- Aug 27, 2012
Wow.. I was not expecting that low of power. What a wild, industrial looking amp lol.A quote from Kevin Gilmore himself regarding voltage swing goes on about how for dynamic amplifiers the same voltage swing at 1khz and 20khz is easy but for e-stats it is difficult, and that's actually the right way to think about the difference. The carbon is about 2x the kgsshv. BHSE is not as powerful but has other advantages to its sonic presentation given the tubes which is why people rank BHSE/Carbon as equal. Megatron and T2 are the more powerful tube amps. Unfortunately, no one is building megatrons. Mjolnir did for a little while but hasn't for few years now. Maybe we should petition to bring it back.
"450 v power supplies require 14ma of output current.
a carbon can easily do 18 to 20 ma
a kgsshv is limited to a max of about 9ma
400v power supplies require 12ma of output current
a BHSE will easily do this and more
350v power supplies requires 10.6ma of output current
Most stax amps (t1,717,727,007t...) are 350v power supplies and can only supply about 7ma"
Where does the Bottlehead Stat rank?
He's definitely overthinking in paralyzed fashion. He should go back through all the KGSSHV > Carbon > KGST posts on Head-Case and best parse what matches with his listening preference. He should really go with a Grounded Grid if he never plans to budget for a DIY T2.For your 007, pick any of KGSShv / Carbon / CC / T2 depending on budget and long term goals. All are a great match. But if you find yourself overthinking this, which is easy - you can start with "just" a KGSShv and do great - see how you like that, and whether the thought of "going further" excites you.
I haven't heard Mjolnir Carbon or CC, but the KGSShv Carbon gives better dynamics, detail, and bass slam over even the best KGSShv builds. My KGSShv Carbon was a tad bright for 009 and L700, but perfect for 007 Mk I. Eksonic Aeras is also definitely worth looking at in the CC price range. And the DIY T2 beats diminishing returns expectations, in case you decide to go "all the way". Headamp BHSE is also a superb all-around amp, but for 007 specifically, I'd go Carbon over that.
The modded Stax amps on offer by Mjolnir are very interesting, at a reasonable price point. But I'd still expect a KGSShv to be noticeably better for 007.
- Feb 15, 2017
Honestly if you listen to music at safe levels, 727 and the other solid state Stax offerings are enough. Of course stax mafia will tell you that the sound will be different with T2, Carbon, BHSE etc.. But the reality is unless you're ruining your hearing then stax amps are totally fine. I did not see any reason to get a third party amp for 007 mk1 ever.
- Dec 17, 2012
It happens, there is a point where due diligence in research before a purchase or decision, becomes Analysis Paralysis. This point is different for different people and will be viewed by outsiders as happening at different points in the process. It comes down to opinions and comfort levels in making the decision. Took me about a year and a half (or was it two?) and many trips to meets and shows before I pulled the trigger on my BHSE.
I agree. I own and enjoy the KGSSHV and listened to the T2, Aeras, BHSE, and the LTA Z10E at CanJam Chicago. T2 bested them all, wasn’t even close. I preferred the Aeras over the BHSE for sound signature and size (more manageable desktop footprint) but it was closer competition.Virtually everyone's feedback that has had the chance to hear it, is that DIY T2 it is the end-all amp. The difficulty in building is immense. It's as much art as it is an amp.
I haven’t owned my Stax long enough to be a made man in said mafia but I don’t agree painful listening levels are the only time you hear noticeable sonic improvement moving up the tiers of energizers. I don’t listen at loud volumes at all but I hear for example a bass response difference between a 727 (which I’m now selling) and a KGSSHV.Honestly if you listen to music at safe levels, 727 and the other solid state Stax offerings are enough. Of course stax mafia will tell you that the sound will be different with T2, Carbon, BHSE etc.. But the reality is unless you're ruining your hearing then stax amps are totally fine. I did not see any reason to get a third party amp for 007 mk1 ever.
- Oct 17, 2014
You are referring to the Kerry-Built T2 right? How do these compare against the Carbon CC?I agree. I own and enjoy the KGSSHV and listened to the T2, Aeras, BHSE, and the LTA Z10E at CanJam Chicago. T2 bested them all, wasn’t even close. I preferred the Aeras over the BHSE for sound signature and size (more manageable desktop footprint) but it was closer competition.
- Sep 8, 2010
I can’t say much in response to this as I havnt tried 3rd party. Buuuuut with the L-300/L-700 on the Srm 252, d-10 and 400, I honestly haven’t heard a better headphone yet. With such a balance of tonal qualities of various categories. For their price the Stax amps do a pretty darn good job to be bluntly honest. With what I’m hearing, I don’t see any need to pursue further.Honestly if you listen to music at safe levels, 727 and the other solid state Stax offerings are enough. Of course stax mafia will tell you that the sound will be different with T2, Carbon, BHSE etc.. But the reality is unless you're ruining your hearing then stax amps are totally fine. I did not see any reason to get a third party amp for 007 mk1 ever.
Well, this is highly dependent on your perception of what it considered to be a 'good' sound.What do you get going from KGSSHV to Carbon? Then Carbon to CC? Then from CC to DIY T2?
With Carbon/CC, I will essentially have more versatility/compatibility for other headphones, along with SQ boost?
And whether you simply accept whatever change is inserted into the system (this is what most people do, changing or mixing things up, enjoying a very wide range of headphones for what they are, irrespective of what little or big problems they might have).
The other method is trying to set up an absolute reference point, and criticizing everything that deviates from that in various ways. (An oversimplified version of this is just measuring and comparing them to a target, which itself carries a ton of variables).
The Carbon has much more refinement across to spectrum, with higher power, the technical ability increases.
What I mean by that is the level of clarity and detail level becomes really high, transients become even better defined, the midrange is a bit sweeter (not like tubes, but you do notice it) but the high notes are much more tamed, much more polite (despite remaining very extended)
So if you think harshness is 'bad', and you want to make your system 'more analogue' in general, you might like it with everything.
But, personally, I am not sure if I actually like this with every headphone. The 007 Mk1 in particular, where I expected the most according to other people's descriptions. And yes, the difference in clarity is clear, but also the change is character, which is now a bit anemic. Long said on one of his YT videos that there is a "hole" in the treble with the 007 Mk1 Carbon amp and there might be something to that. Maybe a BHSE which some people describe as a bit 'hard' and 'forward' sounding might be a better pairing as I also think the soundstage could be more spacious, for some reason this amp can sound very big with most of my Staxes, but here it gains precision instead of spacing.
And based upon that, I can't imagine this change in character would be the greatest thing with an Audeze CRBN either, where according to some people, treble seems to be a slight weakness (out of several).
What I expected was 'Armageddon' levels of aggression (without harshness).
But what I got was the opposite: the increase in dynamics comes out as more subtlety (in case of the 007 Mk1, even more refinement upon refinement). At least that's how I perceive it as of now, maybe I just need to get acquainted with it more.
I expected the SR-Omega to become more musical. But, again, what I perceive is extra refinement, unveiling an even higher level of technical ability, becoming a bit more analytical and relaxed. Great for some music, less for so other. This is where I expect a T2 to "own" a Carbon, keeping a much better balance between these two things.
All of those three things are true, yet the overall perception that's not quite what I am hearing.The carbon is a Mutiple (2-4x ?) more power than the standard kgsshv, and the translation is an improved soundstage, hardness and bass - but most notably smoother highs. The actual improvement to the sound maybe like 10%?
It's clearly improved, and the difference is more noted with more demanding headphones (007/crbn being in the high end of that spectrum)
Not sure how much I would quantify it, but it's not 10%.
I would not definitely not claim that the difference is more noted with more demanding headphones. Every estat is demanding, they just react differently.
The change in character is perceivable with pretty much all of them. And it's just as important as technicalities, they do add up and as I outlined, they can move in opposite directions.
And the biggest winner here surprisingly is Not an Omega, but the Lambda Pro. I also really like the Sigma Pro and the Gamma Pro, these love the Carbon (apart from just being warm as usual but with more clarity). All of these have a bass hump which in this controlled form has become a more refined version of a "meaty" sound. This way, I can just dial down the volume to a point, where the perception of dynamism is healthy. Much easier than trying to push it up with the Omegas to sort of wake them up (if you like to listen loud, the Omegas might be better, haven't taken out the SPL meter yet).
The Lambda Pro was the headphone which I wasn't sure out whether to love or hate. I was impressed by its generally balanced frequency response (not having huge jumps), defined transients (thanks to physical damping) but also bugged by it's brightness and treble all the time, and it's now basically gone (but still not becoming too subdued in the mix, maybe there is still a hint of V-shape in there, but not much). Seems closer to the HE90 presentation than any of the Omegas (maybe the Sigma Pro has a bit more resemblance in some ways), grabbing you instantly, having that direct, yet smooth style of play with a good sense of dynamism.
This is not analytical, mechanical or synthetic, which is how I often heard the Lambda Pro being described.
So what has remained is one of the best-sounding Lambdas ever, if not best sounding Staxes ever in this configuration (pending upon what the NB version can do with this amp, again, it's qualities seem well-matched as I know it is a relative to the Lambda Pro the same way the Omega is a relative to the 007)
If I start to dissect this sound, I can start noticing the slightly wooly bass (maybe better without damping, but that might change other things, quantity seems right) the plasticky timbre, a slight wispiness still there, sometimes etc. etc.
But what it does is simply play music in a more simple and natural way. Directly, but not to the point of being harsh with plenty of detail. It can play hard and soft.
As much as I don't like the 009, it would have been interesting to hear it like this, as the bass punch was quite respectable with it, and the treble and brightness of the Lambda Pro did carry some sort of resemblance, but the bass volume seemed higher, which seems more natural and I also think there is more heft and weight to the sound in general, not as ethereal.
Maybe the key now would be to step it up to a more direct, punchy and aggressive source, but I am getting fed up with all this constant tweaking and settled with what I have for now. Carrying this amp is no fun, but I will try to gain a bit more knowledge.
It's not like either of the Omegas not being phenomenal, or the Carbon not being great, just not sure about the merging of those specific qualities.
Update: now I'm running the SR-007 Mk1 with a modified Harman EQ curve named Optimum Hifi (As I explained before, it might not even be the best one, there could be sample variation, different fittings on the head, etc. etc.) and yet it is better. Much better. Something just isn't quite Ok with the tone without it. Crossfeed on the DA11 is also on to make it more cohesive.
The Carbon is barely enough to drive the SR-007 Mk1 this way (I am running no attenuation on the amp and not far off 2V output on the source), which might explain why it didn't work at all before.
The SR-Omega would probably need a bit of correction as well, not nearly as much (so it would have more headroom), works better out of the box.
Taking off EQ does "free up" the sound, so the Lambda Pro still remains in a strong position. Has more weight to the sound, maybe because of the physical damping but it still can be bright and trebly at times etc. nothing is ever going to be perfect.
It is very obvious that the Carbon has a different frequency response to the modified 727 especially in the highs, upper mids and lows, so even if one is unable to hear the benefits of power, it will still change the sound substantially.
There is only 1 Stax/estat store in USA, correct? Woo Audio in NYC, I believe it is. I wonder how many there are worldwide... maybe 20?