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The Headcase Stax thread


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1 hour ago, kevin gilmore said:

aeras is a fully dc coupled design similar to blue hawaii with no caps in the signal path and no output iron. for those people that want a smaller single box design. beautifully built with custom chassis and quality parts.

does anyone really want an inductor based design?

take a megatron, remove 4 of the output tubes and add lundahl center tapped inductors and output capacitors.

or if you want something physically smaller, pick your favorite 5 watt pentode and do the same thing point to point.

i can certainly whip up a circuit board, people just have to decide which is their favorite tubes. maybe $800 in parts total of which $200 is the inductors.

What I find truly mind-blowing at this point of the...debate(?) between Spritzer, KG, and Dynavit (and others) is that both sides are pretty convinced that they're in the right. The invective is less useful, but the technical commentary remains helpful.

This debate wouldn't be mind-blowing if Dynavit were a Paltauf employee. I hope I'm right when I say I don't think that's the case, though--I made an account at open-air-music to find out for myself, and there are swarms of people with the exact same opinion as Dynavit, who is an active, consistent, respected member of the forum.

Are they talking specs on the same level as Spritzer and KG? No. But I'm kind of wondering how the Paltauf can manage to get universal praise from seasoned, non-idiot audiophiles in the German language, while it's a poorly made, poorly conceived money grab in English. 

I'm not sure why anyone is using the resale market for a point of reference, though--Austria and to a lesser extent Germany has a very different culture and economy than the rest of the Western world. Quality is saved for, bought--and kept forever. 

 

 

 

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I think a lot of people are convinced that the obscure stuff they stumble upon in audio is new/bleeding edge/disruptive, moreso when these designs aren't out in the open. That new car smell makes people defensive when technical stuff gets thrown around.

 

Edited by nopants
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the paltauf is not exactly poorly made. certainly not in the same junk class as eddie current and singlepower. both of which are now out of business. But the chassis is a standard hifi2000 with wood panels bolted to it. the wires attached to the metal panels for circuit board support are not really what i would consider acceptable. an unbalanced amplifier where one more tube would have made it balanced input would seem much more practical. and since we are comparing companies to companies, the woo audio es8 is basically the same thing at 1/3 the price. And built better.

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21 hours ago, dynavit said:

The big difference to Spritzer is, that we here in Austria compare highend components with our ears and not by a photo. 

Wow....You guys must be so much better than the rest of us. Utter BS.

 

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17 minutes ago, kevin gilmore said:

the paltauf is not exactly poorly made. certainly not in the same junk class as eddie current and singlepower. both of which are now out of business. But the chassis is a standard hifi2000 with wood panels bolted to it. the wires attached to the metal panels for circuit board support are not really what i would consider acceptable. an unbalanced amplifier where one more tube would have made it balanced input would seem much more practical. and since we are comparing companies to companies, the woo audio es8 is basically the same thing at 1/3 the price. And built better.

For the record, I was in contact with Eddie Current staff yesterday. But they definitely didn't impress... They didn't seem aware of an x9000s. 

(Is it a dumb question to ask) why does one want a balanced versus imbalanced amp? I swear I read somewhere that imbalanced is objectively preferable in subjective moments... Or something like that.*

*Two months in, and I'm THIS close to being able to impress people in a bar with my sourced audio knowledge! 

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all electrostatic headphones are balanced loads. much better and lower distortion to have a balanced input. otherwise you need a phase splitter which is not guaranteed to maintain a gain of -1 as the mu of the tube changes with time.

much better to use a differential input amplifier. and once you do that you already have the balanced input.

its certainly cheaper to do an unbalanced input amp. if for no other reason a 2 gang vs 4 gang pot.

unless you are eddie current and use a 2 gang pot for balanced input. (similar to bryston)

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23 minutes ago, Aspirant Audiophile said:

For the record, I was in contact with Eddie Current staff yesterday. But they definitely didn't impress... They didn't seem aware of an x9000s. 

(Is it a dumb question to ask) why does one want a balanced versus imbalanced amp? I swear I read somewhere that imbalanced is objectively preferable in subjective moments... Or something like that.*

*Two months in, and I'm THIS close to being able to impress people in a bar with my sourced audio knowledge! 

stax headphones are naturally balanced. There are two grids that high voltage audio is sent to. Between the grids there is a very thin statically charged sheet. To make the sheet move correctly one grid most have the opposite audio to the other so that one grid attracts the sheet while the other repels. If only one grid had audio (single ended output) the electric field created by the grid would drop off with square of the distance from the grid. So when the sheet is repelled it would move further away from the grid and be less effected by the voltage on the grid resulting in a loss of linearity. With two grids opposing each other the effect of moving away from one grid is directly counter-balanced by the effect of sheet moving closer to the other grid as well as creating a much more uniform electric field between the two grids. Thus maintaining linearity and improves efficiency - the same effect happens in electrostatic loudspeakers.

So to drive the stax properly you need a balanced output. 

there are of course other advantages to balanced such a greater immunity to noise, longer permissible cable lengths, common mode noise cancellation etc etc. 

for the input to the Stax amp you can use single ended or balanced, however the single ended has to be converted to balanced at some point...

disadvantage to balanced you need twice the amp components (excluding power supply which is usually shared between + and - halves of a channel)- if the amp balanced all the way through and probably a phase splitter to provide support for single ended inputs to the amp.

Edited by jamesmking
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2 hours ago, kevin gilmore said:

all electrostatic headphones are balanced loads. much better and lower distortion to have a balanced input. otherwise you need a phase splitter which is not guaranteed to maintain a gain of -1 as the mu of the tube changes with time.

much better to use a differential input amplifier. and once you do that you already have the balanced input.

its certainly cheaper to do an unbalanced input amp. if for no other reason a 2 gang vs 4 gang pot.

unless you are eddie current and use a 2 gang pot for balanced input. (similar to bryston)

If you would get a little bit closer to the Paltauf, you maybe would recognize that a second tube would not help to balance the amp. Why? Because he doesn't use tubes as phase splitter. If you are interested how this circuit works, you better have  a closer look or ask Paltauf personally. 

I think there was enough fake spreaded from people who have never been close to what they are writting about.

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Since you are getting so close to the Paltauf and understand how the circuit works, why don’t you share with us the details? There is no problem for an unaffiliated user to disclose what he/she can see in plain sight, I assume. What I can see is that sharing is part of the core spirit of this site and what drew us together to begin with.

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4 hours ago, simmconn said:

Since you are getting so close to the Paltauf and understand how the circuit works, why don’t you share with us the details? There is no problem for an unaffiliated user to disclose what he/she can see in plain sight, I assume. What I can see is that sharing is part of the core spirit of this site and what drew us together to begin with.

The reception of Paltauf and myself here in this forum is not of the kind, thats brings you in the mood to share anything. Why feeding so called experts and their half funny  followers? The atmosphere here is rather aggressiv, narrowminded and arrogant.

If you are really interested in information, I can only give you this link in German:

 https://musicalhead.de/2021/03/02/test-paltauf-khv-esd/

Sorry my technical knowledge and my English is not good enough to spend more energy to you. 

Keeper enjoying the devices you are used to and have fun with the bad jokes !

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This thing is actually worse than previously thought when you look at it.  So first thing, never, ever use the balanced input... those are clearly opamps next to each XLR socket so... yeah badly converted to SE.  Pure quality there...

Then we have one input tube feeding both EL84 push-pull output stages so it has to be a phase splitter for them.  There is not a whole lot of gain here plus the limitation of the choke being used... this is pretty dire

A bit of context here, when you dig through history, the first ever mention of electrostatic headphones (DIY) is from the 50's and something like this is what was suggested as the amplifier to drive them... as there were push-pull tube amps everywhere at that time.  Leave the output transformer secondary floating, take the signal through caps off the output tube plates, some high value resistors to ground after the caps and a simple bias off the B+.  So this is somehow high end now? 

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45 minutes ago, spritzer said:

This thing is actually worse than previously thought when you look at it.  So first thing, never, ever use the balanced input... those are clearly opamps next to each XLR socket so... yeah badly converted to SE.  Pure quality there...

Then we have one input tube feeding both EL84 push-pull output stages so it has to be a phase splitter for them.  There is not a whole lot of gain here plus the limitation of the choke being used... this is pretty dire

A bit of context here, when you dig through history, the first ever mention of electrostatic headphones (DIY) is from the 50's and something like this is what was suggested as the amplifier to drive them... as there were push-pull tube amps everywhere at that time.  Leave the output transformer secondary floating, take the signal through caps off the output tube plates, some high value resistors to ground after the caps and a simple bias off the B+.  So this is somehow high end now? 

This is interesting. Do the build problems you point out affect the lifespan of the amp? Is the amp set up for functioning problems of use, from the start?

If I do wind up traveling to Graz to try the Paltauf, at this point much of my interest is just in talking to the owner--I might bring your and KG's comments on an index card. Not to challenge anyone, just to understand.

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On 4/18/2022 at 3:51 PM, greenpips said:

T2 sells on yahoo.auction

 

page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/e1047809231

WoW it ended up with 1.5 million Japanese Yen!!

Original T2's bid price was extreme in these decades, but this is....😵   I don't believe that old machine sounds better than modern DIY T2s, but probably for the buyer that's not theme.  It's really rare item.

Besides that, SR_Omega doesn't get too much attention, probably after recent top model of STAX Ear speaker became available, I mean models with number "9".   One SR-Omega has been for sale with 880,000 JPY and another one sold with SRM-T1W costs only 750,000 (still active).

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If an outsider's view may help here;

- For starters, am guessing the moderators have had a longer weekend than usual? We don't need this. It's so close to Head-Fi levels one feels.. intimidated?

- A nod to @spritzerand @kevin gilmorefor having the patience and self-restraint to go through all this; again. Or perhaps the wisdom to understand that financial benefit alone dictates said patience, lol, same thing ultimately ^^

- I beg to differ on a number of things with Spritzer regarding tastes (in both amps and headphones) and as such, take his opinions on certain aspects with a grain of salt. However; if one reads first and posts later (not the other way round), one can see where's he's coming from -he's not exactly hiding his biases is he- and judge accordingly. One further reminds one's self how one can literally go to a certain Google Drive URL and download the actual schematics at zero a cost. You pay these two folks only so that they build it for you, if that's your preference. No one forces you to.

Even implying, no mater how tactfully, that they're here to fool or misdirect you is as such pretty fucking retarded if i may be so bold. This goes to certain newcomers.

As stated, moderation appears to have been lapsing here lately.

You think that Paltauf monstrocity, on an Italian crappy chassis at that (hum hum and hum) is your amp of choise? By all means and so long to you, truly. Enjoy.

* yes, i know their "quality" full well; cannot afford better for experiments unfortunately.. they are horrible. For electrostatic amps specifically? Just, no.

 

The above to anyone concerned.

 

I would have some more to add for Spritzer alone, regarding his approach to sales and his stance towards Stax (as in publicly or more specifically, his phrasing thereof). Being in the circle but lacking the wallet of most you folks, i am by necessity inclined to use brain cells as well as research. As time's gone by and acquaintances have occured, it seems i am not alone in having certain thoughts, regarding improvement that is, not insinuating anything of a derogative nature mind.

But this being the Stax thread, am not so sure it's the place to do so :)

I will however add for full disclosure that he's the only person i'd trust with my money; over the internet that is, sans guarantees, physical store, reps, et al.; i actually have.

Are you of a different mindset? Once again, good for you. You never needed to come here and tell us though.

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8 hours ago, Oldie said:

Even implying, no mater how tactfully, that they're here to fool or misdirect you is as such pretty fucking retarded if i may be so bold. This goes to certain newcomers.

As stated, moderation appears to have been lapsing here lately.

You think that Paltauf monstrocity, on an Italian crappy chassis at that (hum hum and hum) is your amp of choise? By all means and so long to you, truly. Enjoy.

 

As I wrote before, I'm here to learn, and I'm grateful for the patience of several experts. The responses helped me understand how to make the most of my Stax, and hopefully be a better contributor down the line. I'm sorry if I didn't manage myself appropriately.

-uncertain newcomer

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Hey guys, first time posting here, but I've been a lurker for the past 3 or 4 years. 

 

Anyhow, which iteration is the 007 on right now? I'm close to pulling the trigger on a pair but am not sure if they are still the supposed 'mk2.9', given that those produced in 2017 are mk2.9s. 

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Ehhh Mk2.95 now... we kinda boxed ourselves in with the 2.9 moniker...  😉  Not much different from the Mk2.9 (which dates back to 2014 at least) , new earpads being the biggest change. 

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12 hours ago, spritzer said:

Ehhh Mk2.95 now... we kinda boxed ourselves in with the 2.9 moniker...  😉  Not much different from the Mk2.9 (which dates back to 2014 at least) , new earpads being the biggest change. 

New earpads as in brand new earpads or a new design? 

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On 5/7/2022 at 9:25 PM, ibuski said:

WoW it ended up with 1.5 million Japanese Yen!!

Arrived yesterday and it really opens up every electrostatic headphone that I own. I was looking for an amp that can bring more bass out of my HE90 than HEV90 so I drained my pocket to bid on this and now I am very satisfied. The hev90  has a romantic sound but the t2 amplifies every piece of detail, expand the soundstage to what ever possible with extreme fineness and sweetness.

Buying any head-fi gear at this price is ridiculous but considering the previous closing bid I think I got a fair deal. And it is so rare to have T2 being sold alone. I do not need another pair of omega so this deal saves me a lot of money.

But this amp's functionality in long run is questionable. I  hope my handful of obsolete FETs stock will save me some pain when I need to fix this in the future.

photo_2022-05-11_21-46-26.jpg

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Hello everyone! I've just got my first Stax headphones L700 + 353x but I can't seem to get a good fit. I wear glasses and I get splitting pain around the ears in a matter of minutes. Are there any mods I could do on the L700? Or maybe I could consider the 007mkii if its design is more glasses friendly? Does anyone have similar experience with the fit + glasses?

I understand the 007mkII will have different tonalities, but will the the 353x be able to drive them ok? I'm not quite in a comfortable position to upgrade both headphones and energiser.

Thanks.

 

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The L700 clamps a lot and there's not much you can do about that, at least that I'm aware of. Is it tighter around the temples than around the jaw? If the clamp is tight around the temples, you can try socas3d freedom yokes which will even out the clamping force... but they'll also increase clamp slightly, if anything. You can also do various pad mods by buying a spacer that lets you mount 3rd party pads, but once again, you're gonna probably see increased clamping force, and those pads might induce changes in FR you don't want.

The 007 is much less clampy and way more comfortable, at least once you have it adjusted. No, the 353x won't be able to drive it properly. It'll be ok, but dull with not a lot of dynamics, and you really need more than that. I'd save up for a good amp and go the 007 route personally, but I also got adjusted to the L700s clamp over time, and I modded it with socas yokes, so now it fits well and is decently comfortable.

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