STAX SR-009 Signature Edition Electrostatic Earspeaker.

The beginning of my electrostatic journey began here. I thought I’d heard it all, up until now that is.

Disclaimer:
STAX have not paid me to write this review.
Although The Audiophile Cafe is sponsored by STAX, the views and thoughts in this publication are my own unbiased opinion.
STAX, Audrey & Kay have been most gracious, kind and patient with me and I would like to personally thank them all!

The STAX SR-009 currently retails at $3,699 at the time of this article.

You can find the SR-009 here:
https://staxaudio.com/earspeaker/sr-009

Review equipment:
STAX SR-009.
STAX SRE-925S. ( Extension Cable. )
STAX SRM-700S. ( Solid State. )
STAX SRM-252S. ( Solid State. )
STAX SRM-700T. ( Tube. )
Burson Audio Conductor 3X Performance DAC & Pre.
Musician Audio Pegasus DAC.
IsoAcoustic Indigo isolation feet.
KECES Audio ePhono and ePhono Power.
Technics SL1200 MKII.
Ortofon Quintet Red.
Isonoe Isolation Feet.
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo.
Ortofon 2M Red.
MacBook Pro.
iPad Pro.
Qobuz Studio Premier on both digital sources.
AFAudio & Custom Cans interconnects.
AFAudio & Audioquest NRG mains cables.
Audiowalle TP1000 mains conditioners.

Music:
Vinyl:
Jean Michel Jarre – Les Chants Magnetiques. ( Magnetic Fields )
Jean Michel Jarre – Revolutions.
Jean Michel Jarre – Equinox. ( 180 gram )
Jean Michel Jarre – The Concerts In China.
Depeche Mode – Violator. ( 180 gram )
Pink Floyd – The Wall. ( 180 gram )
Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair.
Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.5.
Qobuz/Streaming:
Mikaela Davis – Delivery. ( HI-RES / 48.0 kHz )
Lissie – Thank You To The Flowers. ( Redbook 16bit / 44.1kHz )
Chris Rea – ERA 1. ( HI-RES / 96.0 kHz )
Fleetwood Mac – Audiophile Collection. ( Redbook 16bit / 44.1kHz )
Mastodon – Once More Around The Sun. ( Redbook 16bit / 44.1kHz )
Kylesa – Static Tensions ( Redbook 16bit / 44.1kHz )
The Audiophile Cafe Demo playlist:
https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/3785941 ( mixed file formats )

Please note that I have listened to other playlists since compiling this list in my initial article, so you will see me mention other artists and genres not listed above.

The Audiophile Cafe readers can receive 1 month’s free subscription to Studio, which allows you to listen to Qobuz’s entire music library in Hi-Res and CD quality. 
Please note: Existing Studio subscribers need to unsubscribe first before activating the gift. 
Please click on the following link for more:
https://try.qobuz.com/tqs_fr/?qbzs=society&qbzc=THE_AUDIOPHILE_CAFE&utm_source=society&utm_medium=partner_page&utm_campaign=THE_AUDIOPHILE_CAFE

What’s in the box:
Wood engraved presentation box with foam cushioning.
STAX SR-009 Electrostatic ear speakers.
Documentation.

Spec:
Type: Push-Pull Open Back Circular Electrostatic Headphone.
Frequency Response: 5 – 42,000Hz.
Electrostatic Capacitance: 110pF (including cable).
Impedance: 145k Ω (including cable, at 10kHz).
Sound Pressure Sensitivity: 101dB / 100V r.m.s. 1 kHz.
Maximum Sound Pressure: 118dB / 400Hz.
Bias Voltage: 580V DC.
Left & Right Identification: “L” and “R” indicated on the arc assembly (inside head spring) Left channel cable is marked with a solid Line. Right channel is marked with a dotted Line.
Ear Pads: Genuine Lamb Leather (direct skin contact), high-quality synthetic leather (surrounding portion).
Cable: Silver-coated 6N (99.9999%) OFC parallel 6-strand, low-capacity special wide cable, 2.5m full length.
Weight: 1lb without cable / 1.3lb with cable.

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Build & finish:
Within the large, well finished box we are greeted with an exquisit set of ear speakers enveloped in a perfectly cut and fitted dense foam protective layer. The cable neatly wound and kept in place by a cable tie.
The craftsmanship is elegant and classy. These ear speakers make a statement in design.
You can immediately sense the countless hours that have been spent to get the aesthetic & quality just right with a flawless finish and feel.
The cups have a beautiful mix of polished concave surround, bordered with a satin feel housing. The grills are a fine black metal mesh that feels sturdy, looks fabulous and contrasts well against the silver metal cups.
The headband is one little concern. Where the headband attaches to the adjustable sliders the connection feels delicate and I find myself being very mindful of this and always taking extra care when putting the SR-009 on my head.
STAX have made a cable that is very unique compared to anything else I have owned or reviewed. A flat ribbon style cable, It is robust in its build and doesn’t tangle. it and the extension cable both have a gold line running along one side of the cable making it difficult to plug it in the wrong way around. Saying that the 5 pin connector only connects one way. The plugs are solid and plug in firmly. I found no audible microphonics. The cable is far fatter and sturdy than the images suggest.

Comfort:
I’ve owned and reviewed a lot of headphones from budget to high end. DJ, Studio and Audiophile alike.
The SR-009 are by far the most comfortable pair of over ears I’ve had the pleasure of wearing.
The ear pads are sumptuous and feel luxurious over my ears. They are soft and cushiony, yet they feel robust in their construction.
I experienced no heat or sweatiness, which is an issue I have had with many headphones.
My ears don’t come into contact with the “staters” as the ear pads are deep.
There is some weight to the SR-009, however it doesn’t translate directly to the wearing experience. STAX have designed these to sit comfortably on the head in a way that distributes the weight so it isn’t noticeable. I also notice almost no clamping force. In my experience I believe the weight of the SR-009 achieves a similar effect when worn. The headband is soft and forms to the top of my head perfectly.
Little positioning is required to get the required or correct sound.
I found I could wear these for long hours of listening time with no discomfort or fatigue.

Me wearing and enjoying the SR-009. Note the Sony MDR-SA5000 in the background, my favourite headphone in my collection.

Sound:
When I was first sent the SR-009 I had zero experience with electrostatic gear and at the time only had the SRM-700S driver to drive them with.
You’ll notice a lot of the above is a copy and paste from my previous article on the 700S & 009 together, however
I think it’s important to keep this review based on previous experience and honest. So it’s good to get some reflection on my initial thoughts.
Since the time of that article I’ve had the pleasure to spend a decent amount of time with the SRM-252S, SRM-700T and the SR-L300 along with a couple of very good DACs from Burson Audio and Musician Audio to bring out the very best in every electrostatic product I listened to. STAX have been more than generous in allowing me an extended period with each piece of gear. Allowing me to get a good feel for all of it.
Along with this I have been able to briefly borrow and demo a few electrostats privately so I was able to make some initial comparisons.
I now feel I am in a better position to write an actual review of these ear speakers.

Before I reviewed any of the above I spent a bit of quality time with my various planar magnetic headphones that I own in order to partially prepare me for the electrostatic experience.
Although there is a slight similarity, it really didn’t prepare me for what was to come.
I will never compare planars to electrostats again!

Straight off the bat, the soundstage is impressively spacious, with a lot of depth and heeps of headroom.
Next we have the best separation and imaging I have experienced to date, with instruments easily identified and positioned, even in noisier pieces of music. The imaging is amazing, with my eyes closed, this is the closest I’ve got to feeling like I was listening to a high end pair of speakers which were perfectly positioned. If it were not for being able to sense the SR-009 on my head, this would have been very close.

The signal from the various drivers to the 009s is silent. Even with each driver turned all the way up ( no music playing ) there was no audible noise or interference.

Toneality:
Bass was interesting. Although they don’t really deliver in the sub bass department, it is there in the background, textured, controlled and just enough to add to the overall sound.
Mid bass: “I hear a full bodied, articulate low end that performs with immediacy and a hard hitting punch.”
These were my words in my initial article on the 009s and the 700S and I’ve not changed my mind.
I may as well insert my thoughts on the mids & highs while I’m at it as my view hasn’t changed here either: “Mids are smooth and airy, capturing and reproducing vocals in a manner that puts the vocalist in the room with me. Highs are fast, detailed and shimmering with a depth that I’m not used to in the higher frequencies.”, however I’ll now add that acoustics, whether they be in the form of classical music, flamenco, unplugged performances from the likes of Eric Clapton, Nirvana and David Gilmour through to Metallica & Mastodon, or folk music like Clannad or Enya are an utter pleasure to listen to with an airy, organic toneality. Electronic music comes alive and the 009s are no slouch when it comes to delivering fast paced, complex and highly detailed tracks with authority and accuracy.
Where other headphones have more often than not, struggled with rock or metal, the 009s have no problems delivering a full bodied and agile performance. I will note here, that they are an unforgiving pair of ear speakers so they will reveal bad recordings in any genre, which I find is more of a “thing” in these particular genres. However if you present the 009s with a good to excellent recording, they are one of the better pair of “headphones” I have listened to rock and metal with. In fact they are one of my preferred pairs to listen to any heavy rock or metal albums on.

Live performances have often been hit or miss on my various headphones in the past.
The SR-009 is leagues above them all and brings any live performance alive in a way I find difficult to convey in words….
They’re astonishing, breath taking even.

Final thoughts & recommendation:
I won’t say they’re the best electrostatic ear speaker.
Because I haven’t heard every electrostatic ear speaker yet.
Yet I will say with my hand on my heart, they are the best ear speaker that I have heard yet.
Against every headphone or electrostat that I’ve heard, they annihilate every single one, in every aspect, across every genre.

Are they worth the high asking price?
I am a person who despite the gear you see in my reviews, is on a tight budget.
So $3,699 is a lot of money and a steep price tag for me.
However, I have to come at this in an unbiased manner and view this from the point of view of my readers, all of whom will be on different budgets.
When I take into consideration the other electrostats I’ve listened to in recent months, including STAXs own, more affordable SR-L300, I will say that I believe they are indeed worth their price tag.
I’m not saying this because STAX sponsor me, In fact they themselves would rather I write honestly about my thoughts here.
No, since I began this career in the hifi industry, reviewing gear from $30 right up to nearly $8,000 I’ve come to appreciate the craftsmanship, level of design and sheer time that goes into a lot of this gear…
They’re a worthwhile investment and if I had the budget to allow it, I would buy these ear speakers in a heartbeat!

I truly am sad to see them go! I hope the next reviewer enjoys them as much as I have.

Thank you to all of my readers, who make this endeavour meaningful and worthwhile.
Please remember to like, follow and share!

Sponsor:
Thank you to our partner Qobuz for supplying our account and endless high end music files.
You guys rock!

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Periodic Audio Rhodium.

We revisit Periodic Audio, this time with their smart little DAC dongle. Let’s see what the Rhodium is capable of…

Disclaimer:
Periodic Audio have not paid or sponsored me for this review.
The views and opinions in this piece are unbiased and my own.

My thanks to Dan and the team at Periodic for being kind enough to send me out the Rhodium DAC dongle.

The Rhodium is priced at $49 as of this publication.

https://periodicaudio.com/

Review Gear and software:
Periodic Audio Rhodium.
Samsung Galaxy Note Ten+.
iPad Pro.
MacBook Pro.
Sennheiser IE800S.
Meze Audio Rai Solo.
HIFIMAN HE400i 2020.
Grado SR125e.
Sennheiser HD600.

Custom Cans cable on the HD600 with 3.5mm pigtail.

Qobuz Studio Premier.

Music:
One of my growing demo playlists on Qobuz.
You can find the playlist here:-
https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/3785941

What’s in the box:
Rhodium DAC.
USB-C to USB-A adaptor.

Spec:
Performance:
Frequency Response 2 Hz to 192 kHz, +0/-3 dB.
Dynamic Range 113 dB.
SNR 108 dB A wt.
THD Less than 0.007%.
Output Power 31 mW @ 32 Ohms.
Current Consumption 23 mA @ 1 mW output.
Physical properties:
Cable Length 63mm.
Mass 4.4 grams.
Operational Temperature -20 to +50° C.
Operational Humidity 0-95% Relative Humidity.
Retention Force 1.8 Newtons.
Overall Length 117 mm.
Max Width 10.8 mm.
Max Thickness 6.9 mm.
Material properties:
Melting Point 2237 Kelvin.
Speed of Sound 4700 meters per second.
Young’s Modulus 380 Gigapascals.
Brinell Hardness 1100 Megapascals.

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Build and finish:
Like the other three products from Periodic Audio I have reviewed, the Rhodium is well made.
It’s quite a basic piece externally, so there’s nothing much to really add to this section of the review.
However I will say that the Rhodium is very well put together and I like the nylon covered cable, it’s robust and stylish in a subtle way. I’d love to see Periodic Audio to use this cable in the future with their IEMs.

Setup:
Setup of the Rhodium is something you can do with your eyes closed. Almost.
If you’re going to be using it with an android phone with USB-C, plug it in, and off you go.
No apps or messing about with software. It’s very much a case of plug n play!
If you’ll be using it with a Mac or Pc you’ll need to make sure it’s selected as your output device.
I tried it out with my iPad Pro ( USB-C ) and it worked fine, but with other iOS devices you will need to use the Apple camera kit cable.
During my time with the Rhodium, I tried it out with my Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, iPad Pro and MacBook Pro.
It worked flawlessly with each device and I did notice an improvement in sound, especially when connected to my MacBook Pro.
Note: The Rhodium can be used in line with the Nickle amplifier.
I didn’t do this during this review as I wanted to test the Rhodium on it’s own and judge it for its own capabilities.
Although, this is something I intend on trying out very soon.

Sound:
Tight and low sub bass is the first thing that grabs my attention, where the mid bass is textured and full. I’m pleasantly surprised at the amount of contol the Rhodium exerts over the various IEMs and headphones I tried out.
Mids to mid highs are clean and forward, with great detail.
The top end is super crisp with oodles of sparkle and pace.
Soundstage is focused and has good depth.
I found with headphones, especially open backed that the soundstage widened significantly.
Instrument separation is spot on.
I found in busier parts of tracks that the Rhodium had no issues in performing.

Final thoughts:
For $49 the Rhodium is a no brainer.
Whether your on a tight budget and looking for an entry level audiophile solution for your device or you already have other dongles and want to try out and add another to your collection…. The Rhodium is an excellent choice.
It’s extremely lightweight, has a small form factor and it’s built robustly making it a great choice for portable use.
Coupled with it’s surprising dynamic range, punchy and low bass, and fantastic mids and highs it truly is a superb little DAC at it’s very low price!
Would I recommend you get one? Do you even need to ask?
Of course I would.
In fact if my award badges were ready, the Rhodium would be sure to get The Audiophile Cafes “Highly Recommended On A Budget” badge!!!
Well done Periodic Audio for knocking it out of the park yet again and this time at a very low price point!

Thanks to my readers for your continuing support, you can’t begin to imagine how much I appreciate it.
Please remember to like, follow and share.

Sponsor:
The Audiophile Cafe is kindly sponsored by STAX & Airpulse.

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Reloop TURN5 turntable.

Can the TURN5 compete with other turntables I have reviewed in this budget range?
Join me as I give this deck from Reloop a whirl…

The TURN5’s user “interface” as you can see, is a no-fuss affair. Power, start/stop and speed controls are all clearly marked.
Many DJ’s will be all too familiar with the controls.

Disclaimer:
Henley Audio have kindly sent this turntable out to me for review.
I have not been paid or sponsored to write this.
The thoughts and views in this publication are my own honest and unbiased opinion.

The Reloop TURN5 retails at £650.00 at the time of this review.

You can pick one up by following this link:
https://www.henleyaudio.co.uk/products/TURN-5?DepartmentIds=1&BrandIds=12

Review equipment:
Reloop TURN5.
Ortofon 2M Red.
Audio Technica record weight.
Cyrus ONE.
Bowers & Wilkins DM601 / S3.
Sennheiser HD820.
Grado SR125e.
Custom Cans interconnects & headphone cables.
AF Audio mains & speaker cables.
Audiowalle TP1000 mains conditioners.

Music:
Jean Michel Jarre – Les Chants Magnetiques. ( Magnetic Fields )
Jean Michel Jarre – Revolutions.
Jean Michel Jarre – Equinox. ( 180 gram )
Jean Michel Jarre – The Concerts In China.
Depeche Mode – Violator. ( 180 gram )
Pink Floyd – The Wall. ( 180 gram )
Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair.
Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.5.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 126910317_3311706015607879_745289645000357670_o.jpg

What’s in the box?:
1x Reloop TURN5 turntable.
1x Ortofon 2M Red moving magnet cartridge.
1x Mains cable.
1x Stereo RCA interconnect.
1x Tonearm counterweight.
1x Reloop head shell.
Documentation.

Spec:
Turntable Section:

  • Type: Direct Drive Manual Turntable System
  • Drive: Quartz driven upper-torque direct drive
  • Motor: 16 pole, 3 phase, brushless DC motor
  • Turntable Speeds: 3 speeds, fully manual (33 1/3, 45, 78 rpm)
  • Starting Torque: 4500 g/cm
  • Start-up time / rpm change: less than 0.2 sec.
  • Wow and flutter: 0.01% WRMS
  • S/N Ratio: More than 55 dB (DIN-B)
  • Brake system: electronic brake
  • Record weight: recommended 800g

Turntable Platter:

  • Material: aluminium die-cast
  • Diameter: 332 mm
  • Weight: About 1.8 kg (including rubber mat)

Tonearm Section:

  • Type: Universal Static Balanced S-Shaped
  • Effective Length: 230 mm
  • Overhang: 15 mm
  • Tracking Error Angle: Less than 3 degree
  • Offset Angle: 22°
  • Stylus Pressure: 0 – 4 g
  • Adjustable Tonearm Base (VTA): 0-6 mm
  • Applicable Cartridge Weight: 3.5~8.5 g (including headshell is 13~18 g)
  • Anti-Skating Range: 0 – 3 g
  • Effective tonearm mass: 20 g (incl. headshell)

Terminals:

  • 1x PHONO Out (gold-plated), 1x GND Earth Terminal

General:

  • Power supply: AC 115/230 V, 60/50 Hz (EU/US), AC 100 V, 50/60 Hz (JP)
  • Power Consumption: 9 W
  • Dimensions: 458 (W) x 368.3 (D) x 162.4 (H) mm
  • Weight: approx. 12.8 kg

Included Accessories:

  • Turntable Platter, Dust Cover, 2x Dustcover hinges, Balance Counter Weight, PHONO RCA Cable with earth lead, power cord, Rubber Mat, Instruction Manual, Ortofon 2M Red cartridge & headshell
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Setup and use:
The TURN5 is a relatively straight forward turntable to set up if you follow the correct instructions.
Once the tone arm is dialled in with the best VTA, tracking force, tracking angle and azimuth for your cartridge you’re pretty much set to go.
Hook the TURN5 up to your phono stage and now you can begin listening to your new turntable!
This turntable, once set up is very user friendly, with a no-fuss experience.

Build and finish:
Reloop have created a fine turntable with the TURN5.
The gloss finish is well done.
Adding to it’s glossy looks are the satin black tonearm and gold platter.
I think the gold is a nice touch which really pops against the black canvas that surrounds it.
The buttons and power switch all have a good solic click to them and I detect no wobble.
Around the back we have a neatly arrayed set of well made terminals.
Hooking this turntable up to your phono stage or amplifier is very straight forward.
I like that the lid is easily removed and it’s design, although not original, works.
At 12.8 kilograms It’s not a light weight turntable with a heavy weight metal construction and other unnamed materials, so be sure whatever surface you place it on can take the weight.
This in addition to the shock absorbing feet aid in isolating and reducing any unwanted vibrations and cutting down ambient noise.
All in all it’s a classy looking turntable.

Final thoughts:
At £650, the Reloop TURN5 is an affordable and more than decent stab at the hifi market.
I’ve used their DJ turntables in the past and was impressed with both their build quality and their performance.
This translates into their hifi turntables, or at least the TURN5.
It’s a robust deck with an exceptionally good adjustable tone arm.
Suited to all, if not many different genres of music and plays fast and lively.
Ok, it’s a bit of a fiddle to set up initially if it’s your first time setting up a tone arm like this, but once you’re past that point it’s a beauty of a turntable to use and look at.
The piano black finish looked great next to my Cyrus ONE which also has a polished piano black design.
Would I recommend the TURN5?
Yes I would. For £650 you could do far worse and if you’re coming over from DJ style turntables you’ll be in familiar territory.

Thanks to my readers who are the heart and soul of this blog.
Please remember to follow/subscribe, like and share.

Thank you to Simon and the team at Henley Audio for being patient with me and being so supportive as always.

And thank you to the sponsors of the blog, who help keep things ticking along.

Many thanks and stay safe folks!
Paul.

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Musician Audio Pegasus.

In my first review for Musician Audio I get to grips with the Pegasus DAC. Read on to find out more…

Disclaimer:
This is my unbiased view of the Musician Audio Pegasus.
Khai and the team at Musician Audio have kindly send this out for review.
Retail price at the time of this review is £863.11.

You can find the Pegasus and other Musician Audio products here in their distributor list:-
http://www.musician-audio.com/en/col.jsp?id=104

Review equipment and software:
Musician Audio Pegasus.
MacBook Pro Retina 2015.
Qobuz Studio Premier.
STAX SRM-700T.
STAX SR-009.
Cyrus ONE.
Bowers & Wilkins DM601 / S3.
Audiowalle TP1000 mains conditioners.
Audiocrast USB cable.

All other cables supplied by AF Audio & Custom Cans.

Music:
A collection of high res & Redbook tracks that I use for demo purposes.
You can find the playlist here:-
https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/3785941

What’s in the box:
1x Musician Audio Pegasus DAC.
1x Mains cable.
Documentation.
Warranty card.

Spec:
Proprietary R2R + DSD Architecture
True balanced 24BIT R2R + 6BIT DSD (32 steps FIR Filters)
Low Noise Power Supply
FIFO Buffer
Digital Signal Processing via FPGA
DSD1024, PCM1536 Supports On USB & I2S Input (the audio source needs to be compatible with the native interface)
Proprietary USB Audio Solution via STM32F446 Advanced AMR Based MCU
Licensed Thesycon USB Driver For Windows Platform
Driverless On Mac & Linux
DSD:
DSD64-DoP On All Input
DSD1024 On USB & I2S Input
PCM:
24bits / 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192KHz On All Input
1536kHz On USB & I2S Input
Sampling Mode: Non-Oversampling NOS / Oversampling OS
Digital Input:
Coaxial * 1 via RCA
Optical * 1
USB * 1
AES/EBU * 1
I2S via HDMI LVDS * 1
Analog Output:
RCA : 2.2Vrms
XLR : 3.55Vrms
Technical parameters:
Frequency Response: 10Hz~60KHz
THD+N: 0.002%
S/N Ratio: 123dB(A-weighted)
Dynamic Range: >120dB
AC Power Requirement: 110-240VAC, 50/60Hz (Worldwide Voltage)
Power Consumption: ≤20W
Dimension: 280 x 250x 50 mm
Package Dim: 375 x 330 x 115 mm
Package Content: DAC + AC power cable, No remote control.
Weight:3.9 Kg
Color: Silver / Black

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Build and finish:
The Pegasus in a word, is exceptional.
And I would expect nothing less at this price point.
Musician Audio sent me the silver version and it matches almost perfectly with the rest of my silver components, IE: the STAX SRM-700T & the Technics SL1200 MKII.
The finish is exquisite with a finely machined front panel and housing.
Beneath the DAC are four spiked aluminium feet with sorbothane or silicone inserts. Not only do they look cool, they sit the unit level and firmly in place.
Its aggressive looks make for a modern aesthetic, yet are subtle enough to remain classy!
One thing I vehemently dislike are overly bright, large and often garish LEDs.
Musician Audio have nothing to worry about in this regard as they have fitted small LED’s which are just bright enough to be seen. They don’t drown out the rest of the system and I really appreciated the use of orange LEDs. Along with the three subtle buttons in the centre, with firm, shallow clicks, Musician Audio have done a great job!


Complimenting its great looks and finish, the Pegasus is built extremely robustly.
During my time with it I had the STAX SRM-700T sat atop the Pegasus. The 700T is not lightweight in any way, however, the Pegasus had no issues with the added weight.
The rear panel is laid out well with the different segments for the input and output stages marked clearly. The RCA posts are heavy duty and fit the RCA plugs I used like a glove.
The XLR sockets are mounted securely and again fit like a glove with no wobble or give.
The same can be expected of the various digital inputs and the power inlet.

I must applaud the designers and engineers who created this DAC as it truly is a fabulous piece, oozing premium craftsmanship with lots of input flexibility!

Setup:

Installing the Pegasus into my system was straight forward.
As I am using a MacBook Pro I had no need to install any drivers or additional software.
Mac OS recognised the DAC immediately within the sound settings and Midi preferences.
Again, With Qobuz up and running, the app had no issue seeing the Pegasus.
Connecting to other devices either via coaxial or optical is easy.

Once you’re all hooked up, power the DAC up, select your input and you’re set.
Just about.
The Pegasus has a NOS button. No. this won’t give your car a boost.
In fact it enables you to turn oversampling on or off. No Over Sampling… NOS.

It is good to note that Musician Audio include windows drivers for anyone who requires them.

Sound:
The Pegasus presents itself with a wide, spacious soundstage with plenty of headroom.
Superb separation. Instrument separation is fabulous, even in busier pieces of music. I can still pick the performance apart.
Low end bass is plentiful. With a complimentary fast delivery and excellent definition.
Moving onto the midrange and we find a forward and crystal clear sound, paired with an airiness that brings a beautifully balanced and organic presentation of vocals and acoustic instruments.
Highs are tight, crisp and concise. Leaning toward a more neutral sound than I am used to but retaining a nice level of sparkle and speed.
I personally found it performs best after sitting powered up, warming up for a few hours.
Note that I listened 90% of the time with the NOS circuit off.
Though the short time I had it on, I noticed a slightly narrower, more focused soundstage with a wisp of roll off in the higher frequencies.

Final thoughts:
At £863.11, the Pegasus is a worthy investment.
It paired impressively well with the Cyrus ONE, bringing an excellent DAC solution to my system.
Paired with the STAX however, raised the bar, and then some.
I’ve used the more expensive Burson Audio Conductor 3X Performance with The SRM-700S
which was a formidable system and one that inspired my decision to eventually invest in the Conductor and a STAX system at home.
If my mind was not already made up, the Pegasus would be a firm contender for that place in my system. The Conductor only wins in my case due to also being a pre-amp and headphone amplifier.
But this is not a complaint against the Pegasus, just simple personal requirements.
I may even be tempted at some point to grab one for my desktop STAX system in my office space once that is finished. I enjoyed it that much.
Would I recommend the Pegasus? Yes. If I were in a position to buy one right now, I wouldn’t feel any regret in spending £30 shy of £900 on this DAC.

Many thanks to my readers for their continuing support. You are all fabulous!

And a huge thanks to Zhai and Arthur for arranging this review sample and being patient with me.

Please remember to like, follow and subscribe if you enjoy my reviews, and of course, please share! every little helps the blog to grow through more views and exposure.

Many thanks,
Paul.

Sponsor:
Thanks to Silver Note Tone Arms for the unwavering support and being there from the very beginning! Thank you Mark! 🙂

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STAX SRM-700T Electrostatic Ear speaker Driver.

After reviewing the extremely impressive SRM-700S driver, STAX have sent me the SRM-700T to see how I like the tube variant of this driver.

Disclaimer:
STAX have not paid me to write this article.
Although The Audiophile Cafe is sponsored by STAX, the views and thoughts in this publication are my own unbiased opinion.
Audrey and Kay have been most gracious, kind and patient with me and I would like to personally thank them both.

The STAX SRM-700T currently retails at $3,400 at the time of this article.

Follow this link for more.
https://staxaudio.com/driver/stax-srm-700t

Review equipment & software:
STAX SRM-700T.
STAX SR-009.
STAX SR-L300.
Musician Audio Pegasus.
MacBook Pro Retina 15″.
Qobuz Studio Premier.
KECES Audio ePhono.
KECES Audio ePower.
Technics SL1200 MKII.
Ortofon Quintet Red.
Audiowalle TP1000 mains conditioners.

Interconnects and mains cables supplied by our sponsors AF Audio & Custom Cans.
USB cable is a Crime Audio Snotora in pure silver.

Music:

Vinyl:
Jean Michel Jarre – Les Chants Magnetiques. ( Magnetic Fields )
Jean Michel Jarre – Revolutions.
Jean Michel Jarre – Equinox. ( 180 gram )
Jean Michel Jarre – The Concerts In China.
Depeche Mode – Violator. ( 180 gram )
Pink Floyd – The Wall. ( 180 gram )
Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair.
Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.5.
Qobuz:
Mikaela Davis – Delivery. ( HI-RES / 48.0 kHz )
Lissie – Thank You To The Flowers. ( Redbook 16bit / 44.1kHz )
Chris Rea – ERA 1. ( HI-RES / 96.0 kHz )
Fleetwood Mac – Audiophile Collection. ( Redbook 16bit / 44.1kHz )
Mastodon – Once More Around The Sun. ( Redbook 16bit / 44.1kHz )
Kylesa – Static Tensions ( Redbook 16bit / 44.1kHz )
The Audiophile Cafe Demo playlist:
https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/3785941 ( mixed file formats )

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 126910317_3311706015607879_745289645000357670_o.jpg

The Audiophile Cafe readers can receive 1 month’s free subscription to Studio, which allows you to listen to Qobuz’s entire music library in Hi-Res and CD quality. 
Please note: Existing Studio subscribers need to unsubscribe first before activating the gift. 
Please click on the following link for more:
https://try.qobuz.com/tqs_fr/?qbzs=society&qbzc=THE_AUDIOPHILE_CAFE&utm_source=society&utm_medium=partner_page&utm_campaign=THE_AUDIOPHILE_CAFE

What’s in the box:
1x STAX SRM-700T electrostatic ear speaker driver.
1x Mains cable.
1x Stereo RCA interconnect.
Documentation.

Spec:

  • 6SN7 achieves a highly transparent sound
  • Non-inductive winding resistors with the least inductance
  • High-definition film capacitors
  • Hand-selected matching FET
  • EMI shielded volume control
  • Volume control bypass switching
  • Switchable RCA and XLR inputs. RCA parallel out.
  • Features newly developed large-sized aluminium insulators, combined with new vibration-proof material plus high frictional coefficient.
  • Type: FET input + vacuum tube output hybrid DC amplification driver unit
  • Vacuum tube: 6SN7 x2
  • Frequency response: DC – 100 kHz (with SR-009S)
  • Gain: 60dB
  • Harmonic distortion: 0.01% or less (1 kHz / 100 V rms output)
  • Input impedance: 50 kΩ (RCA), 50 kΩx 2 (XLR)
  • Maximum output voltage: 340 V rms (1 kHz)
  • Bias voltage: PRO 580 V
  • Operating temperature / humidity: 0 to 35 degrees C / less than 90% (non condensing)
  • Input terminal: RCA x 1, XLR x 1
  • Output: RCA parallel output terminal
  • Power consumption: 54 W
  • Dimension: 240 W x 103 H x 393 D mm (maximum protruding portion included)
  • Weight: 5.7 kg
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Build and finish:
I’ve had 4 STAX electrostatic drivers come through The Audiophile Cafe now and the first thing that stands out is the quality control.
Each unit has been flawless in its build and high quality finish.
The SRM-700T is no different. The 700t is identical to the 700S in every way, aside from the domed vents on the roof for the 6SN7 tubes and the circuitry in relation to said tubes.
Everything that was so right about the SRM-700S can be found in the SRM-700T, from the silky smooth volume and balance knob, firm and solid switches, through to the solid, heavy, yet subtle, aesthetically pleasing front panel and luxurious finish.
The rear panel is a carbon copy. Same Balanced input and RCA stereo input, parallel RCA stereo output, input selector and volume control selector. And the same premium quality seen before is evident in this unit.

Like its solid state sibling STAX have made a point of making the markings and instructions on the unit easy to understand and follow.
I’m won’t open the unit up as I’m not qualified to do so, however you can see from the info and images on STAX’s website that they use only the highest quality parts and the final assembly is spot on.
STAX have knocked it out of the ballpark. Again.

Setup:
Thanks to the easy to understand rear panel and clearly marked front panel, the SRM-700T is a breeze to hook up.
Simply choose the way you want to hook up and if you want to control the volume with the unit itself or externally from a pre-amp or DAC that has volume control.
In my case, this time around I’m using a DAC that doesn’t have a pre-amp built in so I’ve set it up so I use the STAX SRM-700T’s onboard volume control.
Plug everything in, power up and you’re done.
Bear in mind, unlike the 700S, the 700T has a short warm up sequence. Indicated by an amber flashing power LED when you initially turn the driver on.

Sound:
The SRM-700T is quiet with an audibly silent signal.
The soundstage is spacious and has an astonishing level of headroom.
Isolation, phenomenal. Offering a tremendous image with super-sharp separation of instruments.
The SRM-700T presents a strong, large sound.
Bass hits with finesse and authority.
The 700T has a warmth to it, yet without sounding dark or muddy.
Low sweeping bass sounds sublime and the bass to mid bass frequencies are punchy & detailed.
The midrange lends itself to a smooth, airy presentation, offering a very organic sound.
Vocals, wind and string instruments are easy to listen to, however there is also a liveliness in the mix that balances things perfectly.
And then we have the high frequencies…
I’m one of those audiophiles that likes a fair amount of top end sparkle, and boy oh boy does the 700T deliver. It delivers a forward, crystal clear sound that doesn’t roll off, yet does this without going too far.
Not often does a ear speaker driver or headphone amplifier paired with the right ear speakers or headphones give me the same enjoyment I get when listening to a high end amp & pair of speakers sporting ribbon tweeters.
The 700T paired with the SR-009 manages exactly that. Paired with the SR-L300 it’s not far off, however, we do begin to notice the highs sounding a touch rolled off at the very top. But not by much.

Digital & analogue sources alike, the SRM-700T with the SR-009 envelope you in the most exotic listening experience.

I can’t quite believe there are more expensive drivers that claim to offer superiority over this level of product.

Final thoughts:
This was an interesting review. I have already reviewed the 700T’s sibling, the 700S.
I wondered what the Tubes on the output stage would bring to the table, and I was not disappointed!
STAX have been around for a long time and it shows. Their craftsmanship, attention to detail and final product is without a doubt some of the best home audio gear on the market.
Now I’m truly diving into the realm of electrostatic gear, it’s difficult to go back to regular headphones and in this case, lower end electrostatic drivers or ear speakers.
I didn’t think I would see myself writing that, but here we are.
$7,319 is a lot of money, ( includes the cost of an extension cable ) so this won’t be in every audiophiles sights.
However, If you have the funds and are pondering an electrostatic system, please do yourself a favour and take the plunge with the SRM-700T and SR-009.
You will not regret it. In my honest opinion, it’s worth every dollar!

Thanks:
A massive thanks to Kay and Audrey at STAX for being extremely patient with me and as always being the super-supportive people that they are.

Huge thanks to my readers! Without you none of this would be worth it.
Please remember too like, subscribe and share!

Sponsors:
The Audiophile Cafe is sponsored by a few brands and start-ups and today I’d like to thank Custom Cans and AFAudio for supplying all of the cables that connect all of the dots and allow me to take the connections out of the process.
Look out for some articles in the near future about both!

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