The Stax Thread III
Oct 23, 2016 at 10:30 PM Post #10,396 of 22,416

3X0

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I listened several years with HE-90 but thought many times why it doesn't touch my soul nerves ,i think the same problem is with the new Orpheus 2 nice but not touching in any way and the same problem again with HD-800 not touching at all .I prefer Omega to HE-90 in many ways altough it has a neutral presentation it has a "touching soul" attribute, but 009 doesn't have it and neither do 02 have it but Sigma Pro has it one of the best headphones with right amplification.I have had 5 Sigma Pro's and all sounded slightly different.I find the Omega to be better than HE-90 in many ways more detail and resolution even more neutrality combined with this "touching" element.I don't find Omega lacks anything in midrange against Orpheus the Omega is so resolving that it needs right amplification .Yes i'm happy with Omega/ Aristaeus it isn't perfect but touches my soul and that's my number one criteria.

Out of the T2 I can't think of a single thing the HE90 does better than the Omega. I've heard a positive impression of the Aristaeus + Omega in the past, but it's nice to see it reinforced. Interestingly I wasn't crazy about the Omega out of the BHSE.
 
Oct 23, 2016 at 10:55 PM Post #10,397 of 22,416

lojay

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  Out of the T2 I can't think of a single thing the HE90 does better than the Omega. I've heard a positive impression of the Aristaeus + Omega in the past, but it's nice to see it reinforced. Interestingly I wasn't crazy about the Omega out of the BHSE.

 
If not for the fact that Omegas are impossible to be repaired with the original drivers, I would have bought one. But there seems to be no unanimous view** on whether one prefers the Omega to the HE90 (or the SR009 for that matter), the HE90 being (according to what I've read) a more coloured headphone. What sort of music do you play and what do you like about the HE90, if anything? Also, when you used the HE90 out of the T2 did you lower the bias to 500V?
 
Edit**: 3X0, perhaps I should stand corrected, but you might be the only active HF member who presently has the HE90, Omega and DIY T2!
 
Oct 24, 2016 at 3:24 AM Post #10,398 of 22,416

thinker

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  I've never listened to HE90 nor Omega 1 (I'd say unfortunately), but out of my BHSE, Sigma Pro are way simpler than 007mk1, not to say 009. They are cans for relaxing acoustic music I've to say, too much midbass hump with electric / electronic music, and not as accurate as 007/009.
I'd really love to get my hands on some Omega 1 one day, but they are too rare and too expensive for me considering durability / reliability issues. Maybe one day Stax will release a new Omega, the ones to rule them all, unifying under the same ring flag 009 lovers as well as 007 and Omega 1 lovers
smile_phones.gif

 
Ali


There are two versions of Sigma Pro's one wich is muffled and reminds of the earlier Sigma normal bias and then there is a quite clear Pro non muffled version wich soundstage is phenomenal.The clear Pro version separates piano notes from mid to lower notes better than any phone i have heard and as a bonus it has the the most realistic piano tone.Certainly there are some parts in presentation wich could be better.
 
Oct 24, 2016 at 10:45 AM Post #10,399 of 22,416

richard51

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There are two versions of Sigma Pro's one wich is muffled and reminds of the earlier Sigma normal bias and then there is a quite clear Pro non muffled version wich soundstage is phenomenal.The clear Pro version separates piano notes from mid to lower notes better than any phone i have heard and as a bonus it has the the most realistic piano tone.Certainly there are some parts in presentation wich could be better.

How do we recognize which one is the better?
redface.gif

 
Oct 24, 2016 at 10:55 AM Post #10,400 of 22,416

Ali-Pacha

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There are two versions of Sigma Pro's one wich is muffled and reminds of the earlier Sigma normal bias and then there is a quite clear Pro non muffled version wich soundstage is phenomenal.The clear Pro version separates piano notes from mid to lower notes better than any phone i have heard and as a bonus it has the the most realistic piano tone.Certainly there are some parts in presentation wich could be better.


I don't know where my unit stands, but it's not muffled at all, only very (very bumpy) in the midbass. The Lambda Signature (which I own as well) drivers are quite there, and those ugly cans are indeed designed for piano and vocals.
 
Ali
 
Oct 24, 2016 at 3:29 PM Post #10,402 of 22,416

3X0

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If not for the fact that Omegas are impossible to be repaired with the original drivers, I would have bought one. But there seems to be no unanimous view** on whether one prefers the Omega to the HE90 (or the SR009 for that matter), the HE90 being (according to what I've read) a more coloured headphone. What sort of music do you play and what do you like about the HE90, if anything? Also, when you used the HE90 out of the T2 did you lower the bias to 500V?
 
Edit**: 3X0, perhaps I should stand corrected, but you might be the only active HF member who presently has the HE90, Omega and DIY T2!

I can characterize the HE90 out of the T2 as having a euphonic, rich midrange (lends a nice "glowing" quality to vocals and string harmonics), extremely diffuse imaging and weak lower-bass response. It works reasonably well with acoustic, orchestral and opera pieces but I find it sorely lacking for rock, jazz or electronic mostly due to the anemic bass response. The imprecise imaging is quite noticeable as sounds appear to emanate out of nowhere; the specific images remain relatively well-defined and easily separated from one another but their positioning is all over the place. The Omega in comparison renders diffuse staging but its positioning is much more clear with performers easily distinguished from one another and accurately placed both horizontally and vertically. The Omega's midrange is relatively neutral but has such presence and fine resolution that it is hardly lacking even relative to the HE90's euphonic richness. The real area where the Omega destroys the HE90 is in the bass response -- it extends lower than the HE90 (and 009 for that matter) with comparatively massive power and slam quite unlike any other electrostatic system I've experienced. The Omega does have a very slight hump in the bass that adds to the perceived impact and is tastefully rendered -- I haven't found it to detract from anything.
 
My T2 has 500V bias voltage on one of the sockets, but I'm running a Stax Pro -> HEV90 female adapter from that socket with an inline 4M7 ballast resistor. Not sure how this arrangement would differ from @purk's (native HEV90 socket on his T2) in practical performance.
 
It's also worth noting that similar to the immediate discourse re: Sigma Pros sounding different from one another, there are some anecdotes here and there about different units of the HE(V)90 sounding different as well -- something to keep in mind. Unlike the common sentiment I enjoyed the HE90 quite a bit out of the BHSE.
 
I also think the fabled Aristaeus/HEV90 + HE90 is actually a much more commonly-experienced system than the "equivalent" T2 + Omega. It seems barely anyone has actually heard the latter (even with the production-variant T2) compared to many cited experiences with the classic Orpheus system. It's truly a shame as for me the T2 elevates the Omega to a level well beyond even rather capable amplifiers like the BHSE and Carbon, although I would like to experience the Aristaeus someday.
 
Oct 25, 2016 at 5:58 AM Post #10,403 of 22,416

astrostar59

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  I can characterize the HE90 out of the T2 as having a euphonic, rich midrange (lends a nice "glowing" quality to vocals and string harmonics), extremely diffuse imaging and weak lower-bass response. It works reasonably well with acoustic, orchestral and opera pieces but I find it sorely lacking for rock, jazz or electronic mostly due to the anemic bass response. The imprecise imaging is quite noticeable as sounds appear to emanate out of nowhere; the specific images remain relatively well-defined and easily separated from one another but their positioning is all over the place. 

Interesting. I wonder if that is so, why all the years of hype over the HE90, unless it is a system synergy thing when used with the partnering amp. Though I also read over at the other place that amp is nothing special.
 
Maybe things have moved on somewhat. I think this is all good for the audio fans, more choice of high end HPs in both Planars and Stats.
So, yeah, I get the negatives of some over the 3K+ prices but I am positive about it TBH. It just means you need to pick your phone carefully, Abyss, Focal, LCD, HE1000 or Stax 009. Then audio nirvana is possible.
 
Oct 25, 2016 at 8:17 AM Post #10,404 of 22,416

nemomec

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I have also sold my Sennheiser Orpheus system after a long time direct comparison with Stax SR-007 MK1, SR-Omega and SR-009. I think the HE-90 has a to heavy coloured midrange and is not so clean and transparent like the Stax headphones. But i think he is very good for classical music like his heavy underated little brother Sennheiser HE-60. The gap betwen HE-60 and HE-90 is not so big (don´t use this poor HEV70 amp!). For other music genres i prefer the Stax headphones they are more flexible.
 
My final decision after the "big electrostatic headphone challenge": I would take only for classical music the Sennheiser HE-60 or HE-90 and for any others the Stax SR-007 MK1, SR-Omega, SR-L700 or SR-009. If i must choose only one headphone i would prefer the Stax SR-009 on a serios amp and source.
 
Oct 25, 2016 at 9:35 AM Post #10,405 of 22,416

hardpike

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I have also sold my Sennheiser Orpheus system after a long time direct comparison with Stax SR-007 MK1, SR-Omega and SR-009. I think the HE-90 has a to heavy coloured midrange and is not so clean and transparent like the Stax headphones. But i think he is very good for classical music like his heavy underated little brother Sennheiser HE-60. The gap betwen HE-60 and HE-90 is not so big (don´t use this poor HEV70 amp!). For other music genres i prefer the Stax headphones they are more flexible.
 
My final decision after the "big electrostatic headphone challenge": I would take only for classical music the Sennheiser HE-60 or HE-90 and for any others the Stax SR-007 MK1, SR-Omega, SR-L700 or SR-009. If i must choose only one headphone i would prefer the Stax SR-009 on a serios amp and source.

Thanks for this great summary.
How does the L-700 compares with the big buck guys?
Its the only one that I can seriously think to buy.
Currently own lambda normal bias and sr-207
 
Oct 25, 2016 at 10:10 AM Post #10,406 of 22,416

lojay

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  I can characterize the HE90 out of the T2 as having a euphonic, rich midrange (lends a nice "glowing" quality to vocals and string harmonics), extremely diffuse imaging and weak lower-bass response. It works reasonably well with acoustic, orchestral and opera pieces but I find it sorely lacking for rock, jazz or electronic mostly due to the anemic bass response. The imprecise imaging is quite noticeable as sounds appear to emanate out of nowhere; the specific images remain relatively well-defined and easily separated from one another but their positioning is all over the place. The Omega in comparison renders diffuse staging but its positioning is much more clear with performers easily distinguished from one another and accurately placed both horizontally and vertically. The Omega's midrange is relatively neutral but has such presence and fine resolution that it is hardly lacking even relative to the HE90's euphonic richness. The real area where the Omega destroys the HE90 is in the bass response -- it extends lower than the HE90 (and 009 for that matter) with comparatively massive power and slam quite unlike any other electrostatic system I've experienced. The Omega does have a very slight hump in the bass that adds to the perceived impact and is tastefully rendered -- I haven't found it to detract from anything.
 

I listen almost exclusively to classical and acoustic pieces. I find the bass of my HE90 anemic but for the type of music I listen to it does not bother me. How does the Omega and HE90 compare in relation to classical music? 
 
Oct 25, 2016 at 10:58 AM Post #10,407 of 22,416

purk

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  I listen almost exclusively to classical and acoustic pieces. I find the bass of my HE90 anemic but for the type of music I listen to it does not bother me. How does the Omega and HE90 compare in relation to classical music? 

Out of my T2, I don't find the bass anemic at all.  In fact, I am finding it just right.  Bass quantity out of the T2 is actually on par with the Aristaeus but with better sheer resolution & much better soundstage depth.
 
Oct 25, 2016 at 4:52 PM Post #10,408 of 22,416

3X0

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Interesting. I wonder if that is so, why all the years of hype over the HE90, unless it is a system synergy thing when used with the partnering amp. Though I also read over at the other place that amp is nothing special.
 
Maybe things have moved on somewhat. I think this is all good for the audio fans, more choice of high end HPs in both Planars and Stats.
So, yeah, I get the negatives of some over the 3K+ prices but I am positive about it TBH. It just means you need to pick your phone carefully, Abyss, Focal, LCD, HE1000 or Stax 009. Then audio nirvana is possible.

At the very least Sennheiser has significantly more brand recognition than Stax does (latter being a niche within a niche) and Sennheiser was actively bringing Orpheus systems to trade shows well into the 2000s. Even at Stax HQ I doubt they have an operational T2 that can be demo'd by visitors let alone bringing combos to major events given how low-key their operations are.
 
Some new headphones are nice but nothing beats the older stuff IMHO. SR-Omega, HE90 and R10 are all in a class of their own. Also consider that in the early 90s these designs were made as cost-no-object statement products and that our ability to enjoy them (through means of better sources and amplification) have improved significantly since then.
I listen almost exclusively to classical and acoustic pieces. I find the bass of my HE90 anemic but for the type of music I listen to it does not bother me. How does the Omega and HE90 compare in relation to classical music? 

I'm glad we're on the same page about bass response but it's difficult for me to say where the HE90 stands vs. the Omega in classical music since much of it will come down to the listener. The HE90 takes many liberties in its spatial portrayal (or lack thereof) that can sometimes provide a surreal experience, although the Omega certainly sounds more accurate through-and-through.
 
It's probably easier for me to use the 009 as an index since we have that and the HE90 in common. The Omega sounds much more like the 009 but loses the upper-midrange/lower-treble emphasis, extends more in the sub-bass, and has significantly more expansive spatial positioning. The Omega sounds a little less "hifi"/clean vs. the 009 but is actually more resolving especially when it comes to harmonic information, spatial cues and decay (among other things). The differences are actually somewhat reminiscent of a good DS DAC vs. a great R2R DAC so with mild trepidation I'd posit 009:Omega::pWD2::Yggdrasil.
 
Besides using the 009 as a common anchoring point I liken the Omega to the cleanest/purest water available, and the HE90 as high-end orange juice (or maybe a fine red wine is more appropriate).
 
@purk, what is your honest assessment of the HE90's bass performance (depth, weight, texture, et al) versus the SR-009 out of the T2?
 
Oct 25, 2016 at 8:11 PM Post #10,409 of 22,416

purk

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  At the very least Sennheiser has significantly more brand recognition than Stax does (latter being a niche within a niche) and Sennheiser was actively bringing Orpheus systems to trade shows well into the 2000s. Even at Stax HQ I doubt they have an operational T2 that can be demo'd by visitors let alone bringing combos to major events given how low-key their operations are.
 
Some new headphones are nice but nothing beats the older stuff IMHO. SR-Omega, HE90 and R10 are all in a class of their own. Also consider that in the early 90s these designs were made as cost-no-object statement products and that our ability to enjoy them (through means of better sources and amplification) have improved significantly since then.
I'm glad we're on the same page about bass response but it's difficult for me to say where the HE90 stands vs. the Omega in classical music since much of it will come down to the listener. The HE90 takes many liberties in its spatial portrayal (or lack thereof) that can sometimes provide a surreal experience, although the Omega certainly sounds more accurate through-and-through.
 
It's probably easier for me to use the 009 as an index since we have that and the HE90 in common. The Omega sounds much more like the 009 but loses the upper-midrange/lower-treble emphasis, extends more in the sub-bass, and has significantly more expansive spatial positioning. The Omega sounds a little less "hifi"/clean vs. the 009 but is actually more resolving especially when it comes to harmonic information, spatial cues and decay (among other things). The differences are actually somewhat reminiscent of a good DS DAC vs. a great R2R DAC so with mild trepidation I'd posit 009:Omega::pWD2::Yggdrasil.
 
Besides using the 009 as a common anchoring point I liken the Omega to the cleanest/purest water available, and the HE90 as high-end orange juice (or maybe a fine red wine is more appropriate).
 
@purk, what is your honest assessment of the HE90's bass performance (depth, weight, texture, et al) versus the SR-009 out of the T2?

Give me a couple of days as I have been quite busy as of late but I would put the SR009's bass to be stronger and deeper.  However, I'm more of an "over all presentation" kind of guy so I'm finding the bass of HE90 to be more than plenty especially out of the DIY T2 & Aristaeus.  You guys need to also recognize that I can live with the R10 despites its bass response so I'm not a bass head.  Honestly, I do wish that I have the Omega 1 myself.  This headphones was a companion headphones to the SRM-T2; thus, it has got to sound good or even better with the DIY T2.  BTW, the DIY T2 always able to bring out the best performance out of any electrostic phones that I have.  Totally agreed with SR--Omega, HE90, and R10 statement there.  I also like the SR009 & SR007 a whole lot too as well as the Qualia.
 
Oct 25, 2016 at 9:28 PM Post #10,410 of 22,416

GU1DO

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Hi ,,
 
i just get  a new STAX 2170 and i like it very much but it lack the bass i need ,,
 
i am looking for a change but not sure what to ,,
 
my question is  : what is the best stax headphone that have great bass and sound stage ?
 
my list for now : L700 or 007mk1
(009 is out of my budget)
 
any help is appreciated .. Thanks ..
 

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