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. luvmusik
    The Stax SRM-323S is a fine amp & very well received by the Stax gurus on HeadCase. It's great to read your report on matching with the L700. Some of us were curious about it. Thank You.
  2. luvmusik
    Wonder if Stax will release an updated version of SRM-727 MK 2 but with the global feedback mod in place ? Makes sense. Should pair well with L700 that way if modded. If so, they should keep the current price as is, for the new version. Is there any buzz about this happening ?
  3. luvmusik
    Here is a good article about Stax amp pairing but with 007. Some of the info however can apply to L700 & what we are hearing.

    What's nice also, is that the reviewer has a brief descriptive breakdown unbiased in how he hears the difference between tubes and solid state amps, finding both sound great with different attributes. He leaves it to the reader for each one's personal preference, describing each presentation and then again, also wrapped up in his conclusion.

    This article was written in 2001, so since then, better SS & tube amps are made now and pair better with 007, extruding the best from that hp. Also since that time, Stereophile has now joined with InnerFidelity for great headphone recognition & coverage. Either of the 2 amps he reviewed with the 007 now today end up being a "gateway" entrance to move upward to better amps for 007, although one could "get away" with basically powering up the 007 with either SRM-007t or SRM-717 as many successfully paired them back then with good or adequate results.

    But, it's a cool article & he explains the power & finesse of SS Stax SRM-717 amp well, which I found has nice synergy with L700. Owners aren't selling their 717's very often, some say wished they had kept them and it's not found as often for sale as other amps. Here is the link -
    Stereophile - "Stax SR-007 Omega II Electrostatic Headphones".
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
    111MilesToGo and ahmedie like this.
  4. ahmedie
    I notice that if I turn off the power of the 323s in the front panel they keep driving the headphone for 5 seconds before sound go off. In the 353x if i turn off the power, immediately i lose the sound. Does that mean they use a different circuitry ? just thoughts.

    Found this on Rank the Headphones that You Own thread ^-^
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  5. catscratch Contributor
    The L700 pairs well with the 717, with mainly one flaw: at higher volumes, the upper mids can get shouty. At low to medium volumes everything is fine, and at high volumes with most music everything is also mostly fine, but sometimes I will hear voices and they'll sound off. If I were audiofooly and babblygooky about it it I'd call it an "ah" coloration where the "ah" sound is exaggerated. Again, not a problem most of the time, but sometimes I'll hear the shout and think "ugh... live voices don't sound like that."

    Biggest flaw of the L700 IMO. Well that and the slightly loose bass.

    With the 313, the shout is less noticeable, and you really have to crank em to hear it. The 313 is a pretty nice amp actually, very smooth and warm, but the 717 is far more effortless, dynamic, and 3-dimensional.

    I'm thinking high-power tubes might be the way to go with the L700. People who say "KGST" probably should be paid attention to.
  6. luvmusik
    Duly noted. Recap 717 ?

    KGST at this point may seem to be the best L700 match per dollar until Carbon surpasses it sonically at no price limit.

    However, some of us must have SS due to the types of music genres we listen to, where tubes present less cleanly. It's 1 reason from a few prior posts about genres why I chose 717 and feel the best matching step up from it (or 3XX) is only Carbon for amps with a SS stage. A few folks on HeadCase & the other site also note the synergy of 717 with 700, a few of those guys & gals are on this thread & gurus to boot. They also note how it excels with ESP950 and other Lambdas, all of which I'm hearing also. The SS also helps tighten the 700 bass.

    Did read about the vocal "ah" from a previous post & took that into consideration before I bought 717, although could only find 1 report about that. It will take a lot of time, but I will listen for that if it appears on my amp, and then much time needed to A-B it vs my SRM-1/MK 2 Pro amp C series. This way it is an apples to apples comparison. Running off a SS amp vs a tube amp may impart some of that vocal presentation difference. That exactly was pointed out in the Stereophile link too.

    So far I'm not hearing the upper mids shoutiness from the amp, the 717 is a powerful amp, although many other Lambdas themselves present that from negligible to moreso.

    Another point on a possible recap situation, is maybe the higher order odd harmonics are slightly brought out more than inherently normal for SS if caps need work. That is the frequency range area you are describing, and possibly may contribute to some of that "ah" effect.

    Anyway, not at all at odds here, we both like the 717 amp and it is a great match with L700.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  7. catscratch Contributor
    Yeah, I've been thinking about that. How do I measure how well the amp's performing and if anything needs to be replaced? I don't hear any channel balance or distortion issues, but it's getting up there in years. I'm not sure when it was built, I bought it used in about 07 (I think) and it was originally for the Australian market.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  8. luvmusik

    Welcome ahmedie by all to HF ! Nice to have you here with everyone.

    Others can answer this better, as I am constantly learning about amps more all the time, my weakness, am no expert. We need JimL11 or someone to clarify. I believe the shutting off lag you experienced is nothing wrong, as some amps do it, others don't, it's even seen in costly hi-end loudspeaker amps. Other fellows can post if there is some small part that wires in, to immediately shut it down as some amps do.

    As far as circuitry evolution, I may have some parts of this wrong, correct me please, and believe this is how the Solid State lines developed circuit wise. This can help with matching L700.

    SRM-1 to SRM-1/MK2 to SRA-14S to SRM-Monitor to SRM-313 to 310 to 323 to 353.

    SRM-717 to KGSS to KGSS-DX.

    SRM-727 MK2 to KGSSHV.

    Please correct any inconsistencies in this evolution of circuit designs. There also are likely ( ? ) some minor variations in KG designs among those listed, I dunno.

    We do see 3 distinct patterns of "sound" in these 3 lines when matched with L700, slightly different sonic attributes between lines.

    And as Spritzer has pointed out, Stax squeezed a lot out of that 1st line, tweaking & honing up to today; some say the SRM-323S maybe be the all-around best designed SS Stax amp.

    I guess a 4th line might then be KGSSHV-Carbon & Carbon-CC.

    PS - also Spritzer points out within a particular Stax amp model, Stax changed "parts" inside over the years issued, for some models. The SRM-1/MK2 Pro amp had many internal parts changed across its run over many years, per BG, as one example. He knows almost microscopically, exactly how many "versions" appeared on that amp besides the general differences inside for A-B-C types series.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  9. luvmusik
    The amp guys best answer this, but I'm a loudspeaker guy actually and recapping is involved there too as both use caps. When in SS the capacitors (and in crossovers, etc) get around 20 years old or more, maybe even 15 (like our 717 dep. on ser.#), caps & later maybe also transformers ( I believe ) too suffer. Usually it is the highs that roll-off & get dull, but mid-vocals may change, some say bass may improve with a recap, getting tighter & cleaner possibly. With loudspeakers it is evident in highs, as the 1st tell-tale sign, then may lead to other bandwidth symptoms. Not exactly sure how the "symptoms" 1st appear & progress in the bandwidth for headphones amps though.

    The amp guys will chuckle, I think it only requires opening the unit up & measuring each cap to see if it's still in spec or how far out of spec it has changed. If hardly any change, it may not be heard. But larger discrepancies are heard. If so, replacing those caps with a direct matching cap very high quality is needed.

    The transformers I'm not sure about - others need to post what's involved. I've read Spritzer (BG) posts saying that transformers need to be redone or remade at some point, and not sure what other parts fade over the years.

    PS - an experienced person or tech should open & work on the unit. Always safety first. The amp guys can advise.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  10. Pokemonn
    HI Stax fan.
    in my experienced, best(of course for me) L700 combo was this...

    Fostex HP-A8(as DAC) > Stax SRM-006tA > Stax SR-L700

    its really bingo combo for me. this combo sounded very spaciouse 3D phorograpic sharp euphonic imaging.its just sounded almost right. slightly bright. highly recommended!
  11. powertoold
    Well! How the tides have changed.

    I've now made up my mind that I enjoy the L700 more than my LNS. It goes to show that you need at least a few weeks with a headphone to really compare it to another, especially with high-end phones.

    The L700 sounds great with lots of music, has a more natural, speaker / life-like presentation, and has a better headband compared to older stax. It's also more comfortable.

    To me, it's well worth the extra cost compared to an LNS. The LNS does have its merits though, but after getting comfortable with my L700, it'd be tough for me to stick with my LNS, even though I was thoroughly satisfied with them previously.
  12. Pahani
    LOL I experienced the same thing. I attribute it to brain burn-in. When I first received my L700, yes, they were obviously better than mt 207's, but not overwhelmingly so. It wasn't until I switched back to my 207's after roughly 2 weeks that I FULLY appreciated L700! And yeah, there's no contest to my ears. Now.

    I never would have thought I needed further brain burn-in after living with my 207's daily for over a year, but i did. I don't put much stock in impressions after just a few hours of listening to L700 now, as they need MUCH more time IMO.

    I'm just happy to hear that someone else has experienced it now, which means I'm not crazy ;p
  13. oktapod
    I've never heard either but am in the position of considering an upgrade from 006T to a KGxx variant. I'm a bit concerned about this 'report'. Would anyone be able to confirm, as I was weighing up KGST versus KGSSHV. Carbon remains an option but I sort of thought that the difference in price might be better added to an (eventual) 007 or 009 budget....
  14. luvmusik
    To find what others have posted about KGSSHV with L700...

    on this thread, type in KGSSHV into the search block & search this thread, or read thru thread, but that's 53 pages right now.

    On other forums - HeadCase, plus "the other site", plus Just HiFi, and maybe others AudioAsylum & Reddit, plus also this HF site...go to the big Stax thread (or in addition if they have dedicated L700 thread like right here) and then do same type of search. Do the same with Googling "KGSSHV Stax L700", and it can get more hits fast. This brings up a few if not a lot of posts to read thru and you will find your answer like I did. Did not write down the places I found it, but it's all there in different spots. L700 is out 2 years now & info is slowly posting.

    I was ready to buy either a KGSSHV "cheap" or "mini" version, or standard KGSSHV used until I became aware of it not being possibly the best match with L700, from results of others. Posts were very convincing, and those fellows have great Stax experience & are well recognized on these forums. I did almost buy a used KGSS-DX for $100 more than my 717, feeling they were very similar in both circuit & sound (per KG's own posts) and also knowing the KG amps use better parts & are built better too. The KGSS may have a tiny bit better = as tighter with a tad more power in the bass as 1 guy said who had both. However, KG's own posts (he his very active here on HF & HeadCase) has posted some parts are no longer available for KGSS & actually some older KGSSHV units. Mjolnir (BG, Spritzer) currently makes new KGSSHV amps plus the "mini" & "cheap" versions of it also now, brand new. It is hard to find those 3 newer production versions as used condition for sale, maybe watch Mjolnir's own used page on site.

    We don't have reports about the "Cheap" or "Mini" types with L700 and all are awaiting these impressions fervently. Hopefully we will know in time from experienced, reputable Stax enthusiasts who have used other amps in comparison. However, we have reports of the KGSSHV with L700 and those are found as described above. It is said (even per BG, builder) the "mini" & "cheap" types are very similar to standard KGSSHV. We also have reports of the "Mini" and it's nature with other Staxen hp's, and, as those posts from reputable folks state, it's nature may not at this point seem like the best or synergistic combo with L700 pairing; speculation based on that amps' nature & result with other Staxen hp's. Certainly, these 3 fine KG amps - KGSSHV, the "Mini" and "Cheap" types do have awesome synergy with some other Staxen headphones and that is found on the web easily.

    If the 717 did not exist (and thus also maybe KGSS as a result too), nor also if 727 MK2 global feedback modded unit did not exist, then I would have bought 1 of the current-selling new 3 KGSSHV variants, needing SS for my preference. The 323S is incredible also (353X being balanced feature), but I have the earlier evolution of that circuit design in (2) SRM-1/MK2 amps, C & B types, so wanted to experience the ease in power & different 717 (KGSS similar) circuitry.

    If you dig deep, you can find the info, hope it helps somewhat & best of luck. Let us know what you select in the future. Agreed Carbon with 009 or 007 or L700 is something special for SS matching per all others' posts. KGSSHV-Carbon (& Carbon-CC upgrade of it) have sensational reviews.

    Cheers :beerchug:
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  15. luvmusik
    Can anyone weigh-in on how the L700 sounds with Cavalli Liquid Lightning, comparative to other amps they have also used with L700, please ?

    Very curious based on the LL's attributes, and realize its price.

    Wondering if anyone has tried both the LL amp and KGSSHV-Carbon amp with L700 and if they could please describe sonic differences in the matching.

    Interested in knowing just how far the L700 can scale with highest end solid state amps, and the sound characteristics at that level.

    There are 2 or 3 fellows trying LL and maybe some others reading also; hope we can learn more from anyone that can offer their expertise. Thank you.
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