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Useless Stax O2mk1 impressions. Stax O2 rig on a budget $2300 total

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by wind016, Jul 26, 2011.
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  1. wind016
    I've had my Stax O2 rig for enough time now with a Stax SR 323s amp. I'm just going to post impressions because there are plenty of reviews that are more detailed and thorough than I can consider.
    Initial first day
    -Before the initial first day of receiving the 323s amp, I did not use any headphones for several weeks and just listened to music with speakers.
    -Slightly underwhelmed by the lack of organic attack. Vocals just don't sound as organic, intimate, and involving as the W11R. It's drivers are incredibly speedy sounding, but light. They feel like they push air faster than dynamics, while dynamics feel like they push more air but slower. Electrostats do not sound like they have drivers. They are so fast that it seems sound just appears.
    -They are the most non-fatiguing headphones I've ever heard, yet bass pounds hard. Not basshead hard, but definitely a more adequate amount of bass than I've gotten out of most top tier headphones. If you're worried about the O2s being bass-light, that is not a concern. What you should be concerned more about is the less organic sound. Bass impact is one of the O2's strongest aspect. It pounds and rumbles.
    -My ATH W11R has a very similar sound balance as the Stax O2 mk1. I'd even say the LCD 2, O2 mk1, and W11R all sound pretty similar but the O2 mk1 and W11R are a tad brighter. Vocals on the W11R just sounded more realistic and organic.
    - There is hum on very quiet orchestral pieces that require me to boost the amp's volume. The hum is from raising the volume on the amp.
    After half a month
    -The Audio Technica W11R have had almost zero head time.
    - The O2s have better layering capability than the W11Rs. Multiple and convoluted vocals, talking in the same volume and pitch do not blur into each other like they did in the W11R. A/Bing the W11R and the O2 mk1, I'm hearing lyrics of back-up vocals I couldn't hear from the W11R.
    -The fatigue-free O2s are just so much easier to listen to and I have become accustomed to their light and elegant sound.
    - A lack of organic feel of the music is not a concern anymore. It feels like the O2 reproduces music as it is, not adding any character of its own. Generally, I have felt most headphones added a character of their own.
    - Since the O2s sound so transparent, fatigue-free, bass is so aplenty, and the sound is warmly musical, I have had absolutely zero interest in changing headphones or trying other headphones. I'm now pursuing more music instead.
    - I've finally started changing my music in FLAC. I never felt it was worth the inconvenience until now.
    My EQ for the Stax O2 mk1 for my personal preference. I do find the cymbals to be a bit fake, sparkly sound without EQ. I also find it more pleasant sounding this way.
    I'm a poor guy, but I feel this is one of the best combinations someone can get in Head-fi. If there is a difference between an KGSS and the SR323s, I'll be sure to note it when I can. If anything, a KGSS will probably have the power so that hum wouldn't be audible on really high volumes. I can't really find much wrong with this combo. It just does so much right for the money and is the second best headphone rig I've ever heard. (The best I've heard was n3rdling's Blue Hawaii and O2 mk1 combo) My memory of n3rdling's rig is extremely vague, but I'm hearing all the major characteristics of the O2mk1 with the SR323s that I remember hearing on the BH which includes strong bass, rich mids, highly transparent, elegant and non-fatiguing sound. It might take a while to get used to such a transparent presentation of sound, but if you can appreciate it, then you can probably say "The End" to your headphone journey. I have and I will not purchase any more headphone related equipment.
    OK, maybe an Ultrasone ED8 when it becomes cheap because it's so dam sexy and portable.
  2. BotByte
    You JUST started to play FLAC!
    Ok, that scared me
    A question: How are they with Olivia Ong?
    Sorry, had to prick you in the side with that. [​IMG]
    Nice impression though
  3. cjfrbw
    Found that to be an excellent review and description.
  4. wind016
    Ah, yea. I had FLAC files of some of my music before, but I just couldn't justify the hassle until now since it's not as universally compatible with MP3 players. Sharing music with friends would be a pain, but most of my music is now 320 kbps and lossless.


    Do you need to ask? When I play this song,

    I just f****** lose it! My eyes are bulging out from extreme pleasure.
  5. wind016

    Thank you my fellow North Californian. Dangerous headphones for dangerous people.
  6. BotByte


    You don't own a Clip+? It runs FLAC native
    That guitar is hot, still really can't get into her. I've got a couple of her CD's here, and just didn't hit me as I would of liked
  7. The Monkey Contributor
    Nice impressions, and I'm glad you like the sound.  I'm with you about the lack of fatigue, which is more important to me as I get older.  I am also sensitive to "sparkly" cymbals.  In my experience, I have found that different sources render cymbals differently, but I suppose my ears could be playing tricks on me.  Can you experiment with different sources, if you haven't already?
  8. wind016


    Nope Cowon's EQ is better and I almost always use an EQ. The Cowon can also run FLAC, but the size of FLACs are the biggest hindrance.
    Also, Olivia plays the guitar =)  She played the guitar and sang the song live. I'm not sure about the recording though.


    O right. I had forgotten that the Anedio D1 may actually be a bit bright sounding source. I haven't been able to compare, but I've had a very strong feeling the Anedio D1 was making things a bit bright.
  9. BotByte


    Yeah I do like my S9's EQ
    But the Clip+ to me is a little, dirty house wrecker
    File sizes aren't a problem. Just adopt this: Listen to the same couple albums and enjoy that you are force to, at least you won't be changing up all the time.
  10. BotByte
    Second listen
    there are tow guitars playing
    One in a higher tuning another in a lower. The lead plays the higher notes, she just strums the same three chords.
    The usual thing you see when a singer holds a guitar. They can play but not just as the lead. They usually play just a couple chords as back up
    Third listen, there actually is a mix up
    She's solo without a guitar
    Spanish Classical guitar on left
    Classical guitar on right
    Double bass in rear
    Might be a harp in the middle, but the recording won't reveal that much
  11. wind016

    I don't mind spending more time with the music I have, but I don't get to discover music I could have discovered. I like to get a bunch of electronically downloaded songs and put them in a shuffle and listen in the car or at work. I'm finding much more new and great music this way. I tend to play the ones I like over and over later on, but usually I find more pleasure in new music than flawless sound quality.

    You sure know your music. [​IMG] I never try to analyze my music, but if I hear something that catches my attention, it would definitely be highlighted. I'm not too familiar with various acoustic guitars but she definitely played only the rhythm part live [​IMG]  

    A new song I found that's been tickling my fancy. Gorgeous voice. The cello made me say 'WOW'. Needless to say, extremely satisfying on the Stax.
  12. BotByte


    Auto tuned voice, sounds about mids to late 30's
    two guitars, one classical, one steel acoustic
    Not very good. 
    I'm not very fluent in Korean, but I can tell the lyrics aren't very good. "nah, nah, nah,nah" That tells me it's a pretty horrible song.

    The woman's voice if through a chorus mixer, not tuned at all.
  13. AudioRook
    Yeah, lemme go judge a song on just one part of the verse when I don't understand anything else in it. I know I have an educated opinion when I do that, and I can safely say something's horrible or amazing.
    Wait a minute.
    P.S. Don't expect me to continue on this topic with you. I've said what I had to say.
    Nom de Plume likes this.
  14. wind016


    There is no auto tune. I'm not even sure why anyone of her singing caliber would use auto tune. The vocals are two separately recorded vocals placed on top of each other. At least, that is what I hear through my Stax.

    This is the live and you'll hear only one vocal.
  15. wind016

    Yes, it was a really strange comment. Judging lyrics without knowing the lyrics is one of the most ridiculous things I've seen on Head-fi and there were almost no lyrics in the song he posted.
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