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HiFiMAN Shangri-la Jr. Electrostatic Headphones

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Well... I dug out the screwdrivers...    Sorry for the crappy pictures, I just had the iphone to hand. First off, the true quality Stax plug: So that disk there normally sits flu

...because it kinda is? 

So...Justin knows how to make me do crazy shit so I'm now the proud owner of a set of these.  What strikes anybody holding these is just how fucking cheap they feel, they make even the old Jade feel w

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Well... I dug out the screwdrivers...  :)  Sorry for the crappy pictures, I just had the iphone to hand.


First off, the true quality Stax plug:


So that disk there normally sits flush with the plug as the pins are too long.  They had that problem with the Jade so nothing has changed in a decade...  Pure class. 


It is also incredibly crude.  Funny how King Sound could make a ribbon cable and a proper plug at 1/8th the price... 


Speaking off the cable, you can barely make out the loose wires in there when I press it together. 


Here's the earpads...well one of them.  They are pretty comfy but they do stink quite badly. 


No expense spared here...  I did order some new pads to try out. 


Here is the baffle and the cable entry.  The latter seems to not be molded around the cable so I might be able to remove this cable and put in a proper ribbon. 


Very long screws...  They go all the way to the back of the housing which is plastic and has nice metal inserts. 


Now the baffle is off and it has this nice rubber gasket to maintain baffle seal.  Now we can see the cable and the metal frame which provides the bulk of the assembly. 


Here is the back of the protective mesh.  These are not the stators so why Hifiman uses this in the promo's as the stators is beyond me...  Another gasket here which is good. 


Here we have the driver.  There is a protective mesh but it is odd.  It's not a solid sheet but some sort of a porous membrane.  Copper mesh stators and the pitch is very fine. 


Finally the back of the drivers and the second protective mesh.  You can also see the plastic frame which holds it all together.  The drivers are glued together so I didn't want to mess with them more at this time.  One funny thing, the cables inside the cups are really long.  Like 10cm even though they would need only about 2cm or so... 

Over all, I'm impressed by the build quality.  It's not Stax quality but they are getting better.  I eagerly wait for the Mk2 version next month... 


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The construction is ok but nothing more than that.  As a contrast, the SR-007 drivers are in a resin case which is then screwed directly into the aluminum shell.  This here reminds me more of the SR-Omega construction where the aluminum chassis is more for show. 

The extra cable inside the cups has to be there to protect the drivers should the cable be pulled out of the entry...but it's still a silly solution.  I'm prepping the new cable for them so I'll do the swap soon. 

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Interesting tear down, thank you Birgir!

The driver is effectively sandwiched between the housing the baffle plate through these rubber gaskets, quite different from Stax hard fixation style.

Also, the wire mesh of the stator seems very very fine, that's interesting because I bet the airflow resistivity is actually orders of magnitude higher than than traditional perforated stators (that present little airflow resistance contrary to the common belief these days...). That fine wire mesh, ignoring the mechanical aspect for now, must certainly add significant damping to the diaphragm. 

As for the price drop, it's hard to imagine the SR009S release had no influence on that ;-)


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Good point about the mesh and that it might be even more restrictive.  I for one have never felt there to be any real benefit to the mesh in practice but it's hard to know for sure without direct A-B comparisons of identical units except for the stators. 

In other news, the shitty cable is gone now in favor of a Stax SRE-950S extension cable.  I did cut about 1M off it but now it actually reaches my amps...  Here is what you get with your 4K$ headphones...  :lol:


It does weigh almost nothing but then again...there is nothing there.  With a bit of force I managed to just pull the cables out of the cable entry so no molding going on there. 


Pull back the techflex and it is just loose wires with the heatshrink at the end used to hold it all together and to secure the cable in the cable entry. 


Three layers there that I count.  Nothing else holding the cable in place unless I missed some glue but I don't think so.  The insulation on the wires is also pretty thin and it feels like cheap PVC, it certainly melts easily.  The outside diameter of the wires is 0.9mm and the wire itself is 0.3mm so the same on each side to insulate it.  Me thinks this is not rated for 1000V+ use but I'd have to break out the HV test jig and zap it multiple times to see how it holds up. 

One other note, the drivers are wired up as inverted.  I decided to keep it like that as it was simply easier to fit the much thicker Stax cables that way in the cups but it should make little to no difference. 

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I had one here so why not use it.  As for a difference, there is a subtle one but it's hard to know with the shitty earpads.  Those plastic clips are super annoying so I can't be sure if they are really sealing. 

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23 hours ago, spritzer said:

One other note, the drivers are wired up as inverted.  I decided to keep it like that as it was simply easier to fit the much thicker Stax cables that way in the cups but it should make little to no difference. 

You mean the polarity is inverted on the drivers? That's nuts. Does it fail the wiring center/twisted test on https://www.audiocheck.net/soundtests_headphones.php? (Note the quote from the page on the subject: "That would be the last straw if your headphone's manufacturer made wrong connections, but it sometimes happens as reported with very cheap brands, or counterfeit replicas.")

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With electrostatics this is more academic that anything else due to their balanced nature.  The Stax wiring scheme calls for the + output to be wired to the front stator, i.e. closest to the ear.  This one is the reverse of that, with - fed to the front stator.  This has been done before though, the Sennheiser HE60 is supposed to be wired like this and some others over the years as well. 

Years ago when I first got into this (shit...more than 15 years ago:ph34r:) I was interested in this and made a cheater plug which does just this, reverse the polarity of the drivers but naturally both at the same time.  It did very little if anything but I might have to dig it out and do some more testing. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

V2 changes, anodized black frame, pad angle increased, and replace cable sleeving for annoying rubber tubing. 1k added to price for these improvements...


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Has to be a new one coming then.  That would be too funny though...  :lol:

I looked around to see who's selling the "old one" and found this blurb on Woo Audio's site.  So wrong...just wrong:


The Shangri-La Jr is HiFiMan's electrostatic headphones. Meticulously crafted and quality-checked by hand. With its unique design, exceptional function and exquisite craftsmanship, the Shangri-La Jr is the total luxury item that redefines the audio landscape. Enjoy excellent comfort and remarkable sound quality, ergonomic and comfortable, the headband features a steady arch structure, a universal design with improved reliability and durability.


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They should have priced it higher. As-is, not sure if it can redefine the landscape, if there are other products like it.

As a more grown-up version of the Jr., maybe it will be the called the Graduate.

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