Comparing World-Class Headphones Stax SR-009

Stax SR-009
Description - Released by Stax recently (mid-2011), this is a full-size open electrostatic headphone, which incorporates a numerous changes from previous models including a new driver.

Pink Noise - Extraordinarily even! Only slight and broad emphasis at upper-mid/low-treble ("chu").

Bass Texture - Other than being a little less hefty than I'd like (just a little), the extension was very, very good, and the texture was simply breathtaking. Felt like I heard the spit on the lips of the tuba player. Spectacularly clear.

Bass Slam - Holy moly! These hit amazingly hard. Yes, the lowest two octaves are a bit shelved down, but my goodness they rock!

Midrange - Hey! How did these people get into my house! The realism with the SR-009 is incredible! (Hang on a sec, I've got to write a sentence without and exclamation point.) The seamless coherence between mids and highs deliver a stunningly realistic presentation I've simply not heard a voice so convincingly real on headphones before. Stunning! Simply stunning!

Treble - Damn! I'm running out of superlatives. I'm super sensitive to trouble in the treble, and I'm floored by being able to hear a strong sense of speed and treble energy without it sounding strident in the least. The sense of coherent high frequency sound is extraordinary; everything is more than natural and organic, it's simply sounds like you're there. Wow again!

Dynamics - Come on! When are these cans going to show a weakness? On the other headphones the Flamenco guitar strums are punchy, but here it's as if you can hear each string of the strum individually hit, and then add their voices together with a musicality of impact I've heard on no other can.

Imaging - Finally! (Still using exclamation marks, though.) The 009 is bested handily with regard to imaging by the HD 800. However, these are no slouch, and great depth and width are realized; separation and depth are very good. Without the HD 800 within arms reach for comparison, I would find these a spectacularly immersive listening experience.

Measurements

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Frequency response again shows the step at 50Hz, but this time smaller than on the 007. The slight rise to1kHz indicated a some upper mid-range presence, and aside from some wiggling (which is unavoidable), descends on what I would consider an ideal path from 1kHz to 20kHz. Also, please note the absence of any spike at 10kHz. This is rare. Looking at this treble response it's hard to know where the significant overshoot of the 300Hz square wave is coming from. My guess is ... speed? What do I care, all I know is that they have the best treble I've heard to date.

The THD+noise is picture perfect; the best I've measured, I think. Not surprised one bit however, as these are also spectacularly clean sounding cans. 100dB line below the 90dB line indicates excellent power handling.

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