The Stax Thread III
Jan 27, 2016 at 1:18 PM Post #7,816 of 21,413

astrostar59

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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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  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).


Hey, thanks guys. I am coming to a realisation that indeed a Carbon KGSShv could be a step up from my much loved KGSShv Sanyo. The soundstage comments and fast pace has me excited indeed. If the Carbon is a step up, how has this been achieved I wonder? Is it the fact the Fetts can take much more heat and thus more amps, with typically 10 amps on an off-board KGSShv bumped up to 17 amps or even 20 amps with the Carbon. I believe the BHSE is 20 amps. Also I note the KGSShv has 8 Fetts per side, and the Carbon only 4 on the heatsinks or is it 6 with the 2 vertically mounted. And do these have higher gain with less parts thus less 'loss'? I have no idea, no doubt should be asking Kevin G. I also note the Carbon iOS typically 400V and my KGSShv is 450V.
 
Jan 27, 2016 at 2:24 PM Post #7,817 of 21,413
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Hey, thanks guys. I am coming to a realisation that indeed a Carbon KGSShv could be a step up from my much loved KGSShv Sanyo. The soundstage comments and fast pace has me excited indeed. If the Carbon is a step up, how has this been achieved I wonder? Is it the fact the Fetts can take much more heat and thus more amps, with typically 10 amps on an off-board KGSShv bumped up to 17 amps or even 20 amps with the Carbon. I believe the BHSE is 20 amps. Also I note the KGSShv has 8 Fetts per side, and the Carbon only 4 on the heatsinks or is it 6 with the 2 vertically mounted. And do these have higher gain with less parts thus less 'loss'? I have no idea, no doubt should be asking Kevin G. I also note the Carbon iOS typically 400V and my KGSShv is 450V.

I believe my Carbon is 450V (HV Golden Reference PSU). Other versions of the PSU may be 400V. I am definitely not the one to ask the technicalities, and this is oversimplified, but I was under the impression that the Carbon uses new(er) silicon carbide transistors (SiC FETs, with I think the Cree make currently preferred?) -- more linear devices that more closely match the linearity of a good triode than traditional silicon transistors.
 
Jan 27, 2016 at 6:01 PM Post #7,820 of 21,413

purk

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  Probably going to be lower than 500V. I don't think very many Carbons are 500V.

I think our units are set at 400V.  According to my builder, "there is very little headroom  on the unregulated side to run at 450V".
 
Jan 27, 2016 at 6:10 PM Post #7,821 of 21,413

kevin gilmore

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The 450V units need to use the 550V capacitors which are a bit more money. mine is a 450v unit.
The 500V units need to use the older supply with the stacked capacitors which is physically a bit bigger.
 
If someone finds 600V electrolytics, let me know.
 
Jan 30, 2016 at 6:59 PM Post #7,824 of 21,413

astrostar59

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Jan 31, 2016 at 11:50 AM Post #7,826 of 21,413

dharma

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Most important living composer Arvo Pärt has at home STAX SR-009 (not sure about amp)
 
5th year running: Arvo Pärt continues to be the most performed contemporary concert composer, leagues ahead of John Adams and John Williams.
 
one photo (Pärt monitoring recordings with STAX Lambda) from his music recording session here:
http://www.efis.ee/en/film-categotries/movies/id/17558/photos-and-galleries
 
by the way... Arvo Pärt worked, after finishing music studies, as audio/recording engineer...

 
Jan 31, 2016 at 8:26 PM Post #7,828 of 21,413

JimL11

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Just a comment from the peanut gallery.  There seems to be a fair amount of misunderstanding about the whole notion of "voicing" amps.  As I understand it, neither kevin gilmore or spritzer (birgir) voice their amps. They try to design/build their amps to be as close to wires with gain as possible.  In fact, if you think about it, it doesn't make a lot of sense to "voice" amps, given that an amp designer/builder doesn't have any idea which headphone the end user is going to have, since all headphones sound somewhat different.  When the KGSS was designed, the best Stax headphone was the SR-007, so the KGSS was "designed" to drive that headphone in the sense that it was designed to be the best possible amp with the most drive capability.  That does NOT mean it was designed to complement any perceived defects in that headphone, which is what "voicing" an amp implies, i.e. it was not designed to be a bit bright to "compensate" for the SR007s "darkness."  If some perceive it to be bright, that could be due to a problem in the source, or in the headphone (some perceive the SR009 to be a bit bright), or in the listener's perception of what is neutral, or because no design is perfect and in comparison with another design it could sound brighter.  But that is not the same as saying it was designed ("voiced") to be bright - it wasn't, it was designed to be neutral.
 
The best an amp designer can do is design an amp to be as neutral as possible, then the end user can choose what source and headphone best fits his or her sonic preferences.
 
Jan 31, 2016 at 8:35 PM Post #7,829 of 21,413

joseph69

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  Just a comment from the peanut gallery.  There seems to be a fair amount of misunderstanding about the whole notion of "voicing" amps.  As I understand it, neither kevin gilmore or spritzer (birgir) voice their amps. They try to design/build their amps to be as close to wires with gain as possible.  In fact, if you think about it, it doesn't make a lot of sense to "voice" amps, given that an amp designer/builder doesn't have any idea which headphone the end user is going to have, since all headphones sound somewhat different.  When the KGSS was designed, the best Stax headphone was the SR-007, so the KGSS was "designed" to drive that headphone in the sense that it was designed to be the best possible amp with the most drive capability.  That does NOT mean it was designed to complement any perceived defects in that headphone, which is what "voicing" an amp implies, i.e. it was not designed to be a bit bright to "compensate" for the SR007s "darkness."  If some perceive it to be bright, that could be due to a problem in the source, or in the headphone (some perceive the SR009 to be a bit bright), or in the listener's perception of what is neutral, or because no design is perfect and in comparison with another design it could sound brighter.  But that is not the same as saying it was designed ("voiced") to be bright - it wasn't, it was designed to be neutral.
 
The best an amp designer can do is design an amp to be as neutral as possible, then the end user can choose what source and headphone best fits his or her sonic preferences.

I would say headphones always, as well as speakers, so you could choose what brand/sound-signature you enjoy the best, then proceed. 
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