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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. DougD
    well, the way I look at it ... and I am (regrettably) a budget-constrained hobbyist ... if it costs $$$X to achieve a certain level of sound quality and enjoyment, I really don't care about how the pie is allocated amongst the various parts. 
    Any ideas that anybody has about what the proper budget mix ought to be is pretty fuzzy stuff, and very arbitrary. AND largely influenced by the costs of various kinds of technologies from X-years ago when each of us was in "the formative years" of our audio gear quest for perfection and enlightenment.
    But if I can keep the spending on gear down, I have more to spend on the music itself. 
  2. axle_69

    I guess we all agree that the sound will be limited by the weakest element in the chain so there must be some balance. I was just trying to say that if the L700 requires an amp like the BHSE to sound good, an 009 would be a better option for just a little bit more money (relative). I guess the point of the L700, and L500 is to have 80-90% (maybe I'm being a bit optimistic) of the listening experience of the Omega series without being so demanding on the amplifier. If this is true, the 353X or the 006 would be sensible choices. The reason not to go for the 009 (or 007) it is not only because it is more expensive, but also because it requires a much more expensive amplifier. If the same level of amplifier is required for the new lambdas we are in trouble.
    Zoide likes this.
  3. DougD
    I agree with that. Just wasn't sure that the previous comment re needing a BHSE for the L700 was a quick reflexive quip, or based on a personal listening experience. I can't recall offhand who it was, but (edit: as I recall) he didn't provide any context.
  4. Tompoodie
    Arnaud, Thank you for your L700 and all of yout posts, which I always enjoy reading and find informative. I came to the same conclusion you have, but a year ago, that a current lambda with its excellent voicing, in terms of price versus performance, is a better choice for many than a 007 or 009, I purchased 207's and a 323 amp. Unfortunately, the L 700 wasn't available then. Many, including Spritzer, have noted the 207 already sounded like a baby 009 and many have felt it has a smoother treble and generally better frequency response than any other headphone in the Stax lambda line. The frequency curve, distortion, and impulse response to my eye (In graphs provided by Ty) are better than the 007 and very close to that of the 009 and better than most other TOTL headphones out there, Including the HE1000.

    Arnaud, (And others please chime in!) do you think that the 207/323 combination might sound in the same league as the 700? I wouldn't be surprised, with the exception of smaller soundstage because of the angled transducer, that it turns out to be the case. The distortion is so low, and impulse response so good in the 207,it is really hard to beat, while at the same time conceding that there is less detail, soundstage, and instrument separation versus the 009, but not a gigantic difference. I have heard them back to back. The main weakness of the 207,is that bass rolls off at 30 Hz and smaller soundstage. I don't miss the extra detail of the 009 as it makes me focus on detail rather than the music. Hopefully someone out there can compare and contrast the 207, well amplified, versus the L 700.
    Zoide likes this.
  5. axle_69

    I have the L700 and the 353X (other people may prefer the 006) and I don't feel the need for more power/control, just my two cents.
    Zoide and DougD like this.
  6. AudioBear
    @axle_69 Can you share some impressions of how you like the L700/353x combo in general?
  7. edstrelow Contributor
    Indeed! Have a look at my thread on damping Stax and other phones. 
    I get a laugh at some of the discussion of the often trivial benefits associated with big bucks purchases when I know that a dollar's worth of sorbothane can give bigger improvements in sound than most equipment upgrades. I am very happy with what damping my Stax LNS and 404 did to their sound. A straight comparison of these, especially the damped 404 with an 007A would certainly not have had me buying the 007A. However I already had the 007A before I discovered the benefits of damping. Similarly after comparing the 009 with the damped 007A at the Canjam in SoCal, I won't be buying an 009, although I suspect that if I could figure out how to dampen its case with sorbothane, that it would be a better phone.
    I do like what I am hearing about the L700 and would consider getting the drivers  to use in my last low bias Stax Sigma, damped of course. It could give an increase in treble and detail which might be an advance on my Sigma/404.
    Zoide and DougD like this.
  8. axle_69
    I can try, but is not worth much and it is highly subjective. First a disclaimer, I don't hear above 16.5 kHz at normal listening levels and start with a 10 dB loss around 8 kHz (getting older...).
    To me the L700 is very comfortable (I wear glasses) and very pleasant to hear. Detailed as expected, maybe not as much as the big brothers. Soundstage is reasonably good for headphones, almost like listening in the first row and not in the middle, relatively wide L-R (for headphones) but limited up-down. Tone seems natural to me, well balanced, bass goes deep (but without slam) and is detailed. The mid-range sounds just right. Hard to tell about the highs, not bright at all, maybe just the right amount, maybe a tiny bit to the dark side. Can't comment much on the 353X, detailed, maybe a bit lean for some people. For those who like it the 006 will probably give more body to the mids and be a better match in that respect.
    I would say it is a very revealing and relatively well balanced headphone (it may have some deficiencies but doesn't sound coloured).
    Better give you an ideia about the rest of the components just in case one is known to have some influence. I'm using Wireworld Stratus 5 power cables for the amplifier and the DAC, and VOVOX Sonorus as interconnects. The DAC is an AQVOX MkII (it seems the MkI was a bit euphonic), which I consider to be relatively neutral.
    I hope this makes some sense.
    DougD likes this.
  9. purk Contributor
    I borrowed the L700 from Mulveling for a few hours now and gotta admit this is a great sounding headphones.  It is a very enjoyable headphones that sound more or less the same as the SR009 but to a lesser degree.  Bass, sense of soundstage & transparency, and resolution are definitely better on the SR009.  The L700 maybe a tad smoother in treble response but the SR009 do offer noticeably better in term of soundstage.  Stax did a great job with this one for sure.  Will have to save up for a pair.  The voicing on the L700 is quite impressive IMO despite lacking the depth & width in the soundstage compared to the SR009 as well as the SR007.  This is out of both my KGSSHV Carbon & BHSE amps.  
  10. AudioBear
    Thanks to @axle_69 and @purk for your impressions.  I am getting quite interested in the L-700.
  11. nemomec

    This is also my experience with the new SR-L700. I made a direct comparison with my top electrostatic models and the SR-L700 was one of the best. Not the overall performance of a SR-009 or SR-Omega, maybe 90%, but i can´t decide between a SR-007 MK2 or a weak SR-007 MK1 and the new SR-L700. I prefer the SR-L700 on the Stax tube hybrid amps, it scales also with better amplification.
    Zoide likes this.
  12. AudioBear

    Since this would be my first electrostatic ear speaker I would have to buy an amp but I find spending more on the amp than the speaker a little disturbing.  I have had several electrostatic speakers and loved them all but they cost more than the amps.  I guess I'll get over it....
  13. luvmusik
    Eager to read if anyone does a detailed A-B sound comparison with specifics of the SR-L700 vs. Airbow SR-SC11, Stax SR-404 LE (LTD, Limited), Stax Lambda Nova Signature and Koss ESP-950.
  14. 343 Grenadier
    I concur with Luvmusik on the double-blind test, and also have a request of my own: Everyone here's talking about the SR-L700 off of a moderately priced to fairly expensive electrostatic amp. It's a Lambda, though, so shouldn't there be a test of how it works on something cheap like an SRM252S? Some people might want to set up a cheaper system using the L700, and it would be a good test of the headphones' efficiency. Besides, imagine if it DID work nicely on something that cheap, with little to no loss of quality. Would be a hell of a bargain.
    Zoide and luvmusik like this.
  15. luvmusik
    Good point made 343 G. I like solid-state amps, and a mint used SRM-1/Mk2 Professional runs about 4 bills used. It is a stellar amp that has matched well with other Lambdas. There probably are reasonable priced amp pairings for the SR-L700 that play well together.
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