Stax SR-L300 Impressions Thread
Feb 3, 2020 at 9:28 PM Post #992 of 1,126

VRacer-111

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Can @VRacer-111 or someone confirm if the above mentioned L500 pads would be likely to fit on the L300 LE? And is there any more affordable source? And is it the same material as L300 LE pads only a little thicker? Thanks... :)

The L500 pads are the stock L300 Limited pads... if you want a comfort and slight subbass upgrade you go to the L700 pads.
 
Feb 4, 2020 at 3:21 PM Post #993 of 1,126

DecentLevi

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Hey @Hansotek I noticed on the Lampizator Amber 3 DAC thread you mentioned you have an L300 LE. I got one also, last summer and am on a journey of pad and energizer rolling. 'thought you may want to sub here for future progress on this a bit later. Also have you tried any other earpads? On recent pages here there has been much discussion about different options and a huge difference it makes. I'm still fine tuning mine and trying to get better bass and 'slam' so I'm still using the HD-600 save for movies with the Stax for now.
 
Feb 4, 2020 at 4:45 PM Post #994 of 1,126

Hansotek

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Hey @Hansotek I noticed on the Lampizator Amber 3 DAC thread you mentioned you have an L300 LE. I got one also, last summer and am on a journey of pad and energizer rolling. 'thought you may want to sub here for future progress on this a bit later. Also have you tried any other earpads? On recent pages here there has been much discussion about different options and a huge difference it makes. I'm still fine tuning mine and trying to get better bass and 'slam' so I'm still using the HD-600 save for movies with the Stax for now.

Right on. I'll sub. I felt like they were a bit dark on my SRM-1 Mk II, but I haven't really felt the need to change anything since acquiring the KGSSHV Carbon. They scaled beautifully.
 
Feb 4, 2020 at 5:22 PM Post #995 of 1,126

DecentLevi

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Wow even more ironic, not only do we both have the L300 LE, but both also the SRM-1 MKII! Makes me wonder if you're in my room while I'm away, LOL. However for me, I found the above pairing a bit on the lean side, bass light and dynamics good enough for movies but not rhythmic music. Did you do any pad swapping on yours?

I agree the L300's scale well. I was astonished with the improvement I heard with these on the Hifiman Jade II Energizer, dramatic improvements almost all across the board. For me though I'm more interested in the custom amp + transformer route mentioned by Vracer 111 than the KGSSHV option. You can read more here.
 
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Feb 4, 2020 at 5:38 PM Post #996 of 1,126

Hansotek

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Wow even more ironic, not only do we both have the L300 LE, but both also the SRM-1 MKII! Makes me wonder if you're in my room while I'm away, LOL. However for me, I found the above pairing a bit on the lean side, bass light and dynamics good enough for movies but not rhythmic music. Did you do any pad swapping on yours?

I agree the L300's scale well. I was astonished with the improvement I heard with these on the Hifiman Jade II Energizer, dramatic improvements almost all across the board. For me though I'm more interested in the custom amp + transformer route mentioned by Vracer 111 than the KGSSHV option. You can read more here.

I have not tried any pad rolling. I'm not entirely sure the pro bias output on my SRM-1 is tip top, so YMMV. Anyway, it hasn't gotten much burn since I got the Carbon last year. The normal bias output is definitely working great though, and I've held onto it just in case I ever come across a well-priced SR-Sigma.

I did originally run my normal bias Lambda out of a little Topping tripath amp and an SRD-7 for a while way back before the SRM-1. Great results on that. More punchy than the SRM, for sure. I definitely feel there's potential with that route, especially with a top tier energizer and a good amp to drive it.
 
Feb 5, 2020 at 4:37 PM Post #998 of 1,126

Hansotek

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That Topping tripath amp and an SRD-7 looks real nice, why did you stop using it? Did you find a better amp or is that SRD-7 not so good?

The SRD-7 could use a little soldering/maintenance. Because of that, I ended up selling the Topping when I got the SRM-1.

I have too much other gear to listen to and not enough time to do it anyway. This all happened like 5 years ago. A lot has changed since then. I still think that's a top-notch rig for a relatively mid-fi level investment though.
 
May 30, 2020 at 4:57 AM Post #1,000 of 1,126

ph03nixh0

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Hey folks, I just picked up a pair of the L300 & SRM-252s and was wanting to give it a warmer sound. Would a setup like this seem okay? DAC > Tube-amp > SRM-252s. I know I'd be amplifying the signal twice, but I'm not sure if that's a bad idea or not. Anyone with any ideas?
 
May 30, 2020 at 5:37 AM Post #1,002 of 1,126

BenF

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Hey folks, I just picked up a pair of the L300 & SRM-252s and was wanting to give it a warmer sound. Would a setup like this seem okay? DAC > Tube-amp > SRM-252s. I know I'd be amplifying the signal twice, but I'm not sure if that's a bad idea or not. Anyone with any ideas?
That's perfectly fine, I do this myself sometimes
 
May 30, 2020 at 5:24 PM Post #1,005 of 1,126

DecentLevi

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Hey folks, I just picked up a pair of the L300 & SRM-252s and was wanting to give it a warmer sound. Would a setup like this seem okay? DAC > Tube-amp > SRM-252s. I know I'd be amplifying the signal twice, but I'm not sure if that's a bad idea or not. Anyone with any ideas?
The L300's respond only modestly (to a point) in to boosts in lower frequencies by conventional methods such as EQ'ing and source chain. To get proper bass response, unconventional methods are needed (see below).

You'll get some severe impedance mismatches using the output of an amp into the input of another amp - why would you want to introduce more distortions and unneeded gain? Maybe a tube preamp at most
On the contrary. Double amping often results in very nominal loss in perceived signal purity, and even a more preferable sound depending on the configuration. 'Impedance mismatches', while may be a thing are more common connecting two outputs in parallel to another input (an amp with dual inputs) than an output to another input. You got the notion of 'introducing distortions' quite wrong as well. First off, distortions are often more of a blessing than a curse in this hobby. Innumerable headphones with fairly high measured distortions as well as DACs are actually preferable to many of us in this hobby. There are good and bad distortions and it is a subjective matter. It's one of those grey areas where science alone cannot explain why a sound can be more preferable to some even though it may not measure well on paper. And that's the whole concept of tube amps in general. The tubes introduce varying types of harmonic distortion, as do all old analog-era (eg 70's) stereo & recording equipment which are often regarded as superior in organic / natural sound than today's digital systems. But moreover I believe the above user was referring to using the tube amp as a tube-buffer / preamp (connected to his energiser via the line-out). THIS folks is THE WAY to go, and IMO the ONLY way to go with many electrostatic headphones such as the Lambda's. My years of owning several tube amps as well as multiple e-stat setups and dozens of comparisons even public exhibitions of said setups has always shown an unwavering favor towards the tube-buffer method with e-stats. Transforms what can often be a cold / dry / sterile sound into something more full of life with vibrant mids, weightier lows, sweeter treble, larger soundstage and more organic / lifelike overall. One can also consider that some of the best e-stat and conventional headphone amps alike are tube amps as well (WA-33, Blue Hawaii, Orpheus 1 & 2, etc.), because of the good type of controlled distortion.

The likely reason of the somewhat tame bass response on the Stax L300's
Lower frequencies move more air and are thus need to 'breathe' in order to be in full effect. Most headphones achieve this by way of perforation or breathable mesh sheets in the diaphragm around the driver inside the headphone, allowing this air to dissipate out of vent holes in the outer earcups. Headphones either without a perforation in the diaphragm or that don't have a diaphragm around the driver such as the L300's benefit when they don't 'seal' around your ear. This was something that me and a custom headphone modding hobbyist / designer had realized. Indeed you can see the effect of this increased breathing area when you pull the L300's 1-2cm away from your ear, often producing a more voluminous bass but uncontrolled.

My recommended solution
Below is a summarized copy of my post on this thread which discusses many excellent options for altering the sound of the L300 L.E.'s by way of earpad rolling, which to myself and others who have tried it, have noticed substantial and widely varying results dependent on chosen earpads. The one below actually not even requiring a different earpad, but an adapter and specially placed vents between it and the L300 L.E. earpad (said to be the same as L500 pads).

20200418_171650.jpg
20200418_171457.jpg
20200418_171428.jpg

Stax L300 LE pads (said to be the same as L500 pads) on SoCas PadMod 6mm spacer
Using blu-tac to fill 50% of the space between the spacer and adapter; three approx. 1" size pieces on each side resulting in good air ports as shown

20200418_173719.jpg

- Upper left: SoCas PadMod 6mm spacer attached to my original Stax L500 earpads (filled 50% with blu-tac between these for best bass definition)
- Upper middle: SoCas Padmod for Stax L300/500/700 XB Mount non-ported
- Upper right: Stax L300 limited edition, with Brainwavz oval black PU/Velour earpads compatible with ATH M50, (on) SoCas Padmod for Stax L300/500/700 83x108mm non-ported

- Lower left: SoCas PadMod 12mm spacer
- Lower center: SoCas Padmod for Stax L300/500/700 XB Mount ported

- Lower right: SoCas Padmod for Stax L300/500/700 83x108mm ported

By far the best soundstage, bass quality, technical proficiency in all areas. An absolutely uncanny ability to faithfully reproduce instrument separation / imaging, width, texture, detail and a bass that while maybe not the most powerful has real definition in droves.

The only difference between this and stock L300 limiteds is the spacer adapter and specifically placed port holes between the spacer and earpads, but somehow this really brings the bass into focus while retaining the best texture available, and even increases the soundstage by a little while not being overdone, and simultaneously seems to do a fairly good job fixing the somewhat off-kilter or hollow tonality of the original configuration. I also tried a 100% blu-tac seal which caused a void in bass, and 75% seal which was still bass light, but you just can't go wrong with the above 50% configuration!

I also tried the stock earpads with the 12mm spacers and got a phenomenal soundstage, but the fit was not practical.

Final comments / notes

Usage of all earpad adapters and spacers strains the headband horizontally which can shorten the height of the headband thereby increasing pressure points on both the top of the head and the upper section of the earpads, as well as increasing clamping force. For those with a large head size I would forgo this route unless you are able to find a way to replace the Stax headband with a larger one.

  • I highly recommend the Brainwavz oval black PU/Velour earpads compatible with ATH M50 on SoCas Padmod for Stax L300/500/700 83x108mm non-ported adapter for a very robust, weighty, balanced sound that's fantastic for rhythmic centric genres such as electronic music including EDM, pop and hip-hop.
  • And above all I recommend the (above) Stax L300 LE pads (said to be the same as L500 pads) on SoCas PadMod 6mm spacer with a 50% fill of blu-tac between spacer and earpad, especially for analogue era atmospheric / orchestral / classic rock material for a truly master-class experience.
Both of these pairings are so exceptionally great that I never want to take them off! In fact these both sound not only so fantastic but also distinctive that I just may order a 2nd pair of L300's so I can have one headphone for each sound signature... they're THAT good! :o2smile::L3000:
 
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