The Stax Thread III
Oct 3, 2015 at 11:12 AM Post #6,271 of 25,596

Hi,
 
I’ve been stalking Head-Fi for some months now and am neither an audiophile nor techie, so feel a bit guilty about finally joining, as I have nothing to contribute in terms of knowledge or expertise.  I am a respectably good runner, though; so may be able to offer some tips in return for the advice I’m about to seek
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I’m a long time Lamba Pro owner, having bought them way back in 1990.  About 12 or 13 years they went out of commission and I only started using them again about 3 years ago, by which time I’d stopped listening to vinyl and become another victim of the ‘sitting at my computer with itunes shuffle running in the background’ brigade.  As a non-audiophile I make no excuses for that and can say I’m enjoying listening to music as much as I ever have.  To compound matters, there are no hi-res files lurking on my hard drive; only CD rips and MP3s. 
 
I am currently running the following kit.  A 10-year-old PC, Chordette Qute DAC, Ion Nexus SP1 per-amp along with X-Pak 2 power supply, SRD-X pro energizer and the Lambda pros.  The SRD-X has a dodgy volume control so it is now set to full and the Nexus controls volume.
 
In the most part I’m really happy with the sound, listening mostly to the broad genre that is rock/indie.  But I’m getting to that age where my hearing is starting to deteriorate and find that if I want to turn the volume up on occasion, ‘chasing the detail and dynamics’ on a darker, denser rock track, the sound can become too harsh, with some of the (digital?) glare I’ve read about on some posts.  As a point of reference, the Nexus volume control is stepped to 30.  I generally listen at around 5, maybe going as high as 8 if my ears can stand it.
 
Aside from the PC and itunes, I imagine the weakest link in the chain is the SRD-X.  I was wondering if an SRM-323S would be worth considering.  I live in the Scottish Highlands, hundreds of miles from any ‘proper’ hi-fi dealers so any purchase I decide to make will almost certainly be made ‘blind’.  I should also say I have an irrational aversion to anything tube – all heat and hassle to my uninitiated mind.
 
I should also have mentioned I’ve never really had any issues with the frequently referred to e-stat ‘deficiencies’ – brightness and lack of bass weight.  I do have a set of HD-650, which are decent phones, but for me they are no match for the Lambdas.  Incidentally, I note from reading parts of this thread there doesn’t appear to be an awful lot of love for these old Lambdas, even among the ‘Stax community’, so maybe I’m easy to please in that respect
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My non-techie thoughts were that the additional power offered by the 323S might eke out more detail, especially at lower listening levels with the darker/denser sounds mentioned earlier.  Might that be the case?
 
Whilst the above is my first upgrade option, I have to ask myself if I should be spending any money at all on a pair of 25 year old cans.  The alternative is to look at the Mr Speakers Ethers, which are just about affordable.  If it’s not heresy to mention non-Stax, does anyone have any thoughts about these as a possible replacement?
 
Thanks in advance for anyone who wishes to offer any thoughts.        
 
Oct 3, 2015 at 11:47 AM Post #6,272 of 25,596
Most of my Stax are vintage, so... 
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If your Lambda Pro are flawless, maybe you don't need to look for something else. Stax gear is pretty durable.
A propos amplifier, have a look at SRM-252s. Small, far better than SRD-X/P, and cheap.
 
Ali
 
Oct 4, 2015 at 4:24 AM Post #6,275 of 25,596
The iFi Audio Pro iCan amplifier, which is apparently very close to release, has long had a teaser about having an electrostatic add-on.
 
Quote: "Optional Electrostatic Headphone Energiser in separate Box will be introduced, 1,700V Peak-Peak maximum output, Bias selectable for Stax HiFi/Pro, Sennheiser and others, Output Levels selectable, 3 * Stax Pro & HiFi Sockets fitted" .... which is the only description I've seen. A picture released 5 days ago of the backpanel shows a connector annotated as being the "Connector for Electrostatic module." No ETA for this module AFAIK. 
 
This thing is described as an "energizer." I have a Stax SRD-7 energizer that drives my SR-X Mk 3, and the combo sounds very good to me. But I have never heard a designed electrostatic amp in a comparative listening setting, so I very literally don't know what I'm missing.
 
Has anyone ever published measurements of a TOTL conventional amp in its natural mode vs adding an energizer into the loop? I haven't looked hard but I've not seen anything on this. The conventional wisdom is pretty clear, but I'm curious about what any actual measurements says about the degradation of SQ. (Not that I think all aspects of listenable amp quality is necessarily directly attributable to measurements.)  
 
My thought in asking this is basically wondering "for the budget-constrained music lover aspiring to TOTL Stax cans, can an energizer provide a decent interim solution for a couple of years, while saving funds for a great dedicated amp like a KG* or the BHSE" ? 
 
Oct 5, 2015 at 5:21 PM Post #6,277 of 25,596
I called elusivedisc.com to ask about the SR-L700 and SR-L500.  
 
They didn't know anything about them.    
 
Supposedly they're supposed to be out in October.    
 
I sold my 507's three or four years ago for HD800's, no regrets.   But I like the Stax sound and could be persuaded to get another pair if the reviews on these are good and the price isn't too crazy. 
 
Who else is a good Stax dealer?  
 
Oct 5, 2015 at 5:39 PM Post #6,279 of 25,596
  If you want a US warranty here
If you want to save money here

 
That's a LOT of money to save.   I'd be tempted to go the 'save money' route except that I wonder about even getting paid service for gray market goods.  Or does pricejapan have its own service department? 
 
And did Stax ever fix the 'channel imbalance' problems they were having a while back?  
 
Oct 5, 2015 at 6:30 PM Post #6,281 of 25,596
I really, really love STAX, so I might as well join in here.
 
I've shared some of this info elsewhere, so please bear with me if you've seen my posts in the past. I don't mean to make this another one of those annoying "wish list" posts; it's mainly for future reference for those who are not familiar with my experiences.
 
Even the SR-207 sounded more transparent and realistic to me than the most expensive non-electrostats like the AB-1266, HE1000, HE6, and HD 800. For a long time I had wanted to simply collect them all, but since I honestly wasn't all that impressed by these summit-fi headphones (from very powerful high-end amps and using my own test tracks in most genres, mind you), yet was in awe of entry-level STAX (SR-30 too), it makes more sense for me to just focus on high-end electrostats save for a handful of more affordable headphones that excel at specific things.
 
Seriously considering getting both the SR-009 and SR-L700 sometime in the next month or two. Lambdas hold a special place in my heart. Even if it's nowhere near as good as the SR-009 (though I heard it has a similar sound signature), I may end up preferring it with some music, and more importantly, it's good to have a backup.
 
Next year and beyond, I'd like to add the SR-007, SR-007MK2, SR-Ω, SR-Σ Pro, QUAD Jecklin Float QA, Sennheiser Orpheus HE 90, and Sennheiser Orpheus 2 (whatever it ends up being called) to the collection. I feel that I would personally get more enjoyment from this than diversifying with planar magnetics and so on.
 
Although I would only start out with a STAX SRM-323S amp, I have no problem with eventually upgrading to the TOTL electrostat amps like the BHSE, DIY T2, and Nanotube. I'm drooling over that original STAX SRM-T2 (sold together with an SR-Ω for over $20K) on eBay too.
 
Oh, and the only reason I would even dream of spending so much money on headphone systems is that I prefer headphones over speakers.
 
I for one hope the SR-009 is not replaced soon, and I see no evidence to indicate such a development.
 
  Or does pricejapan have its own service department? 

 
If you need warranty service for a product purchased from PriceJapan.com, you would have to send it to PJ, who then sends it to STAX for repair or replacement. This process can take weeks or months. That's another reason why I think it's a good idea to have at least one backup electrostat. For those who live in the US, buying from PJ is a convenient alternative to paying a premium to STAXUSA.com, and we don't have outrageous import fees like some countries do.
 
Oct 5, 2015 at 8:06 PM Post #6,282 of 25,596
i prefer my Fostex th7b ( 60 dollars) to my basic  lambda nova Stax headphone +srm 252s.... that illustrate well the disparities of opinions here... Someone prefer to the HEK the stax basic system... and me i prefer  the cheap Fostex to the  Basic Stax...question : is the HEK inferior to the  cheap Fostex ?
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i hope someone will not throw me in the jail of the barbarian headfier ...
 
 
Perhaps i am a bit provocative about all that.... evidently the stax are the better system, but the rendering of the instrumental timbre by Fostex th 7 b is extraordinary for the price...i can listen to them without reverse to the Stax... Its simply another world... Each of us had the tendencies to prefer something and not other thing... Why? objective reasons?
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The truth is that.... my 3 systems are so good now... i listen to them typing that, i cannot choose between the Fostex , the stax, the he 400, too much different , too much  likeable for distinct reasons...i want to choose, i cannot....Where is the perfect headphone please ?
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Oct 5, 2015 at 9:33 PM Post #6,283 of 25,596
I really, really love STAX, so I might as well join in here.
I'm drooling over that original STAX SRM-T2 (sold together with an SR-Ω for over $20K) on eBay too.


That T2 is blown way out of normal price. That's the very same one that sold on yahoo!japan for less than $3500 earlier this year. The guy is flipping it for crazy money. There's been three or four original omegas sold there this year for $2000 and less too.
 
Oct 5, 2015 at 10:05 PM Post #6,284 of 25,596
That T2 is blown way out of normal price. That's the very same one that sold on yahoo!japan for less than $3500 earlier this year. The guy is flipping it for crazy money. There's been three or four original omegas sold there this year for $2000 and less too.

 
Good to know! (Though I did know in a general sense that the Japanese Yahoo! Auctions was one of the best sources for rare STAX.)
 
Don't know of any other original T2s out there, though, do ya? (Oh, the cruelty of the market.)
 

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