The Stax Thread III
Sep 1, 2022 at 6:33 PM Post #22,831 of 23,066
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Lambda Pro isn't getting a lot of love here, but in my early Stax days I heard one on a KGSShv and LOVED it! Really fun, engaging sound signature with lots bass impact. Not as detailed and refined as an omega-class, but still had some of the electrostat magic. I would've bought it in a second if the owner had been willing to sell. I agree the vintage Lambdas can have a whole lot of character, and there are gems out there.

There was one I heard after that Pro, maybe the Pro Signatures? Anyways, I didn't like it as much - bright and lean compared to the older Pro. But this is a personal preference thing.
 
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Sep 1, 2022 at 7:28 PM Post #22,832 of 23,066

LostHisMarbles

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Yeah, i get you. I listen almost exclusively to "classical music" (blanket term, but.. nonetheless) and that of course does colour my view accordingly; granted.
On the other hand, what better headphone brand to listen to classical music from? :)

I do however -very, very politely- insist that a certain edginess/etchy character often ascribed to Lamdas is almost always due to an improper amp (yes, i say it again even though a certain one was named, just me) or an improper source; improper source as in bad design/implementation, could be noise, bias, switching supplies, SMDs, bad software "filters" or "roll offs", etc. etc.
Trends of the day notwithstanding, "digital", especially when cheap or compact "digital"? Comes at a price. You can't really do compact and good.
Again, don't shoot, merely discussing things!
 
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Sep 2, 2022 at 6:18 AM Post #22,833 of 23,066

padam

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Lambda Pro isn't getting a lot of love here, but in my early Stax days I heard one on a KGSShv and LOVED it! Really fun, engaging sound signature with lots bass impact. Not as detailed and refined as an omega-class, but still had some of the electrostat magic. I would've bought it in a second if the owner had been willing to sell. I agree the vintage Lambdas can have a whole lot of character, and there are gems out there.

There was one I heard after that Pro, maybe the Pro Signatures? Anyways, I didn't like it as much - bright and lean compared to the older Pro. But this is a personal preference thing.
When comparing those two on a Carbon with its power and warmth, the Sig starts to level up. Still bright, but if the brain comprehends that the sound is "good", it starts to adjust to it rather quickly. Casing point is the SR-X Mk3, doesn't have much bass and high frequency extension, but remains strong in whatever is left.

The Lambda Pro is cheap for what it is, one of the most dramatic performances, also improves on the Carbon compared to the standard KGSSHV, starts to get rid of its treble issues - even better without damping when driven by an amp of this caliber. But the Lambda Signature, Lambda Nova Signature and NB Lambda are still higher level with regards to tone and technicalities. (imho of course, they all have different merits and characters and individual flaws needing slightly different matching, etc.)
The 507 + Carbon has the best bass out of any Lambda by far, great detail and definition thrown in for good measure, but the tonality is not better than a Lambda Pro. not everyone seems to be picky about that, or if it can be corrected, it can also be very strong for not a lot of money.
Yeah, i get you. I listen almost exclusively to "classical music" (blanket term, but.. nonetheless) and that of course does colour my view accordingly; granted.
On the other hand, what better headphone brand to listen to classical music from? :)
Sad to write this here, but Stax does not make the Sennheiser HE90, which I am still finding to be impossible to match with classical.
The three Lambdas I just mentioned have some characteristics of its sound - but they don't do it as well and also not in one package:
-warmer, richer, weightier tone of the NB
-faster, cleaner, airier, more resolving nature of the Signature
-yet with also the mellow smoothness of the Nova
(And all this with more realism.)
This reminds me why the NB is still my choice of this trio for classical (or just in general). More weight and fullness than the Signature and the high frequency and transient reproduction is better to my ears, speed is less emphasized. I can get by with inferior technicalities, detail above this level might not to contribute to a better sense of realism. Never feels veiled, but also free from excessive forwardness or harshness.

I'd like to think that maybe one day with a T2, I can narrow the selection of this Lambda trio even further. (My bet is still on the NB, but if one prefers a more exquisite ethereal performance, it is the Signature for sure, and the Omega-like underrated subtlety of the Nova is also admirable in its own right)

The Stax Omegas (flagships) can certainly match or potentially exceed the HE90 with regards to technicalities, but the indirect presentation of sound with higher complexity is even farther away than the Lambdas. Less listening to recording, more pure music = in a lot of cases better. (Ymmv.)

To end up on a high note, in a way Stax still prevails over Sennheiser: producing headphones bought by more people (which others can still buy now) and a handul of them were also made much earlier than the HE90.
 
Sep 2, 2022 at 5:05 PM Post #22,834 of 23,066

LostHisMarbles

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You didn't just compare a 14000euro Orpheus to a pair of cans that can be had for 300euro if you know where to look.. Surely you didn't..

I frankly found the Orpheus infuriatingly disappointing for its money. Mind you, not saying i can afford it, has just passed from my bench as that horrible, horrible amp needed repair and customer had wisely brought the headphones along as well. Despicably disappointing, but again, this wasn't a product directed at me; this was -always- meant for people that just need to spend; for spending's sake. Ego self-feeders.

The T2 does wonders with all STAX models and is still unsurpassed, its only downside being that one will almost certainly need to change things in one's signal chain; a lot is revealed (or further amplified) that can actually become problematic, especially in.. 'modern' (read: digitally sourced and "ts-k ts-k ts-k" kind of music) systems. That design was a class of its own. Though i should clarify here that i'm not talking about the SMDs all-over version i see passed around here.
Still on a personal level and the T2 aside, i love the SRX Plus for Lambdas. Further modified -JimL's schematic has issues on both the main and the PS unit- it is truly exceptional an amp, one can stop there no matter their wallet; investing in good mats for it is truly worth it.

And because people mention expensive stuff oh so easily all around, for non-affluent people? Assuming my opinion means anything:
Stick to a 007ta/ii, replace those cheap Nichicons it ships with, do the 6s4A and CCS mods. And you can truly call it a day there.
You get some more to spend on later on? Excellent. Invest in a better pot for that 007 and some proper Dale resistors so as to replace all the stock ones. Especialy in the latest revisions, the resistors used are.. not recommended.
And you'll be more than good, you're set.

You don't need those 6K and 7K "DIY" amps sold so profusely around here, and you don't need to feel bad reading about them if you can't have them; honestly.
 
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Sep 2, 2022 at 10:29 PM Post #22,835 of 23,066

padam

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You emphasize the importance of chain, synergy and tweaking, yet completely dismiss certain things, having very little actual experience with them.

I've only expressed my own impressions to provide more feedback, others might may think completely differently, as stated.
I still don't see anything that triggered a hostile reaction.
I happen to be in contact with a few people owning expensive things and they are some of the nicest, most humble people I've known, it's not a question of money.
Do you think anything expensive stated as being great is mentioned, just so people who can't have them feel worse? Honestly...

If you say there is a certain point of diminishing returns where it is not worth going further, you should also explain certain aspects where the much more expensive system is superior. Some people may actually want that, others may see that it does not give them a whole lot.

Otherwise you don't have much sense of where you are actually at.
 
Sep 5, 2022 at 12:52 PM Post #22,837 of 23,066

padam

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Yeah but depending on the type of headphone, a used KGST or even Carbon might be an even bigger bargain.

I would be mostly interested in a 6S4A CCS modded 007t against a KGST to see if there is any significant changes just by going with a KG design as opposed to a modified Stax one.

I used to hear quite dramatic difference between Stax amps and a KGSSHV (or now my Carbon) and after I carefully level-matched them, I didn't find them to be nearly as pronounced at first. But over time where I really started to notice the Carbon's forte. It used to be somewhat disappointing with Omegas (already good with Lambdas) but with some other tweaks I reached a point, where I am quite happy with what it's doing.

https://www.head-fi.org/classifieds/stax-srm-007t-6s4a-and-ccs.29698/
Some don't even seem to prefer the sound of CCS vs resistors which is interesting. I like the stock T1W for what it is.
I tend to utilise it for stuff that does not require bass control or a lot of extension.
So a huge amount of variables.
 
Sep 5, 2022 at 1:37 PM Post #22,838 of 23,066

SolarCetacean

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https://www.head-fi.org/classifieds/stax-srm-007t-6s4a-and-ccs.29698/
Some don't even seem to prefer the sound of CCS vs resistors which is interesting. I like the stock T1W for what it is.
I tend to utilise it for stuff that does not require bass control or a lot of extension.
So a huge amount of variables.
There might be something to that preference of non-CCS amps. The seller in that listing mentioned the L700, which is close to what I have (I have the mk2), and with the L700mk2, in some ways I prefer running it off of the SRM-D10 rather than a CCS-modded 006tA. The curious thing is that if I were to point to any one aspect of sound, I would say that the CCS-modded 006tA offers superior quality (the bass is tighter and punchier, the treble is clearer, and the instrument separation/layering is improved), but it also had a tendency to bring out the problems in the L700's tuning, namely the huge peak in the midrange that makes things sound nasally. It's like the sound becomes less than the sum of its parts. Maybe the D10 has increased distortion which fills in the upper midrange and offsets the midrange imbalance, or maybe it rolls off the treble enough to balance things out, but despite the technical inferiority of the D10, it's a more pleasing listen (when not using EQ) with the L700mk2 than the CCS-modded 006tA. With the latter amp, usually within a few songs I get irritated by the honky and nasal tone and start using an EQ to balance things out, but on the D10, I normally don't have that urge.
 
Sep 5, 2022 at 3:14 PM Post #22,839 of 23,066

timb5881

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I ordered a pair of vintage Realistic HP-100 electrostatic headphones and energizer of if eBay today. They are in need of some minor repair, the cable was cut in half so should be a simple splice. From what I can find on them, they may b Stax based on the SR3 . They are not wired the same as Stax and have a 6 pin connector. The cups do not look like Stax, more like Koss esp9, and I am not sure if the are sealed or open. I have also read that they can sound very good as well. Any one have any experience with these?
 
Sep 5, 2022 at 5:02 PM Post #22,840 of 23,066

bigjako

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There might be something to that preference of non-CCS amps. The seller in that listing mentioned the L700, which is close to what I have (I have the mk2), and with the L700mk2, in some ways I prefer running it off of the SRM-D10 rather than a CCS-modded 006tA. The curious thing is that if I were to point to any one aspect of sound, I would say that the CCS-modded 006tA offers superior quality (the bass is tighter and punchier, the treble is clearer, and the instrument separation/layering is improved), but it also had a tendency to bring out the problems in the L700's tuning, namely the huge peak in the midrange that makes things sound nasally. It's like the sound becomes less than the sum of its parts. Maybe the D10 has increased distortion which fills in the upper midrange and offsets the midrange imbalance, or maybe it rolls off the treble enough to balance things out, but despite the technical inferiority of the D10, it's a more pleasing listen (when not using EQ) with the L700mk2 than the CCS-modded 006tA. With the latter amp, usually within a few songs I get irritated by the honky and nasal tone and start using an EQ to balance things out, but on the D10, I normally don't have that urge.
I had an 006t, which I had CCS-modded and I also have a 007t (for sale). I obviously wasn't able to A/B test the pre- post-modded 006t, but to my recollection, the CCS mod tightened everything up, and made it sound less tubey and more SS. I may be mistaken, but my understanding is the Bottlehead Speedball mod is itself a CCS mod, and the effect there is similar - cleans up the tube sound and makes it a little faster, more exact.

A couple months ago, I had all 3:
- CCS-modded 006t
- Stock 007t
- Mjolnir Carbon
+ the Eddie Current Electra

The Carbon was the best of the 3. It felt much more effortless (like a major leaguer throwing from left field to home, easy) and the bass was stronger without any bloom. I felt the modded 006t was 'better' than the 007. So it came down to the 006t vs Carbon and the difference wasn't that stark even with the 007 mk1. It took some sustained listening for the difference to manifest and put the Carbon in the lead. But I realized my main rig was the Electra and it didn't make sense for me to have a $4k backup so I sold the Carbon and rode the 006t as my backup, plus that backup had both L/R independent volume and a NB jack. Anyways, my point (and my personal opinion) is that a modded Stax amp gets you pretty close to one of the aftermarket kings, too. At most, it's a matter of degree, not of kind (until I hear a T2, probably).
 
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Sep 5, 2022 at 8:06 PM Post #22,841 of 23,066

ufospls2

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Hey Guys,

I was hoping someone with more knowledge might be able to help me out. I've done a bunch of searching but not found overly conclusive info that I fully understood.

I owned a pair of black SR007mk2, and I'm not sure which version they were (2, 2.5, or 2.9)

What I'm wondering is if the current SR007mk2 (black) and SR007a (silver) would both be exactly the same headphone with different colours (same pads, same tuning etc..)

And if I was buying them new, would they both be considered the 2.9 version of the 007mk2?
 
Sep 7, 2022 at 4:35 PM Post #22,843 of 23,066

Craylock

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The 507s were a bit too technical/sterile (the English term escapes me, sorry) for my liking, but nothing major.. i think they belong in the category of STAX headphones that weren't given the proper chance. I'll leave the reason behind this for a future discussion, when it no longer says "new" next to my name tag :)

On topic, i'll admit i fail to see how such a change -507 monitor to a 700 shell- could produce such a result, given that the shell geometry is pretty much identical, but.. i haven't heard the outcome. Bit of a shame though, doing that. For exposing the driver units if nothing else. To each their own of course, mere opinion.
Sorry Mr Marbles. Didn't see your comment until now. The shell geometry is oposite. The 507 is deep in front, while the 700 is deep in the back and slants forward. There are also other adjustments. Exposing the driver unit while mounting them? Why do you think that will harm them?
 
Sep 7, 2022 at 4:56 PM Post #22,844 of 23,066

Craylock

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Latest mod version here with new damping materials. If you find a better sounding Stax phone let me know
Hi Thinker. Am pondering following your lead, and can't find your original input on this. (My eyes hurt). A mate just modded his 007mk2 except keeping the dust covers, and is thrilled. I have a mk1, and might get a 009. Could you please give me a link somehow? Pretty please with sugar on top, and a smorgasbord of brotherly love?
 
Sep 10, 2022 at 2:06 AM Post #22,845 of 23,066

oneguy

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Just dropped off 30 min ago:

F8D91523-29BE-456C-A699-C5239458A369.jpeg
 
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