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The Stax Thread III

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by currawong, Aug 20, 2013.
  1. buzzlulu
    Don't get me wrong - even though I am new to the Stax game I have come to the conclusion from reading that better amplifiers are key to estat performance. My 353 will simply keep me in a holding pattern for now. Over the last two months I bought a L300LE/353XBK and now a 009S. I need a short break.

    A Carbon ultimately awaits me though :)

    On the flip side the bottom line is that most Stax owners use Stax amps. I gather that the average Stax retail customer who is not on Headfi (and let's face it - most people 2 channel, headphone etc. are not on forums) have not heard of KG amps. Hell it is impossible to find, demo or buy them as they are only available from DIY'ers (Headamp is the closest to a "commercial" manufacturer with the BHSE). So ultimately Stax as an ongoing entity needs for their headphones to "perform" with their own amplifiers - otherwise they would not sell. From the look of it - it appears they have no problem selling all they can manufacture. So their "underperforming" amplifiers must be doing something right?
  2. buzzlulu
    That is ALWAYS true - as my 7000 LP's and 3000 CD's on the shelf will attest :)
    I'm an older guy so I like to own my music. I'll let my college kids stream!

    (although my Tidal subscription has saved me a lot of money by not buying so much any more - a great way to demo first)
  3. Whitigir
    That comparison isn’t correct. For example, what was the sources ? And what were the tubes ? T2 has huge differences with Mullard NOS and Phillips NOS. Even grounded Grid has huge differences with NOS tubes. Then I thought the T2+009 that I have is maxed out....no, I was wrong. I previously used WM1Z, Dock cradle, LKS-004. Then I compared LKS004 to R2R7....not much differences, until I swapped out my WM1Z into a built PC for source components. The differences were vast and crazy, the R2R7 sounds so much more organic and alive where as LKS004 isn’t.

    The point is that superbly high end components can only scale as much as what it was connected to. T2 and Wee May perform similar from a cheap source and cheap tubes, but give it an expensive source and observe it for yourself

    There is 0 fix that comes from 1 single device. Every pieces are just as important, and more than often, people compare, reviews without a good sources, and wonder why their gears fall flat on it face
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
    BreadMaster likes this.
  4. padam
    Well, that's the sort of reaction I expected :) The source is of course written in that post. And I didn't link it because I took that for granted.
    I linked it to prove a point about just make your own conclusions, don't be afraid to experiment.
    And you don't necessarily need to spend all you can to have a system that you can enjoy listening to music.
  5. SeaWo|f
    Wait is the point of this hobby enjoyment or taking as far as you can?!

    themusiccat likes this.
  6. 336881
    I have done your $2k-$6k experiment with several streams and speaks. If the pre is quality then speakers zero doubt. If the pre is not quality or it is an integrated then it depends.

    Where everyone messes up imo on 2 channel is the pre is an afterthought or it is an integrated. I have twice as much invested in my C-2301 than my SE-A100. I would not be surprised at all if 80% of hifi enthusiasts are using an integrated. Some integrated's are good, Sansui in particular, but if you can go pre and power man it really pays off. Going from pre and power to mono's though really did not impress me so much though.

    As you said though to each their own.
  7. VandyMan
    The point is taking your enjoyment as far as you can. :)
  8. buzzlulu
    The point, for me, is always THE MUSIC
  9. powertoold
    You guys always forget the most important part of the system: YOU!

    I find that the same music sounds "different"/"better"/"worse" depending on the time of day/my mood/the temperature/what happened during the day/what I ate/etc.

    It's very difficult to take YOU out of the equation when doing comparisons. No one ever talks about this, and I don't know why.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
    VandyMan, joseph69 and azabu like this.
  10. mulveling Contributor
    Because this is a forum of guys talking about what headphone gear they like, rather than a scientific journal. The "IMO" disclaimers are implied in everything; it doesn't need to be repeated to death. Over time, build a collection of members/posters whose perspective generally gels with your experience and goals. Filter the noise of folks you need to, and ignore the worst offenders. You'll get a lot more out of this place, and have fun too.

    Now with amp circuitry & build quality analysis, there are some real experts (very few though) and that's were things cross over from opinion towards hard facts. Choose carefully whom you heed there. Around here, JimL is a great start for that.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
    336881 and Whitigir like this.
  11. Contrails
    So,I just auditioned the L700 with the 353X amp. My regular headphones are the HD800S.

    Details: HD800S places every detail upfront for you to analyse. Whereas the L700 places some at the background. They are there but not as prominent.

    Soundstage: L700 has very good soundstage, width and depth. Not as wide as the HD800S but good enough. Lacks the height of the HD800S.

    Imaging: L700 has good imaging from the songs I heard on it but I didn't listened to any Orchestra so I couldn't evaluate this. HD800S imaging is sublime in this regard. I could listen to the Star Wars soundtracks all night long on the HD800S. But one thing I did notice - the vocals sound like they are a little distant on the HD800S but the instruments are a little closer to you in the L & R image, this kinda feels a little unnatural. Whereas, the L700 the vocals are closer and it produces a more realistic presentation.

    Bass: More mid-bass impact on the L700, details are almost the same but more tight on the L700. Drums definitely sound more real on the L700. That little extra impact makes a big difference. Sub-bass is marginally better on the L700.

    Mids: Holy crap! The music just flows, beautiful sounding mids coupled with the slightly better and more impactful bass makes me think that I was listening to an uber HD650. The instruments sound like they do in real life. Vocals are on another level. I think the HD800S needs a very very good DAC and amp to make it shine but for lot less money, I would rather get the L700. The L700 in the store was connected to a Hegel HD25. Not as natural and clean sounding as a Holo Spring DAC Lvl3 connect via Su-1 USB converter. Plus, the store was playing the songs via winamp and the songs were stored on a Hard drive.

    Treble - same as above.

    Speed - Stax. Just wow. Listening to the HD800S after listening to the Stax is quite the revelation. I never considered the HD800S slow until I heard the Stax.

    Clarity - Stax, again what can I say. The HD800S sounds a little muffled/hazzy in comparison.

    Comfort - HD800S wins. The L700 had more clamping force, hopefully this will reduce with wear.

    Build - HD800S wins this, the L700 feels a little cheap in comparison. Getting the HD800S out of the box and putting it on feels like an occasion. Till you start listening to them and wish they sounded like the L700. I did like the retro looks of the L700. Very cool.

    Yep I am definitely pulling the trigger on the L700. If I was to summarise it, when you put the HD800S on, you keep wanting to analyse the music. When you put the L700 on, you get lost in the music.

    I am trying to get hold of a SRM-1/mk2 amp to pair them with. The store has invited me to listen to the Woo 3ES amp which should be arriving next week.

    I have heard the He1 and I am gonna say this, the L700 is nowhere close to the He1. The He1 is something else. On a completely different level. Yes, I spent considerable time with the He1 at another local store.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  12. Ali-Pacha
    LOL :D
    I was so certain you'll jump on it, as you jump on everything that moderates your margin's assumption of x1000 between DIY-T2 and everything else, even the best Carbon out there :ksc75smile:

    natto lover likes this.
  13. Pahani
    I just got started in Home Theater myself (7.2.4), still a newbie. There's crazy Multi-ch guys, and there's crazy 2-ch guys. Completely different types of crazy, but equally bonkers LOL!

    By far my largest investment so far has been into my dual subs, which rattle my whole house like the trunk of a beat-up Honda Civic >.< But good Lord, feeling ULF bass that 99% of the public won't know is even there is awesome......

    The little I've gleaned about serious 2-ch setups boggles my mind o.0

    Only quoting this because I'm using a Rotel RMB-1075 to power my 4 Atmos speakers in my HT setup :)

    Just thought it was a nice coincidence in the discussion.
  14. Whitigir
    Just speaking from pure experiences, my friend, and I speak the truth not from assumptions. But different strokes for different folks. If one say that he can not afford the T2, that is fine, but to say that the T2 sounds disappointing? LOL.....May as well say “my Beats by Dre Studio sound just as good as T2+009 ?”. Not sure about the best Carbon, but T2 has always outperform the Carbon and Grounded Grid when fed by the same sources Also, that X1000 is exaggerated as the differences between T2 VS Carbon can be heard within the first 3 seconds. Anyways, don’t believe what I say, go find out for yourself. I can’t recall the last time I done a hearings test or visiting an audiologist
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
  15. Olschl
    I am one of those 2 channel guys who prefer listening to "roomspeakers" and only use my earspeakers about 20% of my listening time. I am powering my SRX MkIIIs (and SRD-40s which I still enjoy) with an SRD-7 which is ancient, Through an Audioengine N22 from the tape-out of a Primare I32. I have asked this question before and not really gotten much of a response. My hearing is not the same in both ears and I'd like to replace the SRD-7 with something that has balance control. Because my Stax are not my primary listening interface and because I am always trying to improve the sources - a new tonearm is next on the list - I don't want to spend more than I have to; but I'd like the best value for the money I do spend, I am thinking of a SRM-313, which is circa 1999 if I am not mistaken, or a SRM-1 ( I understand the MK2 is more desirable than the MK none). Either would eliminate the N22, which I hope would be a good thing. Objectively, the SRM-313 seems like the best choice, since they seem to go for a lot less than the SRM-1s and would be less likely to need a rebuild; but I sense that the SRM-1 Mk2 is held in much higher regard. I have no use for the Pro-only socket at this time; but it is my understanding that it is safe to use it for the electrets. Can anyone confirm statement AND has anyone had experience with the 313 vs the SRM-1 vs the Mk2? Is the SRM-1 MK2 really worth the extra $500 - $1,000? Would it need a refurb? I there a better option I am unaware of? I really don't have much problem with the sound quality I am getting now. It blows away my dynamics; it's just these old ear drums.

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