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Electrostat Battle Royale


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Chris and I conspired with Al to put on a "to the death" battle royale of electrostat headphones. Electrostatic headphones in attendance were Stax O2mk1, 4070, Lambda Signature, Lambda Pro, SRX3/mk2, Sennheiser HE90s, Koss ESP950, and Beyer ET1000s, plus Sennheiser HD800s to act as a baseline. For amps, we had Headamp Blue Hawaii and KGSS, plus Stax SRM1/mk2 and Vlad's Beta 22 powering a modified Stax SRD7ta. The control amp was the Headamp GS-X. The source for the blue hawaii was the Denon 2900ta (balanced). Sourcing everything else was Dreadhead's dac comparator setup.

Vlad, Hirsch, cetoole, dreadhead, Dusty Chalk, rugby and I were in attendance, with a brief appearance from our benefactor, Mrs. Dreadhead.

A good time was had by most. Pictures to follow, including the obligatory blurry beta 22 photo. :)

Edited by grawk
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No taste of who preferred what in the Stat Cage Match?

We are going to have a hell of a stat fest at the Aug. 8 Bay Area meet. Jack's WES final prototype. Asr's BHSE. Naaman's BH (I think he said it was ok :P). Mikeymad's ES-1. My SRD7 Pro powered by Mikeymad's WA5 (maybe). My 007t for the hell of it. For cans, we should have 4070, O2, O2mk2, HE90, HE60, Lambda Sig, Jades, and others I am sure. I need to either buy or borrow some SR-Omegas now that I think of it. Nobody ever takes the time to really go through the top to bottom comparo, but at least the WES and BHSE will there for a good comparison of the newest entrants.

Edited by Voltron
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I think Chris preferred the hd800s, Hirsch the R10s, Peter the L3000s, And I'm going JH13s. Vladimir seemed to favor the he90s from the blue hawaii, and Rugby said Lambda Pros tasted best. Colin didn't listen to anything.

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Orpheus, by a very wide margin. O2 MkII and 4070 were too close to call. The HD800's sounded great out of the GSX (as a baseline comparison point). I didn't listen to anything else.

The kitty was pretty playful, too. Skinniest cat I ever did see (without looking scrawny).

Thanks to Chris for having us over, Dan and Colin for making the pretty far trek to bring most of the gear, Mrs. Dreadhead for the snacks and being tolerant of a great big geekout, and everyone else for playing along, and all of you guys for playing along at home.

EDIT: I should mention that this was entirely unfair, as the BH was running on Stax bias, which was complete overkill for the Senn, which made it sound really good.

Edited by Dusty Chalk
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For me the 4070 were the winner of the electrostatics (comfort aside). If I was going to keep my electrostatic rig then I will look for Lambda Pros and also see if I can find 4070 to replate my O2.

As far as BH vs KGSS I did not do straight comparison with the same source but my impression after walking back and forth with the 4070 and O2 was that they are very very similar sounding (which all amps should be in my opinion). I would need more time with it but in each case the BH has impressed me for sounding entirely un-tubey.

The Orpheus are really lovely when playing classical. They really do make the music come alive. That said I think that the 800s and 4070 have the same level of detail with better extension on the low end (which won't be noticed really in classical).

I would say overall though that the HD800s out of a GS-X are my winner: there is nothing missing and the distortion is so non-existent it is possible to correct to anything else. The higher end phones (R10, L3000, Orpheus) are enjoyable headphones but are too colored for me (at least for R10 I had measurements to back that up).

*** All views are my own. YMMV ***

Edited by Dreadhead
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