The Stax Thread III
Jul 13, 2019 at 9:40 PM Post #17,836 of 21,719

buzzlulu

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I think AudioThief was just sharing his doubts about the hype about after market amps. Many people share his feelings. I was just lucky that someone has invited me to his house and let me use his gear for a while. I end up buying Carbon too.

So I guess, to your ears, it was not hype.

You bought a Carbon - so I assume your demo was convincing enough for you to pull the trigger.
 
Jul 13, 2019 at 9:57 PM Post #17,837 of 21,719

buzzlulu

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The main issue I see with Stax (outside Japan) is that it is SO hard to demo them. Thus people come here for advice. The advice here is generally amp first (I got a ton of that advice myself when I was looking into Stax thankfully in a much nicer and helpful way than too often happens on this thread). Top of the line Stax headphones are already super expensive, and the amp prices just hurt. However, a minority of others (like me) would give the opposite advice: go headphone first just like I would go speaker first. It's cheaper and you might just be happy as well.

I feel too many people miss out on Stax because of the strong advice to either start with a Carbon/BHSE or don't bother which is incredibly cost prohibitive. I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford those, I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford a DIY T2, but I spent $600 bucks on a used T1S and am very happy with the 009S performance on that.

I am fortunate enough that I can purchase most any setup I want. I have been heavy into TOTL two channel for decades and dabble with headphones. I agree with what you said about Stax appearing daunting however in reality it is possible to enter the "club" for a reasonable amount of money.

When I returned to HeadFi two years ago after a 14 year absence I immediately went for what was acknowledged as the headphone King at the time (2 years ago) and bought the Utopia for $4k.

I dipped my toes into the Stax water a little over a year ago with the L300LE and 353XBK amplifier. Total spend $1600 for headphone and amplifier i.e. less than HALF the cost of the Utopia (headphone alone not amp!).
I feel confident saying that the 300LE/353 combo can EASILY stand toe to toe with the Utopia - at a fraction of the cost.

So yes - one does not need to spend mega dollars for a Stax setup. However - let's not denigrate the TOTL third party amps such as the Carbon and BHSE. They ARE better - at least as per my demo.
Bye the way - the Carbon costs LESS than the current TOTL Stax amplifier today (T8000)
 
Jul 14, 2019 at 12:27 AM Post #17,839 of 21,719

Windseeker

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I'd like to throw in my two cents on amp stuff, from a different perspective.

I've been a STAX enthusiast for nearly three decades, and for at least two-thirds of the time, I've primarily been in the tube amp camp. So I can relate a lot to what others are posting (and I continue to have tons of respect for TOTL third party stuff).

However, with my current DAC set-up (Chord M-Scaler + Chord DAVE), my preference has shifted fundamentally toward appreciating more transparency. As a result, lately I've found myself satisfied the most when using DAVE as a DAC/Pre-amp combo and simply using 727 II as an energizer (bypassing/disabling its volume function altogether) for my 009/007. To me, somehow music seem to sound more intimate and natural with this set-up, even beating my Focal Utopia / Senn HD 800S straight out from DAVE most of the time, which I found quite amusing (given that directly driving HPs from DAVE has a clear advantage of having less electronic circuits in between).

Of course, I realize this is purely a matter of preferring certain iteration of sound characteristics over the other. Just wanted to chime in as an example of other options out there. :smile_phones:
 
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Jul 14, 2019 at 2:07 AM Post #17,840 of 21,719

arnaud

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No one should be convinced by anyone, any old timer etc.
They should be convinced by their EARS, and their DEMO.
If you haven't HEARD IT don't make statements about it as if you have. It's really quite simple.
Otherwise it's just speculation and conjecture - in other words - worthless.

Also - MEASUREMENTS aren't everything. You will find that out the more you listen.

This summarizes it pretty well.

To whoever is reading this exchange, and seriously considering paying a fortune on an amplifier when Stax already makes perfectly good amps that drive their headphone, ask yourself if it actually makes sense that there would be A) A night and day difference between the TOTL Stax amps or the overkill third party amplifiers and B) If there perhaps are some biases going into peoples recommendation.

There is a group of people who have used A LOT of money and A LOT of time to have a lot of "clout" on various boards. These people will insist that the only way to join their club of audio perfection is to get a very specific amplifier for a very specific headphone. Does this make sense? Are you willing to drop several grand on something that scientifically doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Could it be that these people are biased ? And want to exclude people from their little elite club?

We will obviously get nowhere going back and forth on this, but I just want to make that statement.

While I appreciate the questioning and not taking things for granted, your comment about people who bought 3rd party amps being just a band of elitist reads more like one’s frustration about financial accessibility of the items rather than some grounded feedback.

I have no coin in the game since I’ve actually sold off my stat gear and actually tremendously enjoying my return back to “technically inferior” electro-dynamic systems. But, I can certainly attest that there is a world beyond Stax brand amps and Stax are of course well aware of this.

There’s a reason why so much effort has been put on lambda series these past years or even comparatively easier to drive 009/S headphones.
 
Jul 14, 2019 at 2:59 AM Post #17,841 of 21,719

walakalulu

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If I were starting again on the headphone bandwagon I’d probably give electrostatics a miss. Too much a niche market with a distinct lack of amps to drive them compared with the plethora of high end models now available for dynamic and planar headphones, the best of which offer an alternative, but not necessarily better, sound signature.
 
Jul 14, 2019 at 6:59 AM Post #17,843 of 21,719

AudioThief

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This summarizes it pretty well.



While I appreciate the questioning and not taking things for granted, your comment about people who bought 3rd party amps being just a band of elitist reads more like one’s frustration about financial accessibility of the items rather than some grounded feedback.

I have no coin in the game since I’ve actually sold off my stat gear and actually tremendously enjoying my return back to “technically inferior” electro-dynamic systems. But, I can certainly attest that there is a world beyond Stax brand amps and Stax are of course well aware of this.

There’s a reason why so much effort has been put on lambda series these past years or even comparatively easier to drive 009/S headphones.
I never said they were "just a band og elitists" - that is a complete strawman. What I did say is that there is a small club of people who have spent a fortune, and people should consider their bias. When there is no logical reason to believe that the 007 suddently changes character through third party amps, and knowing just how much psychology and bias plays into audio, anyone would be wise to consider these things.

I would never waste my money on a overkill amp just because so and so insisted that its a night and day difference because everything I know tells me that cannot be. I can afford a third party amp, but wasting money just isnt my thing.
 
Jul 14, 2019 at 7:15 AM Post #17,844 of 21,719

buzzlulu

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I'd like to throw in my two cents on amp stuff, from a different perspective.

I've been a STAX enthusiast for nearly three decades, and for at least two-thirds of the time, I've primarily been in the tube amp camp. So I can relate a lot to what others are posting (and I continue to have tons of respect for TOTL third party stuff).

However, with my current DAC set-up (Chord M-Scaler + Chord DAVE), my preference has shifted fundamentally toward appreciating more transparency. As a result, lately I've found myself satisfied the most when using DAVE as a DAC/Pre-amp combo and simply using 727 II as an energizer (bypassing/disabling its volume function altogether) for my 009/007. To me, somehow music seem to sound more intimate and natural with this set-up, even beating my Focal Utopia / Senn HD 800S straight out from DAVE most of the time, which I found quite amusing (given that directly driving HPs from DAVE has a clear advantage of having less electronic circuits in between).

Of course, I realize this is purely a matter of preferring certain iteration of sound characteristics over the other. Just wanted chime in as an example of other options out there. :smile_phones:


Time to change direction in this thread.

Windseeker - Nice post and excellent read
A question for you and others - I currently own a 300LE and 009S and a 353XBK and Birgir Carbon. I had the opportunity to listen to the BHSE (briefly) at two CanJams however made the decision to go solid state for reasons of warm up, being able to forget turning it off etc. My two channel has always been solid state as well.

If I am interested in playing around and getting a taste of the "tube" sound would a 007 or 727 give me that - or would I just be spinning my wheels considering I already have the 353 (and Carbon)? It would be just for fun and a dipping of my toes into the tube waters - so for now a BHSE etc. is not on the table.
 
Jul 14, 2019 at 7:43 AM Post #17,845 of 21,719

arnaud

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I never said they were "just a band og elitists" - that is a complete strawman. What I did say is that there is a small club of people who have spent a fortune, and people should consider their bias. When there is no logical reason to believe that the 007 suddently changes character through third party amps, and knowing just how much psychology and bias plays into audio, anyone would be wise to consider these things.

I would never waste my money on a overkill amp just because so and so insisted that its a night and day difference because everything I know tells me that cannot be. I can afford a third party amp, but wasting money just isnt my thing.

Look, your argument about measurable difference is a stawman argument. Me saying that you can’t (either for financial or psychological reasons) own a 3rd party stat amp is not an argument, it’s just how your reasoning reads.

My 2 cents of advice to you: leave aside your pre-conceptions and start to trust your ears. I spend many hours every day of the week doing sound and vibration simulations and comparing predictions with tests. I’ve been into this field for over 2 decades and that does not turn me into a measurement dictator. On the contrary, I am at peace with the belief that what matters the most in audio is pretty much not measurable today. What we measure are very gross / coarse characteristics of headphones mainly related to tonality and transient performance but what makes a headphone experience special to people is often hard to put down in words, let alone to highlight with whatever approximate measurement data is out there.

Having said all that, please ignore my advice and leave happily in your belief. It’s the truth to you and that’s all the matters. But also please refrain from talking about gear you’ve never even sampled, that’s part of the head-fi chart last I recall.

cheers,
arnaud
 
Jul 14, 2019 at 8:04 AM Post #17,846 of 21,719

AudioThief

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Look, your argument about measurable difference is a stawman argument. Me saying that you can’t (either for financial or psychological reasons) own a 3rd party stat amp is not an argument, it’s just how your reasoning reads.

My 2 cents of advice to you: leave aside your pre-conceptions and start to trust your ears. I spend many hours every day of the week doing sound and vibration simulations and comparing predictions with tests. I’ve been into this field for over 2 decades and that does not turn me into a measurement dictator. On the contrary, I am at peace with the belief that what matters the most in audio is pretty much not measurable today. What we measure are very gross / coarse characteristics of headphones mainly related to tonality and transient performance but what makes a headphone experience special to people is often hard to put down in words, let alone to highlight with whatever approximate measurement data is out there.

Having said all that, please ignore my advice and leave happily in your belief. It’s the truth to you and that’s all the matters. But also please refrain from talking about gear you’ve never even sampled, that’s part of the head-fi chart last I recall.

cheers,
arnaud

I am free to trust my ears, and you are free to trust yours. I indeed do trust my ears, which is why I own the gear I own now, and not other gear, having auditioned a lot of gear. I am simply trying to steer people to a more logical conclusion than to spend a literal fortune on a third party amplifier that I have no reason to believe alters the frequency of a headphone - when there are already capable amplifiers made by the same company at 1/3 of the price (and available even cheaper used).

Obviously there is little to no point in us arguing back and forth - as buzzlulu said, its time the thread took another turn. But I am not commenting on the sound of the Carbon, I've never heard it. But I am free to assert that there is no reason to believe it drastically alters the response or sound of the SR-007, as I am also free to assert that it doesn't make a pair of Stax 507s into a 009S (although I havent heard the 507s through the Carbon!)
 
Jul 14, 2019 at 8:07 AM Post #17,847 of 21,719

arnaud

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(although I havent heard the 507s through the Carbon!)

Well, there you go, you should have erased the comments above that one as you confirmed they are baseless. enough said...
 
Jul 14, 2019 at 8:08 AM Post #17,848 of 21,719

buzzlulu

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If you have NEVER heard it - don't ASSERT anything about it.
That goes for Stax... and any other headphone or amplifier
 
Jul 14, 2019 at 8:08 AM Post #17,849 of 21,719

AudioThief

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Well, there you go, you should have erased the comments above that one as you confirmed they are baseless. enough said...

So you are open to the possibility of the 507 magically sounding like the 009S if you just plug it to the carbon? Or the DIY T2?
 

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