thrice

The Headcase Stax thread

11,872 posts in this topic

Ahh so these came with an energizer!!  I didn't crack open the drivers to check but can you shoot a pic inside the adapter?  Mine came with nothing like that... 

Black is clearly common so all drivers driven single ended. 

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Excellent.  Looks like green and yellow feed the transformers and blue and red from each of the yellow taps goes to the headphone socket as well. 

Output from the transformer seems to be black and red.  Red going to the PCB where a cap is added as something (compensation perhaps) and then green and blue from the small black sheathed cable go the socket.  Dynamic driven off the speaker taps with a single ended electret element....  Seems reasonable. 

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Excellent indeed......   :D

excellent.png

Edited by wink

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I'll hook up something to drive these or just fit some transformers in the earcups.  Might be the easiest route... 

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The earcups are massive but it's just enough to fit all the stuff that's already there, I don't think there's space to put anything else in

If you can find one of the bespoke 5 pin Superex plugs to reterminate your EP5, I can hand off the energizer unit to you when you come to NYC and you can ship it back to me when you're done with it

Edited by mypasswordis

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On 2/14/2017 at 1:07 AM, mypasswordis said:

How does it sound? Especially vs. various Stax

A much smoother version of the Gamma pro/SR-X pro - similar levels of extension, but much nicer in the highs. 

Actually, I'm going to have to take some time to listen to these again, I haven't taken them out for a while. It takes something like 24-48 hours for the phones to fully charge up...

Edited by Tachikoma

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Cool, let us know if your opinions change. The Gamma Pro and SR-X Pro sound pretty different to my ears, even though they use the same drivers.

Boy do I know that feeling. I listen to $10 earbuds out of my phone most of the time... for some reason there's some level of comfort in knowing I've come full circle

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Finally received my replacement SR-009 cable from STAX Japan and their shipper A&M Enterprises.  

All looks good and will be soldering it in a few days.

Talking via email with Douglas Ip of STAX, he mentioned that as of Jan 1, 2017 Yama Enterprises is no longer their STAX distributor/dealer here.   Douglas is working now to establish a company and warehouse out of Dallas/Fort Worth Texas.

Great news. 

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Best news ever

yamas sucks

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Sent them an email 4 years ago and they still haven't replied back to it. 

Wonder who the next distributor for the US Stax is going to be.

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We'll have to wait to find out. 

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17 hours ago, mypasswordis said:

The earcups are massive but it's just enough to fit all the stuff that's already there, I don't think there's space to put anything else in

If you can find one of the bespoke 5 pin Superex plugs to reterminate your EP5, I can hand off the energizer unit to you when you come to NYC and you can ship it back to me when you're done with it

I doubt I'll ever find the plug as it was molded.  I might need the ratio of the transformer though at some point if my Suprex stuff doesn't have the same transformer.  I might be able to squeeze a small mains transformer in there with the right ratio. 

12 hours ago, kevin gilmore said:

Best news ever

yamas sucks

Yup, the worst company ever.  Their repair work is just legendary...

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Curious to see what comes together in Dallas.  Not far off from me.

HS

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HS can be the Head Case dumpster diver. :lol:

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Yay. But in addition to having a company that actually knows how to run a business, they (meaning Stax) also need to fix the price disparity between US/Japan, and make sure that US stocks are up to date with the latest Japanese releases. Which, I guess, is hard to do when you don't shift the stock you have because of price fixing. I'll be honest, the shitty outdated distribution system has kept me from buying a lot of headphones I otherwise would have very much liked to try. Well, that and the whole not having any money thing.

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On 2/15/2017 at 2:42 AM, mypasswordis said:

Cool, let us know if your opinions change. The Gamma Pro and SR-X Pro sound pretty different to my ears, even though they use the same drivers.

Boy do I know that feeling. I listen to $10 earbuds out of my phone most of the time... for some reason there's some level of comfort in knowing I've come full circle

The Gamma pro wasn't the most appropriate comparison in retrospect, as the tone is much more like the SR-X's, minus the strange roll-off + peakiness that the SR-X has. The ECR-800 is probably the smoothest sounding pair of headphones I've owned, even the O2mk1 somehow sounds slightly tense in the highs by comparison. As far as technicalities go, think the ambience comes through a little better than my heavily modified SR-3 (GP driver, wide cable, O2 pads, and de-grilled), but its hard to match volumes exactly since the ECR is somewhat more sensitive. Soundstaging is highly variable since its almost entirely dependent on the pads - the HM5 pads yield good results, as do O2 pads. With the stock pads they're identical to the SR-X in this respect.

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Thanks! How's the SR-3 Pro sound, anyways? I assume you prefer it to the SR-X Pro? Not sure I notice a roll-off but did notice a peak... back in the day I did some modding to try and get rid of it but don't think I managed to get rid of it completely, at least with the stock frame and pads. I think I've got an old SR-3 shell somewhere to use as a transplant, but would need a cable. Maybe Douglas Ip's new Stax shop in Texas can hook me up with one.

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I bought an extension cable and simply loped off one side :P A Lambda cable might work too. 

The SR-3/5 sits somewhere between the SR-X and SR-Lambda - it sounds more airy and images a bit wider/taller than the SR-X, but somewhat less so than the Lambda. The SR-5 is the most fun-sounding Stax for me, especially for electric guitar, but I'm a little biased since they're also the first Stax headphones I've ever owned. (note that I've never owned a fully functional SR-3, but from what I heard it was like a much more midrange-centric version of the SR-5)

The "roll-off" I heard on the SR-X might be more of an upper midrange dip... but the FR never sounded totally "right" to me, and that includes the SR-X pro as well.

Edited by Tachikoma

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I wish I had a spare Lambda ribbon cable handy but an extension cable could work. What do you do for the Y split? 

IIRC the SR-X with stock supraaural pads had Grado level comfort, so around 30 minutes into wearing them it felt like my ears were being mauled by a small woodland creature. I think it might be causing the treble peak as well because it's not there on the Gamma Pro, so definitely need to investigate the SR-3/5 transplant further. Thanks for pioneering! SR007 pads are too pricey for me but I think there's several pads out there now that should fit the SR-3/5 frame, should I need to pad roll. 

Edit: Just did some price searching. SR007 pads are $130 in the US but around $70 in Japan......

Edited by mypasswordis

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I used some heatshrink with a small piece of cardboard to keep the Y-split in place. The SR007 pads are worth it for the comfort alone imo, and sound-wise they're definitely an improvement over stock (or HM5) pads.

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I've got a few GP drivers but no spare SR-3 shells from memory, what is the degrill mod you did? You sort of need the backwave wool that are in SR-3 and SR-5 shells otherwise the sound goes fuzzy.

Edited by DefQon

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I agree, the wool is necessary to keep those drivers in check.  I have a spare SR-3 somewhere so I might try something with it. 

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Replaced the cable in my SR-009 yesterday. They are playing great now. 

When soldering the wires to the stator and diaphragm tabs, I came across some details that I thought should be passed on. 

Desoldering all the wires and removing the old cable was not a problem. See the "Ants in My Stax" thread for 009 disassembly. Remove all the plastic parts mounting the cable to the ear pod, don't try to desolder the wires/cable with these in place -no room. 

On reassembly, first note orientation of the cable for each ear pod, The arrow on one side of the molded strain relief is to be assembled on the inside only (ear side) and will help ensure signal polarity between L&R channels. 

Soldering the +/- signal wires to the stator tabs was straightforward. Where it got interesting was when I went to solder the pro bias wires to the diaphragm tabs. The diaphragm solder tabs on my SR-009 are a small additional part that had been riveted to the actual diaphagm. The right side rivet was well attached and the wire/tab easily soldered. But the left side rivet was loose and the tab rotated wildly when I touched it with my solder tip. Took some doing, but got it soldered. Then to double check when done, I measured the continuity of each wire from solder tab to cable pin. All measured 0.01 ohm, except the left bias wire. That measured ~25 ohms and varied wildly as the tab was minimally rotated. I then attempted to solder the bias wire to the diaphragm directly, but did not want to heat too much and possible melt it. Also, the material did not take to solder (probably aluminum?) and so the reason for the riveted solder tab. I finally resorted to adding a blob of solder (with the bias wire) on the tab, and rotating until the tab wedged tight under the diaphragm. That ended up also measuring 0.01 ohm and was stable with the cable assembled.

Powering up the headphones, I noticed that both L and R channels started playing at nearly the same time. Previously, the L channel took several seconds longer to start playing, and usually had a sllght and wandering imbalance with the R channel for the first 1/2 hour or so. I took that as amp warm up (KGST), as things settled in nicely after that time. Now, the central image is rock stable from the start up, and the soundstage is balanced and huge. Got me thinking that loose rivets may be a cause of imbalance in some SR-009s, and takes longer to fully charge?

My 009s are around 3 years old. I did not take photos while I was working on them, but attached detailed photos from the "Ants in My Stax" thread from 2012. In those earlier headphones, Stax is seen to have used a screw and nut to assemble the solder tab to the central diaphragm. Later versions like mine were "cost reduced" to rivet that connection. When that changed over in production, I do not know.

I could image the intermittent coming and going of stereo balance problems written about, may be due to a loose rivet and random cable handling. That might be something others with SR-009 channel imbalance issues may want to check out.       

 

Earside view (note arrow), circa 2012:

SR-009_top.JPG

 

Opposite view, circa 2012:

SR-009_back.JPG

Edited by Laowei
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I'm pretty sure that the loose bias contact is the reason for some of the imbalance issues.  Not sure why they would use such a weak mechanical contact there..

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