The Entry Level Stax Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by chris j, Aug 10, 2013.
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  1. Chris J
    The purpose of this thread is to create a resource for anyone who is considering getting into an entry level Stax system.
    For example:
    SRS-2050 ii
    new or used.
    This thread differs from the Stax thread in Summit-Fi (High End Forum) in that I hope discussion in this thread will be limited to comparison and discussion of entry level Stax systems to various mid-level dynamics.
    I hope anyone who may be interested in going from Sennheiser HD600 or HD650, Grado SR225i/325i or RS-2i, the AKG Q701 and K70x, or Shure SRH 940, or Audio Technica ATH M50, Beyer DTxx0, to the various entry level Stax systems will use this thread as a knowledge and discussion resource.
    After considering taking another upgrade step; i.e. going from the dynamics I currently own to an entry level Stax system, I found there was no thread on Head Fi which actually targeted this type of discussion.
    The Stax thread in Summit Hi Fi is a wealth of knowledge, but it is really aimed at people who already own a Stax system and would like to upgrade to a higher end Stax headphone or Stax amp. 
    Here's a link to the big Stax thread in Summit-Fi if you are already a Stax owner and want to upgrade, etc.
    Chris J
    Anavel0 likes this.
  2. Chris J
    Here's the system that got me into Stax:
    consists of a pair of Stax SR-207 headphones and a Stax SRM-252S headphone amplifier.
    I picked this system up for approx. $750 USD.
    Much as I enjoy using my AKG Q701 and Matrix M Stage amp, compared to this system, the Q701 & M Stage sounds slightly mechanical and harsh.
    The Stax system has greater transparency and better transient response.
  3. Tus-Chan
    I think this thread is a good idea. There isn't anywhere near enough focus on the low-end Stax as there is on the Lambdas, Sigmas, and Omegas. Not every Stax system needs to cost thousands of dollars. [​IMG]
  4. numbercube
    I hope I'll win a Lambda Spirit / SRD-7 MK2 combo tomorrow.
  5. K_19
    Gotta say 2170 system that you can get from Japan for around $600~700 right now from PriceJapan is one of the best deals around that price point, provided that you want to take a risk in regards to the complicated warranty claim process (you still have the warranty but need to pay for shipping it back and forth to and from Japan).  Can't think of another headphone/amp combo that I would get that that price point over them if you want a balanced, detailed presentation.
    Are there any better pad options for the 207?  I do find the stock pleather pads comfortable for the most part but do think that it'd be better with a pad that is deeper and softer, and breathe better.  Are the 507 pads any better in that regard, and what would be its effect on the sound?
  6. DefQon
    The only good sounding dynamics comparable to the basic Stax headphones that I have owned/heard/experienced are:
    Sennheiser HD580/600/650 (very good alternative to any Stax system)
    Beyer DT880 Prem 600ohm (in some sound aspects, but the highs and sibilance still remains an downsight).
    AKG K501/601/70X (K501/601 treble is fairly relaxed and natural sounding especially the former, bit bright at times but not not annoyingly bright to the ears or such. Only good trait about the K/Q70X range is the soundstage, I found rest of the sound frequency a downgrade to the 5/601).
    Grado RS1 and maybe the PS500 are the only decent ones out of the Grado bunch that are fairly balanced sounding, bit too shouty at times, a Stax basic system is miles ahead still as a good upgrade, more dynamic sounding as well.
    Audio Technica AD1000/2000 (great soundstage, great mids and treble extension, bit bass light, not as dynamic as it's wooden model's are, great soundstaging capabilities, bit too coloured and mediocre imaging) The other AT models are too coloured but have a seductive treble range and do great with female vocals, but they are much more expensive.
    No Denons/Fostex I have found are comparable to my 202's in any way. Unless you like muddy bass and recessed treble or shelved mids.
    Discontinued/Unobtainium comparison. 
    Sony MDR CD950/1000/3000 (these properly amped with a good solid state that can swing good currents into the low z they are rated at maybe with a bit eq for bass, they have a similar sound signature to some of the vintage Stax earspeakers. Prices for the CD3000 fetch higher than any of the vintage Stax Lambda's. The CD1000 do share the same biocellulose drivers as the CD3k, no modern day headphone can reproduce the unique and seductive sound of these headphones which is why they have a legendary status behind them like it's older brother the R10).
    Sony MDR SA3000/5000 (only good sounding once you recable them with copper cables, balanced entry and powered by a good solid state amp, Yamamoto HA-02 combination is just as good as the amp is with AT's).
    Getting bit late now and I can't think of anything that stands out to me so might've missed out some other models.
    I prefer the 202's a bit more than the 207's which are still great sounding but a bit borderlining of being bit too bright for me. Both models are different sounding to the rest of it's family model's, neutral, balanced, uncoloured are some of the traits they carry with sound, so they may not be for everyone.
    Just for those wondering, the SR-007mk1's got me into Stax, rather than jumping the gun and buying one of the best out there back then, I've decided to collect and start from the beginning and learn and experience about Stax's history with there earspeakers/amp's/energizers etc. It's a fun process.
    If I were to part from electrostatic headphones and other high-end/TOTL gear, I'd choose a maxed out Crack + HD600 as my personal rig. 
  7. Chris J
    I gotta say I fully agree with this........
    After hearing many headphones at a few meets and in a few stores, I can't see what other headphone and amp I could buy for $600-750 that actually sounds better than the SRS-2170 system!
    The detail and transparency is what really draws me in.
  8. miceblue
    The SRH940 was the first real headphone I bought after reading tons of impressions here on Head-Fi *kudos to MalVeauX* and the K 701 was meant to be an upgrade from that, and partially due to being able to crossplay as the character Mio from the anime K-ON for an anime convention.
    So here I am with the SRS-2170 and I think the SRS-2170 is somewhat of a hybrid between the two. It's got the fairly smooth presentation of the K 701 with the awesome rockability of the SRH940's treble, a deeper bass extension than either of the two, and a more "in-your-head" soundstage, which is good and bad for me. The SRS-2170 is definitely more revealing of the source compared to the SRH940 and K 701, so I'll have to be more picky with the music I listen to in the future, hahaha.
    The SRH940 had a pretty large soundstage for a closed-back headphone, and the K 701 with its famous wide soundstage; both headphones gave me the impression that I'm listening to music through a well-spaced speaker system. On the other hand, the SRS-2170 seems to have the speakers placed closer together and I'm not entirely sure how to describe it, but it sounds like the sound is coming from "within" me as opposed to directed at me. XD
    Also, when one puts the earspeakers on their head and it makes a crinkly sound, is that bad for the diaphragm? I know the diaphragm can get stuck towards one side of the "capacitor plates" and I'm trying to avoid that.
  9. K_19
    Normal with Stax headphones. The infamous Stax fart.  Should be harmless unless you go out of your way to do it (like pushing the cups in/out or something for the hell of it) all the time every day or something.
  10. K_19
    I have the 2170 in as a loan again (my friend's away on vacation for a week) and the DA100->252S->207 combo sound absolutely fantastic... Enjoying it as much as my LCD-2's right now.  
    I said this before on the main Stax thread but the only two weaknesses I notice with these balance wise is that the frequency extremes are slightly rolled off on both ends (I don't quite get others calling these bright, but then again bright to me is a Grado/Beyer type 10k peak... these don't have that, at least with my DA100 DAC), and bit of a midrange honk pushing some vocals to being shouty for certain songs with upclose vocals (but makes the vocals nicely intimate on songs that have vocals backed off a bit).  Other than that I find these headphones very even sounding overall, with the typical Stax ethereal presentation, nice open soundstage and good amount of detail.  Comfort will be bit of a hit and miss with Lambda frames due to their long cups clamping down at the bottom of your chin, but for 1-2 hour listening sessions I don't find it to be that big of an issue, and I happen to be very picky with comfort...
    Again, I do encourage others curious about Stax to give these a try while they are relatively cheap to get. Almost considering it myself right now to get as an alternative rig though I'm not sure how much use they'll get once 009's are in...
  11. Dafo
    The akg k601 has more treble than sr202 and a more punchy bass. Bass goes deeper on sr202 but has more punch in the k601. Imo mids are a bit more natural on the k601. Mark Knopfler sounds a bit light on sr202, and a bit more "mature" on the k601. This is due to a bit more focus on the upper mids in the sr202.
    Quality is clearly better in the sr202 compared to k601. Akg k701 has even more treble than k601, and what a fine treble that is :wink: Quality is clearly better in the k701 than the k601, as the sr202 is also better than the k601, but wether k701 is as good as the sr202 I don't know exactly. Given the fact that k701 has a lot to offer quality wise compared to k601, I would think it's getting close to the sr202. I didn't have the k701 to compare to sr202, I have only compared k701 to k601, so my comparing of k701 an sr202 is all deduktion. Oh, and by the way the k701 has the same "mature" voicing in the mids as the k601. 
    Treble seemed more "stretched" out on the k601 compared to the sr202. What I mean is the k601 (and k701 for that matter) needs more categories to describe the treble, they need to be described in full with "lower treble", "mid treble" and "high treble". The sr202 had more of a one-tone treble, very high in quality, but not as "full" sounding as the treble in k601 and obviously not as full as the k701, since the k701 has even more presence in treble than k601.
    I don't have my stax anymore, due to an irrational quick descision I'm sad to say, but I will never forget them, they are the best headphones I have ever heard. There is just something about the way they sound that's different in a good way. The k701 is imo the closest thing. 
  12. miceblue
    This thread is lacking in pictures. People might appreciate some photos of what the unit(s) look like as opposed to the ones provided from the manufacturer. XD
    SRM-252S (front) + ODAC on top
    SR-207 headband (top)
    SR-207 earcups (contrary to what people might think, the fat part of the earcup wedge is the front and the skinny part of the wedge is the back; the earpads are contoured in the exact opposite way)
    SR-207 in the foam box
  13. K_19
    Yup. The drivers itself is positioned along the inner side of the cup and not outside of it, so considering the angled pads the drivers are effectively angled towards your ears a bit, though it may not look that way from the outside.
  14. DairyProduce
    Glad to see a thread that's not only about TOTL Stax!
    At around $700~$800 you can also snag a Koss ESP-950 too.
    As much as I liked my SR-007 Mk.1, the one problem I had with them was the lack of...impact. It just doesn't move air(?) like dynamic headphones, and I can't get used to it. I'm thinking about giving electrostatic headphones another shot though..
  15. DefQon
    Mk1's need power, lots of it otherwise it's going to be lacking in a lot of areas. 
    ESP950's can be snagged up for $550-700 nowadays on fleabay. 
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