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Everything posted by edstrelow

  1. Headphones without a headband, what is the world coming to? Actually some of you are giving me too much credit for discovering resonance issues in headbands and headphones. As best I can tell Sennheiser got there first by using some "space age material" in the headband of the HD800. a couple of years before I started putting sorbothane on the headband of a Stax SR007A. Not being a Senn person I didn't know about this. Now if there was no crossfeed from the earcups, putting damping in a headband should not work. Evidently the good folk at Senn thought they were on to something. My more recent posts, elsewhere, referenced some info raised by another member who found that both Audioquest and B&W were damping their phones and explaining it in terms of eliminating crossfeed. So add in the Grado e-series and you are up to at least 4 companies doing mechanical damping (although Grado talks about improving transient response, not crossfeed.) Don't get me wrong (as I am sure some will.) While I am sure crossfeed is problem, there are still resonance issues even if you take away the headband, which was the point of listening to some Lambdas without their headband, as a way to stop crossfeed. So I wouldn't spend too much money on most TOL's since most are obsolete. If the new Sennheiser stat is using damping like the HD 800 then you are ok there. Or don't worry about it but buy some sorbothane ( I recommend 1/4 inch self-stick 70 duro BTW) and figure out how to improve the sound on whatever phones you get. Did I mention it only costs a few dollars?
  2. Don't waste your money on these, or Stax for that matter. Only now are manufacturers starting to deal with the problems of mechanical vibrations in the housing. Sennheiser seems to have been the first with the use of damping material in the headband of the HD800. I would assume their new electrostatic does the same. Grado is using proprietary polcarbonate in its e series and claims, probably correctly, that it improves transient performance. Audioquest and B&W are using damping in their phones and claiming it reduces mechanical crosstalk between the earcups. My experience, from applying sorbothane to earcups and headbands, confirms these claims. There is a lot of acoustic energy floating around earcups, which harms performance in many ways. The benefits of effective damping are quite large. In something like the Sennheiser stat, damping is probably going to be the major advantage over the Stax line. If Senn hasn't damped that phone, then a sorbed Stax 007 or 009 should outperform it.
  3. Did you check for electrical continuity of the cable connections? Any problems like this I have had were cable issues.
  4. I tried this mod back in the day and found that it did add a lot of bass, but so much as to make the phones unlistenable.
  5. Can you turn a low bias unit into a pro just by increasing the thickness of the spacer (and rewiring the plug?)
  6. We might know if we had an ionophone headphone for comparison. These use no diaphragm at all. I saw an ionophone speaker at an audio shop in SoCal some years ago. However it wasn't working.
  7. I am only interested in whether the phones themselves are any better than say the Stax SR009 or SR007, or my personal favorites the Sigma/404S ( where S stands for modified with sorbothane damping. ) Suspiciously Sennheiser has made this evaluation difficult if not impossible since even if you can get past its DAC you apparently can't avoid the amplification in the earcups ( and we assume it is only straightforward amplification and not some euphonic signal processing.) A better comparison would be one of the above phones range hooked up to $52,000.00 of top class dac and amplifier. I just don't like the concept of being stuck with an integrated system, and a very expensive one at that. It kind of reminds me of Bose' marketing ploys. "Trust us we make great stuff" If I had that kind of dough to splash around I would rather put together my own system components.
  8. $55,000 or is it Euros gets you a modern version of the Koss ESP6. With the proprietary amp in the earcups (Koss used transformers) I doubt that anyone will be able to assess the headphones by themselves because the proprietary stuff will be in the way.
  9. A 009 user from Finland is arguing for changes in the sonic signature of these foams produced by changing the foam material.
  10. So what do you think is the explanation for this effect?
  11. I guess I did miss his evaluation "FWIW ... I found this 600LE amplifier (whacked out mods and all) to be far better sounding (for my tastes) than was my recently sold 323S and specifically with my 404LE's ... better bass, super sweet highs and overall just a more lively, and engaging listen; it's certainly a far different sound than was the 323S, which I didn't dislike but which, in retrospect, seemed a bit thin/cold compared to the 600LE." So what we have here is a poorly executed job which still sounded good. Of course the issue would be how it sounds compared to an unmodified 600LE, which we don't know. Still I am glad you got the problem resolved to your satisfaction.
  12. I take the point about the misrepresentation, the mods should have been mentioned since these are relevant to the value of the item. However, before I would fight over it, I would try to decide if the amp is any good. Unless I missed it I didn't see your opinion about the sound quality.
  13. I have not been too tempted on the 009's, in part because many reviews have been somewhat equivocal: things like you need both an 007 and an 009. At any rate I am sending large monthly cash transfusions to my 2 girls who are both in college in the San Francisco Bay area. This soaks up most of the free money for new phones. And then I have also been playing with sorbothane damping on my various Staxen as I have reported on the other site. This is a cheap and fairly easy way to fiddle the sound of these phones. I am coming to the conclusion that probably all headphones suffer from a lack of damping. You just can't do the things with phones that you can with speakers, i.e. make heavy, rigid boxes, spiked to the ground. Accordingly there is a lot of coloration which I only realized when I tried the damping. I have good results now with the Lambdas(404 and LNS), SRX3 pro, SR 003 and most recently the 007. I have still not come up with a good way to damp the Sigmas, partly because there are few locations to attach the sorbothane. I have been particularly pleased with the damped Lambdas and these and the SRX3 pros have been getting most of my listening for the last months. I will be at the big headphone conference in Orange County California at the end of March with 2 or more set-ups to show these tweaks. For those not familiar with Southern California, this is about 20 miles from LA and close to Disneyland.
  14. A fake Sigma/404 - good one! I saw a post which talked about how Stax had made them at one time.
  15. Compared to what was available back 30-40 years ago, most portable phones, buds and the like are of quite high quality. I still remember hearing my first Sony Walkman cassette. I was travelling across the Pacific in 1980 and heard these in a duty-free store in Tahiti. The little open-air design was quite good. It still took about another 1-2 years before they were sold in the US however. They came out and the rest is history. Sure there is better stuff out there but your average personal music user still has better phones than their parents did. Now if they would only get rid of mp3's.
  16. Doesn't surprise me. The Sigmas are getting pretty rare as are good buys of them. About 8-9 years ago I got a low bias Sigma, in excellent condition for $175 along with this cool poster. . A year or 2 back, I turned down $1,950.00 from an unsolicited buyer for my original Sigma/404. They are just not for sale.
  17. I find that both the Sigma Pro and Sigma/404 are surprisingly good out of the old Stax SRM1 Mk2 amps, even compared to the more powerful and recent the Stax 717. In fact I may even have a preference for that pairing vs with the 717. On the other hand my 007a phones do not sound as good on the SRM amps. I find this odd because I find the Sigmas less efficient than the 007a and you would think the bigger amp would be a help. Possibly some kind of synergy is at work here in which Stax voiced its amps to match its then current product. The SRM amps and the Sigmas are both from the 80's. The Stax History line shows the Sigma pro coming out in 1987, whereas the first SRM pro amp was 1982. I still find the Sigma pro and Sigma/404 are by far the best way to listen to opera and choral music. I can't quite put my finger on why this is. Possibly the increased spaciousness of sound with this design, compared to conventional phones, works to recreate the sense of openess and the opera house acoustic.
  18. Very interesting, are these yours?. What do they sound like?
  19. I remember my 2 floats fondly. I don't recall the bass problem but my reference Stax of the day was the SRX3 which is also bass-shy. The main problem was contact coming off the drivers and no way I could see to resolder them without destroying the membrances. I ended up selling both pairs "as-is."
  20. Looks similar to the Sigma/404 mesurements, certainly shows a family resemblance with the broad lower mid/upper bass range. Of course we don't know how Stax carried these measurements out.
  21. The point of the HTRF correction is to compensate for the effect of the head, body and ears on the frequency response. However when the phones attach differently to the head than the standard phone where the drivers sits atop the ear, the correction should be different. For example if you measured an IEM which sticks into the ear, that portion of the HTRF which corrects for the resonance of ear canal would be wrong, because the canal would now be shorter. With the Sigma the drivers are mounted ahead of the ears and the effect of the head would presumably be different.than for a driver sitting on top of the ears. I am uncertain as to how big the difference would be and certainly at this point in the measurement game what you are doing is all we have to go on.
  22. Supposedly Tyll was sent a Sigma/404. But when dealing with a modfied phone, reporting the serial number does not actually identify the phone anymore since it is no longer a stock model. All the Sigma/404's started life as either Sigma Pros or low bias Sigmas so their SN is meangingless. Actually John, the frequency response looks fairly good to me. It shows a marked but not extreme emphasis between 100 and 1kHz . +/- 5 dB is usually considered good with speakers and most of this curve is within these parameters. It's up 5 dB from 0dB, and very flat, between 100 and 1kHz, drops about 10 dB from 0 dB between1kHz and 2 kHz, and then gradually returns to -5. dB at 2kHhz, with a brief dip at 4kHz, to roll off again at 15kHz. Of course few of the men reading this forum can hear above this anyway. I think this treble is pretty good and these phones are the Sigma/404 since I suspect the low bias model would show a much more serious decline in treble. As regards bass, it is only 5dB down at 50 Hz and them falls off more. The measurements shown for a regular 404 are almost flat down to 10 Hz. I have always thought the 404 had a great bass response, in fact it looks a better than the 007 (SZ3 model), slightly better than the 007 Mk1 and maybe a tad better than the 009. I am not surprised that the Sigma/404 can't match the original 404 because it is not a sealed phone like the regular 404. I wouldn't describe any of the Sigmas as having really deep bass, but - 5 dB at 50 Hz gives an impression of adequate bass. The square wave responses in all of these measurements have been hard to decipher. In other people's reports I have seen showing square wave responses the electrical signal is shown superimposed over the measured response making it a lot easier to interpret what one is seeing, especially to see if there is any time lag. That one can't tell here. Still, the 300 Hz square wave looks very good. I am assuming that part of the mess shown at 30Hz is because the Sigmas are wired out-of phase, so the square wave response ends up being reversed. It should also be remembered that the frequency response shows that the Sigma's are about 15 dB down at 30 Hz (from 0 dB) so I am not sure that you will measure much here other than an initial impulse. As well, a previous commentator noted that there appeared to be an electrical anomaly in some of the square wave measurements. I don't know if that issue was ever resolved. So the measured frequency response pretty much matches my perception of these phones. The tonal balance emphasises the lower mid/upper bass region (i.e. elevated between 100 and 1kHz). Deep bass i.e. below 50 Hz and trble above 1kHz could be better. Should the Sigmas Unique Driver Location Require a Different HTRF? However and this a big HOWEVER, if you look at the difference between the corrected and uncorrected measurements, the tonal balance I describe in the above paragraph is all the result of the "corrections." I.e. the uncorrected response for these phones is much flatter. Essentially the corrections apply a HRTF frequency adjustement to correct for the resonances and head and body effects of using a dummy head measuring system. But I am not sure you would use the same HRTF for a phone like the Sigma, which because the driver is away and ahead of the ear, interacts with the ear in a very different way than does a conventional phone where the driver sits right on top of the ear. Still, as I say Idon't find these measurements bad at all and they match my own take on the Sigma sound which i quite like.
  23. I think your cousin would understand that to detremine the effect of a variable you must change only one thing at a time It's sometimes called isolating a variable. In this case you have confounded your variables such that you can't say what part of what you hear is due to the contribution of the port or of the driver. Now you say the sound with the replacement driver is not actually the same as the Mk1 and you add yet another explanatory factor, the ear-pad which I must assume is the Mk2 pad.. I think the bass boost is caused by your sealing the port. I have sealed the port of my 007A and it didn't just give a "more pronounced bass" it gave a huge bass boost. So it may be that the Mk1 replacement driver could even have less bass in the Mk2 case. However there is nothing to be gained by speculation when it is easy enough to test by unplugging the port.
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