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The Headcase Stax thread

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I swapped to the 009S a few months ago. It’s not better - just different flavour which happens to suit my tastes better. Maybe slightly fuller sound overall and less toppy with my new amp:

 

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That's not something I'd agree with, the 009S is a definite upgrade over the older 009 but it does further expose the inherent limitations of the design.  The bass in the 009 sucks, there is no doubt about that so while Stax fixed the off tonality, they didn't fix the bass issues.  I have a feeling that it is due to the basic driver design so they'd have to do something drastic to fix it but further experimentation is needed. 

What I find really fascinating are the discussions with pro users of Stax and what sets they are using.  About 1/3 of my amps go to studios and other professional environments, professional musicians and the like and none of them use the 009's, either version.  It's always the same line, they don't sound real or some variation of that.  Same goes for the new Lx00 series, those not using 007's or 4070's have a stockpile of 207's.   

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When I visited their factory last year, they told me about their attempts to recreate the old Omega's sonic qualities and how difficult it is. Hopefully we will see positive results of their efforts in the near future.

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I agree as most of engineers behind the development of original Omega aren't around now, it would be a herculean task to replicate the magic. I'm all for the new folks to pull it off, fingers crossed. 

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They have been for sale for a while now and keep reappearing... something is up there. 

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2 minutes ago, spritzer said:

They have been for sale for a while now and keep reappearing... something is up there. 

I believe nobody has ever bid, so it gets announced again.

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Nope, it sold for 2.1million, then straight back on the market for 1.8million (not a few days later, next day).  That listing was for a couple of cycles then the price lowered again to open for bids.  Sold for about 1.7million but right back up on the market.  Yeah...something is very, very fishy here. 

It's not uncommon for something to sell for silly money and then be back up for auction a few days later.  This is not that...

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@spritzer Yea I've been using the 009S for a few days and I've pretty much decided to return and get an 007A and do the port mod (any other good mods?). 009S while being very nible detailed and airy sounded unnaturally airy to me but not bright which was a weird sensation to be sure. It was like listening to each instrument play individually of each other rather than a whole musical piece per se. I do think to my ears it is better than the OG 009. I have never heard the 007A off a nice amp so I look forward to getting it and a Carbon shortly after. 

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7 hours ago, spritzer said:

Nope, it sold for 2.1million, then straight back on the market for 1.8million (not a few days later, next day).  That listing was for a couple of cycles then the price lowered again to open for bids.  Sold for about 1.7million but right back up on the market.  Yeah...something is very, very fishy here. 

It's not uncommon for something to sell for silly money and then be back up for auction a few days later.  This is not that...

Definity the seller is getting his or her mates to bid to jack up price to hit his reserve. Happens in ebay too.

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12 hours ago, Hi-Fi-Anatomia said:

@spritzer Yea I've been using the 009S for a few days and I've pretty much decided to return and get an 007A and do the port mod (any other good mods?). 009S while being very nible detailed and airy sounded unnaturally airy to me but not bright which was a weird sensation to be sure. It was like listening to each instrument play individually of each other rather than a whole musical piece per se. I do think to my ears it is better than the OG 009. I have never heard the 007A off a nice amp so I look forward to getting it and a Carbon shortly after. 

Just plug the ports and the 007A/Mk2 is good to go. 

8 hours ago, Mach3 said:

Definity the seller is getting his or her mates to bid to jack up price to hit his reserve. Happens in ebay too.

That is probably it which is a dangerous game to play...

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May I ask the fine folks here how the 007A compares to the 009S in tonality. I haven't spent any decent amount of time with the 007A where I could really evaluate it. I just have a slight worry that it'll be to dark for me.

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On 1/19/2019 at 11:24 PM, spritzer said:

That's not something I'd agree with, the 009S is a definite upgrade over the older 009 but it does further expose the inherent limitations of the design.  The bass in the 009 sucks, there is no doubt about that so while Stax fixed the off tonality, they didn't fix the bass issues.  I have a feeling that it is due to the basic driver design so they'd have to do something drastic to fix it but further experimentation is needed. 

What I find really fascinating are the discussions with pro users of Stax and what sets they are using.  About 1/3 of my amps go to studios and other professional environments, professional musicians and the like and none of them use the 009's, either version.  It's always the same line, they don't sound real or some variation of that.  Same goes for the new Lx00 series, those not using 007's or 4070's have a stockpile of 207's.   

Any reason why they would have a stockpile of 207's, are there very good for monitoring.

That's pretty weird because the 207 is very different tonal wise to the 007

Edited by Mach3

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The 207's are very neutral so excellent for monitoring. 

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Getting ready to Mod my SR-009 pads.  I noticed Spritzer's comments that getting the pads off is a Pain.  Is there any tips on Head-case that will keep me from wrecking the headphones instead of Modding the Earpads?

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On 1/28/2019 at 1:03 PM, screechowl said:

Getting ready to Mod my SR-009 pads.  I noticed Spritzer's comments that getting the pads off is a Pain.  Is there any tips on Head-case that will keep me from wrecking the headphones instead of Modding the Earpads?

The 009 ear pads are assembled so that the flap is between the housing and a metallic ring, using 6 screws. See these steps:

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/stax-sr-009-and-sr-007-mk1-earpad-diy-mods.754839/#post-11347708

Copying them here:

1. Remove the inner dust grill through the ear pad opening (by gently bending it inwards and pulling out). This will leave the wire mesh visible, and the upper black metallic ring which is mounted with 6 screws. You will need to loosen the screws next.
2. By pushing the ear cushions aside with a finger to make space and reveal the screw heads, use a precision screwdriver and open 4 turns on each of the 6 screws, going round and in diagonal like with car wheel change. Calm, soft, careful movements.
3. Pull the internal black metallic ring outwards a bit, which will make space for getting the ear pads off, and by going around the edge with the finger, gently take off the pad.
Assembly is in reverse order. 

FWIW, 2 comments:

1. The 009 are the only headphones so far that I could not considerably improve by pad mods. They are more invariant to pads than other headphones, which is a good thing. They can be made sound a bit more relaxed, with slightly more bass kick, but in the end I reverted the mods because I felt the original was more neutral in a good sense: instruments tonality sounded more like in reality. However, if you listen mainly to jazz, check it out.

2. The 009 pads are the most versatile and easiest to mod in order to improve other headphones. I have 3 headphones with the 009 pads, all with different stuffing inside. The best designed pads money can buy - it's just not worth modding for the 009 IMHO. I get them through my local Stax dealer.

There may be other reasons to mod than sound: for instance someone had to make the pads thicker by inserting crescent shaped felt pieces under the foam because having too big ears.

I was on the opposite side, I prefer thinner pads. If your anatomy permits, IMHO the best sound from the 009 pads is obtained by removing the white polyurethane ring and use only the upper foam part  - check out the linked mods thread. It's reversible, there is enough adhesive left on the white ring that you can just stick them back and they stay together like before. IMHO the white ring is there for mechanical rigidity (which is not needed for the 009), but makes the sound dull; the foam alone sounds more relaxed and more direct - maybe too much of a good thing with the 009.

In turn it suits very well the 007 (all versions).

EDIT: the same mod goes with the 007 pads as well, with similar benefits. However, I like the 009 pads because they sound more open.

Edited by zolkis
addition

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I hope inserting here is appropriate. This is my first post here.

I bought an SRM-2170 a couple months ago & listen every day, usually for an hour on average. Because of that, I’ve become very familiar with the sound signature of the earspeakers. The speed, resolution, sound stage, and lack of distortion have changed my music listening. I was about to settle for mediocre listening through electrodynamic phones & a terribly compromised speaker setup when I bought the Stax. Everything has changed.

While listening this afternoon for an extended period, I noticed an electrical hum in both drivers. The loudness, but not the pitch, changed as I moved my head side-to-side & back-and-forth. It was never “loud” by any means. No cracklings in the drivers. I store them in a plastic bag & then placed in a box after every use. This phenomenon seems to build-up over time as I listen. It’s quite noticeable. My perception of details seems to have sharpened as I have used the earspeakers over time.

Any ideas?

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First thing to try, is there any sound coming from the headphones right after you disconnect them from the amp?  It's not a good idea to keep the headphones in plastic bags so I would stop doing that as it can produce charge issues. 

Second, what power supply are you using for the amp?  Hum from the amp is the most likely scenario or coming in from the source. 

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Spritzer -

The hum, which is very low in frequency, came back this morning after about 15-20 minutes of use, and only in the left driver. It built up in loudness as time went on. Present, but only appreciably noticeable when moving my head side-to-side & front-to-back, especially when done rapidly.

The hum persisted after the SRM-252S was switched off, but disappeared after I unplugged from the amp. The eqrspeakers are SR-207. The amp has always r7n warm.

I threw out the plastic bad. I need a stand & dust cover.

i appreciate your help.

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Sounds like it comes from the amp.  Should happen with it off though as the caps in there are tiny and can't hold much of a charge. 

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The amp I have now is probably not worth sending back to Japan for service. I bought the system from a fellow through eBay Canada for $425 USD. (I’m in the States.) He bought it new and had only used it for about 50 hours, until he developed a very serious hearing problem. Needing cash at Christmas, he accepted my offer. All the packaging was fresh, and the earspeakers & amp looked brand new.

What are suggestions for pro bias amps? I’ve been interested in a T1 for a while. What about a 353X?

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One other thought... Do you have any florescent lighting near the amp/PS, headphones, etc.?

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