I also own the Select 2 headphone amp with the Stax 009s phones. I also prefer, generally, listening from the Select DAC 2 with speakers using a dedicated preamp. However in this case, the music is simply stunning using only the MSB DAC, headphone amp and Stax headphones especially from the Extreme server via its embedded files. While the combination wont give you the power of your room setup, there is a purity and beauty of this headphone combination that, with the right recording, can be mind boggling.
you know how sometimes you do stuff, then you think back why did i do that? then you think some more and realize it was the right thing to do? but then later....... back in 2010-2011 i decided i wanted to investigate high level headphones. i wanted to see if they could reveal more of the music in some way. a part of the hobby i had not explored. i spent 2 years learning, acquiring a good dynamic headphone rig (HD-800's/Woo 6SE maxxed) and a good electrostat rig (Stax 007 Mk1/Stax-SRM-717 amp) and then later a Stax 009 and Headamp BHSE & Aristaeus amps, which at that time was fairly top drawer. i learned a little and enjoyed it, but then in 2012 had to sell it all to fund my dart mono blocks and MM7's.
since then i've looked into headphones from time to time thinking i would at some point get back into it.
then i started watching Youtube video's and other stuff on my laptop and got frustrated with the sound quality. so about a year ago started checking out headphones again. i knew i did not need to go hog wild, but my way is to jump fully in so i have been more and more checking them out. mostly what i had been watching were the planar dynamics and the new Stax 009S's and appropriate amps to get the most out of them. one issue was how would they integrate into my system when i was not using them for Youtube video's?
this weekend i noticed an MSB Select Headphone amp for sale. one thing led to another and......well......i now own it. and today the Stax SR-009S's i ordered to go with it showed up. i'm listening to the combo right now. i'll not yet comment on the performance. headphones take time to break in.
the Select headphone amp does integrate really well with my system, and i'll be able to plug my laptop into an analog input on the MSB Select II dac and use the Select passive pre volume control for it. i'm waiting for the cable to allow that to work seamlessly; s/b here tomorrow.
one thing, the amp is anodized silver, my dac and power supplies are black. if i decide to keep it long term i can send it in and have it anodized black to match. or if i sell it later it can be matched to that buyer's Select II.
did i need to do this? will it still be here in 6 months? god only knows.
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Indeed, a top headphone can give you something even a million dollar 2 channel can't. Not for everyone but I love both TBH. I had the Stax 009 and various Kevin Gilmour HP electrostatic amps. The DIY T2 is the best I have heard on Stax. I now favour the Abyss as it has bigger soundstage than the 009, and deeper bass, plus the 009 speed. The Stax needs a super smooth front end to work right. On lower end systems the Planars sound best IMO, more forgiving in the treble regions. Best sound on headphone I have heard is the Abyss out the back of the Aries Cerat Genus, sublime.... on the Moon is good, but way off the Genus.
the word i would use is "chill". i'm finding my last listening session at night sometimes has been headphones, and it's seems like i get farther into my 'zen' place than before. is it because it's new and different?There is something great about well set up headphones. Guessing the MSB stack is pushing the limits of what’s possible. I would think it’s a keeper just for a little variety with a speaker system. I use my phones about once a week just based on my mood. A more relaxed session usually.
The MSB Reference Headphone Amplifier is for dynamic headphones.
I wonder will it be good for the Abyss?
Marc, the Select Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier is designed to be mated directly with the Select II dac, where you run a set of XLR cables from the dac into the Select Amp and then another set of XLR cables out into your preamp, direct to your amps. in a system with both headphones and speakers, the amp is designed to be a transparent pass through to the speakers when it's switched off.Mike, is there a "different" perspective on analog versus digital on phones as opposed to spkrs? I don't mean better/worse, I just mean do the formats present more uniquely, or contrast more, ahem, contrasted, on phones?
thank you Al for the headphone pointers.enjoy the combo mike , headphones that sit on your head over the ears yield a close up presentation . in some ways they can show details not heard on speakers . i use the headphones i own stax 09 being one as a tool . it can show alt stage and instruments in locations and presentation .
where the wheels come off on phones is ambience . the stax is way above the hd800 in some ways but the hd 800 has weight the stax lacks . the best headphones i ever heard are neither of the above mentioned . the jeclin float was the first type to allow a truly speaker sound on my head . but they and newer ones and the old look odd and have no way to keep out room noise . lastly that combo is spectacular at showing all be it good or bad . i cant imagine an mp3 on them lol. but many mp3 are very good just lacking dynamics . if the stax are new please make sure both sides work well . use test tracks to confirm . mine are old now but when stax was sold many complained .
Hi Mike,so short term this headphone direction has improved my system and overall hobby enjoyment. will it endure?
you might be right......Hi Mike,
I think it will. The reason is because the headphone system gives you something uniquely different from your main system. A level of intimacy that only a headphone system can provide. If it was very similar to your main system, the redundancy would eventually spell the end of it.
Hi Greg,Inspired by the original thread title "MSB Select II arrival", I thought I'd share my latest development which is much less exciting and the reverse of Mike's: MSB Select II departure.
A very kind gentleman picked up my Select last night, quite hurriedly, as he was leaving on a trip today.
I am no longer a member of the Select club !
Many thanks to the WBF members who kindly expressed their interest in these items, and to all who put up with my off topic post!
Hi Greg,Hi Ken, I am not replacing it (unfortunately) -- I enjoyed my Select immensely.
I had to sell for financial reasons.
The only other contender I listened to that inspired me was the Ideon Absolute. Regards
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