Stax SR-L300 Impressions Thread
Jul 2, 2019 at 6:50 PM Post #856 of 1,126

AudioThief

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If you are going to call L300 very bright, might as well call 007 very dark :)
 
Jul 2, 2019 at 6:57 PM Post #857 of 1,126

Tugbars

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007s do need really a good amp with high current to sound good. If there isn’t enough standing current, the voltage swing can’t reach the required level and it sags. boomy bass, very bright or subdued trebles happen in this case. That's the experience of people using STAX amps with 007 most of the time. (except T2)
 
Jul 2, 2019 at 7:01 PM Post #858 of 1,126

AudioThief

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007s do need really a good amp with high current to sound good. If there isn’t enough standing current, the voltage swing can’t reach the required level and it sags. boomy bass, very bright or subdued trebles happen in this case. That's the experience of people using STAX amps with 007 most of the time. (except T2)

Their character is still dark leaning, no matter the source or amp. BHSE, Carbon, 727, 007 etc - sure, there is a quality difference. But the 007s are still the 007s. To say they don't sound good on anything else than the most expensive third party amps is just ridiculous.

Anyways, not to go too off topic - my point is that if we say the L300 is bright, then we have to clarify that the 007 are comparatively dark.

edit:

And to clarify, IME there is zero bright treble with 007 + 727 if the source is good. No uneveness, not flabby bass either. I'm not going to say that it doesn't improve with more powerful amps. However it just isn't the case that the 007s become bright, peaky or flabby at any point with that amp in particular.
 
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Jul 2, 2019 at 7:20 PM Post #859 of 1,126

Tugbars

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well, the reason is that 007 design is based on old SR-Ω which made to be paired with the strongest STAX amp ever made. 19mA is required to make the 007s work as they should(taking the data from Birgir), 717/727 are at 6mA, 007T is 5.5mA. 007s are extemely hard to drive headphones. An awkward design by STAX for sure. For example SRM252Samp works fine with L700 or even with SR009. It doesn't sound very bad. However when you plug SR007 into SRM252S, they start sounding worse than cheap OEM headphones.

L300 is fairly easy to drive, high efficient headphones with really satisfying clarity in it's price range. I like the clarity of their trebles a lot that's why i'm still keeping them.
 
Jul 3, 2019 at 6:11 PM Post #860 of 1,126

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I've pulled the trigger on a pair of SR-L500 and the 252s amplifier.

In researching and deciding between a used SR-507, SR-L500 and L300 which I've had previously, I've become frustrated at just how little talk of the SR-L500 there is on the internet. So once I have them, I will post my initial impressions and then a more indepth review after some time, before I disappear once more from the head-fi community and just enjoy the music :)

Until then, I thought I'd write some of my impressions, so that someone crawling the internet for comparisons would perhaps get some help in making their own decision regarding headphones..

So, as a background to this post I want to say that once we are at Stax L300 and up, I think that most people who are primarily looking for emotional connection to the music through higher end rigs need to worry too much about technical performance. What I mean by this is that all Stax that are in production now are at an incredible technical level, and you need not concern yourself with what headphone would score highest on a "technical" level. Its time to figure out what you want from a headphone.

I personally experienced this when I went from the SR-L300 to the Stax SR-007 mk1.

Some background - before I got the SRS 3100 system, I owned the following headphones:

- JVC HPDX 1000
- Sennheiser HD650
- Fostex TH 900
- Denon AH-D5000
- LCD 2.2c

I was turning into some sort of collector, not really sure what I wanted in a headphone. When I heard the L300, which were my first e-stats, I was completely blown away. Here, we had a headphone that made a complete mockery out of every headphone I already owned, and others that I had demoed in store or at friends. I had a lot of incredible moments with my L300. But, as I am sure many here are familiar with, the FOMO got to me. So I had to upgrade, again.

I found out that the ultimate solution was the 007 mk1. I got them, I upgraded my amp, source, interconnects - everything. And the mk1s sounded amazing. Perfect, even. What I could tell I was clearly missing with the L300 was soundstage depth and body. Well, the SR-007 gave me that in spades. And not only that, but the SR-007 were shockingly detailed without ever sounding fatiguing. And equally fast.

And yet, here I am, having sold off my 007s and the whole rig with it. Because what I learned is that for me, when I sit down with my headphones, I want something that is natural sounding, bright and analytical. I don't need the last bit of microdetail as icing on the cake, nor do I need a massive soundstage with out of this world imaging. Because if the treble is too relaxed for me, its not my signature.

Now don't get me wrong, the 007s are an incredible pair of headphones. I would not have sold them had I not needed the money at the time. But I could have gotten the money by other means - I just concluded that those headphones werent meant for me. It is likely that 009s would be a better fit for me. With the SR-L500 on their way, we'll see. I was very close to just getting the L300, because for me, they are endgame worthy. I am excited to hear the L500 and compare.

Anyways, what I want to say is that the character of a headphone is the most important once we are at this level of performance. So I compare the L300 with the SR-007 mk1s as EQUALS. I will never say that the 007s are BETTER than the L300 because they are both simply excellent, amazing headphones that beat most other headphones out there.

L300:

- Incredibly natural sounding
- Very clear, detailed and airy
- Dry and somewhat bright
- Super fast transient response, very punchy
- Intimate soundstage, lacks sense of size
- Lacks overall impact, sounds light/lacks body
- Their forward and aggressive nature makes them very toe tapping and has a great "wow!" factor
- Good for most if not all genres, however for me classical and acoustic music were clearly the top performers.
- Can at times be somewhat hard, an issue being certain piano notes.

007:

- More laid back nature than L300
- Liquid sounding
- While performing at a similar overall technical level as the L300, clearly beats them in the following areas:


- More expansive soundstage
- More precise imaging
- More body, sense of scale and bass
- More detailed, but in a more laid back manner than L300 - details are more apparant in the sound picture with the L300, but if you listen closely, you will hear more details with the 007 as they are simply more clear

As previously mentioned though, none of this matters if you prefer a dry, analytical and aggressive sound. The 007s are more laid back, relaxed and thus better for more music than the L300. I would say the 007 is the superior generalist, however for my ears they do not sound as natural or engaging as the L300. I believe this is because the L300s tone is closer to what I feel is real sound, especially in terms of instruments, and their intimate soundstage makes it feel even more realistic than the expansive soundfield of the 007s.

Just shortly mentioning some of the other headphones I have owned...

- I believe the HD650 is the dynamic headphone that most reminds me of the 007. They have a similar overall sound, although 007 is leagues and leagues ahead at everything to my ears
- Of the bunch, I believe the LCD 2.2c is the best non e-stat I have ever heard. It has a lot of impact, punch, dynamics and a pleasant and linear FR. It is also surprisingly detailed when critically listening. At current price, the LCD 2 is imo a nobrainer and a clear step up from HD650, while also
- The TH 900 is a fun headphone that is a good buy used IF you can handle a hot treble and a uneven FR.

L300 to my ears clearly beats all of these headphones into a pulp. None of them even come close. L300 is a clear winner in timbre and tone, detail and speed. However, for people who are very sensitive to treble and/or requires more body, the LCD 2 or HD650 are good alternatives. I personally would always pick L300 before anything else, as the SRS 3100 system beats almost every other system out there, especially if your tastes align with their overall sound.

I know this post is excessively ranty and random, but I just want to help anyone crawling the web for any sort of impressions and comparisons no matter the headphone. Maybe some HD650 owner looking to jump into estats is trying to find out more about the L300. Or someone considering going from L300 to the 007 wants input...

These are my 2 cents.
 
Jul 4, 2019 at 12:19 AM Post #861 of 1,126

DecentLevi

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@AudioThief Bravo on the above post. One of the most introspectful, insightful, helpful posts I have read on these forums.

And you're right too, I also had mainly emotional descriptors of the L300 when I demoed it at Can Jam recently. It was the limited edition, did you ever try this one? To me from a very in-direct comparison it seems to have s similar tonal character (modestly bright leaning) as the SR 009 but somewhat more laid back being not overtly detailed, and bass was a bit less detailed but that can be preferable for the modestly more laid back tone. From what you have described you may like the 009's the best, or maybe even the L300 limiteds with the mods previously mentioned, but it will be interesting to hear how the L500's suit you.
 
Jul 4, 2019 at 12:31 AM Post #862 of 1,126

DecentLevi

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Also AudioThief I have much experience owning the Senn. HD 650 and do think they have a similar signature with the LCD 2.0 at least.
More recently I've gravitated towards the HD-600 with an upgraded silver cable. It's slightly more aggressive, bright/detailed (not overtly so), and even more punchy as well. Of multitudes of amps I have tried them on, one pairing struck me as astonishing the weekend before last at SoCal CanJam 2019. Their pairing with the tube amp Prima Luna Evo 200 was just had 'syngergy' screaming in every note! Super detailed, hard hitting, taking you deep into the scene with amazing finesse. The whole Sennheiser HD line does scale well with larger amps and certainly I have heard even better pairings with higher headphones on higher amps, but for the HD-600's that is the best I have ever heard those.
 
Jul 4, 2019 at 4:04 AM Post #863 of 1,126

AudioThief

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Also AudioThief I have much experience owning the Senn. HD 650 and do think they have a similar signature with the LCD 2.0 at least.
More recently I've gravitated towards the HD-600 with an upgraded silver cable. It's slightly more aggressive, bright/detailed (not overtly so), and even more punchy as well. Of multitudes of amps I have tried them on, one pairing struck me as astonishing the weekend before last at SoCal CanJam 2019. Their pairing with the tube amp Prima Luna Evo 200 was just had 'syngergy' screaming in every note! Super detailed, hard hitting, taking you deep into the scene with amazing finesse. The whole Sennheiser HD line does scale well with larger amps and certainly I have heard even better pairings with higher headphones on higher amps, but for the HD-600's that is the best I have ever heard those.

Thank you for the kind words, makes it worth the time it took writing it up :)

I passed on the chance at buying the L300LE, which I regret. The collector in me is kicking me for that one. If they ever pop up used, I might consider them because they will be exceedingly rare in the future, and may get qualia status or similar. If they sound really good, that is obviously a massive plus as well. I generally trust Stax as a company a lot, as they have given me many amazing moments with music. So I am sure they are very high performing headphones.

When I used the HD650 extensively, I always felt I would enjoy the HD600 more. And since they are cheaper, I am tempted to one day pick them up. What is holding me back is that I am a massive fan of the e-stat sound, and I reckon I will build my rig around the SR-L500, and long term either get a SR-009 or ... just stop.
 
Jul 4, 2019 at 4:20 AM Post #864 of 1,126

Pahani

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I'll never get rid of my Stax, obviously (SR207 and L700). But in addition, the HPs in my current collection I'd also never get rid of are HD 600 and HD6XX (with custom Cardas 1/4" cable and Cardas XLR cable) and my Fostex TH-X00 Purplehearts (Lawton driver dampening and ZMF pads). Everything else? *shrug* I could sell them and not really miss anything.

The Sennheisers are extremely valuable in any collection as a known quantity to compare against, IMO. And even though they're far outclassed by my Stax, they're fine headphones in their own right and worthy of the praise they've garnered over their lifetime.

My Purplehearts are my go-to "fun" headphones :) And they're just plain gorgeous to look at!

Looking forward to hearing impressions of the L500!
 
Jul 4, 2019 at 6:58 AM Post #865 of 1,126

donpablo

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I've pulled the trigger on a pair of SR-L500 and the 252s amplifier.

In researching and deciding between a used SR-507, SR-L500 and L300 which I've had previously, I've become frustrated at just how little talk of the SR-L500 there is on the internet. So once I have them, I will post my initial impressions and then a more indepth review after some time, before I disappear once more from the head-fi community and just enjoy the music :)
...

Guys you almost always forgot to write what is the DAC you plug your Stax systems!!! This is very important and may result with different sound signatures, soundstage, imaging etc.
For example my Stax SRS-3100 system plugged to Aune S6 sounded for me a much too thin (lacks of body/thickness in sound) also with too small soundstage for my liking.
However I have solved all of that by buying iFi iTube2 and putting it between Aune S6 and Stax SRM-252s. I have also solved soundstage 'problem' (and added some bass) by making 2 modes for L300. One is the correction of seal between pads frames and headphones and second is to use 'felt stickers' on the pads (it creates laaaarge soundstage without killing the rest of frequencies somehow).


n2.jpg


With these 2 mods and iFi Itube2 in between you have planty of settings to play with (thanks to iFi). It has tube charm, you can add extra bass if needed etc.
Now I have what I wanted - sound has body, impact, crazy wide 360degrees soundstage and all of that with Stax imaging and details.

Please do not forget to write what sources/DACs you are using along with your Stax systems.
 
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Jul 4, 2019 at 7:07 AM Post #866 of 1,126

AudioThief

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Please do not forget to write what sources/DACs you are using along with your Stax systems.

I've used Schiit modi MB, Gustard x20 Pro and Modi 3. With stax, the two former only.

Source is important, I agree. But I think that generally speaking, a headphones character relative to others remain the same. So lets say that you would originally score the L300 as a 8/10 in the "thin sounding" category, but through changing source or amplifier, it eeks out a 6-7/10 rating, which is much more agreeable to your ears. It made the sound a lot better and were the last few percentages of performance you personally needed - but it doesn't change the headphones overall character relative to other heaphones, in my opinion :)
 
Jul 4, 2019 at 7:34 AM Post #868 of 1,126

AudioThief

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@AudioThief Yep I realize that the change is not hell/heaven type - however for crazy audio maniacs like us (what normal people are buying headphone systems that is priced like 10 years old C class car) it can be a significant change :D

Definitely true! And I think many would save themselves a lot of cash by building their rig around a headphones they already own instead of going crazy with upgraditis like I once did
 
Jul 4, 2019 at 12:47 PM Post #870 of 1,126

VRacer-111

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Guys you almost always forgot to write what is the DAC you plug your Stax systems!!! This is very important and may result with different sound signatures, soundstage, imaging etc.
For example my Stax SRS-3100 system plugged to Aune S6 sounded for me a much too thin (lacks of body/thickness in sound) also with too small soundstage for my liking.
However I have solved all of that by buying iFi iTube2 and putting it between Aune S6 and Stax SRM-252s. I have also solved soundstage 'problem' (and added some bass) by making 2 modes for L300. One is the correction of seal between pads frames and headphones and second is to use 'felt stickers' on the pads (it creates laaaarge soundstage without killing the rest of frequencies somehow).


n2.jpg


With these 2 mods and iFi Itube2 in between you have planty of settings to play with (thanks to iFi). It has tube charm, you can add extra bass if needed etc.
Now I have what I wanted - sound has body, impact, crazy wide 360degrees soundstage and all of that with Stax imaging and details.

Please do not forget to write what sources/DACs you are using along with your Stax systems.

The ifi iTube2 is something I have recently become very interested in and plan to get eventually...lots going on right now not audio related that I have to take care of first. Plus I just bought a new custom electrostat I learned about that took away ifi iTube2 money... LOL

I basically built the system around my L300 Limiteds... knew I wanted the e-stat technicalities but also love low end bass and full sounding tones. Very happy with my rig, but could always use some more warmth which is why I'm seriously looking to inject the ifi iTube2 between the DAC/preamp and stereo amp. Rig is currently setup as: Laptop(usb)/ XBOX1(optical)/ OPPO BDP-93 (Coaxial SPDiF) -> RME ADI-2 DAC (used as preamp & EQ) -> NAD C275BEE stereo amp -> Mjolnir Audio SRD-7 estat transformer (modded STAX components in new package). Will drive a SR-007 Mk 2 VERY well...noticeably better low end than L300 Limited and better finesse in its sound.

I've recently come around to really liking the Sennheiser 6 series.... but it took modding to do so. HD650/6XX are good, but actually prefer the HD58X to them. Even so, the HD58X still was my least favorite of the headphones I own until I did THIS... Rivals my modded TH-X00 Purplehearts now, but with better detail, separation, and soundstage. Very much like combining the L300 Limited with a TH-X00 PH into a single headphone, but darker sounding unlike those two more brighter headphones.
 
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