The Stax SR-L500 and SR-L700 Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by crazychile, Oct 27, 2015.
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  1. tigon_ridge
    A user from the L300 thread mentioned that how the drivers are positioned relative to your ears can cause a deep trough to appear in the 8kHz range. You might want to do a sine sweep to investigate.

    I actually prefer the sound of the L300 demo to the L700 demo by Zeos. If the demos approximate their sounds adequately, the L300 sounds more intimate with more present mids, whereas the L700 would be preferable to those for whom soundstage is critical. You should consider L300. At least two other people have stated they prefer the L300 to the L700. Several have said they prefer STAX "cheapies" like 207 or L300 through the srm-252s to even their flagships. The big head-fiers who've invested huge efforts into designing, building, and selling powerful amps to drive the STAX flagships will of course have their obvious bias, too. I've driven my HD600 with humbly-priced amps, and the Schiit Mjolnir, and honestly, the improvement I heard wasn't worth the hole in the wallet...even though the Mjolnir was supposed to be competitive with amps much more expensive than itself.

    http://www.soundbsessive.com/stax-lambda-nova-signature/
    https://www.head-fi.org/threads/sta...nature-impressions-from-my-first-hour.515184/

    These impressions make the lambda nova sig sound much lesser than modern STAX headphones, but we all know our ears have their own minds. That's just yet another reason why this hobby is such an adventure.
     
  2. catscratch Contributor
    Listening to sine sweeps and playing around with a tone generator is a very good idea in general. You will actually hear the frequency response of your headphones as it relates to your ears. Then you can take a look at how various people measure those headphones and get a very good idea for how their measurement rig relates to your ears.

    Just do it over a few days and compare notes. Cause while the ears are exceptionally sensitive devices the processing machinery attached to them - if any - is pretty unreliable in the best of times. Hell, stuff sounds differently to me at different times of day, and I'll be damned if I can remember what I heard 30 seconds on with any degree of accuracy. Repeated listening reveals patterns in observations, and those patterns are far more accurate than any initial impressions or single listening session, no matter how productive.

    Here's a basic free one. Don't know how accurate it is:

    http://www.szynalski.com/tone-generator/

    Just remember to turn the volume down before you play a tone, because they're a lot louder than you'd expect.

    The L700 to me sounds roughly flat from 60hz to about 5khz. There is a peak at 7khz and a dip at 8, and past 10 things get wiggly. The bass rolls off gradually below 60hz, but there's still meaningful output at 30. Considering there's not much musical information down there I don't know if it's a big deal. I don't hear it as lacking bass, on the contrary, it has punchy and surprisingly tactile bass, but it does lack in bass resolution next to the 007A, and I wonder if that's connected. Generally speaking though, it's pretty neutral. Most headphones have far bigger FR abnormalities.

    My favorite aspect of the L700 is just how fluid it sounds. Now maybe that isn't natural, and it's definitely smearing microdetail slightly, but it sure does sound nice.
     
  3. powertoold
    Yep that's how I would describe it too. I also prefer the presentation of my LNS. With the new driver orientation in the l700, the music is presented a little bit farther away in front of you than the old lambdas.

    The good thing with the l700 is that I feel like I can listen to them a bit louder than my LNS.

    At this point though, I still enjoy the clarity of my LNS more. Instruments sound more convincing and airy with my LNS. I get a better sense of the space and reverberations. With the l700 I get a sense that a lot of sounds are more distant and therefore less engaging.

    I don't know why Stax decided to increase the angle of the Lambda drivers since all of the omegas have the driver perpendicular to the ear canal. When I listen to headphones I want to be enveloped by the sound rather than having a speaker-like presentation.
     
  4. powertoold
    Well, the l700 is starting to grow on me for everything except for electronic music, where I prefer the enveloping presentation of my LNS.

    The L700s mid-range is a bit more lush and forward than the LNS, and it's addicting.

    The L700 really starts to shine at higher volumes since it has such a smooth tonality.

    If I only had the L700, I wouldn't miss the LNS. If I only had the LNS, I would tone down my enthusiasm for newer gear haha.
     
  5. wuwhere Contributor
    I’m tempted to try these new Lambdas but I ‘m saving up for a 009.
     
    Jones Bob likes this.
  6. hanouk
    Hello
    Since a few days I got interest in Stax products.
    I read review/articles about the SR207-507 and L300-700.
    Which used amp + pair set for 500-600$/€ would you recommend ?

    Some people say the L300-700 line is marginally better in sound, build, comfort, but other sticks to older models and prefer them.

    Thanks
     
  7. oneguy
    I jus found out from my audioshop rep that the 507 was discontinued about a week ago. I should have picked up a pair the last time I was there. :frowning2:
     
  8. arnaud Contributor
    It's so bizarre this nostalgia with Stax. I really feel the disappearance of previous Lambda series is not a loss but a good thing considering how much better the new L series is.
    There certainly have been many instances where older stuff was better but, in regards to the Lambda line, it had been a long while since something new sounded good. Stax did not exist below the Omega line as far as I was concerned. With the L700 at least the situation has changed.
     
    catscratch and mulveling like this.
  9. AudioBear
    I'm pretty much for change and progress but I can understand the nostalgia. You get accustomed to a certain sound and at home with it. Someone changes it and it doesn't sound right anymore. I don't know if it's a perfect analogy or not but when I like a song done by a particular artist, I usually don't like a cover even if it's better musically. For me, the only person who can sing "I Don't Know How to Love Him" is Yvonne Elliman. Only Madonna can sing "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". I can see why someone would miss the sound of the old Stax. New isn't always better when we're talking emotional comfort food.
     
  10. catscratch Contributor
    What makes the L700 so good to me isn't that it's the arthropod's proverbial leg joints in terms of sound, but that it's something of a plug and play high-end electrostat. With the Omega line, you need an amp made of kryptonite and baby demon teeth annoited in the sacred pool of honest politicians' tears, but with the L700, you plug it into any old Stax amp and you're good. So it kinda brings quality 'stat sound to, well, not the masses, but at least those within the limits of normal human budget and patience. I'm curious to hear the rest of the LX00 line, as well as see more measurements of the entire current Stax lineup on the same measurement rig, so at least we can compare. That, and we need to see if there are any further differences between what Stax sells in Japan and what we have elsewhere. Regardless, it's an important headphone that, while not perfect, pushes the accessibility of quality 'stat sound further.
     
  11. powertoold
    I've decided I like the l700 more overall. I prefer the LNS presentation and clarity, but my LNS has a bit of harshness in the upper mids that is reduced with the l700, making the l700 easier to listen to.

    I'll be keeping both headphones.
     
  12. luvmusik
    Bought SRM-717 amp and it's the right amp for me, got super price at $900 shipped, mint shape. Still keeping my (2) SRM-1/Mk2 Pro types C and B series amps. Also have a cheapie SRM-212 used for fast test runs only. I only wanted a solid state amp.

    It made the most sense to me for so many reasons & the wallet also in this selection. It will run many of my Staxen up to L700, also ESP/950 (w/adapter cable) and KS-H03. The amp is also a fine upgrade from the E/90 & M10 from Koss & KingSound, scaling their respective hp's better. This amp is very versatile in finely matching many Lambdas & the Koss + KS, and there lies some of this amps' virtues in synergism with many hp's. I wanted the 717 circuitry, different than that found in the evolution of SRM-1/MK2 Pro thru SRM-313, 323, 353, since I already have the 2 vintage MK2 Pro amps.

    If Stax would have made the SRM-727 MKII from the factory with the essential global feedback mod, may have opted for that, but did not want to embark on the mod. When modded, that amp then sits at same level as 717, maybe 727 a hair better, but both differ in some fine attributes sonically, both then great choices. Have read modded 727 and KGSSHV are somewhat similar in design.

    The 717 is highly praised on HeadCase & the other site, even KG and BG like this amp and have good things posted about it. KG even posted it is similar to and its sound is similar to KGSS. All I could find in direct comparison of 717 to KGSS is that KGSS may have a tiny bit more controlled & powerful bass said one who owned both, and KG did base it off of 717 design supposedly. I did have the opportunity to buy the KGSS-DX version instead for an extra $100, but passed. It was hard at 1st to decide, but found out KG posted that the same parts are not available now for KGSS, and different parts would need to be put inside if ever needed. I felt that might change the signature if accustomed to the original sound. Plus, found 4 different faceplate versions of KGSS, which led to some confusion if the inside was different between versions, and then sonic signature.

    However, if moneybags came my way, feel the logical step up would be to go straight to KGSSHV-Carbon, over anything else. A few fellows report the KGSSHV does not match the L700 well, so I wasn't willing to chance the "mini" or "cheap" version, thinking the sound of those 3 amps is very close to one another. The Carbon is said to have great synergy with L700 and also the ultimate amp with a SS stage employed.

    What's nice with 717 is the synergy with so many Staxen models - many Lambdas. Many others also successfully pair 717 with 007 and really dig the combination. We know this is not the ideal combo to max out the 007 capabilities, but it works well with reported great sound and matching. Before better amps were made, the 717/007 combo was.highly regarded, but now better amps took that spot. As the "entry" amp with 007, it would deepen the rabbit hole if I ever bought 007 though, and then would just want to upgrade into the required costly amp - price territory I don't want to wade into. Some feel 700 & 007 are not far apart in price, but the real difference is that 007 needs a much more costly amp to reach it's full potential, pushing the package price far apart for these 2 hp's. It was unexpected to discover the 717 originally retailed for $2875 and being twice the price of 700, it is a complementary pairing, with the used price a tremendous value, as is the case with used Stax amp prices. Used Stax amps are super price to performance values. Some fellows also paired 717 with 009, but I feel that is tremendously under-amping that hp which deserves only the finest amps. What the 717 has is great power and super sound, very pleased with this amp.

    Some questions posted about why vintage Lambdas still matter when the L700 is here. Same was said when departure from the very original couple of Lambdas were replaced by the succeeding series, which presented the soundstage differently, among other characteristics. The reason is there are a few very relevant Lambdas and as fine as splitting hairs, some are noteworthy. HeadCase forum is divided 50 % half & half on vintage sets and the "new" direction Stax is taking with the Advanced Lambda series. The original Stax mission was to be as accurate to the pure sound of music as possible (the absolute sound). The new direction does reflect the now popular headphone trend of a slight deviation from that, adding wow factor, drama and a bit enhancement to the pure reproduction, per those on HeadCase who feel that way. I like both directions, it gives you a choice and can be fun switching between music pieces. So, finding the most relevant Lambda performers are - in no order - L700, 404LE, Airbow SR-SC11, LNS and LNB to me IMHO. What's beautiful about these is that they do differ, so some may prefer any set foremost and even multiple sets based on different music genres, and it's nice to have that choice.

    Have been buying Stax since 1989 when bought SR-34 Pro set brand new (SR-30 Pro hp's + SRD-4). That set still functions perfectly, and have kept it. My oldest set is LNB (1st made in 1979) and the newest is now L700 here, very satisfied with it.The Stax sound is my favourite presentation for headphones.

    So, really happy with my 717 and its price also, the sound is great; the amp matches L700 with super synergy along with other Staxen also; it was the right decision for me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
    mulveling likes this.
  13. mulveling Contributor
    Awesome, good to hear you've found a great match in the 717. I love the L700 out of the high end amps (BHSE, Carbon), but I sense that they could also do extremely well on more reasonably budgeted amps. I haven't heard any of the legendary vintage Lambdas you've listed. But I have heard the Lambda Pro and Lambda Signature; the L700 is clearly better than those. And the enjoyment I get out of L700 is honestly more than I got out of 007, and really quite close to that of 009.
     
  14. luvmusik
    @mulveling

    Thanks, this rig was a season's holiday splurge & reached far to get it within my means.

    You have some exceptional gear in those 2 fine amps and headphones. Wonderful stat systems.

    The fellow here on HF, jibzilla, who sold me the Airbow later wished he kept them, and said what you said too (about L700) - he liked SR-SC-11 better than his 007 & ran both on KGSSHV. This Airbow was based on 407, and is said to bested original sc-1 based on 404 plus sc-21 based on 507. It wasn't the cryo factor, but the drivers were made differently than 407's & supplied by Stax to AB, then cryo coated and changed tension differently (significant & touchy) & better cabling for the mods plus great pads to tweak sonics.

    The Lambda Pro is also in my Stax stash and it only comes to life when paired with the ED-1 Monitor, moreso for it's EQ smoothing out, rather than the diffuse field effect. It makes them sound more balanced across the full bandwidth. The field effect is a see-saw - at times good, other songs bad & then switch it off. Sometimes great soundstage with some works. But, yes, they are clearly outdone by other Lambdas; the Pros were maybe the 1st though to show Lambdas can have good bass, possibly their best claim to fame way back then when Pro bias fired up.

    Thanks again, I aspire to your Carbon, that must be heaven's match.
     
    mulveling likes this.
  15. ahmedie
    I have little experience with headphone but i have heard many headphones in akihabara-japan, well I bought the following: L300, L700, 323s, 353x, I own those for months now. I am using Amulech AL-38432DS and Amulech AL-9628D DACs, here is my impressions - on the 353x amp, L300 sound better than L700 on this amp ...(amp sound was uncontrolled bass and smaller image, L700 had harsh treble and fatiging) Whereas on the 323s amp, both sound better on this amp. L700 sound way much better than L300 on this amp...( this amp have bigger sound stage, just a little less bass but way more controlled, much improved image), I conclude that 353x is not worth the asking price. I have been listening on both amp for more than 1 month. My conclusion: 353x is no where near the performance of 323s. I would say 323s is about 1.5x performance of the 353x. I did not use the balanced input of 353x which may make different. actually if you going to buy 353x with L700 it is not WORTH it, 353x+L300 is better match though.

    The above comparison with cheap DAC, please wait until I update my DAC for more impressions...T.T
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
    Pokemonn and nazrin313 like this.
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