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The Headcase Stax thread


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Isn't everybody glad that I'm crazy enough to buy this stuff and have Kevin rip it apart?   

I have compared the 009 and 009S running from the same amp (T8000) today. The room was somewhat quiet, but I had only two source options: my iPhone (connected through Apple's lightning adapter direc

Look what just showed up.  I decided to treat myself for my birthday...    Sounds brilliant with the HE90 and is pretty much required to use them.  Also the build quality is nothing short o

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The SR-Omega second only to the 007.  The Omega is a bit loose around the edges so the bass is a bit overblown, the treble a bit too wild, the soundstage isn't as well shaped as it could be but as a whole it is stunning.  They really do require a BH or a T2 to work perfectly though. 

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The Omegas on the BH easily trumped the 007. Just my worthless 2 centavos.

 

Which 007? Never heard the Omegas, but have the O2 MK I and the 009. Prefer the 009 by a narrow margin - Head: 009, Heart 007.

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Same price as the brown - I see they have actually now added the colour choice to their website. I bought one as a back up not long ago but the colour option was not on the website at the time - probably added it due to inquiries.

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Which 007? Never heard the Omegas, but have the O2 MK I and the 009. Prefer the 009 by a narrow margin - Head: 009, Heart 007.

 

Since this has been discussed a lot lately, which Mk1 is also quite important as they got progressively worse over the years.  They kept simplifying the assembly, the design and the materials used.  So the first sets sound the best to me and my personal set is a early 712xx but fitted with drivers from 7002x.   There was a major change to the design sometime around the 71xxx mark (ca. year 2000/2001) with new materials, new drivers and a bunch of small changes but they weren't as good.  With the SZ1 things got worse and the 007BL is by far the worst of the lot.  Not sure why though but the Euro distributors all complained about QC issues and the sound being inconsistent. 

 

The truly odd bit is that some of the later sets sound as good as the early 71xxx units but some sound not all that good.  Very odd...

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My first MKI was 71xxx and I preferred the 009. I currently have the SZ1 (BL) and cannot detect any differences with my earlier 71xxx. Going by memory though (we know how reliable that can be when it comes to listening impressions) as I did not have the SZ1 and the 71xxx at the same time.

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For me it's 009 > 007 mk1 > 007 mk2.

Ever have that experience where you hear speakers or headphones and immediately go "these are the ones!"? I get that with the 009 every time I use them. They check all the boxes for me and IMHO are a pretty big step up from the 007. I haven't heard the Omegas so outside of those I think the 009 are the best phones money can buy.

The mk2 have some advantages over the mk1 - like the lack of the stax "fart" noise and I actually prefer the bass on the mk2. However the mk1 are the more natural sounding phones and are more balanced across the full frequency range, there's something a little artificial sounding in the upper registers of the mk2.

Note: mk1 - sz-1 serial, mk2 - sz-3 serial (so really mk2.5)

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For me it's 009 > 007 mk1 > 007 mk2.

Ever have that experience where you hear speakers or headphones and immediately go "these are the ones!"? I get that with the 009 every time I use them. They check all the boxes for me and IMHO are a pretty big step up from the 007. I haven't heard the Omegas so outside of those I think the 009 are the best phones money can buy.

The mk2 have some advantages over the mk1 - like the lack of the stax "fart" noise and I actually prefer the bass on the mk2. However the mk1 are the more natural sounding phones and are more balanced across the full frequency range, there's something a little artificial sounding in the upper registers of the mk2.

Note: mk1 - sz-1 serial, mk2 - sz-3 serial (so really mk2.5)

 

This.

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The 009s are better cans all around to my ears, but I don't know exactly where it falls on the bee -> bull spectrum.  Maybe a large dog.  

 

Anyway, I have never been a big 007 fan and thought they pretty much sucked on anything before the BHSE and DIYT2.  The darkness and more "distant" presentation of the 007s is not too much to my liking -- especially on anything other than the BHSE or DIYT2 (I haven't heard a KGSSHV).  Those two amps made me want 007s again, however, because they bring the 007s to life and yet the more laid back presentation is fun sometimes.  Plus, you can rock out on 007s easier because of that less detailed and less forward presentation.  Now, Birgir says my 007BL are the worst of the 007 lot so I guess I may have to compare some better ones for the hell of it.   >:D 

 

I hate the 007 Mk2 so they don't even make it onto the spectrum for me.

 

The Omegas are much closer to the 009 in presentation, but they do not have the accuracy or control of the 009. Again, the bit of flab or lushness, depending on how you want to characterize it, is something I still love about the Omegas and makes them more fun on some level.  I would never dream of getting rid of the Omegas given that I already have them, but I don't think you need Omegas if you have 009s.  

 

I think the best combo is 009s plus 007s for a change of pace.  Of course, it is also nice to have 4070s when you need a closed can, but that is another conversation altogether for most people.   ;D 

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I've tried really hard to like the 007BL but after owning 6 sets I just gave up.  I'll see if I can find an old 007 and send it for some comparison time in the US.  I do see why Stax changed the design though as these are an utter pain to work on.  The cable mounts from the back of the driver and the pads, arc and headpad don't last very long. 

 

I also agree with Todd that the Mk2 (2.5) has some plus points but it's the upper midrange shout that kills them for me.  Same thing with the 009,  sure the bass is messed up and the top end is rather artificial but if it wasn't for that "honk" then I'd still have a set.  The urge to retry the 2.5 has cropped up as I can't just write them off as being doomed to sound this way.  Still that will have to wait as there is just so much crap to do...

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So Biggie, the 009s have an "upper midrange shout" or "honk," the "bass is messed up," and the "top end is rather artificial"?  That's an awful lot of problems for one TOTL flagship headphone to suffer.  Fortunately, I don't hear them.

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I think he's talking about the 007 mk2s.  EDIT:  Nope, says right there, "...same thing with the 009...".

The mk2 have some advantages over the mk1 - like the lack of the stax "fart" noise and I actually prefer the bass on the mk2. However the mk1 are the more natural sounding phones and are more balanced across the full frequency range, there's something a little artificial sounding in the upper registers of the mk2.

I'm glad you mentioned this -- I do remember liking the mk2 as a more "rock'n'roll" headphone, and the fart just kills the listening experience for me in the same way the honk kills it for Birgir.  Just goes to show -- everyone has their priorities.  I hardly noticed the honk at all, the one time I remember listening to it.  (And it was when the mk2 had just been released, I think.)  I do remember the mk1 as being a tad more refined, but that may have been because the bass wasn't overshadowing the treble (i.e., we're reaching the limitations of what my ears can tell the difference between...).  I do also remember them being really close, but I was coming from a largely dynamic headphone background.  So Todd's description of this is it pretty much applies to all electrostatic headphones to me, because once you get used to the electrostatic "house sound", they're all better than dynamics.  (My oversimplified HO.)

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