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The Stax Thread III

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by currawong, Aug 20, 2013.
  1. Drewligarchy
    buzzlulu - where are you located? If in the NYC area, you can hear my Carbon if I can hear your 009S :)
  2. mulveling Contributor
    It's not just @Whitigir going on about the T2 lol. I've definitely heard Purk's T2 make the 007 Mk I, 009, and he90 all sound shockingly similar. To my ears, they all end up sounding close-ish to the 009's nature, but with a warmer smoother midrange (a lot like what I've now heard from the 009S out of "just" the BHSE/Carbon), plus with absolute maximization of: speed, detail, dynamics, and soundstage. All 3 of these headphones are at their best out of a T2. It'll be really interesting to hear the 009S out of a proper T2. I will someday soon be reveling in what I assume will become the new pinnacle of headphone sound: T2 + 009S.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  3. aldavey
    My 009's are for sale, best offer secures, PM if of interest.
    HoloSpice likes this.
  4. tumpux
    That's quick..
  5. plinth
    My experience was similar. After having been aware of Stax for many years I finally arranged to spend a day with their ear speakers and drivers so I could see what the fuss was about. It was my purchase of the Shure KSE1500 that finally convinced me to pay much more attention to estats. I did not read much about them just turned up and secretly new I would be going home with the SR-009 and the SRM-T8000. The most expensive surely would be the best. That was my confirmation bias. No matter which way I tried to convince myself, the combination that I kept coming back to was the SRM-007 and the SR-007mk2. I was not bowled over as I had been expecting, there was not a sense of grip in the low end and whilst there was an incredible speed to the high end it did not quite have the twinkling delicacy I had hoped for. The T8000 did not move me at all, I think it calmed down the tizzy top end of the 009 but that made it a poor choice with the 007. So whilst I loved the 007 I just felt that it was being under-driven. I ordered the SRM-007 and set about researching a better way of driving them.

    I thought long and hard about the BHSE but in the end ordered a Mjölnir-Audio KGSSHV Carbon. Suddenly my 007s came to life. There was an intense grip on the low end that communicated so much information that I could see right into the timbre of transients, seeing how they decay and are attenuated. The top end has a sublime delicacy that only great reserves of power seem to afford. I just could not tear myself away each night and go to bed. I simply loved this combination.

    So the question is given the tendency that has been documented here over the last few days to amplify very subtle improvements how big a deal is the Carbon over the 007? I will only spend money if the margin is significant enough to be abundantly clear. Thus I have never found an interconnect that sounds any different to any other. Literally, I have trialled £4000 cables and found it identical to a £20 cable. I have never heard a power lead that made a difference. Or an cat 5 cable or a Usb cable (other than those that crackle due to bad physical connections). I cannot hear a difference between my Chord Hugo 2 powered by external power or internal battery. I did choose my Chord DACs by setting up a double blind AB test and I chose the Chord 9 times out of 10 when the results were analysed.

    So you may conclude that I am pretty deaf, but that does really help show what a big difference the Carbon makes.

    The other point that is made is that after having dumped $5000 into a driver then it would be hard to admit that it was not touched by the hand of god. This week I decided to build a second system for another house so I considered the BHSE on sale here, the DIY T2 or a tiny Mjölnir-Audio KGSS that I could travel with. My concerns with the T2 was that I may not be able to tell the difference between it and the Carbon so I would feel foolish about the extra money but also it would be irritating should it go wrong and my having no ability to fix it. And ultimately, I just want to listen to great music and be moved by it and do not want a hobby. My Carbon has been rock solid and just delivers day in and day out. I am secure in the knowledge that should I have a problem help is just an Icelandic cod box away. So I bought another Carbon this week. I will wait until I hear the 009S before I buy another headphone, however.
  6. Whitigir
    I was once at this point of view on the journey. But who cares ? The Journey is worth it, not the outcome, and so My T2 is up and alive in a few months.

    You know what ? The differences from T2 VS a Carbon or a Grounded Grid can be tell within 3 seconds. I repeat “3 seconds”

    That is how much different that it makes. Ultimately, your pocket will be the decisive factor, but to underestimate how much more a T2 can bring to the table ? Is foolish, period.

    That was my experiences, and your journey may tell you something else. Again, it is the Journey, and not the outcome.
    BreadMaster likes this.
  7. mulveling Contributor
    Yeah totally agree with @Whitigir , as usual. Once you get any of the Stax Omegas, you need to adopt an "amplifier first" philosophy, versus the ubiquitous "source first". If you can hear the difference going from a KGST/KGSShv to the Carbon/BHSE level, then you can hear that kind of upgrade impact all over again going to the T2.

    All of these are very fine amps by the way. All of these can make for a superb system with 007, 009, or L700. I certainly wouldn't denigrate any of them. But, this IS summit-fi and all.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
    BreadMaster and Whitigir like this.
  8. plinth
    I am sure that you could tell the difference but I am not sure that I could. Perhaps I will hear a T2 some day and be grumpy for not getting one sooner. It is not really about the money, the T2 for sale is about the price of a return flight to the US and I do that several times a year. I assumed that the T2 was 110V so that was a factor. I guess if our ears resolve differently then we will Summit at different levels. The other problem is that my experience has shown me that I either hear things differently or most people in this industry are lying. I heard another estat energiser costing around the same as theT8000 and it was like the emperor’s new clothes. It was way behind the srm007, chopped off top end and yet it was described as the best choice. I wish I could remember its name, it was made in England and had just a letter as a model. Thus I will always welcome anyone who wants to try something that I have. I take the point that the Carbon is not summit fi, but I still suspect that if I screw up my eyes I could see the summit from here.
  9. mulveling Contributor
    It's DEFINITELY true that many in the industry lie and/or are shills. It's also DEFINITELY true there's a lot of really mediocre sounding, poorly engineered expensive gear - which is why you shouldn't stray from the amp recommendations of us experienced Stax aficionados without industry affiliations or ulterior motives (other than needing to spread the Stax bug).

    Your words remind me of when I started out in head-fi (and for that matter, audiophillia) 16 years ago. I perused Headroom's amplifier lineup, ranging from $110 to $1600 at the time, and thought "I definitely won't be able to hear any difference beyond the $250 Little amp, so I certainly won't feel the need to spend more than that". How wrong that was. The amps of that day, below the $1000 mark, turned out to sound pretty crappy, btw.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
    Whitigir likes this.
  10. georgep
    Trilogy H1 by chance?
  11. JimL11
    You are most likely thinking of the Trilogy H1. According to internal photos and info, this is a all tube differential topology amplifier with no global feedback, using two 6C3pi single triode tubes and one 6H6pi dual triode output tube. Given that, the only possible topology is something like this:


    TubeCAD has a similar circuit, which has been around since the 1980s, if not earlier.

    TubeCAD stat amp ~ Egmont.gif

    Now, there is nothing wrong with that design, but it is the absolutely most minimal, cheap tube circuit design for driving stat headphones. I would liken it to the Dynaco Mk II, III, IV or Stereo 70 - that is, a simple but good budget circuit. In its day, the Stereo 70 cost about $140 assembled, which works out to around $1100 in today's money, and that is about what I would expect such a design to be worth. In fact, Schiit Audio at one point considered selling a similar design for less than $1000. Granted this doesn't include the cost of a remote control, but I doubt that the remote adds $4000 of value, and anyway, the notion that a headphone tied to an amp by an eight foot cord needs a remote seems rather silly to me.

    Note that, looking at the internal photos, the Trilogy does not appear to have a regulated power supply, and it appears to use plate resistor output loads, so lacks any of the refinements of state of the art electrostatic amps designed since the 1990s. Given its technology, I would expect it to have about the same drive capability as any of Stax's tube output amps, which also use plate resistor loads, and lack the output drive capability of the Stax solid state amps, any of the Gilmore amps, or the SRX Plus.

    In summary, the only thing state of the art about the Trilogy is its inflated price. IMHO, of course.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
    mulveling and Whitigir like this.
  12. Contrails
    Plinth, if I was in your shoes, I would get the T2. If you don't like it or think it wasn't worth it, you can always sell it off. I doubt you will lose much on it considering the reputation that proceeds it.
    BreadMaster likes this.
  13. aldavey
    Strange thing going on im my mind now, having sold my Carbon to you and unable, for whatever reason
    Having sold my Carbon in a moment of madness I think a Kerry T2 is the next level.
    Whitigir likes this.
  14. Whitigir
    There you go! Once you go Stax, you never go Back!
    hpeter and HoloSpice like this.
  15. HoloSpice

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