• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Stax SR-009S Electrostatic Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 47 20.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 63 27.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 80 34.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 41 17.7%

  • Total voters
    231

sealman

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
104
Likes
101
Sure it could. If the manufacturer has standards to follow then everybody else down the chain has expectations that can be filled with more standards applied to the hardware and software etc. Then we can easily dialup PEQ and effects to fit our individual special needs. Do we need a certifying body for this or can we use a present none for profit engineering regulatory body?
I take it the Stax or electrostatic headphones in general need a different standard of measurement or expectations due to their inherent mechanical/electrical design differences from transducer based headphones?
If that is the case then I (now) see what you are saying and agree regarding standards.

However since there is no current "standard" for electrostatics and until there is they will continue to be graded based on the standards available to us.
For the current selling price the Stax 009s (and any other headphone in this price range) they should be literally great right out of the box. If the headphone needs EQ to sound better then the company should freaking explain why and provide options for possible EQ settings. A lack of standards is not going to change my mind on that aspect of this and any other headphone out there in this price range.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,221
Likes
232,563
Location
Seattle Area
For the current selling price the Stax 009s (and any other headphone in this price range) they should be literally great right out of the box.
I am pretty sure the company and their advocates think they are great out of the box. We use a different standard of evaluation which they (seemingly) don't believe in. By our standards, it is flawed.
 

tomchris

Active Member
Joined
May 14, 2021
Messages
210
Likes
414
Location
Denmark
@amirm

You mentioned at one time that you own a pair of Stax Omega - I'm inferring that you meant the SR-007 - and a pair of STAX Nova (Basic?)

In short, how do they - out of box - compare to the STAX SR-009s when it comes to bass, midrage, treble and spatiality/spaciousness?
 
Last edited:
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,221
Likes
232,563
Location
Seattle Area
@amirm

You mentioned at one time that you own a pair of Stax Omega - I'm inferring that you meant the SR-007 - and a pair of STAX Nova (Basic?)

In short, how do they - out of box - compare to the STAX SR-009s when it comes to bass, midrage, treble and spatiality/spaciousness?
I do have it. I should measure it. And apply EQ to it. I never liked it that much even when I bought it (back in early 1990s). I actually like the rectangular stax headphones I had better.
 

Robbo99999

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
6,822
Likes
6,635
Location
UK
So why even bother measuring them or any other headphone for that matter. By your explanation practically every headphone should be golden since you can just EQ it? :facepalm:
Well, you have to measure it first so you can see how best to EQ it. But, I think the stock frequency response of an expensive headphone should be good without EQ already, and as a minimum it should have a smooth frequency response so that it can be EQ'd easily.
 

Robbo99999

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
6,822
Likes
6,635
Location
UK
Did you buy one?
Nooo, I was talking theoretically - when I was reading Amir's review of the Stax, then The Stealth came to mind as a competitor in terms of price. (My most expensive headphone is a £300 HD600, and it's not even my favourite!)
 

zachary80

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2018
Messages
17
Likes
9
All the talk about ‘driver farts’, having to avoid humid environments, avoiding dust, limited driver excursion and needing a specific type of amplifier makes me never want to get an electrostatic headphone unless this estat ‘magic’ is proven real somehow. o_O:oops:
See if you can listen to what used to be the Stax 3100 system - a 252s energizer and L300. The 300 is a little bright and the 252s slightly underpowered with EQ, but the L300 can be improved with L500/L700 pads and a quick blue-tac mod adds back a lot of bass. To me they make excellent headphones at the computer and compliment a super eq-able headphone like an Audeze planar that can do as much bass as you want, and a relatively good all-arounder like the HD600 or HD650. The energizer is the priary reason I will never spend more than I did on electrostats than the L300 LTD despite loving the 007mk2 - I just can't use them everywhere (Stax does make all-in-one dac/amps called the D10 (portable) and D50 but they have their own setbacks as will anything Stax). Having owned the L300 regular, which I bought used, for many years in a mix of environments, I fine the special care overblown.
 

strom

Member
Joined
May 31, 2020
Messages
62
Likes
13
I know that this reply probably belongs in a different forum, but I would like to post this here anyway. I have an IMac running Ventura totally updated. It's running through a Topping D90SE and then through the Stax SRM 323S, then through the Stax SR 009. Having this review from Amir is wonderful and I would really like to EQ my headphones like Amir did. I am looking for free software for a Parametric Equalizer. I realize that there are a lot of options for Mac. I have posted this information in the forum here before, but I really don't know how to download stuff. I guess I have to download a plug-in first but again I am not technically sophisticated. I would appreciate it if someone would please give me exact directions to download all of this. I don't need options. I will take whatever someone's exact direction and exact downloads will lead. The goal is to get a working Parametric EQ for my phones. This new review has given me hope to finally EQ my phones which I have had for several years.
 

staticV3

Master Contributor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
7,169
Likes
11,426
I would appreciate it if someone would please give me exact directions to download all of this.
Download SoundSource here
Import the EQ preset attached below like this

It is oratory1990's frequency response measurement of the Stax SR-009 EQed to Harman OE2018:
Screenshot_20230827-141850_Chrome.png
(Sample rate for the PEQ was set to 48kHz)
 

Attachments

  • Stax SR-009 ParametricEq.txt
    501 bytes · Views: 39

lewdish

Active Member
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
235
Likes
170
I feel like nobody ever stops to think about this but while tonally bass deficient, we are still looking at 110db output at bass frequencies w/ nearly 0% distortion. Even the best planars will only get 1-2% generally~ This does go to show that people truly weren't crazy when they said electrostatics are end game~
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
15,782
Likes
35,671
Location
The Neitherlands
Even 1-2% (at 114dB) in the low bass is completely inaudible.
110dB at 20Hz is 'only' 60 Phons which is not perceived as very loud and you would need to realize that there is going to be some dB superimposed on that for the rest of the signals.
Since (with Amirs energizer) this leads to hard clipping (which planars do not) using a shelf that adds 10dB at 20Hz is not recommended if you want to play impressively loud.
For that reason Amir (who wants to feel his earlobes shake during short listening tests) found the SR009 + SRM313 to not go loud enough and why his EQ is seemingly conservative and not a shelf.

110dB using a 1 or 5kHz tone is VERY loud.
110dB peak with some older rock recordings is also quite loud.

Note that SPL peak at 20Hz is NOT the same a dBA average values, you know the tables with the loudness and duration.
 

Soria Moria

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 17, 2022
Messages
384
Likes
767
Location
Norway
The membrane is lighter as it lacks the metal wiring needed for planar magnetics which add weight to the membrane, however thin that may be.
Drive is over the entire membrane and linear (balanced).
Membrane has a higher physical tension (which could also be a negative)
The stators are thin and different in shape than thick bars of magnets.
Sound quality is more energizer dependent than a planar magnetic is so a good energizer is important.

These aspects could well be a reason for them sounding different.
Newb question: If all we really hear is the frequency response when it arrives at our eardrum, how would these things matter? I assume that driver size etc. does matter because of how much air it moves which makes you feel the bass more physically like how loudspeakers feel compared to headphones.
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
15,782
Likes
35,671
Location
The Neitherlands
Because the frequency response during a sweep is not always similar to when there are impulses' (music).
Also there is no way 2 headphones that are measured on some fixture and then corrected to that fixture will give the exact same response on one's ear drum. There can be many, many dB's difference.

A headphone measurement is only a plot against a standard with some target curve applied to it. It is indicative only not hard reality.
 
Last edited:

Soria Moria

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 17, 2022
Messages
384
Likes
767
Location
Norway
Because the frequency response during a sweep is not always similar to when they are impulses (music).
Also there is no way 2 headphones that are measured on some fixture and then corrected to that fixture will give the exact same response on one's ear drum. There can be many, many dB's difference.

A headphone measurement is only a plot against a standard with some target curve applied to it. It is indicative not reality.
I'm glad I can always come to you for answers. :cool:
 

Robbo99999

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
6,822
Likes
6,635
Location
UK
Because the frequency response during a sweep is not always similar to when there are impulses' (music).
Also there is no way 2 headphones that are measured on some fixture and then corrected to that fixture will give the exact same response on one's ear drum. There can be many, many dB's difference.

A headphone measurement is only a plot against a standard with some target curve applied to it. It is indicative only not hard reality.
I'm glad I can always come to you for answers. :cool:
Except it's not correct.

They don't.
Solderdude is correct when he says that two different models of headphone measured on a fixture and corrected to the same Target Curve won't give the exact same response at your own eardrum (& may not sound exactly the same). But I don't really agree with what he's saying in his first sentence, in relation to the influence of different types of drivers above & beyond what is measured with frequency response and distortion.
 
Top Bottom