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The Stax Thread III

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by currawong, Aug 20, 2013.
  1. GarageBoy
    Is the octave 2 more similar in sound to the 353x, or is it it's own thing?
  2. AudioThief
    What sort of DACs are you guys pairing with your stax earspeakers?

    My current setup is:

    Tidal/Roon FLAC/MQA ----> Modi Multibit -----> 727II ---> 007 mk1

    I was shocked at the increased fidelity going to bitperfect streaming and FLAC only listening, so I am starting to consider upgrading my DAC as well. I think the modi multibit sounds great, but many people view it as an "entry level" dac. If there is significant improvements to be found, I want it. Perhaps something that can deliver MQA quality perfectly would be a consideration?

    The most important part for me is that it keeps the spirit of my 007s though. Which to me is, effortless transparancy with zero fatigue.
    BreadMaster likes this.
  3. VRacer-111
    I'd highly consider something like the RME ADI-2 DAC.... its USB is outstanding and the sound is WAY better with Blu-ray pure audio discs than my Oppo BDP93, even though the ADI-2 can only play it @ 16bit/44.1kHz versus the 24bit/96k it should be (using digital coax because no HDMI input available)... much fuller/richer, and clean, with BLACK background...the OPPO really sounds BAD compared to it. DVD-A media plays at 24bit/96kHz through it from the Oppo though, so I also assume it will at the max 24bit/192kHz as well. RME ADI-2 DAC will do up to 32bit/768kHz / DSD256 over USB...

    Plus the built in 5 band PEQ, crossfeed, tone control knobs, balance adjustment, and fully adjustable/customizeable feature set makes it completely outstanding DAC...and add to that the amp section which is great as well and you have an increfible DAC/amp with unheard of features and custimization for $1k...All in one rig DAC solution that can cover non-Electrostats as well with the headphone and separate dedicated IEM jack...

    I just downloaded the Boston 'Third Stage' album from HDtracks in 24bit/96kHz FLAC late last night, but didn't listen to it on my STAX rig, was on my bedroom TH-X00PH centered rig. Very nice sounding, but don't have CD album to compare it with to see what difference there is. Want to listen to it tonight on my STAX rig.
  4. buzzlulu
    I hope you are right about the 353! As a Stax newbie I started with a L300LE and 353XBK. I will let you know tomorrow how the 353XBK fares with the 009S :) as my plans are to use it for the time being until I am ready to pull the trigger on a better amplifier.

    One advantage I will have running a 009S/353XBK is that my sources are class leading. Coming from 2 channel I subscribe to a different philosophy than most on Headfi. The largest part of ones budget should be spent on the source and not the headphone or amplifier - IMHO.
  5. padam
    That's probably not true anymore with the rise of "cheap" (sub 2000$) high-end DACs, like the Holo Audio Spring (especially if we are talking about an SR-009S). The amp also makes a noticeable difference with the Omega series (but probably more so with the SR-007s).
  6. buzzlulu

    I actually believe source first still holds true today. In two channel there are DAC's ranging from $1k-$50k. Turntables from $1k-$50K. In a resolving system it is easily possible to discern the differences.
    In my world of two channel budget is ALWAYS allocated source first. It is useless to spend larger dollars on amplifiers or speakers and pair them with a cheaper not as resolving source. The sources job is to get ALL the information off of the storage medium - digital or vinyl. No use in amplifying or playing through TOTL speakers if the source has left some of the music on the disc. The DAC's and turntables at the lower end of the spectrum are simply less resolving than better ones. Simply put you will not be hearing ALL of the music. To use a popular example on Headfi a Dave is a bit better than a Mojo - no?

    This is not to say that serious advances have not been made at lower price points as today it is possible to get AMAZING performance from reasonably priced sources (just witness a Chord Mojo). People are not stupid however and I don't think many like to throw their money away. When they buy TOTL Rega or Linn Turntables, and digital sources from Linn, Naim, dCS etc. it is very easy to hear the differences. Listen to an entry level player and then listen to a Chord Dave, Naim ND555, a Linn Klimax DS etc. (yes I have an affinity for British hi-fi!)

    Then do an experiment. Listen to a $2k streamer through some $6K speakers. Then listen to a $6k streamer through some $2k speakers. The second system with the better source will win every time. I would speculate that a Hugo2 feeding a L300 will sound better than an iPhone w/FLAC feeding a L700. No matter how hard it tries the iPhone will always be leaving music on the table - it is simply not capable of extracting and playing everything that the Hugo2 can. Dont even get me started about people with TOTL headphones listening to MP3's instead of FLAC's. Same philosophy - the FLAC will ALWAYS around better. Source first!

    But then again to each his own. People will do as they see fit.
    Enough from the peanut gallery - time to listen to some music.
  7. oneguy
    I agree up to a point. The part I would argue is where diminishing returns start to kick in. Take the example of a $5k source and $5k speakers vs $9k source and $1k speakers. I would argue that there are diminishing return bumping up from the $5k to $9k source that would point to upgrading the speakers as being a better use of the $4 difference instead.

    Now this was an extreme example using numbers that added up to 10 to make it easy. I think in the head-fi community that diminishing returns “bend in the graph” occurs at the $2k range with DACs like the Yggy and Spring KTE. Anything beyond that and it is highly likely that it’s more beneficial to throw money at rest of the chain instead.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
    VandyMan and arnaud like this.
  8. padam
    I did listen to various sources, including the Linn DS and they are very nice but not necessarily better (even though technically, you could say it has a bit more detail or a bigger soundstage), just different.

    It is up to the listener which one he or she prefers and prices don't necessarily determine performance.

    That's why I think that 2k$ vs 6k$ or other price-based comparison can be a wrong example especially with speakers, where the acoustics and placement are very important as the choices are practically endless.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  9. buzzlulu
    Unfortunately this is true in two channel. The dollar jump for a 10 increment in performance is frequently astronomical. I'm curious to see what the 009S at $4350 tell me vs. my L300LE at $700.

    I also have a Utopia here which I listen to through a Moon430HA. Fair comparison with the Stax setup as both are fed by my Linn source.
    If I could only have one setup I think the L300LE/353XBK at $1700 vs. the Utopia/Moon430HA at $7500 is a no brainier. The Stax setup costs less then one third and I find myself using it more frequently.
  10. mulveling Contributor
    I feel that Stax necessitates "amplifier first", especially the Omegas. Sure you can find plenty of bad sounding sources that will hold a Stax back - but you can also find $2K (and even less) digital sources today that are excellent. I prefer vinyl to digital, and have literally 40x more into my analog gear than digital (most of it in the 'table dedicated to the speaker rig). But seriously, I believe amp first for Stax. It doesn't have to be hard or expensive to get a great sounding source these days; it's still hard/expensive to get a great Stax amp, unfortunately.

    I always took issue with the "garbage in, garbage out" saying. Of course there's truth to that, but I feel the "weakest link" analog is more relevant to an audio chain.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
    BreadMaster, Whitigir and bearwarrior like this.
  11. bearwarrior
    100% with you. Amp first with Stax.
  12. buzzlulu
    Acoustics and placement with speakers - boy do you have that right.

    I see you run a Lavry. YEARS AGO - before Chord were even on the map with the original Hugo - the Lavry was the first non Naim source which many on our Naim forum jumped at. It was all the rage for Naimee's. Many think that it was the Lavry which kicked Naim UK in the pants and got them to develop and introduce their first stand alone DAC. Too many of their customers were ditching CD players and getting the first Lavry's
  13. Contrails
    SRM-1TS or SR006t amp for L700?
    Zoide likes this.
  14. padam
    Just dug this out a few days ago: Rotel + Woo versus DIY T2

    While I do hear differences between amps, I found the individual character of the headphones way stronger. Right now I wish that big price gap between Stax amps (SRM-T8000 excluded) an a KGSSHV Carbon would be filled (I didn't like the normal KGSSHV).
    I am very intrigued by the SRX Plus, I extensively listened to the "classic" version (DIY equivalent to the Woo GES) and enjoyed it.

    In short, each to his own on which component should cost the most - but maybe music first? :)

    They are very similar except that the older ones usually use better-sounding Japanese tubes and different parts (that may benefit from a refurbishment since they are getting old now and there are other mods which can take it to the next level like this one).

    So if you get a good deal on either one you can't really go wrong.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  15. Whitigir
    Amp is first with Stax, and that is because electro static does not have any fixed values Driving mechanism physically. Unlike dynamic designs which has a magnetic and a voice-coil. The magnetic field and it strength is fixed.

    There are huge differences in between amps for Stax. Next up would be Sources, and then DAC

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