The Stax thread (New)
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Nov 3, 2010 at 6:35 PM Post #14,461 of 24,807

mobbaddict

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Quote:
Let’s see what NHK is going to buy for its studios? It is worst than that… Stax could give them free samples just for marketing purposes. 



Speaking of which, according to this website NKH already uses the O2
wink.gif
Not sure if they don't refer to the 4070 though, as this one was initially made for the Japanese TV.
 
Nov 4, 2010 at 12:48 AM Post #14,463 of 24,807

Clarkmc2

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I for one am happy to see Stax as a company tweaking their designs forward. When the product is as fundamentally "right" as Stax headphones are, major technological breakthroughs are going to be rare. The only approach that promises certain improvement is refinement. Rather like BMW's approach to performance driving machines, as opposed to say the Japanese manufacturers (who are known for seeking technological breakthroughs and change systems as if each generation must have as little in common with the previous as possible. Apologies ahead of time for the generalizations). Develop systems where everything works together with positive synergy and improve where you can.
 
The new driver technology addresses a limiting aspect of the previous manufacturing techniques. That is called improvement, or at least an attempt at improvement. I have been a Stax customer for thirty-five years and am very happy with the direction they are headed in. I hope this terrific small company survives and prospers. They have never been about bells and whistles and I find that refreshing in today's market. Stax is a quality company and a class act. In my admittedly worthless opinion, seeing a kindly older man's quiet enthusiasm for the latest developments as hype generation is a very warped read on the situation. Not to be contentious; that is just how I personally see it.
 
Stax is not the only Japanese niche company like this. Look at Nitto, the bicycle component manufacturer. Compare them to Shimano and you will see what I mean.
 
Clark
 
Nov 4, 2010 at 9:24 AM Post #14,465 of 24,807

soundoholic

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I very like this discussion! I agree with many aspects in jgazal post. But I think this very useful information is a bit off topic, you miss an intention of my notice. I meant: somebody cannot hardly complain the high Stax prices if taking it in relation to adequate speakers. Also in relation to the other (state-of-art: yes but not only) stuff in your rig. We want to optimize our rig and spend thousands of dollars for a better source, best music material, best cables, best amp (how many bucks costs BHSE?). And want to have a headphone (the last and most important element in rig!) to price of little part of amount we spend for every other element of HiFi-chain. That´s all I intended to say.    

Another theme is what will be the price of C32 (now only speculation) and if it would be competitive to the market.

jgazal: "...Stax engineers made a wonderful prototype, but it has a high cost."
It´s true, I think so.
"Price is not always related to costs. That only happens with perfectly-competitive markets. I do not think Stax plays in a perfectly-competitive market. Caution, I am not saying that headphone market is not competitive."
Yeah, I suppose Stax throw the new models in the market (just the 507) because of quickly growing tension from competing companies as Sennheiser (HD-800) or Beyer Dynamic (T1), also magneto-static hp as LCD-2 or HE5-LE (HE6) make a good sound quality. How many people sell now stax for the HD-800? Many, perhaps for stax too many.
Is the static principle better than every other one?
I believe the free market power shows if prices of new models match buyers expectations or not.
And last but not least: imho the price of 007A is much too high in relation to sound quality.
That´s said without to look on the production costs.
 
Nov 4, 2010 at 10:14 AM Post #14,466 of 24,807

spritzer

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I don't think it's likely that somebody who has compared the HD800 against any modern Stax would sell his setup.  The HD800 is a very poor substitute for the HE60 let alone a vintage Lambda.  We even did a comparison here at the local Senn dealer, HE60 and my SR-404 (which sounds like a SR-SC1) with a stock SRM-T1 against the HD800/SPL Auditor and for me there was no contest.  The T1 he really seen better days since it still has the stock tubes, the stock PSU caps and I didn't even bother to adjust the bias on it (it's waiting on parts to be configured for ECC99's).  If I had brought the SRM-727 then the gap would have been even bigger, let alone with something like the BHSE. 
 
I do know for a fact that Sennheiser aren't planning a new TOTL model so what competition is Stax responding to?  Ultrasone is just overpriced crap, Sony is out of the running and A-T have nothing substantial.  One must remember that the hype fueled madness which is Head-Fi means nothing for Stax, they rely on a strong dealer network (not in the US though) and the fact that everybody knows about Stax.  As for why the 507 was made, it was just a logical thing to do.  They have the new leather pads, new cable and new arc assembly so why not plug the gap in the lineup. 
 
Nov 4, 2010 at 10:51 AM Post #14,467 of 24,807

arnaud

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Quote:
 What I am saying is that they (Stax) set a niche. They want to play at the blue ocean, with no competitors.
 
There are two main ways to avoid competitors (to have your own niche): the luxurious path (very subjective) or the technological path (very objective).
 




 
Humm, so sound quality is not sufficient because it is subjective? I would argue that technology improvement as judged by non-technical people is very subjective and based on the quality of the mumbo jumbo put together by the marketing department. I think it's quite difficult for the common people to distinguish real innovation from magic dust because few people have the skills to make objective engineering judgment. 
 
     Quote:

If we were talking about B2B (i.e. Stax to NHK, Stax to JVC etc.), engineers would like to see distortion plots (THD and IMD), to examine the real-world behavior of the membrane with a laser vibrometer etc. And as engineers they estimate the cost of the manufacturing process (or call their friends on metallurgy). It would be an objective way to evaluate the improvement. And I would love to see that data, as much as Boing want to see fuel consumption of and airplane engine...
 
But this is not going to happen with consumers. There are few people interested in technical data. To say the truth, most consumers make their buying decisions based on their feelings. They say "trust your ears", "an objective measurement cannot describe the whole performance of a transducer"...




 
I don't think there is such a large portion of the audience who would make use of such rational data. Additionally, there is a thin line between advocating your product and revealing all your trade secrets to a potential competitor (although in Stax case, there's no competition at the moment).
Frankly, it's probably a good thing that more people judge with their ears rather than their brain because we would probably be missing on a lot of good sounding gear otherwise. There are still a lot of mechanisms of sound perception poorly understood, and design of exceptional sounding gear is not all a technician / engineer's game, it takes talent to make something sound good eventually. 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgazal /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Subjectivity can lead some of them unconsciously to the before mentioned luxurious marketing path. Their impressions about sound quality might reflect not the sound, but the price they paid for such equipment. I also cannot refuse the fact that many consumers buy a headphone because they want a luxurious good and they do not mind if the sound is slightly worse (I think the ordinary consumer, which is not a head-fier, is not completely unaware of sound quality)..




 
I think at the prices we're talking about here, this is not common behavior, at least not in the long term. People will likely justify their purchase in the short term but will eventually come around, especially when new kids hit the block. For those people who spend in audio gear as a mean to establish social status, well, I think headphones are not bling bling enough or expensive enough to satisfy their needs. They need a crap sounding 100kUSD+ dang awful bright sounding speaker system for this.
 
Quote:
While it can be/is that Stax is doing some real research and sound-oriented engeneering,
it still does not mean they will never try to artificially create certain demands for their products, using eg community like this
and various "friendly insiders". Their "smallness" is not a measure here: this dirty practices are often done by much smaller,
garage companies who I believe exist solely due to the hype created on various forums.


Stax is not in this kind of business I believe. They're celebrating 50 years in existence, that should tell you something. They're also not famous for joining the bandwagon for whatever is popular at a given time. I am pretty sure they don't give a rats ass about what is being said in any forum but rather follow their own line to derive new technology and or sound signature. This is not a one man shop, internet savy 20 year old something boy using Facebook and whatever media he can to promote some home made sauce.
 
Quote:
I for one am happy to see Stax as a company tweaking their designs forward. When the product is as fundamentally "right" as Stax headphones are, major technological breakthroughs are going to be rare. The only approach that promises certain improvement is refinement. Rather like BMW's approach to performance driving machines, as opposed to say the Japanese manufacturers (who are known for seeking technological breakthroughs and change systems as if each generation must have as little in common with the previous as possible. Apologies ahead of time for the generalizations). Develop systems where everything works together with positive synergy and improve where you can.
 
The new driver technology addresses a limiting aspect of the previous manufacturing techniques. That is called improvement, or at least an attempt at improvement. I have been a Stax customer for thirty-five years and am very happy with the direction they are headed in. I hope this terrific small company survives and prospers. They have never been about bells and whistles and I find that refreshing in today's market. Stax is a quality company and a class act. In my admittedly worthless opinion, seeing a kindly older man's quiet enthusiasm for the latest developments as hype generation is a very warped read on the situation. Not to be contentious; that is just how I personally see it.
 
Stax is not the only Japanese niche company like this. Look at Nitto, the bicycle component manufacturer. Compare them to Shimano and you will see what I mean.
 
Clark

 
So well said.


 
 
Nov 4, 2010 at 11:03 AM Post #14,468 of 24,807

soundoholic

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First to say: I´m not a fan of HD800. It´s not bad but imo do not match 404LE or 507. But I know enough folk they can kill themselves for that senn or a beyer T1.
If it is your view, spritzer (mine too! ...and I suppose many think here similar). But that doesn´t mean the others will think the same. See the forums in Europe. See the comments on dynamic stuff.
Thanx for your comment.
 
Nov 4, 2010 at 11:18 AM Post #14,469 of 24,807

BoilermakerFan

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Quote:
I don't think it's likely that somebody who has compared the HD800 against any modern Stax would sell his setup.  The HD800 is a very poor substitute for the HE60 let alone a vintage Lambda.  We even did a comparison here at the local Senn dealer, HE60 and my SR-404 (which sounds like a SR-SC1) with a stock SRM-T1 against the HD800/SPL Auditor and for me there was no contest.  The T1 he really seen better days since it still has the stock tubes, the stock PSU caps and I didn't even bother to adjust the bias on it (it's waiting on parts to be configured for ECC99's).  If I had brought the SRM-727 then the gap would have been even bigger, let alone with something like the BHSE. 
 
I do know for a fact that Sennheiser aren't planning a new TOTL model so what competition is Stax responding to?  Ultrasone is just overpriced crap, Sony is out of the running and A-T have nothing substantial.  One must remember that the hype fueled madness which is Head-Fi means nothing for Stax, they rely on a strong dealer network (not in the US though) and the fact that everybody knows about Stax.  As for why the 507 was made, it was just a logical thing to do.  They have the new leather pads, new cable and new arc assembly so why not plug the gap in the lineup. 

 
Why Stax, why?  Because they can. 
biggrin.gif

 
Did you finish your custom HE60s yet?  I need to start on mine this winter after I order the leather 404LE replacement pads since it seems J$ will never get around to finishing the HE90 pads. 
 
In 001/003 news, the wait begins.  The audiologist was very happy with my impressions and we selected the semi-soft material.  It's harder until the body temp warms it up so it will be easy to insert, then it seals better with time.  The tip will go all the way to the back of the driver housing, incorporating the horn of the driver that is inserted into the ear canal.  This will let the large part of the driver rest inside the outer part of my ear for additional support besides the canal tip.  The audiologist was confident I'll have a very good, tight fit.  No need for a headband.  I should get them back the week of Nov. 15.  The cost was $170 for the set which is the same price as the 100% silicone tips.  A harder plastic like polystyrene would have been cheaper, but I wanted this semi-soft material.  Color coded tips were no charge, so I went with solid blue and solid red.  Starkey keeps everything on file, so ordering replacements or duplicates in the future will be easy, regardless of where I'm living in the world at the time. 
 
If I really like them, I will have similar tips made for my Denon C-710s for my ultra portable airplane rig. 
 
 
Nov 4, 2010 at 1:20 PM Post #14,470 of 24,807

jgazal

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Quote:
I for one am happy to see Stax as a company tweaking their designs forward. When the product is as fundamentally "right" as Stax headphones are, major technological breakthroughs are going to be rare. The only approach that promises certain improvement is refinement. Rather like BMW's approach to performance driving machines, as opposed to say the Japanese manufacturers (who are known for seeking technological breakthroughs and change systems as if each generation must have as little in common with the previous as possible. Apologies ahead of time for the generalizations). Develop systems where everything works together with positive synergy and improve where you can.
 
The new driver technology addresses a limiting aspect of the previous manufacturing techniques. That is called improvement, or at least an attempt at improvement. I have been a Stax customer for thirty-five years and am very happy with the direction they are headed in. I hope this terrific small company survives and prospers. They have never been about bells and whistles and I find that refreshing in today's market. Stax is a quality company and a class act. In my admittedly worthless opinion, seeing a kindly older man's quiet enthusiasm for the latest developments as hype generation is a very warped read on the situation. Not to be contentious; that is just how I personally see it.
 
Stax is not the only Japanese niche company like this. Look at Nitto, the bicycle component manufacturer. Compare them to Shimano and you will see what I mean.
 
Clark

 
So well said x2.

 
 
Nov 4, 2010 at 2:33 PM Post #14,471 of 24,807

edstrelow

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Even as a long-time Stax user,  I wouldn't write off phones such as the Sennheiser HD800, I listened to several set-ups at Canjam in LA  and  it was clearly not a challenger to most Stax, unless it was used in a balanced configuration.   I was very impressed with the  Headroom balanced set-up I heard and I felt it gave the 007/ BHSE( whether 007Mk1 or 007A ) a run for the money .  Now I was not left with a desire to ditch my Stax rig for the Senn and I did not make as direct a comparison of these  two as I would have liked since the set-ups were in different rooms .  But the balanced Senn was better than I had anticipated and  I was left wondering what I would think if I had both in my own set-up to compare.  
 
I felt I was hearing  a graininess with the HD800 which I seem to hear on all dynamics, but the HD800 was very punchy and may have had a slightly wider soundfield.    Of course the  cd playing sources  were different and you never know how much to attribute to that.  What I heard did not have me running out to sell my Stax rig for an HD800 rig, but I am not sure that a person who was interested in good sound, could afford either set-up, and had no prior commitment to either, would hear the 007/BHSE as a clear winner.
 
Cost-wise, the HD800 balanced, with amp,  was going to cost as much as my 007A/717 but certainly not as much as the 007A/BHSE.  If the Stax prototype raises the price substantially over the 007, I think it is inevitable that more people will look at the TOL dynamics.
 
Competition in design  is a good thing although I would rather see competition among makers of electrostatics to both improve designs and lower prices since I  believe the technlogy has fundamental advantages over dynamics.  However there doesn't seem to be anyone out there challenging Stax except Jade, and they don't seem to be getting much traction or getting prices much lower.
  
 
Nov 4, 2010 at 9:26 PM Post #14,473 of 24,807

ktm

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I was talking to the ex-Stax dealer here in Dallas. They tell me that Stax told them they
weren't selling in the US anymore. Yama's website dealer finder errors out.
So is Yama's the ONLY place to buy in the US??? What happened?
Either way, I know the local dealer was bummed when they told them they couldn't order any more product. They now carry only Senn and Grado.
 
Nov 4, 2010 at 10:44 PM Post #14,474 of 24,807

Clarkmc2

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Quote:
I was talking to the ex-Stax dealer here in Dallas. They tell me that Stax told them they
weren't selling in the US anymore. Yama's website dealer finder errors out.
So is Yama's the ONLY place to buy in the US??? What happened?
Either way, I know the local dealer was bummed when they told them they couldn't order any more product. They now carry only Senn and Grado.


It might be coming from the other direction. My last major purchase was from a San Antonio dealer. After that he quit on Stax because Yama's kept screwing with him. I think if Yama's was sacked by Stax a huge improvement would be almost immediate.
 
I cannot imagine any dealer putting up with them any longer.
 
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