The Stax Thread III
Oct 2, 2015 at 9:36 AM Post #6,257 of 25,619
  Yeah SR-L500 seems to be the new 507, SR-L700 the new top end, where does that leave 207/307/407/507?
 
Traditionally I think Stax just drops the old lines (e.g. 303, 404, etc) in favor of new. But this would leave a hole in the line. I also assume they can't afford to have too many production lines.
 
Otherwise I'd guess the 407/507/etc coalesce into just a 207 equivalent and a 407 equivalent for the low end. 

 
I think it actually makes sense to have a bit larger holes in the line, as you put it.
 
Right now, the 2170 system or the 207 is the low-end model, which is fantastic for its money and I think it sells well. At least here in the Netherlands you see them for sale (second hand) quite often, and a lot of shops selling Stax have them on display.
However, between the 307/407/507, there is a bit too much choice and a too large price difference for too little sound quality difference. For the customer, it doesn't really make sense to upgrade within the Lambda line. You see it often around here too: people own a Lambda system, want to upgrade and ask for advice, but then the only logical step is to jump to the 007 or 009. Hunting down different Lambda models will only move you sideways, not up.
IMO, it would make much more sense for Stax to go back to three Lambda models: entry level (good, 207), better (L500) and best (L700), with hopefully some real improvements in sound quality when you go up the ladder.
 
Then later, Stax could maybe also find a way to make fewer amp models. I think the 007t is a bit superfluous. Maybe they could have the entry-level 252s, the better 353X, then as an upgrade to that a better tube model than both the 006t and 007t, and maybe a high-end transistor model again, basically an upgraded 727. To bad the rumours around a new high-end amp have gone quiet. That would get them to four models instead of five, which should save some costs I guess. I don't know how well the different models are doing for Stax, so this might not make much sense to them. However, I do think it would get them a more coherent product line.
 
Oct 2, 2015 at 10:50 AM Post #6,259 of 25,619
^  This...   in spades....  
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Oct 2, 2015 at 11:03 AM Post #6,260 of 25,619
  Stax should just hire Spritzer at any cost, maybe move him to Japan, hire an assembly staff that he could oversee, slap a Stax badge on his amps, and drop their own amps.

I think mass producing high volage Stax amps at 50% mark-up is part of the problem. That, and the fact Stax is a relatively small company. But I do agree, they need some KG designs in there! The old 717 was loosely based on a KG design right (KGSS)?
 
Or Stax should just admit they can't make an amp to match up to the 007 or 009. I am not sure if Senn can do it either looking at the 40K Marble block thingy they are playing with, - real world prices please.
 
Oct 2, 2015 at 11:31 AM Post #6,261 of 25,619
If they managed to make the new top Lambda sound less hard and fuller in the mids, more fluid on the highs, and more defined in the sub-bass, I am interested (yeah, and what else do I want for that price??
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[ Slightly offtopic: this news about the new Lambda line came just when I managed to have a breakthrough with my 007 earpad mods 
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Bass at a new level of definition and impact, larger sound stage, more open mids and highs, much improved timing and rhythm, higher perceived musical resolution.
When listening to the bare drivers I never thought this was possible. The 009 drivers seemed so much better - and I could not improve the 009 much with earpads, except slight bass improvement on the expense of neutrality.
I've spent the past nights rediscovering my music. Goosebumps on the beauty of tones, harmonic naturalness, resolution, and that tactile, deep, physical bass. I barely wait the evenings :).
I risk saying it's now better than the HE-1000 in all areas, including sub-bass, where the HE-1000 is much less defined, although a bit higher in volume. I still prefer my 007 there, since it tricks me better for hearing instruments and not recording. It sounds more dynamic and better in the bass than my modded TH900, which is no weakling at that. I also like it more than the 009, which has only one advantage left for me: it's slightly more open still, and more neutral. But much less fun. Speakers are much less fun as well nowadays - the purity and richness of tone through the 007 is shocking. Will update the mods thread soon. So all this is possible with electrostatic tech. I am deeply impressed. I hope one can get all, or much of these goods with the new models... ]
So the Lambda upgrade is good news on its own, but especially because hopefully the 009 will also get an upgrade soon 
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Oct 2, 2015 at 11:32 AM Post #6,262 of 25,619
Stax is stuck in a situation where the lack of brand-name amps hampers their Headphone sales. They really need a good amp or 2 with the Stax name on it. It would be different if a company like Luxman or Accuphase or even McIntosh offered one, but they don't, so the consumer who wants a system from a company with a decent commercial footprint is left in an awkward position and can end up with a sub-par Stax amp or probably avoids Stax phones entirely, which is a shame, because they are so good. Where is Elon Musk when you need him?
 
Oct 3, 2015 at 2:30 AM Post #6,269 of 25,619
Oct 3, 2015 at 7:45 AM Post #6,270 of 25,619
I disagree with the sentiment that "Stax Stuff Suxs". I love the Mafia designs and am building every single one, but I don't see them as the end all. Don't forget that the T2 is still considered the pinnacle of Stax amplifier design. For the common Stax amplifiers, if you aren't hearing what good SQ they have to offer than you're not using a well matched headphones, or I'd say your not appreciating what they are doing well. Stax is not trying to sell us crappy amplifiers!
 
The second point is that people don't appreciate what it takes to produce a commercially viable product at a price point. With these volumes Stax has to have probably a 50% markup. So a $1k amplifier has to be less than $500 in parts and labor. That's not easy! Certainly Stax couldn't hire Birgir "at any price". At any rate you can bet that Stax has engineering/design expertise equal if not better than anybody else. 
 
Finally I'd point out that why should Stax be producing a lot of ultra high end products, when there's a thriving 3rd party marketplace? There's the Mafia amps, BHSE, Woo, and I know of a third high end amp being designed right now by another party. And these offerings cost many thousands of dollars and serve a niche of the ultra-high end deep pocketed listeners. Before anybody mentions the KGST I'll point out that uses obsolete parts (6S4 for one). 
 
/soapbox 
 

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