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The Headcase Stax thread


thrice

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As the Dude said, that's a bummer, man, but I hope it's not the end and they update it with something. All it really needs is a proper swivel/articulation mechanism for the earcups and a better earpad mounting mechanism, the rest can stay what it is. A bit more linearity in tuning would be good too - the current one sounds a bit honky and nasal in the mids to me with resonances at 950hz and 1.5khz, and is a bit bright past 10k too, but the driver performs and the resolution is there.

I'm sure with a light touch and a few smart tweaks they could turn it into something contemporary and even better, but on the other hand, this is Stax.

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On 5/4/2024 at 10:19 AM, Oneguy said:

Finally found more info on them:

http://statex.pro

I dropped them a line to see if I can order a pair of the headphones.  :) 

Also... it was never going to be just the 007A they would cut.  I'm guessing any replacement will be double the price with worse performance. 

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31 minutes ago, spritzer said:

I dropped them a line to see if I can order a pair of the headphones.  :) 

I was investigating buying a set but the lack of warranty support to the U.S. has made me think otherwise. I have a 50/50 track record with estat headphones from smaller companies arriving without issue the first time. 

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On 5/6/2024 at 9:23 AM, spritzer said:

I dropped them a line to see if I can order a pair of the headphones.  :) 

Also... it was never going to be just the 007A they would cut.  I'm guessing any replacement will be double the price with worse performance. 

Doesn't it seem more logical they just drop a mk3 with detachable cables?

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9 hours ago, TammerDown said:

Doesn't it seem more logical they just drop a mk3 with detachable cables?

Thats whats needed but, stax logic is simple: why make a better product when you can sell something worse for much more and the hifi magazine reviewers are guaranteed to say its the best thing since non-sliced, small batch, organic artisan, seeded, whole meal,  bread...

*sigh*

between on semi and Stax we just can't have nice things.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well the SRS-X1000 just showed up unexpectedly and with all of my cameras out of juice the phone had to do.

20240521_201003708_iOS.jpg

It really doesn't like the halogen lights in the kitchen...  ;)  First off, this made me laugh out loud... here is how they came out of the box:

20240521_201131311_iOS.jpg

Now for anybody familiar with the vintage SR-1/2/3/5 and SR-X series... this is usually how they arrived too with one or both earcups loose from the headband.  :P  Packaging is also very reminiscent of the SR-X boxes:

20240521_203220147_iOS.jpg

I must say though that I fucking despise these new Stax boxes from a graphics design point of view.  It looks like any cheap, tacky crap out of China... the older ones were unique and had their own thing going on but this just fucking blows. 

Now for the headphones it was a quick trip into the office for a listen so no more pics.  Usual rig of Denarips Terminator and Carbon CC.  They do feel nice in the hand though, very light and the cable actually has copper colored lines/dashes on it, not gold ones as they often looked from the pics.  Gone is the blue cable... why they made that I have no idea.  The headband has a lot of extension to it so even melon heads can use these.  There is no padding on the headband at all but the material is firm here, not loose like on the original SR-X units.  Earpads are nice and snug and seem to be nice quality, leagues ahead of the garbage on the L300/L500's. 

Now for sound... these sound pretty good which is a fun thing to say about a Stax set for a change.  :)  They are nice and neutral, not much forward slant here but they are quite extended on top.  The bottom end is a bit lacking (smaller drivers and all that) but it is very mid-bass happy so quite fun to listen to.  Midrange is a tiny bit closed in at times and the soundstage is quite closed in but it doesn't really bother me.  Just that odd moment where something sounds a tad bit off but yeah... these are so much better than the L300...  it's not even fucking funny.  Might even be able to finally retire my aging fleet of SR-207 test headphones good... we'll see. 

I'll update more in the coming days but after an hour, yeah get a set. 

Now for the amp, first thing you notice is that it's a good inch deeper than the 252S and all of the other desktop Stax amps before it.  20240521_204608576_iOS.jpg20240521_204549400_iOS.jpg

I haven't done any circuit analysis yet but this is clearly just a version of the last 252S circuit and yup... it's still all through hole in 2024.  Utterly bizarre...  The extra length in the chassis is just there for the fuse and a breakout board for the RCA's.  There are clearly spots on the PCB for - inputs so they might make a balanced version of it at some point?  Been there, done that and while fun... it adds very little to the performance. 

Input Jfets are K81's so 2SK2881's and those riser boards seem to be PCB capacitors.  I need to take a look at them in more detail but yeah, quite odd as they are numbered from 1 and up to 4. 

Edited by spritzer
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I've been spending some time with them and yeah, that overblown mid-bass is starting to annoy me a little bit.  It works with some material but can be too much of a good thing on others.  It comes at the expense of actual bass depth so... not really a trade I'm interested in.  Still as offensive traits go for recent Stax sets... this is pretty fucking mild and I do enjoy them quite a bit.  Not replacing my 207's though... ;)

So I had make a comparison for fun.  :)  I had probably the last ever B-stock Koss ESP/9X5's sitting in a box here so why not compare them against the Stax.  Similar price category but the Koss build quality is nowhere near what Stax are doing.  So the Koss needed some mods, gone is the cable and they now sport the setup from a King Sound KS-H4 (so removable cable as well) and those leather earpads you can get on Aliexpress.  All of the stock damping material, which was minimized on these anyway, as well. 

IMG_2415.JPEG

Fits like a glove and it's fun to compare these two, as aside from the HE60, these are some of the lightest and easiest headphones to plop on the head and enjoy.  I've always liked the Koss as it always stood toe to toe against the Lambdas and this time it is no exception.  It is more neutral and laid back, a bit more relaxed than the X1 but with better bass response.  Larger drivers so it has more presence to it, more space around voices etc. 

Speaking of the Koss though, I wanted to sit down a try the Massdrop setup directly out of the box and holy hell... what were they thinking with those earpads.  I plugged them into my test setup and on the first song, "ehh where is the all the sub-bass?"  Yeah, this didn't help with the BS that electrostatics lack bass... 

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On 5/4/2024 at 10:19 AM, Oneguy said:

Finally found more info on them:

http://statex.pro

Well these have landed about 10 minutes ago:

IMG_2417.jpg

They came in a huge cardboard box with a custom cut insert and two cables were included. 

IMG_2419.jpg

This is SR-003 level of thin and very much made in the Hifiman way with mini XLR's on the headphones.  There is no L or R indication anywhere so I just picked where the cable wouldn't rub on my shoulders (as the phones are not fully symmetrical in the cable entry) and did a quick continuity check to see which side was which.  A small red band on the cable or just a dot somewhere wouldn't go amiss here.  

IMG_2420.jpgThey

They are a bit bulky but nicely made, that is real wood and leather in the headband and everything feels solid.  The 3D printed parts are very nice with that textured finish. 

IMG_2418.jpg

I really like the "Audeze" style metal grills but I do wonder if they provide a bit too much damping.  One thing I really don't like though are the earpads... super cheap fake leather with no contouring at all.  They make the fit rather odd as they don't clamp all that much, so in 10 minutes they have almost fallen off my head twice.  They are also stiff so the headphones just sit there, not uncomfortable but this is where some money should have been spent. 

As for sound, there is some damping going on here so they are rather mellow and laid back.  Inoffensive springs to mind with ok bass, extended but not in your face highs and a nice midrange.  I have a feeling they might improve quite a bit with better earpads and a nicer, low C cable so that's something I'll look into. 

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Ok yeah the X1 doesn't suck. Some very early impressions:

Small, lightweight, comfy. The fit is somewhere between supra-aural and circum-aural. The build is minimalistic but seems fine. The only thing I'm concerned with is dust and stuff accumulating on the back of the driver. When you live with a german shepherd dog hair gets in absolutely everywhere. I was wondering why my 650s crackled until I pulled a wad of dog hair out of the driver. How it got in there past all the foam, who even knows.

I'm using them with a stock 007t atm. It's a bit light on power but not too bad. Still you can hear that it could use some more.

The sound is pretty monitor-like. A bit light on the bottom end but not too thin. The mids are surprisingly realistic. The treble is also pretty smooth. I think the 1-2khz region is a bit pushed and 3-5 is a bit recessed, but not so badly that stuff sounds weird. You get used to the sound signature quickly and then it just sounds normal. Resolution is fine for what it is, but staging is a bit small.

These are a far cry from the alien weirdness that is the L700 pre-EQ and even with my treble allergic ears I can listen to these with no EQ just fine. But they could use a bit of tuning up. I'd want them a bit fuller and 1-2khz slightly toned down.

Seems pretty solid so far, NGL. I was beginning to think Stax forgot how to make something that sounds relatively normal, but here we are.

Spoiler

call hell, see if they take ikon pass

 

Edited by catscratch
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On 5/21/2024 at 5:36 PM, spritzer said:

Now for sound... these sound pretty good which is a fun thing to say about a Stax set for a change.  :)  They are nice and neutral, not much forward slant here but they are quite extended on top.  The bottom end is a bit lacking (smaller drivers and all that) but it is very mid-bass happy so quite fun to listen to.  Midrange is a tiny bit closed in at times and the soundstage is quite closed in but it doesn't really bother me.  Just that odd moment where something sounds a tad bit off but yeah... these are so much better than the L300...  it's not even fucking funny.  Might even be able to finally retire my aging fleet of SR-207 test headphones good... we'll see. 

 

I listened a lot to normal SR-X mk3 out of SRA-12S in the last two three weeks and I really enjoyed them. How do X1 compare to SR-X do they have similar sound signature of are these are still more like new Stax stuff.

Edited by faust3d
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6 hours ago, spritzer said:

Well these have landed about 10 minutes ago:

IMG_2417.jpg

They came in a huge cardboard box with a custom cut insert and two cables were included. 

IMG_2419.jpg

This is SR-003 level of thin and very much made in the Hifiman way with mini XLR's on the headphones.  There is no L or R indication anywhere so I just picked where the cable wouldn't rub on my shoulders (as the phones are not fully symmetrical in the cable entry) and did a quick continuity check to see which side was which.  A small red band on the cable or just a dot somewhere wouldn't go amiss here.  

IMG_2420.jpgThey

They are a bit bulky but nicely made, that is real wood and leather in the headband and everything feels solid.  The 3D printed parts are very nice with that textured finish. 

IMG_2418.jpg

I really like the "Audeze" style metal grills but I do wonder if they provide a bit too much damping.  One thing I really don't like though are the earpads... super cheap fake leather with no contouring at all.  They make the fit rather odd as they don't clamp all that much, so in 10 minutes they have almost fallen off my head twice.  They are also stiff so the headphones just sit there, not uncomfortable but this is where some money should have been spent. 

As for sound, there is some damping going on here so they are rather mellow and laid back.  Inoffensive springs to mind with ok bass, extended but not in your face highs and a nice midrange.  I have a feeling they might improve quite a bit with better earpads and a nicer, low C cable so that's something I'll look into. 

How would these rank compared to the Lambda Signature or Lambda Nova Signature in terms of sound?

Edited by Oneguy
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7 hours ago, faust3d said:

I listened a lot to normal SR-X mk3 out of SRA-12S in the last two three weeks and I really enjoyed them. How do X1 compare to SR-X do they have similar sound signature of are these are still more like new Stax stuff.

They are more like the new Stax stuff. 

5 hours ago, Oneguy said:

How would these rank compared to the Lambda Signature or Lambda Nova Signature in terms of sound?

Way too early for that. 

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Those earpads had to go and they have a pretty clever magnet system for them:

IMG_2421.JPEG

Just now I noticed the R laser etched into the mini XLR plug so there is some indication.  :)  The earpads pull off and have a metal ring in them that is easily removed.  The pads are 110mm so a lot of aftermarket stuff will work here. 

IMG_2422.JPEG

I replaced them with some Kennerton pads I had sitting next to my desk and I much prefer the fit.  Now the issue is that the earpads barely hang on as the magnets are so weak with the thicker leather of the Kennerton pads

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  • 2 weeks later...

Any thoughts on HiFiMAN Mini Shangri-La at $1100?...Likely hot garbage?...Doesn't look like $1100 worth of headphone...

I only ask as it's said they're similar to the Arya...I'm a big fan of the Arya Organic...I even prefer it to the Empy 2 even though the Empy 2 is technically superior...

Interested in the Perun stuff, too, but it doesn't seem like the right time to invest in Russian wares...

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I'm sure the Mini Shangri-la is just a rehashed Jade II as they never sold in the quantities Hifiman wanted.  I'm getting one though so I can laugh at hifiman some more. 

The Perun stuff is mehhhh at best. 

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I heard some news from canjam shanghai and some people who listened it in store is that mini-shang has a greatly improvement in bass and timbre compared to OG jade2, but there is no more comparison with other stax/dca/audeze except hifiman estats, and we all know even shangri la jr/sr are hard to say it's good in this regard😅. Considering that people in Asia are more accepting of bass light headphones, I am more curious about the experience in Europe and the US.

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On 5/25/2024 at 6:22 PM, spritzer said:

Those earpads had to go and they have a pretty clever magnet system for them:

IMG_2421.JPEG

Just now I noticed the R laser etched into the mini XLR plug so there is some indication.  :)  The earpads pull off and have a metal ring in them that is easily removed.  The pads are 110mm so a lot of aftermarket stuff will work here. 

IMG_2422.JPEG

I replaced them with some Kennerton pads I had sitting next to my desk and I much prefer the fit.  Now the issue is that the earpads barely hang on as the magnets are so weak with the thicker leather of the Kennerton pads

Magnetic earpads are indeed a great idea. After some simple tests, only four 2.5mm diameter n50 magnets are strong enough to hold the earpads.

20240611101240.jpg

20240611101238.jpg

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