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The Headcase Stax thread


thrice
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1 hour ago, spritzer said:

The drivers have been run for a few hours at the factory and so has the preamp so if anything changes...something is wrong.

You mean when the drivers are made or when the speakers are assembled?

I was startled when a rattle in a pair of DIY C-Note speakers I built went away after a few hours of pink noise. (And that rattle wasn't imaginary. I have the speakers set up to play with a digital piano and Ravenscroft 275. The woofers definitely made bad noise when I pressed certain keys but not others.) It would make sense if the drivers were not run when manufactured, and it would also make sense to run a speaker for a while after assembly to get rid of problems like the one I ran into.

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3 minutes ago, gepardcv said:

You mean when the drivers are made or when the speakers are assembled?

I was startled when a rattle in a pair of DIY C-Note speakers I built went away after a few hours of pink noise. (And that rattle wasn't imaginary. I have the speakers set up to play with a digital piano and Ravenscroft 275. The woofers definitely made bad noise when I pressed certain keys but not others.) It would make sense if the drivers were not run when manufactured, and it would also make sense to run a speaker for a while after assembly to get rid of problems like the one I ran into.

Taken from one of the many factory visit articles (translated from Japanese).

"The work in the clean room has been done so far, the assembly process as the product is done in the usual environment. All completed products use music sources during the daytime and pink noise at night, and sounds are continuously checked one at a time, continuing for at least one week. Stax's electrostatic headphones are shipped after careful checks many times."

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10 hours ago, spritzer said:

...in other news I have the SR-009S sitting on my head.  :)  This is one of the very first sets shipped out and I only plugged them in just over an hour ago so first impressions only. 

It's funny to see what is essentially SR-007's parts on them and they do look very nice.  Those stators always should have been gold plated as it looks so much better.  In terms of sound my reaction is more mixed.  Now the good...that horrible forward balance on the old 009's is gone.  The treble is extended but well controlled, more like a refined version of the L700's without their slight bright nature.  This is a massive change to the better.  Now for the less great part...the bass suckout which is present in a part of the spectrum.  When I got them I just plugged them into my office system (regular Carbon fed by a Denafrips Ares) and put the player on random.  Don Henley - The boys of summer came on (fitting given the lack of a summer here) and the track just sounded thin and distant.  I also tried one popular Icelandic song which starts with all the focus on the snare drum (Das Capital - Blindsker in case it is online) and it just sounds weird.  They should sound powerful and heavy but on the 009S it is weak and distant sounding. 

I need to do some digging as to what is causing this but two things spring to mind, a port hidden in there or those awful earpads.  The 009 earpads are a terrible design so that will probably be my first stop. 

I will need to do a bunch more listening but I'm a bit disappointed now... 

 

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5 hours ago, spritzer said:

Nothing is going to change in either speakers or preamps.  :)  The drivers have been run for a few hours at the factory and so has the preamp so if anything changes...something is wrong.  

I just changed my mind. 

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The main reason why I bought a first production unit now was the L300 and zero issues with that run.  Figured I'd give them another chance not to fuck this up.  :)

Any driver worth its salt will be run for a large number of hours before it ever sees an enclosure.  Then run in again in the enclosure but none of this is done to loosen it up or anything like that.  It is simply done to prevent and sort out any defective or marginal units.  To think that adding some hours on top of that will change anything is pretty preposterous.  So let's say this is real and if the drivers are matched into pairs after 50 hours and continue to change...wouldn't they have to be matched again?  To think this is some linear change is irrational at its core so anything matched during production would have to be matched again.  

Now back to impressions, over all the 009S is a nice improvement over the 009.  That bass issue bothers me but I also don't want to rip them off my head anytime something remotely bright pops up.  They just lack the impact and power of the SR-Omega and 007's.  The sound is more ethereal and not as grounded.  I don't really want to rip these apart to change the earpads but I might take my regular 009's apart and try some new pads on them. 

 

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5 hours ago, spritzer said:

Any driver worth its salt will be run for a large number of hours before it ever sees an enclosure.  Then run in again in the enclosure but none of this is done to loosen it up or anything like that.  It is simply done to prevent and sort out any defective or marginal units.  To think that adding some hours on top of that will change anything is pretty preposterous.  So let's say this is real and if the drivers are matched into pairs after 50 hours and continue to change...wouldn't they have to be matched again?  To think this is some linear change is irrational at its core so anything matched during production would have to be matched again.  

 

Thank you for the logical explanation - makes sense in this particular case for Stax headphones.  My experience with speakers (bespoke Kudos, Neat, Naim, Linn) is that all purchase drivers from a supplier (frequently SEAS), cabinets from another - and simply serve as the final assembly point (well they also did design them).  None of them put any significant hours on the speakers prior to shipping.  Since the drivers are "moving parts", internal wiring needs to come up to speed, internal crossovers with their components (caps etc.) the same, hence "break in" for speakers (at least the one's I am familiar with).

Electronics - Naim - notorious for break in.  Easily a month - and for general usage must remain powered up 24/7.  Why - who knows - thats just the way it is.  Break in  - love it or leave it.

Thanks again for the Stax explanation - and sorry for the two channel digression.

Now time to sit down and listen to the 009S and compare.  Only problem - handicapped by a 353XBK.  

A big handicap????

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Ok for the record...changing pads on the 009's is a epic fucking pain.  Even the SR-Omega is easier and that says a lot...  ^_^

So not wanting to mess with the 009S just yet I took my vengeance out on the 009's instead.  Now I've always disliked the stock 009 earpads, they are too soft and thus too shallow.  I propped mine up with some foam inside the pads which helps but not by much.  So off the pads went and in their place some EP-007's.  They have to be customized which makes them unusable for 007 use so beware of that.  I also improved the seal with blu-tack as Stax did a piss poor job of that. 

The end result is interesting, some of 009's issues are alleviated.  They are still bright but not as forward sounding as they used to be.  The seal is also much improved and so is the bass.  They also sound more focused and "real".  I need to plug them into a Carbon as I doing the testing on a KGSS Klassik which is a bit warmer but I don't hate my 009's now...  I should have done this years ago. 

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On 6/22/2018 at 5:23 AM, spritzer said:

I'll get the Voce soon but I've spent a bit on headphones recently.  Shangri-la jr, L700, two L300 LE, 009S and KSE1500....  :ph34r:  The Voce has been getting horrendous impressions from actual users so I'm not optimistic.  Plenty of positive "reviews" from the fluffers but we all know it is bullshit. 

There is no such thing and break in, burn in or run in.  Anybody who claims such things are real needs to have their head checked and taught some basic physics.  What is real is would be amplifier warmup and our crappy hearing/brain which is really slow to pickup some things.  Our impressions change as our senses are slow, it's not the electronics which are somehow magically changing. 

As for them being a disappointment... not quite the T8000 level but Stax had the chance here to create something spectacular.  There are a lot of mehhh products out there, the Shangri-la, HE-1 spring to mind as something you walk away from very unimpressed.  I like the Shangri-la Jr's but they don't do anything new, one walks away fairly unimpressed which is really not an option at this price point.  Here I think the earpads are the issue.  There is a lot of open area in them and that is death to electrostatics.  It creates all kind of weird artifacts but I'm not sure if I have some other earpads in stock which could work as replacements. 

One other thing, the headphones smell in a bad way.  It's not the nice smell of leather one would expect but some weird small.  Seems to come from the earpads but I'm not sure.  :blink:

Why 2 L300 LE, so you can pull one apart and compare it to the L700?

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2 hours ago, Mach3 said:

Why 2 L300 LE, so you can pull one apart and compare it to the L700?

Really no need to do that. You can see that while the arc assembly, earpads and cable are different, they are constructed very similarly. They either use the same transducers or very similar ones, but you can't really tell that, maybe even if you disassemble the drivers.

I just want to add that Stax have made an L700 Pro variant just for the German market. The earcup holders are made out of aluminium (just like the SR-507) and if I got right, the transducer holders are also made out of that instead of plastic.

Not sure if that affects the sound or not, but they are a lot more expensive than the standard model, 1700 Euros!

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5 hours ago, padam said:

Really no need to do that. You can see that while the arc assembly, earpads and cable are different, they are constructed very similarly. They either use the same transducers or very similar ones, but you can't really tell that, maybe even if you disassemble the drivers.

I just want to add that Stax have made an L700 Pro variant just for the German market. The earcup holders are made out of aluminium (just like the SR-507) and if I got right, the transducer holders are also made out of that instead of plastic.

Not sure if that affects the sound or not, but they are a lot more expensive than the standard model, 1700 Euros!

I've compared the the earcup holder of my SR-507 to the SR-L700 headband I purchase for my SR-L300 LE. I prefer the metal earcup of SR-507 much much more over the SR-L700 earcup holder. Just seem much better built and sturdy . 

I just did some searching on the internet. It the same headband / metal earcup as the SR-507 from the the look of it from the SR-L700 Pro photo I found.

https://www.hifi-berlin.com/sr-l700-pro.html

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Yes that's the one. Personally I really see no evolution on that front, the vintage Lambda assembly was better. Because it was light, it let the cups more freely, reducing the pressure, and it didn't make the squeaking sounds of the latter version. And it was also cheaper and not as complicated as these latest ones with the click adjustment. I understand their usage with the heavy SR-009 that weight has to be distributed, but for the L700 etc. it is just not necessary and the plastic can break just as easily (or pick up little cracks like what I saw on the last used L700 Pro advert). So they've decided not to employ that in the L300LE to drive the price down. I think it is more likely to use the same transducers (for cost and parts support reasons) and the cable might actually change the sound a bit, reducing the treble, making it a bit darker and the pads also change it (L700 pads seem to be preferable). So for the price of a L500 (which is almost the same as the L300) plus a cost of L700 pads, one can obtain an arguably better headphone (for a while), a smart decision I think, since it is probably less profitable than the L500.

It is nice to see the advancements they've made, it is just a pity that it put the top Lambda into a new price category as well, and yet somehow still keeping that not so high-quality feeling.

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13 hours ago, spritzer said:

Ok for the record...changing pads on the 009's is a epic fucking pain.  Even the SR-Omega is easier and that says a lot...  ^_^

I’ve found unrolling the SR-009 earpads inside out gives more room to work. Makes it easier when removing the inner cloth dust shield and getting at the small  screws for disassembly and assembly. 

When all reassembled, just roll them back over themselves. 

B497F20E-7C98-4E47-87EF-C4A275B4364E.jpeg

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16 hours ago, Mach3 said:

Why 2 L300 LE, so you can pull one apart and compare it to the L700?

Nahh, I just mostly have poor impulse control.  One is still sitting in Japan so it will either be sold at some point or just kept in the box. 

7 hours ago, Laowei said:

I’ve found unrolling the SR-009 earpads inside out gives more room to work. Makes it easier when removing the inner cloth dust shield and getting at the small  screws for disassembly and assembly. 

When all reassembled, just roll them back over themselves. 

 

Yup I did that but it is still annoying.  :) 

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On 6/24/2018 at 12:24 PM, padam said:

Yes that's the one. Personally I really see no evolution on that front, the vintage Lambda assembly was better. Because it was light, it let the cups more freely, reducing the pressure, and it didn't make the squeaking sounds of the latter version. And it was also cheaper and not as complicated as these latest ones with the click adjustment. I understand their usage with the heavy SR-009 that weight has to be distributed, but for the L700 etc. it is just not necessary and the plastic can break just as easily (or pick up little cracks like what I saw on the last used L700 Pro advert). So they've decided not to employ that in the L300LE to drive the price down. I think it is more likely to use the same transducers (for cost and parts support reasons) and the cable might actually change the sound a bit, reducing the treble, making it a bit darker and the pads also change it (L700 pads seem to be preferable). So for the price of a L500 (which is almost the same as the L300) plus a cost of L700 pads, one can obtain an arguably better headphone (for a while), a smart decision I think, since it is probably less profitable than the L500.

It is nice to see the advancements they've made, it is just a pity that it put the top Lambda into a new price category as well, and yet somehow still keeping that not so high-quality feeling.

I'll take some photo later and post them up. Hands down sturdy and easier to remove headband with the old lamda series. Also, as mentioned it doesn't squeak.

They only thing I like about the SR-L700 headband is the gold stax logo to match the gold tag on the SR-L300 LE earspeakers.

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It's been discussed too many times, the SRM-T1S sounds warmer smoother nicer but the SRM-1 Mk2 is considerably cheaper and sounds closer to your current amp. Either way, it is not a big difference.

Of course you can also get an SRD-6 or SRD-7 (not the SB version) and make a 3-way bias leeching cable, plug one part into your existing amp and the other to the adapter to leech the normal bias, job done, no need to buy a separate amp just for that.

Edited by padam
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