Stax vs Audeze

Discussion in 'Headphones and Earphones' started by Boerd, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Boerd Full Audioholic

    Boerd
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    I have a Beyer Manufaktur 880 (32 ohms) driven by a Benchmark HDR.
    They are very good. I am very pleased with them.
    In my opinion any dynamic headphone would be an incremental improvement (if any).
    But, upgraditis kicks in once in a while :)

    Are electrostatic/orthodynamic headphones worth the money?
    Is one of them better?

    Cons:
    Stax are not mobile - you're tied to a bulky amp.
    Durability is a question mark for both (???). The membrane is in both cases microns - isn't that fragile?
    Manufacturing consistence - I've seen measurements on both that are way worse than others ...
    Check this for measurements Headphone Data Sheet Downloads | InnerFidelity

    Pros:
    The measurements between 20-200 Hz region look better than the measurements of any dynamic headphones.
    In general they measure very well.

    I'd like to hear your opinion. Are the planars worth the hype and money?
  2. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

    TLS Guy
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    Stax have been at this a long time and are the gold standard. I know that are not mobile. They are basically aimed at the high end professional market. I Have heard the Stax over the years and their electrostatic phones are head and shoulders over the dynamic types in my view. I'm not sure headphone measurement mean much, certainly a heck of a lot less then loudspeaker measurements.

    As long as the driving device has a voltage limiter the phones will be durable. I have not heard of reliability issues with Stax phones.
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  3. Boerd Full Audioholic

    Boerd
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    Measuring headphones includes positioning them on a "dummy head" so I see why you're saying it's not reliable.
    So, your verdict is "head and shoulders over the dynamic types".
    Thank you!
  4. Boerd Full Audioholic

    Boerd
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  5. MinusTheBear Audioholic Ninja

    MinusTheBear
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    Pretty much the most tonally accurate headphones you can buy in the market today.
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  6. MinusTheBear Audioholic Ninja

    MinusTheBear
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    Headphones are much simpler and easier to quantify than loudspeaker measurements, however you need to listen to them as well. Note: flat frequency response from 20hz -20khz is considered tonally bright.
  7. Boerd Full Audioholic

    Boerd
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  8. Boerd Full Audioholic

    Boerd
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    I spent some time searching on the net for reviews/measurements.
    Audeze seem to have a problem with the highs. Quite a few people characterize these
    headphones as "dark". In the end STAX 009 look to be the better headphones.
    Now my problem with STAX (besides price) is they're not very practical.
    I already have the Benchmark on my desk at work. If I was to buy the STAX
    my desk starts looking like a hifi shop (I'd have to buy the STAX amp). :(
  9. Boerd Full Audioholic

    Boerd
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  10. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

    TLS Guy
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    Unfortunately I think you are out of luck with Stax. They went out of business, and the bones were bought by a Chinese outfit, and I can't find that they have produced any. Needle Doctor can no longer get them. So you would be looking for old stock or used. Stax had been in the electrostatic transducer business for sixty years, making electrostatic headphones going back into the fifties. I have never heard they were unreliable. However they were very expensive as they are complex and hard to manufacture just like electrostatic loudspeakers.

    So I think that now leaves the Sennheiser HD 800 as the top of the mountain.
  11. Boerd Full Audioholic

    Boerd
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    You are correct - they were bought by the Chinese.
    But the Chinese kept them in business (staxusa.com for example) and promised not to move the manufacturing nor R&D to China.
    So - Stax 009 is still made and designed in Japan. I also have a friend in Japan that could buy them much cheaper (3600$ - still not cheap, just cheaper) or
    I can use pricejapan.com where most people get theirs.
  12. Boerd Full Audioholic

    Boerd
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    I decided to get neither. Instead I will get Beyer 880 with 600 ohm driver. I may also buy the Senny 650.
    The reason is twofold - the measurements on Stax/Audeze are better than the 880/650 only below 100 Hz.
    But human ear cannot perceive less than 10% thd under 100 Hz (and less than 1% above 1khz) - so what's the point.
    And yes - the price... For Stax I'd pay 5k$ for 009 + amp (directly from Japan)... Really?
    Audeze look ugly (imo - no offense to Audeze owners) and they vary too much (see measurements on inner fidelity Headphone Data Sheet Downloads | InnerFidelity)
    So - I am throwing in the towel - 600 ohms Beyer 880 or the plasticky Senny HD 650 - here I come.
    Or - maybe the HD 800?
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  13. Bachtoven Enthusiast

    Bachtoven
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    You can't begin to gauge what a headphone or speakers will actually sound like based on a frequency response graph!
  14. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
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    Actually that's completely inaccurate.
  15. Bachtoven Enthusiast

    Bachtoven
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    Please elaborate.
  16. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
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    Please google and look around this site. Explanations are literally everywhere. You're on a forum/website that puts a lot of stock in measurements and solid design principles and how that influences what we hear.
  17. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

    TLS Guy
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    Speaker measurements won't tell you everything about a speaker, but they will tell you which ones to avoid.

    By the way, we are not an audiophool hang out, but it is starting to look like it these days!
  18. Bachtoven Enthusiast

    Bachtoven
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    Oh sure, huge bumps and/or dips should raise red flags, but certain aspects such as the ability to resolve inner detail, stage depth, imaging, etc. depends on far more elements than the mere frequency response would suggest.

    "Audiophool"--I love that term...assuming it wasn't directed at me! :D
  19. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
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    I don't think it was, and yes on axis, off axis, polar response can all give you a pretty good idea about all of what you just named. How the speaker "sounds" is subjective to each individual. How the speaker reproduces the source is much less so.
  20. Boerd Full Audioholic

    Boerd
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    Something that measures poorly will sound as such.
    Take a look at the audeze measurements on the innerfidelity website. They differ so much one from another that it begs the question of consistency. What do you really buy?
    I am not willing to play roulette with my money. Same is true (though they are more consistent) for Stax. IF I am to buy I'd probably go with something like Stax 507 but I am on the fence.

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