The Stax I thread

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by knerian, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    To add to Jim's comment, there have also been reports of Woo units with either absent or underspec bias resistors. This is a pretty horrible and dangerous omission. No idea about other 3rd-party non-KG amps, but I'm low on trust.
     
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  2. Ali-Pacha

    Ali-Pacha Friend

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    [​IMG]

    Ali
     
  3. JimL

    JimL Tongues KG's hairy starfish for fun

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    And as a bonus, you can always use it as a backup in case your primary amp goes kablooey - assuming it doesn't take the headphones with them.
     
  4. Tachikoma

    Tachikoma Facebook Friend

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    Transformer-based solutions also have a tendency to overdrive the headphones and make holes in the membrane.

    ... like the Sowter 4342s I'm using. However, I don't remember my Lambda Nova Sig ever being this engaging before I started using these transformers, despite the fact that I'm only using a lowly Topping TP20. As compared to the transformers I had before (Sony ECA-80, probably about equivalent to an SRD-7), the soundstage seems to have expanded by 30% or so, and everything else just seems better, e.g. impact, detail, timbre - even the annoying peakiness I had with the Topping has disappeared somehow.

    Although Spritzer says a high turns ratio is detrimental for SQ, I think the 50:1 step-up is pretty useful unless the transformer is being paired with an 80 W amp. The 50W @ 40Hz rating keeps the transformer from saturating whenever the bass starts to kick in too.
     
  5. CJFRBW

    CJFRBW Rando

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    I use a Spritzer mod SDR 7 pro/normal box with new production Dyna Z565 transformers. Beefier transformers with strong amp means excellent bass response: impactful, detailed, small tissues of bass tone allow every low frequency instrument to be distinguished. Sound Stage is huge and general tone and timbre are saturated, all without losing intricate Stax detail. I hear things that just can't hear on any other headphone or transducer.

    I have a "re-mylared" 507 according to the Chinesattawong recipe, and use it with low bias because the electrostat on the membrane is more saturated and somewhat lower resistance than the Stax high bias recipe. It's the best headphone I have ever heard with the Z565 transformer box and outboard amp.

    It is a mystery to me that this homemade mylar membrane by an amateur fiddle faddle sounds better to me than the Stax production membranes. I have heard the 009 with blue hawaii several times at shows, and found it detailed but dry with starved tone, I didn't like it that much. If a 009 with 15ips analog tapes and blue hawaii couldn't make the tapes sound analog, what's the point? The 007 strikes me as having too much resistance on the membrane, making it a bit syrupy and needing a lot of amp power. I enjoyed Orpheus at show with it's pillowy sweetness, but I find the clarity and tonal saturation without any sense of occlusion preferable in the re-done 507.

    I gather that Euro and Asian users like Stax with transformers more and Americans like direct drive solutions more. Estat headphnes are really variable, but they don't have to sound de-saturated or without true bass impact, it really depends on the combination of features.
     
  6. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    @MuppetFace - I like the look of the L300.. question, is the SRS-3100 actually worth the effort or too low-end to be enjoyable? Do people get any useful bass out of it?
     
  7. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    Low-end Lambdas have bass roll-off similar to the HD6X0. I haven’t heard the L300 specifically, but can’t imagine it performs much differently from the 207, 202, 303, and 307. Definitely enjoyable!
     
  8. HAL9000

    HAL9000 Almost "Made"

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  9. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    Time will tell. For now, it doesn’t look great on paper. I have been told that early pre-release units have been found to be extremely insensitive, where a KGSSHV Carbon has trouble getting it to play loud enough. (Which is nuts, a Carbon puts out more power than a T2.) This may have been fixed?

    More concerning are the comments about dust sensitivity and MrSpeakers’ choice to include a storage dust protection case (at significant cost, no doubt). Stax units don’t fear dust anywhere near this much.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  10. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    That won't stop people gushing about "Dan" like he's a close family friend while giving any lousy reliability/expensive point updates or dodgy sound issues a disconcertingly free pass though, I suspect.

    Jaded? Possibly. Any piss and vinegar that I have will be as nothing compared to the lovable sociopaths at head-case, though. Buckle up. (I actually hope that these are good, for the record.)

    Unrelated, I appear to be the owner of a used SRS-3030 now. Weird.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  11. g_mr_p

    g_mr_p Rando

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    I believe MrSpeakers estimated the sensitivity of the production unit as being easier to drive than the SR-009s (saw a passing comment on HF from him, possible I hallucinated it but I doubt that), so I assume the efficiency has been adjusted to more acceptable levels. The dust is definitely an issue that more than a few people are raising their eyebrows at, though.

    I'm following the Voce with moderate interest (for what it represents, if nothing else). Hoping a trusted pair of ears can get on it posthaste.
     
  12. Dotard

    Dotard Acquaintance

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    Are you sure about that? I haven't had great experiences with either the 007 mk1 or the L700 (dust, hairs, dirt - vacuuming the driver seems to help). Channel balance issues also continue to be an issue. Stax doesn't exactly have a sterling record for build quality and reliability.

    I think more electrostatic players in this game are always good, competition is always good, but I do find the "VOCE" to be overpriced. He's coming out with a statement piece that kind of says "I completely figured out electrostatics", yet in the head-fi thread, seems to be coming up with improvements on the fly, including coating the driver with dust protection.
     
  13. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    I'm actually rooting for a serious competitor to Stax to emerge in the electrostatic market. The ones which surface periodically are either horrible (King Sound), impossible to find to try out (Phenomenon), only exist in prototype form (@n3rdling's HE90 clone), ridiculous (HE 1), or weird (the Sonoma Model One has strange distortion problems and is incompatible with existing amps which are — for better or worse — standardized around the Stax plug and 580V bias). That's why something so basic as dust problems is disappointing in MrSpeakers' effort.

    Stax reliability does leave something to be desired, but I haven't heard of too many problems relating specifically to dust in newer ones. I've left both of my units (007A, 207) out for years now, with zero problems. As far as channel imbalance goes, then at least on the SR-009 (which, anecdotally, seems the most affected by the problem), the best explanation I've seen for the problem is a loose contact where the bias wire connects to the diaphragm.

    And if Stax, with its decades of experience building electrostatic headphones, hasn't quite gotten it right for its flagship, it behooves any new player in that market to learn from both its mistakes and its successes.
     
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  14. gefski

    gefski Facebook Friend

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    Reading the VOCE description, it appears they got the Stax fart correct.
     
  15. zolkis

    zolkis Acquaintance

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    I'd say never ever vacuum an e-stat... well, it's up to you.
    In Stax drivers the diaphragm (actually the driver) is between two thin dust cover membranes, tensioned as well, acoustically transparent. So dust should never reach the driver, unless the dust covers are broken. You can use very low power air blow to clean the dust covers, or a very soft brush.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  16. JimL

    JimL Tongues KG's hairy starfish for fun

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    Stax has had sealed drivers for decades. As of last Friday, according to the HF thread, the VOCE drivers are now sealed from dust, so they are catching up to Stax in terms of how to build drivers.
     
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  17. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

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    Sounds like these are essentially still in beta. Don't think I want to be a guinea pig, aka hifiman customers.

    $3k is a lot of money for a prototype. I'll check back in 3 years for VOCE v3.1.
     
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  18. zolkis

    zolkis Acquaintance

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    Phenomenon headphones don't fart either, and are sealed. They are lower sensitivity than any Stax, but sound better than (or very close to) the 009 (without any treble issues). Durability and consistency is something only time (and users) will tell. Also, there are the Perun e-stats, reportedly also close to the 009 sound (from either direction, I could not verify). I am perfectly satisfied with the Libratum 3 as far as headphones listening goes (but I still love the 007 Mk1).
     
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  19. frenchbat

    frenchbat Almost "Made"

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    Should be version 3.2b.rev 0.5 beta by then
     
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  20. zolkis

    zolkis Acquaintance

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    I think the VOCE can be considered version X where X > 10 :). I am happy one more serious manufacturer went through the difficulties to bring an e-stat to the market, and reportedly they have done it very thoroughly. I would not be surprised if they would offer an upgrade program for the drivers in the future (if driver sizes remain compatible).
     

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