Some years ago I used a Stax SR Lambda Professional wit SMR-1 MK II Professional, which at its time was the best headphone. Compared to the SR-007 with its tube amp SRM-007 t it some kind of "mono". Some other headphones I had before (Beyerdynamic, Yamaha) are not even worth to mention. I use Apogee speakers together with Spectral amplifiers, and you can sit down, relax, and *feel* the bass. This, of course, is not the domain of any headphone. But this is the only drawback. Any other part of the music, bass, mids, highs, width, depth, distortion, and the "music" itself (the fun it transports) is magnitudes better than any speaker. This headphone is simply revealing most of the music I have ever heard in any equipment. If it is Pink Floyd, The Wall on MFSL, contemporary trance/techno/disco, Al Stewart, Camel or Rush - it does not matter. You just do not only listen the music, you "live" it. I would even say it is better than a live gig. Think of sitting at the console in the studio while the music is mixed down. The best quality available with a kind of live character. This position is yours this this kit. If headphones are an alternative for listening for you (some people don´t like headphones at all) the Stax 007 is most likely the best equipment you can get. It is not cheap, but worth any Cent of the money
An outstanding system that, with a reference level source (this is crucial), will provide a class A+ listening experience.
The Omega II earspeakers, with the exception of the cables, look like oversized dynamic headphones. Two metal bands and a leather strap go over the head to hold the unit in place. The leather covered ear pads, while circular on the outside, are "D" shaped on the inside and rotate to allow for forming a semi-airtight seal over the ear. The housings containing the transducers also rotate to allow one to orient them as well. The metal bands are adjustable to provide a proper fit over the head. After fiddling with the various adjustments, the Omega IIs fit very comfortably. Note that properly adjusting the earspeakers is important to not just comfort, but to achieving the best sound as well.
This unit provides a combination dual FET first stage and twin triode (6FQ7/6CG7) second stage tube amplifiers for each channel for driving Stax earspeakers including the SR-007s. It has two sets of line level inputs, one of which is single-ended (RCA) only, while the other can be switched between single-ended and balanced (XLR) connectors. The amplifier design is balanced, so using corresponding sources and interconnects provides for a cleaner signal path. One oddity is that the XLR connector polarity has the non-inverting signal on pin 3 and inverting on pin 2, opposite of what's found on most American XLR connectors. I tried using phase inversion feature on the ML No. 30.6, but heard little, if any, difference. The SRM-007t has three jacks for connection to Stax earspeakers: 2 "Pro" (580 V bias) and 1 "Normal" (230 V bias). The SR-007 is a "Pro" earspeaker. There is also a quadrupled double-spindle volume control for true balanced attenuation into the first stage amps. The unit takes about 15-30 minutes to reach optimum operating temperature, consumes 55 W, is warm to the touch, and has no fans, so adaquate clearance for cooling is essential. The whole unit weighs over 10 pounds (4.7 kg), and measures 7.7 in. (195 mm) wide, 4 in. (103 mm) high, and 16.5 in. (420 mm) deep. Given its heat dissapation requirements and size/shape, the unit is difficult to place efficiently. It's too deep to stack on anything but a shelf and may present problems in enclosed racks. I ended-up placing mine beside the P300 on a seperate open shelf.
The sound out-of-the-box was excellent, but somewhat cold and analyitical, but after breaking it in for a few hours, that began to change. It started to sound warmer and the mid-range accuracy improved. After about 36 hours, the sound was spectactular. The imaging precise, the depth, detail, and feeling of prescence were amazing. The entire audio range was crisp and full. The bass is very solid and its reproduction of mid-range and highs are equally breathtaking. While not quite as open and clear sounding as my Revels powered by Mark Levinson No. 33s, it was nevertheless one of the best reproductions of sound I've heard. I used various CDs including: Rebecca Pidgeon's "The Raven", Suzanne Vega's "Solitude Standing", Tori Amos' "Under the Pink", the MFSL version of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", the MFSL version of Sting's "... Nothing Like the Sun", the MFSL version of U2's "The Joshua Tree", "Koyaanisqatsi" the original soundtrack, various J. S. Bach organ works played by Kevin Bower, and Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte".
Equipment used for review:
Mark Levinson 31.5 Reference CD Transport Mark Levinson 30.6 Reference Digital Processor Transparent Balanced Reference XL Interconnects PS Audio P300 Power Plant
I believe these 'phones were designed with neutrality as the ultimate goal. They have a way of capturing minute nuances in the recording, which make the music performance come alive (ton of ambient info). Being able to extract this kind of detail enable the listener to easily listen deeper into the soundstage, where as other 'phones tend to mask over. While the overall sound can be regarded as somewhat 'laid-back' its midrange is slightly tilted forward. This is more apparent with female vocal's and certain string instrument's.
I have direct compared the RS-1's bass against the Omega II's and found that, while others may prefer the forward bass of the RS-1's, however, it does not exhibit the deepness, tautness, and speed of the Omega II's. In short, the bass performance of the Omega II's is more natural in term of accuracy.
Imaging is state of the art. Ones need not to strain his or her ears to pin-point exactly the location of instrument's emerge in space. Its noise floor is dead silent rendering more brightly lit to the note within the soundstage. As mentioned above, its bass is so deep providing a foundation to the music with immense weight, particularly piano recordings with authoritative focus, precise refinement, and tone solidity you've got to hear to believe.
As a side note: They are the most sensitive 'phones compared to Sennheisers and Grados so careful system matching is a must for Staxes. These 'phones rank with the very best available today. Please do not use mediocre component to compromise its sound. The better the associated equipment the better these 'phones response(cables, CD player, etc.).
In re-reading my comments on the Omega 1's "shimmering" upper-mids, I realise that the words "shimmering" and "glare" were too strong, giving the impression that the Omega 1 is a highly colored headphone. Which is far from the truth.
The Omega 1 is a neutral-sounding headphone, and when you first listen to it, you can swear that this is the "correct" sound. So convincing it can be.
My observations of its upper midrange emphasis (and this emphasis is slight) came from 4 years of living with it, and especially from direct comparisons with the Omega 2. I did not realise this weakness of the Omega 1 until I compared it with the Omega 2, although I was aware that I became attracted to certain recordings more than others during the 4 years when I used the Omega 1.
(Sometimes audiophiles, myself included, use words that are too strong.)
The Omega 1 is a great headphone, better than the Sennheiser Orpheus, which I have not owned but have auditioned. The Orpheus has a slight (slightly more than slight) upper treble emphasis which I suspect I may grow tired of over a long period. But the Orpheus's weakness is quite seductive: it gives recordings a very open and airy character.