As a music enthusiast who can’t imagine going a day without your favourite tunes, you probably already own more than a pair of headphones. After all, they enable you to enjoy your songs no matter where you are, be it the public transport, the gym or at home as you work or relax. Simply said, they’re indispensable!
However, because they’re so crucial, it means they can easily make or break the whole experience. So not just any pair would do. In a world of choices, it can be tricky to purchase the ideal model that offers the utmost quality sound. More so considering the market is full of options that constantly keep on appearing with upgrades thanks to the advancements in technology.
If you’re an audiophile or want to experience the best sound you can, ideally you would acquire the high-end design known as electrostatic. Although there are now various brands and makes you can choose from, the most notable models and in this area continue to be the innovative Stax headphones.
What’s So Special about Stax?
This Japanese brand became synonymous with this groundbreaking technology they created in 1960 that they even implemented it in the name – Stax being short for static. With more than five decades of success in the field, what keeps them mainstay is the unmatched sound that can only be compared with the most superb loudspeakers.
This goes to show other headphones are no match for these classics. As the ultra hi-fi devices they are, you can bet what you’d experience when using them is wearing two small loudspeakers over the ears.
Why Are Electrostatic Headphones Better?
The additional reason for the brand’s choice of implementing an electrostatic driver, besides the sound quality, was the low weight thanks to the lack of magnets and wire coils typical for the common planar magnetic and dynamic driver designs. This makes the Stax headphones the most natural, detailed, low-distortion and transparent listening devices.
The clarity of sound comes out due to the lack of interference from the coils the conventional models get. This is exactly what makes it possible to create the most life-like sound of music reproduction. Going further in detail, the ultra-thin and super-fast film elements that make up the driver are thinner than the air that surrounds them and create an electric charge on the stators (two plates) which then move the diaphragm.
Though at the beginning of their iconic products, the Stax brand used about 200 volts for the electrostatic fields, after high demand for louder sound, they decided to upgrade the voltage, going up to about 600 volts. Some may consider this to be a drawback because such designs require the use of an adequate energizer and lack the standard plugs on the cables the conventional models have. The other drawback being the higher price, which is understandable when we think of their use of fine materials like leather.
But, it’s all worth it if the quality of sound reproduction is what you’re after! Moreover, they constantly go through upgrades so what used to be a disadvantage in the past with this type of headphones, turned into one of their valued features too, as in the case with the bass. You can experience this yourself with the Stax SR009 line, specifically the most advanced SR-009S impressing with detail and clarity.
Popular Stax Headphones Models
If you’re having doubts about which of the outstanding headphones sets would be ideal for you, it’s best to consider some of the popular options and compare them in terms of features.
Currently one of the most desired electrostatic pairs, this model of Stax headphones amazes with the new design of earpads which is handcrafted from durable fine leather to provide the listener with utmost comfort when listening to music for hours. Most of its components are produced with precise machine processing which guarantees quality.
In comparison with other brands and their respective products, like the Audeze LCD-4, it offers hidden sounds even with the bass, besides the sound width, height, and depth, and precise imaging. All this along with excellent treble, clear vocals, airiness, impact, and resolution.
If you’re up for something that reminds you of the company’s iconic Lambda series, then the Stax L700 should be your go-to choice. As an upgraded version of the L500, you can expect to get differences with the components, like the electrodes and conductors. What makes the design user-friendly is the exchangeable cable structure, corresponding to a high-definition cable.
With an adjustable headband and lightweight construction with plastic earcups, you’re in for hours of music enjoyment. With their classic yet refined appearance, plus the melodious sound with defined low, middle, and high frequencies, this open-back headphone set makes for a valuable purchase.
Anyone who wants to get their hands on the MLER-3 technology ought to get a pair of these. The four-layer fixed electrode implemented in this ingenious design of Stax headphones marks a new pinnacle and is already available at the well-stocked suppliers. Some of its incredible features include high sound permeability, smooth sound transmission and high rigidity.
What differs from the SR-009S is the smaller diaphragm mass cleverly reduced for much quicker reaction speed, plus a 20% bigger ultra-thin engineering film. Another improvement is that of the wider-ranging sound field which provides a high-frequency response. With all this in mind, you can bet they’d offer you an advanced listening experience!
Now that we’ve dealt more with the concept of electrostatic Stax headphones and why they’ve come to be so popular, plus considered some of the trendy choices, it’s time to cover up extra aspects you need to remember the next time you’re on the lookout for the ideal pair.
First and foremost, if you’re an audiophile, you’re probably familiar with the high prices of these high-end products. As such, you have to determine exactly how high you want and can go. Though, with brands like Stax that don’t compromise on the quality, you can bet it would be money well spent in the long run should you choose to treat yourself to one of their timeless designs.
As mentioned, these aren’t your typical headphones in the sense they require the use of an energizer. Even if they aren’t that heavy, this extra bit of gear might be, so before deciding to go out and about with your fancy audio pieces, be sure to check the portability.
Depending on the features you most want to get in a headset, in terms of comfort, and sound, as well as the shape (whether open-back or not), you’ve got a range of designs to pick from. Deciding if you prefer using them at home, or outside, would help you make the right choice.