All in your head
Hi Fi Choice 01 May 2010 Full Review
I HAVE HEARD the Stax SR-009 and partnering SRM-007tII Kimik Energiser when doing Beautiful System in the past and would have been entirely happy to hold on to them indefinitely. Of all the brands that Paul and Wendy have at their disposal, Stax is the one that most defines premium headphones, not least because it has been doing it for so long but because it’s going about its business in a totally different way to anyone else.
As far as Stax is concerned the SR-009 is not a headphone at all. It is in fact, the premium ‘earspeaker’ in its lineup and, like everything it makes, it uses electrostatic drivers to produce sound. In the case of the 009, these are the latest version with a new polymer for the membrane and MLER electrodes to drive it. These require a level of current delivery that even the very capable collection of headphone amps that High End Headphones has at its disposal cannot drive, so the SR-009 forms a double act with a matching Energiser. This is a headphone amp that also supplies the required electrical current via a bespoke connection.
Like the SR-009, the SRM-007 is the flagship in the Energiser category and this Kimik variant enjoys some UK-specific tweaks including cryogenic treatment of the valves and uprated fuse. Like many Stax Energisers, it is capable of driving two pairs of earspeakers at once. It is also one of the most beautifully finished and ergonomically satisfying pieces of electronics you can buy. Providing a source for such a piece of equipment is no small undertaking, but Chord’s brilliant Hugo takes a digital feed from the Bryston streamer in the first system and decodes it for the SRM-007. Once again, the electronics benefit from the Isol8 mains conditioner.
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