The Stax Thread III
Jan 26, 2016 at 1:30 AM Post #7,801 of 21,402

purk

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Thank you mulvering! very very informative and helpful for us!
I found that I need to start building DIY T2 with best parts + Alps RK50.
since my home is not far from electric parts town Akihabara.


I strongly suggest you to read up the t2 on the other site before begin the part sourcing process. Using exotics resistors could cause problems with added noise so stick with what recommended resistor.
 
Jan 26, 2016 at 6:34 AM Post #7,803 of 21,402

paradoxper

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I'd say experienced builders like headinclouds and Birgir and others are usually deliberately shaping the sound. 

I'd say no. And this comes down to preference, hearing,etc. I don't believe KG finds much difference between IXY parts and Sanyo. I know Birgir has said
he finds no difference between Alpha vs Alps RK50. I'd say those are some of the main things in the design choices.
 
But just because Birgir, Kevin, Geoff or whomever else feels one way about a part of the build, doesn't mean we all agree or hear things the same.
 
Jan 26, 2016 at 9:47 AM Post #7,804 of 21,402

kevin gilmore

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its a bit more complicated than that, even if the sound is very similar.
 
the ixys parts drift with temperature, the 2sa1968 does not. So for the ixys part the servo needed to be a little more aggressive.
 
and the big difference between the alpha and the rk50 is the accuracy of tracking of the elements.
 
Jan 26, 2016 at 11:40 AM Post #7,805 of 21,402

Sko0byDoo

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I strongly suggest you to read up the t2 on the other site before begin the part sourcing process. Using exotics resistors could cause problems with added noise so stick with what recommended resistor.

I'm salivating on georgep DIY T2 chassis on sale forum.  But affraid couldn't get all the transistors to build it.  Wonder if Dr. Gilmore and the Stax crew will come up with an updated T2 using in-production transistors.
 
Jan 26, 2016 at 1:16 PM Post #7,807 of 21,402

kevin gilmore

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Kerry has a new board with mostly current production parts, lots of surface mount.
That board won't fit in the standard chassis.
 
Jan 26, 2016 at 3:14 PM Post #7,808 of 21,402

astrostar59

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  I'd say no. And this comes down to preference, hearing,etc. I don't believe KG finds much difference between IXY parts and Sanyo. I know Birgir has said
he finds no difference between Alpha vs Alps RK50. I'd say those are some of the main things in the design choices.
 
But just because Birgir, Kevin, Geoff or whomever else feels one way about a part of the build, doesn't mean we all agree or hear things the same.


I read many posts that say the KGSShv's sound different to the various builds / parts count / Sanyo and IXY. Purk said the Sanyo was probably the warmest KGSShv, and my amp and your is that type. I have no idea if this applies to the T2 build based on KG's design. If there are more than one version around I would guess they will sound different.
 
But if I was commissioning a T2 I would probably try and stay standard parts or chaos may happen with unexpected results. Many amplifier manufacturers test and test again many part combinations and values to get the sonic signature or accurate and transparent sound they are after. Plus for reliability the recommended parts are a safer bet I would think.
 
Jan 26, 2016 at 4:01 PM Post #7,809 of 21,402

paradoxper

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I read many posts that say the KGSShv's sound different to the various builds / parts count / Sanyo and IXY. Purk said the Sanyo was probably the warmest KGSShv, and my amp and your is that type. I have no idea if this applies to the T2 build based on KG's design. If there are more than one version around I would guess they will sound different.
 
But if I was commissioning a T2 I would probably try and stay standard parts or chaos may happen with unexpected results. Many amplifier manufacturers test and test again many part combinations and values to get the sonic signature or accurate and transparent sound they are after. Plus for reliability the recommended parts are a safer bet I would think.My po

There is a recommended part list for the HV. Most stick to it, some play. That is really on the resistor side of things. I see the biggest departure with volume control.
Bigir uses the Alpha as his standard, I swayed Geoff to use the Acoustic Dimension and some like the DACT.
 
To me, the full-size vs mini distinction needs to be known more because that's the bigger departure regarding HV variations.
 
More to the point, Kevin and Birgir develop these designs to a certain standard point. If anything, any other builders deviating from that design path are deliberately coloring the sound.
 
And it's important as Kevin pointed out to understand why some part choices are made the way they are.
 
Pots, trannies, PS versions,resistors, current. What influences the sound the most...
 
Jan 26, 2016 at 4:17 PM Post #7,810 of 21,402

astrostar59

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  Definitely true that there's a lot of variables in the KGSShv builds, and therefore sound. It evolved/changed over a few years too:
 
  1. Power Supply: Full or minified
  2. Transistors: IXYS, Sanyo
  3. Voltage Rails: 400V/450V/500V
  4. Bias current (5mA to 14mA+)
  5. On-board vs. off-board heatsink version
  6. DC Servo vs. no servo
  7. Passive Parts (e.g. attenuator: Alpha pot vs. DACT/Goldpoint vs. RK50)
 
So, lots of variables over lots of builders. Hearing various head-to-head match-ups between 5 different KGSShv builds, over time, is pretty striking. They do sound different.
 
Amp selection here is a much bigger determinant of overall tonal balance than the DAC. Headphone selection being first of course. So try to hear a 007 and/or 009 before you buy. Or take a shot at one with the idea that you can resell if it doesn't work out (let's be honest -- if you made it here, you're dedicated enough to do this much at least). To be honest, I love the 009 so much that I still like it a lot even out of a too-bright amp/DAC -- it's just that the 009 is much better with an ideal match. Haven't heard a modern 007, but from what I've read I'd almost certainly prefer it over my Mk I. I prefer my L700 over the 007 Mk I, even though the latter is better at detail and soundstage (I don't give my 007 much love anymore) -- the L700 is pretty much dead neutral to my ears; great balance and musical.
 
I've heard three 009's (spanning at least a few years of makes) and two 007 Mk I's at the same time (between Purk and myself); unit/vintage variability is very small -- the oldest 009 happens to be the warmest, actually. The channel balance is always perfect. My impression is that Stax is extremely consistent -- especially versus other non-Sennheiser manufacturers.
 
Here's a rundown of my thoughts on various amps:
  1. KGSShv Carbon (17mA bias, Goldpoint): Very close to neutral; slightly laid-back in the upper mids and treble, which pairs well with the 009 and Yggdrasil. Absolutely huge soundstage; amazing imaging. 
  2. KGSShv off-board 450V Sanyo full-size (11mA bias, Alpha pot): Surprisingly warm and lush. Not as detailed as the IXYS KGSShv or Carbon, but maybe some of that is the Alpha pot vs. Goldpoints. Still very detailed and dynamic, with great bass impact and soundstage (kills the KGST in these areas). This will be the perfect 009 pairing for those who find the latter slightly too bright/strident; it reins in the top-end more than any of these other amps (stereotype of tube amps being the warmest does not hold here). Not an ideal match for the 007 Mk I; things get a bit wooly there.

Hi Mulveling
I have a Sanyo KGSSHv and as you describe it is quite warm and a bit lush, but works well with the 009 IMO. How much brighter is your Carbon than that KGSShv version would you estimate? I can live with a bit more brightness but not too much. What I am after mainly with my KGSShv v a Carbon is more soundstage width like the BHSE has. Treble and bass are ok otherwise. I don't notice bass flab or any softening. Maybe the Carbon is faster and has more bass texture? I would be worried if the bass output dropped off much, this aspect of my KGSShv and 009s is where I am finally really excited in Stats after years of 'distant and weak' bass in Lambdas. My 007s have good bass output but are a bit loose and slow / lazy to be called a reference phone. Any insight would be very useful.
 
Jan 26, 2016 at 5:51 PM Post #7,811 of 21,402

purk

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  Hi Mulveling
I have a Sanyo KGSSHv and as you describe it is quite warm and a bit lush, but works well with the 009 IMO. How much brighter is your Carbon than that KGSShv version would you estimate? I can live with a bit more brightness but not too much. What I am after mainly with my KGSShv v a Carbon is more soundstage width like the BHSE has. Treble and bass are ok otherwise. I don't notice bass flab or any softening. Maybe the Carbon is faster and has more bass texture? I would be worried if the bass output dropped off much, this aspect of my KGSShv and 009s is where I am finally really excited in Stats after years of 'distant and weak' bass in Lambdas. My 007s have good bass output but are a bit loose and slow / lazy to be called a reference phone. Any insight would be very useful.

I personally don't think that the Carbon is a bright sounding amp.  It is more neutral than the 450V/500V/Mini in fact.  Going from your KGSSHV to the Carbon will likely yield a considerably wider soundstage (wider than the BHSE or even the T2), better depth, and a more resolving ability with better layering.  Bass may has less bloom than what you are used to but it is extremely tight and fast.  That was my take but I no longer own the regular KGSSHV any more.  Mulveling should be able to address that question better than I can.  Our Carbons are identical beside the volume control used however.  Personally, I find the KGSSHV Carbon quite impressive sound wise hence I sold off my last KGSSHV 500V to another friend.
 
Jan 26, 2016 at 6:08 PM Post #7,812 of 21,402
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  Hi Mulveling
I have a Sanyo KGSSHv and as you describe it is quite warm and a bit lush, but works well with the 009 IMO. How much brighter is your Carbon than that KGSShv version would you estimate? I can live with a bit more brightness but not too much. What I am after mainly with my KGSShv v a Carbon is more soundstage width like the BHSE has. Treble and bass are ok otherwise. I don't notice bass flab or any softening. Maybe the Carbon is faster and has more bass texture? I would be worried if the bass output dropped off much, this aspect of my KGSShv and 009s is where I am finally really excited in Stats after years of 'distant and weak' bass in Lambdas. My 007s have good bass output but are a bit loose and slow / lazy to be called a reference phone. Any insight would be very useful.

Firstly, my Carbon is 17mA, and since you seem very interested in Carbons it might be wise to ask builders who have tweaked that setting about its effect on the sound.
 
I think it's extremely unlikely that you'd be displeased in moving from your 009/450V to a Carbon like the one I have. Especially since you report your DAC to be warm. It should be a perfect pairing, and you'll gain a notable bump up in resolution and soundstage. Again, the Carbon I have is slightly laid back if anything. Just not as warm and thick as the 450V/Sanyo. Nobody can give you a guarantee over the internet, but I think you'd be happy with a Carbon.
 
It seems like you fear brightness. Does this come from your own experience with the 009 on other gear, or from reading opinions of those who dislike the 009?
 
Hah, I feel the same way about the 007 Mk Is...but especially when paired with the 450V/Sanyo. Also the L700 are truly excellent Lambdas; certainly not suffering from the bass ailments you describe. They also pair extremely well with the Carbon (though they can't fully take advantage of the Carbon's great soundstage).
 
Jan 26, 2016 at 6:22 PM Post #7,813 of 21,402

purk

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  There is a recommended part list for the HV. Most stick to it, some play. That is really on the resistor side of things. I see the biggest departure with volume control.
Bigir uses the Alpha as his standard, I swayed Geoff to use the Acoustic Dimension and some like the DACT.
 
To me, the full-size vs mini distinction needs to be known more because that's the bigger departure regarding HV variations.
 
More to the point, Kevin and Birgir develop these designs to a certain standard point. If anything, any other builders deviating from that design path are deliberately coloring the sound.
 
And it's important as Kevin pointed out to understand why some part choices are made the way they are.
 
Pots, trannies, PS versions,resistors, current. What influences the sound the most...

The crazy thing is we (Mulveling and I) share the same reference point right down to the source.  His amps used to be mine except the Carbon including Rrs9200m's prototype Mjolnir Mini KGSSHV.  And I can confirm that each KGSSHV do indeed sound different from one to another including the prototype Mjolnir Mini (RGS9200m) and current Mini.  They are all excellent sounding amplifiers in my opinion and I'm pretty much in agreement with his earlier post outlining the sound of each amp.  Mike has continued to turn down my invitation to do a BHSE vs. KGSSHV Carbon comparison/shoot out, so I figure he has a much better things to do.  
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Jan 26, 2016 at 6:28 PM Post #7,814 of 21,402

paradoxper

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  The crazy thing is we (Mulveling and I) share the same reference point right down to the source.  His amps used to be mine except the Carbon including Rrs9200m's prototype Mjolnir Mini KGSSHV.  And I can confirm that each KGSSHV do indeed sound different from one to another including the prototype Mjolnir Mini (RGS9200m) and current Mini.  They are all excellent sounding amplifiers in my opinion and I'm pretty much in agreement with his earlier post outlining the sound of each amp.  Mike has continued to turn down my invitation to do a BHSE vs. KGSSHV Carbon comparison/shoot out, so I figure he has a much better things to do.  
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It's definitely an interesting topic of discussion.
 
Ha. I am shocked he hasn't come up with that excuse just to steal some time with your T2. 
 
Jan 27, 2016 at 1:18 PM Post #7,815 of 21,402

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I just bought myself the SR-4170 signature package with SR-407's and SRM-006tS.
Totally different story than the budget models with srm-xh!
 
I wonder what's the difference between the old 006T and TII? The tS looks more like a scaled down 007T on the outside.
Also, are the RCA 'cleartop' tubes a worthwile upgrade over the tubes supplied by Stax?
 

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