have a Carbon, I guess I would be happy with them but I would think the Stax 009 sound better being driven by the Z10e. I talked to another Head-Fi member that also purchased the bundle, and also has a Carbon and also likes his Stax better, but thinks that the Voce sounds better on the Z10e... so I guess as far as Voce's go that is conflicting, but also also speaks to there being different factors that contribute to what people find sounds "right" as well as differences between other pieces of equipment.

Ideally you would be able to hear the Z10e before you ordered one - then you could be sure. There are a couple Head-Fi members here in MI, where I am, that were interested in a Z10e and I hope to get together with them after the craziness dies down to let them listen to it - sure it is not in their systems but at least they can get a first impression.

The nice thing is LTA has a 14 day return policy - so worst case is you get the amp and hate it... well, you have 14 days to try it, and another week ship it back. The policy that was on the site when I bought mine said..

Return can be for any reason, but you must call or email within the given time period for return authorization
We will pay return shipping for continental US customers, all international customers will be responsible for paying shipping

I thought that was very fair.. the full policy is here - https://www.lineartubeaudio.com/inhome-trial

One other thing to note... I am not been a big believer that cables can make a difference - I was always one to believe that if you had a good quality cable it should sound like any other good quality cable... but I find myself switching inputs on my Z10e... Let me explain my setup and what I have observed. I was coming out of my Yggy via XLR, to the Carbon and then to the Oppo HA-1 - via Monoprice Premium XLR cables - these are not expensive... just well made XLR cables targeted at musicians. I ordered some more expensive Pangea XLR's a few months after getting the Carbon. I swapped them in but thought they sounded noticeably worse... less detailed / bright - so I returned them. When I got the Monoprice amp, I just plugged it in place of the Oppo... via XLR. The Monoprice sounded great so I thought all was well. One night I was listening to the Carbon and I thought, wow, this sound off... so I turned on the Monoprice ( it was off ) and the Carbon seemed to sound better. So I moved the THX 887 to the single ended jacks on the Yggy and everything was fine.

When I received the Z10e I had done my research - it has a XLR, but it converts the XLR to single ended in the amp, since the ZOTL circuit is single ended. So I thought I would just use the the other single ended jack from the Yggy - but then I was reading some threads in the Yggy discussion, of people that had issues when they had two things hooked up.. oh great. Well I did not have any issues with the Z10e and the THX 887 being hooked up at the same time via the single ended Yggy output. I did want to see if the XLR input sounded different / better though - so I hooked the XLR output of the Carbon to the Z10e. The Yggy has a strong balanced output so the volume is different between the inputs, but the Z10e remembers the volume level between the inputs, which is nice. I am a pair of Audioquest Coral 3m cables as my single ended input. I think the Monoprice XLR / Z10e XLR input gives me more bass. So for now I have both hooked up and switch them depending on the output and type of music I am listening to. I did try ordering the Monoprice Monolith XLR cables - they are really nice cables, they sounded good, but not as bright as the Premium XLR's I already had, and I liked that sound better so I returned the Monoliths.

Wow, I did not intend to write such a novel... but hopefully you found it helpful
 
May 15, 2020 at 6:38 PM Post #1,065 of 1,311

number1sixerfan

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Thank you! That's really helpful. I was honestly very close to ordering a WA33, but the versatility + the integrated amp (huge benefit for me) are big pluses to consider. I'll probably hold off to think it through a little more.

When you say punchier, do you mean a bit more impact and weight to the sound? Mainly bass related? I could live with that so long as the typical open, airiness, speed and detail of the stats are all there. I'd also probably run the Abyss Phi TC and Susvara off of the speaker taps.. but I can also see that being a pain if I actually eventually use a pair of speakers.

Need to do some more digging or wait around for more impressions, but yours are helpful!
 

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