Reviews

STAX

STAX SRS 2050

High Fidelity 01 April 2010 Full Review

Owning a pair of headphones is a bit like owning your own toothbrush. It’s such an intensely personal thing. Headphones sit on your head, so comfort is a primary issue. Also, you may not think twice about paying £500 for a pair of speakers but, strap them to your head, and £500, all of a sudden, seems a little bit scary. Also, style tends to be very important when owning headphones.

Here we sample the £6495 Etna SL (Single Layer), second only to the flagship Atlas. Described as a low impedance, low output moving-coil, it sports an open body, unconventionally shaped coils, asymmetric suspension, exotic cantilever materials and a special Japanese-sourced diamond stylus.

Its medium 9.2g bodyweight and remarkably low 1.72g recommended downforce suggest that it is compatible with most contemporary tonearms. The Etna SL is assembled onto a solid titanium core, with non-parallel surfaces to inhibit internal reflections. Its asymmetric duralumin outer body locks tightly over the core, and along with pressure-fit vibration control rods, is claimed to minimise any structural resonances. The Etna SL attempts to create a seamless connection between the cantilever assembly and tonearm headshell, where any resonance can be better dissipated. 

Another distinctive feature involves the way the cantilever assembly is fitted directly into the titanium body structure. Both are shaped so that joining the two together creates a double-knife-edge fulcrum, which focuses pressure on the joint area and achieves a type of ‘cold weld’, says designer Jonathan Carr.

The coil array itself is X-shaped and employs 6N high-purity copper. While promising improved hannel separation, Lyra’s X-core coils are also configured for slightly higher output with less wire in the coils, and improving tracking performance.


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