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?