The Stax Thread III
May 5, 2019 at 9:03 AM Post #17,596 of 21,672

buzzlulu

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It's not about volume. I have a L300LE/353XBK here and when I take the L300 and put it on a Carbon it becomes a different beast
 
May 5, 2019 at 10:54 AM Post #17,597 of 21,672

powertoold

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I've had a nagging question at the back of my mind for a while now, hoping someone here can answer it. A lot of people here tend to think that KG amps are flat out better than Stax amps, citing specifically their higher power output. I listen to my L300LE/353X combo at a very low output level (knob below 8:00) and I'm wondering if I would actually reap any benefit from switching amps or if that money would be better spent elsewhere?

Yeah it's definitely not about volume. It's more about distortion at the higher volumes. Even though you might not hear the distortion directly, I believe some level of distortion will affect the soundstage and imaging, etc. It also depends a lot on what model of stax you're using. For you, listening at 8:00 or below, you wouldn't reap much benefit of getting a kgsshv IMO.
 
May 5, 2019 at 12:28 PM Post #17,598 of 21,672

Scgorg

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I will contribute with a personal anecdote. I've listened to the SR-507 out of an SRD-7, a 006t, and a KGSSHV. On higher volumes the differences were there, but here we are talking 10:30-11:00 on the KGSSHV, which is louder than I'd ever listen, compared to the 006t the difference still wasn't huge and it became vanishingly small at very low volumes (sub 9:00) to the point where I don't think I would pass a blind test. I don't think forking out 2k+ for the KGSSHV is worth it in any capacity for a low level listener with the L300LE. I would prioritize upgrading the headphones themselves any day.
 
May 5, 2019 at 1:59 PM Post #17,599 of 21,672

georgep

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I will contribute with a personal anecdote. I've listened to the SR-507 out of an SRD-7, a 006t, and a KGSSHV. On higher volumes the differences were there, but here we are talking 10:30-11:00 on the KGSSHV, which is louder than I'd ever listen, compared to the 006t the difference still wasn't huge and it became vanishingly small at very low volumes (sub 9:00) to the point where I don't think I would pass a blind test. I don't think forking out 2k+ for the KGSSHV is worth it in any capacity for a low level listener with the L300LE. I would prioritize upgrading the headphones themselves any day.

Yes, you should for sure change out the sr507 for something else before upgrading amplifiers - that one was a bit of a failure unfortunately.
 
May 5, 2019 at 2:41 PM Post #17,600 of 21,672

Scgorg

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Yes, you should for sure change out the sr507 for something else before upgrading amplifiers - that one was a bit of a failure unfortunately.
Absolutely, the SR-507 isn't mine, it belongs to a friend. I did write up my thoughts about it on reddit. I thought it had really good bass for a lambda but what in the **** did they do to the rest of it I don't know.
 
May 5, 2019 at 3:53 PM Post #17,601 of 21,672

Sound Eq

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I've had a nagging question at the back of my mind for a while now, hoping someone here can answer it. A lot of people here tend to think that KG amps are flat out better than Stax amps, citing specifically their higher power output. I listen to my L300LE/353X combo at a very low output level (knob below 8:00) and I'm wondering if I would actually reap any benefit from switching amps or if that money would be better spent elsewhere?

i was debating upgrading my chord hugo2--- stax 007tii setup and get one of the carbon or blue hawaii amps, i used to listen to my 007mk2 at bout 60% of the volume to levels that are mid loud, then i got a gustard x20 dac that i connected balanced to my 007tii and i barely reach now 35% on the volume dial, which is dam amazing. I see no need for any other stax amp or carbon, as I like the sound signature of the 007tii sound alot and have so much headroom left on the volume
 
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May 5, 2019 at 3:59 PM Post #17,602 of 21,672

VRacer-111

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Low volume listener as well, had the SRM-323S at around the #2 marking indicator for listening (~9:00). From my experience, going from a STAX SRM-323S to an NAD C275BEE stereo amp + Mjolnir Audio SRD-7 is about improved low end, punchier midbass, and a fuller & slightly smoother overall sound with my modded SR-L300 Limited. Was more than worth it to me as already had the NAD amp for my HT setup, just needed to purchase the Mjolnir SRD-7 to use the amp in an Estat rig...
 
May 5, 2019 at 4:59 PM Post #17,604 of 21,672
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i was debating upgrading my chord hugo2--- stax 007tii setup and get one of the carbon or blue hawaii amps, i used to listen to my 007mk2 at bout 60% of the volume to levels that are mid loud, then i got a gustard x20 dac that i connected balanced to my 007tii and i barely reach now 35% on the volume dial, which is dam amazing. I see no need for any other stax amp or carbon, as I like the sound signature of the 007tii sound alot and have so much headroom left on the volume
Your new DAC gave you higher gain, but not any more headroom. The KG amps will give lower distortion, better control, and better sound even well below clipping levels. But yes, the difference becomes more profound as you increase listening levels.
 
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May 5, 2019 at 5:11 PM Post #17,605 of 21,672

Sound Eq

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Your new DAC gave you higher gain, but not any more headroom. The KG amps will give lower distortion, better control, and better sound even well below clipping levels. But yes, the difference becomes more profound as you increase listening levels.

thanks for clarifying this, for me even without gustard dac i barely used to reach 60% on my stax 007tii amp, i think i will just forget buying an amp for a while, as the prices of those mentioned amps are very high anyway
 
May 5, 2019 at 6:05 PM Post #17,606 of 21,672

statfi

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i was debating upgrading my chord hugo2--- stax 007tii setup and get one of the carbon or blue hawaii amps, i used to listen to my 007mk2 at bout 60% of the volume to levels that are mid loud, then i got a gustard x20 dac that i connected balanced to my 007tii and i barely reach now 35% on the volume dial, which is dam amazing. I see no need for any other stax amp or carbon, as I like the sound signature of the 007tii sound alot and have so much headroom left on the volume
Just a reminder: the volume control is a gain control and not a power control. Where you have it set is *not* an indication of how hard you are driving the amplifier, or whether you are clipping it or how close you are to clipping it or how much headroom you have left. The volume control is a gain control. For example it allows you to accommodate source components that have different gains, and recordings that have different levels. This is precisely what you observed when you changed source components and needed to use a different gain setting. Just because you have lots of rotation left on the volume control is absolutely no indication of much of the capability of the amp you are using or whether another amp might sound better. When you changed sources you did not change the output capability.
 
May 5, 2019 at 6:06 PM Post #17,607 of 21,672
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I have KGSSHV 500V with 007mk1 and a balanced DAC. It's my endgame. Been using it over a year now. Love it every time, every day. People say with high end equip, you need "good" recordings; not true at all with this setup. The 007mk1 sounds good with everything. YMMV though, it's tough to find a "perfect" 007mk1. I bought mine NOS.

Edit: Balanced DAC with XLR output (has double the power vs. RCA output)

Edit 2: I don't use the fabric dust covers in my 007mk1. YOLO, and if you take good care of it and are mindful of it, I don't think it'll cause any issues. I think the clarity is increased quite a bit without the fabric dust cover.
I had that same setup - 500V IXYS KGSShv, and a pristine 007 Mk I. I can confirm it's a great pairing. Of the 4 or 5 KGSShv flavors I heard, that 500V was my favorite for the 007 Mk I. The amp is also nice with 009 and Lambda Pro. I prefer the 009, but kinda wish I still had my 007 some days! Would love to hear them again now on my georgep DIY T2.

And again, you'll get up to 4x the gain from a DAC's balanced outputs vs. single-ended, but you don't get any more power at your disposal unless you were maxing out you volume control and still needed more (unlikely). That said, if you have balanced outputs, it's usually best to use them - but that's more a function of the source's circuit design and interconnects, as either signal is equally fine for input to the KG* amps. Admittedly I do like the psychological aspect of having high gain and not needed to push the volume control up to get loud.
 
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May 5, 2019 at 6:08 PM Post #17,608 of 21,672

Dan Lee

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Hello my fellow Stax friends. I am the recipient of a brand new KGSSHV Carbon and am not 100% sure what to make of it as of yet. I am not sure if I am connecting things correctly or missing something completely. I have been using the ifi iDSD Pro for my DAC duties and the ifi iCAN Pro for amp duties and have enjoyed those very much with my planar cans. I had a lot of time spent with them while waiting the 2.5 months for my Carbon to be built. When I got it I started by running the idsd to the ican like normal and then running the ican to the carbon through the ican output. Im not sure if that is the correct way to use the ican as a pass through or not. I have been told that I can use the ican as a pass through but not sure that was the right way to do it. So I took the ican out of the chain so I could at least hear the Carbon.

Running just the Carbon and the iDSD it was pretty easy to tell the Carbon was a great deal better then the iESL that I was previously using. The Carbon has made details come through clearer at least in the top end. The bottom end however seems rather anemic. I have used the hifiman shangri-la jr and my stax sr-009. The Hifiman has an incredibly spatial sound to it with a very nice richness to it. Bass is almost nonexistent on this thing however and that seems to take a great deal from the listening experience. The 009 has a more intimate soundstage but that seems to bring some details out a little more clearly which is also nice. Though the bass on the 009's is better it is definitely still not there in a way that made so many tracks I love sound so wonderful overall with my LCD-4's and Ether 2's. So I went to test this to make sure its not just my ears playing tricks on me and put ican and idsd back together and ran the planars thinking Id hear bliss again. Low and behold the excellence of the top end I am receiving from the Carbon made the sound from the ican and idsd sound dull all around.

This is where I kinda freaked out a little bit as I seem to have just put myself into a situation in which I literally have no happy medium. Planars while still having bass sound dull without the power of Carbon, but stats have lovely top with a bottom that kills dynamic beauty for me.

Can someone help me out here. Is there a way to put the carbon in the chain with my ican and idsd so as to possibly employ bass boost from the ican to the stats and possibly siphon some power from the carbon for when i run my planars. I am open to any and all of your expert and well experienced input.

Thanks Dan Moser
 
May 5, 2019 at 6:10 PM Post #17,609 of 21,672

BreadMaster

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Hello my fellow Stax friends. I am the recipient of a brand new KGSSHV Carbon and am not 100% sure what to make of it as of yet. I am not sure if I am connecting things correctly or missing something completely. I have been using the ifi iDSD Pro for my DAC duties and the ifi iCAN Pro for amp duties and have enjoyed those very much with my planar cans. I had a lot of time spent with them while waiting the 2.5 months for my Carbon to be built. When I got it I started by running the idsd to the ican like normal and then running the ican to the carbon through the ican output. Im not sure if that is the correct way to use the ican as a pass through or not. I have been told that I can use the ican as a pass through but not sure that was the right way to do it. So I took the ican out of the chain so I could at least hear the Carbon.

Running just the Carbon and the iDSD it was pretty easy to tell the Carbon was a great deal better then the iESL that I was previously using. The Carbon has made details come through clearer at least in the top end. The bottom end however seems rather anemic. I have used the hifiman shangri-la jr and my stax sr-009. The Hifiman has an incredibly spatial sound to it with a very nice richness to it. Bass is almost nonexistent on this thing however and that seems to take a great deal from the listening experience. The 009 has a more intimate soundstage but that seems to bring some details out a little more clearly which is also nice. Though the bass on the 009's is better it is definitely still not there in a way that made so many tracks I love sound so wonderful overall with my LCD-4's and Ether 2's. So I went to test this to make sure its not just my ears playing tricks on me and put ican and idsd back together and ran the planars thinking Id hear bliss again. Low and behold the excellence of the top end I am receiving from the Carbon made the sound from the ican and idsd sound dull all around.

This is where I kinda freaked out a little bit as I seem to have just put myself into a situation in which I literally have no happy medium. Planars while still having bass sound dull without the power of Carbon, but stats have lovely top with a bottom that kills dynamic beauty for me.

Can someone help me out here. Is there a way to put the carbon in the chain with my ican and idsd so as to possibly employ bass boost from the ican to the stats and possibly siphon some power from the carbon for when i run my planars. I am open to any and all of your expert and well experienced input.

Thanks Dan Moser
Lolololol upgrade your source. :wink:
 
May 5, 2019 at 6:14 PM Post #17,610 of 21,672

Dan Lee

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So you think the iDSD is the thing holding everything back if I understanding you correctly? Is a source really going to dramatically change bass extension? What about trying to put the iCAN into the chain?
 

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