STAX SRM-700S Electrostatic Ear speaker Driver and SR-009 Electrostatic Ear speaker.

In my first STAX article I take a look and listen to the awe inspiring SRM-700S driver paired with the SR-009 electrostatic ear speaker. Thank you to Audrey and Kay for making this possible.

STAX have not paid me to write this article.
I am writing this in the form of an article due to this being my first experience with electrostatic equipment and as such I have no means of comparison at this moment in time,
making a review difficult at this point.
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-700S currently retails at $3,400 at the time of this article.
The STAX SR-009 currently retails at $3,699 at the time of this article.

Follow these links for more.

Review equipment:
STAX SR-009.
STAX SRE-925S. ( Extension Cable. )
Burson Audio Conductor 3X Performance.
IsoAcoustic Indigo isolation feet.
KECES Audio ePhono and ePhono Power.
iPad Pro running Qobuz Studio Premier.
Technics SL1200 MKII.
Ortofon Quintet Red.
Isonoe Isolation Feet.
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo.
Ortofon 2M Red.
QED, Custom Cans and Van Damme interconnects.
Audioquest NRG mains cables.
Audiowalle TP1000 mains conditioners.

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.
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: ( mixed file formats )

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. 
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What’s in the box:
STAX SRM-700S Electrostatic ear speaker driver.
STAX Mains cable.
Wood engraved presentation box with foam cushioning.
STAX SR-009 Electrostatic ear speakers.


Type: All-stage FET configuration DC amplification driver unit.
Frequency response: DC – 100kHz (with one SR-009S).
Gain: 60dB.
Harmonic distortion: 0.01% or less (1kHz/100Vrms output).
Input impedance: 50kΩ (RCA), 50kΩx 2 (XLR).
Maximum output voltage: 450Vrms (1kHz).
Bias voltage: PRO 580V.
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: 46W.
Dimension: 240W x 103 H x 393 D mm (maximum protruding portion included).
Weight: 6.3kg.

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.

Build and finish:
Opening the box for the SR-009 I knew I was in for a treat when I saw the large engraved wooden box.
Within the box are what I can only describe as an exquisite pair of ear speakers. ( Oh the amount of times I’ve typed “headphone”… ).
The craftsmanship is elegant and classy. These ear speakers make a statement in design.
You can see and feel the countless hours that have been spent to get the aesthetic just right with a flawless finish.
The cups have a wonderful mix of a polished concave surround, bordered with a satin ( sand blasted? ) 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 demo’d. 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.
Coming next to the SRM-700S Driver, there is no wooden presentation box this time.
However the SRM-700S more than makes up for this in it’s appearance and finish.
The driver is big! and it’s heavy. Sat on my hi fi stand the SRM-700S stands out with it’s clean lines, the almost champaign tinted silver metal housing. It reminds me of high end hi fi gear that I would drool over when I was younger during the late 80’s into the early 90’s The front panel has a simplicity about it, easy to understand markings and a subtly chamfered split volume/balance knob that is smooth in its operation and feel.
The power button is rounded and smooth and has a good solid “Clunk” when pressed or depressed.
Going around to the rear of the driver we find a panel that is laid out well. The inputs and outputs are clearly labelled, offering ease of use.
We also find two selector knobs on the back panel. One to switch inputs and the other to select either internal or external volume control. Both have a solid click. I’ll get into that in more detail later though.
All of the components used in the SRM-700S are very high quality, for example, the volume/balance control is extensive on the inside and it shows in it’s use.

Setting the STAX system up is straight forward and simple.
With the rear and front panels being clearly labelled you will be up and running in mere minutes. However, I will recommend for safety reasons that you read the documentation. Electrostatic ear speakers work very differently from regular dynamic or planar magnetic headphones and the amplifiers that drive them.

In my system I run both a DAC in pre amplifier mode and a phono stage directly to the SRM-700S. The DAC sends a single ended signal and the phono stage is sending a fully balanced signal.
The SRM-700S’ volume can be controlled with it’s onboard volume control or it can also be switched to “external”, bypassing the internal volume control and allowing an external pre amplifier to control volume, essentially working like a power amplifier. I use it in this configuration so I can utilise the Conductor 3X Performance’s remote control.
I found no difference in audio quality, control or levels when using the system in this manner.
Note: the onboard volume knob is split into two knobs, one in front of the other.
One controls the left channel and the other the right channel.

Moving on to the SR-009 ear speakers comfortability.
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 using.
The ear pads are sumptuous and feel luxurious over my ears. They are soft and cushiony.
I experience no heat or sweatiness, which I have known to be an issue with other headsets.
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 the same effect. 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. If they weren’t so heavy they would easily make the “disappears on my head” list!

Wearing the SR-009. Note the Sony MDR-SA5000 in the background.

And here we are. There are no direct comparisons here as I have no other experience with electrostatic gear at this point.
However I found it important to at least compare this system to my highest end and favoured headphones. The Sony MDR-SA5000. I currently drive the SA5K’s with either the Conductor or the Schiit Jotuneheim. Both fully balanced DAC/Amps.
Where the SA5K are clinical, finely accurate, fast and slightly on the bright side, the STAX SR-009 driven by the SRM-700S take all of these qualities, not including the SA5K’s brightness and heighten them, expand on them exponentially and prove their worth in every detail.
I mention the SA-5000 as I enjoy their fast paced accuracy and almost clinical detail.
They are my favourite headphone and so far nothing has come close to how they perform.
They do lack in the lower frequencies out of the box, however with a few tweaks I have remedied this by using aftermarket ear pads and a fully balanced re cable.

The STAX SR-009 have been heavily tested at The Audiophile Cafe. I have played every genre I enjoy for several hours each and the SRM-700S/SR-009 take every track in their stride.

A spacious expanse for a soundstage with depth and headroom that separates the SR-009 from anything I’ve heard before. Instrument separation is on point and definitive.
The signal from the SRM-700S and SR-009 is silent. In quieter passages of tracks I find a dark void of silence that gives a nice contrast to the music.

They are a dynamic ear speaker from the low end right through to the higher frequencies.
They do lack in sub bass, however it is present and has texture and detail. From there, I hear a full bodied, articulate low end that performs with immediacy and a hard hitting punch. 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.
Together with the aforementioned soundstage and separation the SR-009 and SRM-700S deliver a perfectly balanced, super-detailed sound with a liveliness and presence that will have you struggling to pull yourself away.
They are a fabulous all rounder, managing to play every genre with precision and grace.
One thing that stood out was their ability to perform heavy rock/metal better than anything I’ve experienced before. A lot of gear I’ve listened to over the years has struggled, especially with the harder metal that I like to listen to. The SR-009 and SRM-700S have no such difficulty, In fact I am noticing details in songs that I haven’t heard before. I also noticed how this system gives rock and metal more body and texture. So much so that I’m currently working my way back through my entire metal collection, joyfully rediscovering it as I go.
Classical and Jazz are a delight to hear and some classical works are quite a moving experience on the STAX. Electronica from the likes of Jean Michel Jarre and Depeche Mode are exciting and highly detailed. Studio recordings are clean and precise. Live performances are on a level that I struggle to put into words. They are truly that good.

Cost? I’ll admit, I’ve not worked with anything in this price point before.
$7,319 is a lot of money, ( includes the cost of the extension cable )
Is it worth it?
If I had the money in my bank to cover it, I would buy this system in a heartbeat.
The experience I have had with the STAX SR-009 and SRM-700S has been eye opening and life changing. Again, I struggle to find the words to convey how I feel about this system.
It’s like driving a perfectly brilliant Mercedes daily drive throughout your life, then swapping it out for a Ferrari.
I’ve heard some truly fantastic headphones, IEMs and speakers, at home, shop demos and at shows. And I’ve been blown away at times. None of it prepared me for the STAX.
Is it an “end-game” system? IMO? no. It’s close and very well could be for some, however, there are higher end drivers and ear speakers that could appeal to those looking for something further up the electrostatic chain.

Thank you to my readers for your ongoing support!
Please be sure to subscribe, like, follow and share.
Thank you to Qobuz for continuing to supply The Audiophile Cafe with some truly remarkable music!
And thank you to STAX Audio for making this article possible, not only that, but also for sponsoring The Audiophile Cafe. I truly appreciate the level of support and help you have given to me and the blog!

Ongoing works:
Please keep an eye on the blog for further articles and reviews of STAX products.

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo.

After a short break I return with my first review under The Audiophile Cafe for Pro-Ject and Henley Audio, I get to grips with this new evolved turntable and share my thoughts with you…

Henley Audio / Pro-Ject 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.
To integrate the Debut Carbon Evo with my system, Henley Audio sent out the High Power It psu and I am running the turntable without a ground cable.
You may find you probably need to use the ground cable in your system so please take this into consideration.

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo retails at £449.00 at the time of this review.

You can pick one up at the following link:

Review equipment:
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo.
Pro-Ject High Power It psu.
Ortofon 2M Red cartridge.
IsoKinetic acrylic platter mat.
Origin Live “Gravity One” record weight.
KECES Audio ePhono phono stage.
KECES Audio ePhono Power low noise linear psu.
Airpulse A200 active speakers.
STAX SRM-700S & SR-009 SE electrostatic ear speaker system.
Audiowalle TP1000 mains conditioners.
Qucheng high fidelity mains cables.
Custom Cans and EDGE interconnects.

Jean Michel Jarre – Revolutions.
Jean Michel Jarre – Les Chants Magnetiques.
Jean Michel Jarre – The Concerts In China.
Pink Floyd – The Wall.
Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.5.
Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight.
Peter Gabriel – So.

What’s in the box:
1x Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo turntable.
1x Ortofon 2M Red cartridge pre installed.
1x wallwart power supply.
1x Lid.
1x Platter.
1x Felt platter mat.
1x 33.33/45rpm belt.
1x 78rpm belt.
1x Counter weight.
1x Anti skate weight.
1x Semi-balanced RCA cable.


Nominal speeds33/45 r.p.m.. *** 78 r.p.m. optional
Speed variance33: ±0.50% 45: ±0.60%
Wow and flutter33: ±0.17% 45: ±0.15%
Signal to noise68dB
Effective tonearm mass6g
Effective tonearm length8.6 ” ( 218.5 mm)
Overhang18,5 mm
Power consumption4 W/ 0 W in Stand-By
Outboard power supply15V / 0 – 0.8 mA DC (set at 0.5 mA), universal power supply
Dimensions (W x H x D)415 x 118 x 320 mm, dust cover open 415 x 365 x 405mm
Weight5,6 kg
Dimensions packaging (W x H x D)488 x 235 x 393 mm

Build and finish:
True to other Pro-Ject products I’ve either owned or reviewed, the build quality here is yet again superb.
It’s great to see Pro-Ject have been able to improve on an already very good platform, namely the Debut Carbon DC.
Pro-Ject offer plenty of upgrades to the Debut Carbon Evo, however I think you’ll find you’ll be extremely satisfied with this deck straight out of the box.
In contrast to the still available wood grain and high gloss finishes, The Evo is also available in a mix of satin colourways. Henley Audio originally sent me the yellow satin Evo. If you want a turntable that’s going to stand out against the rest of your system then you can’t go wrong. With so much choice in colour, Pro-Ject are spoiling us.
Out of the box we find a heavy 1.7kg steel platter with an integral TPE dampening ring that equates to quieter moving parts and additional weight.
It doesn’t end there. The 3 feet are a new improved metal construction height adjustable design ensuring a level deck.
The Semi-balanced RCA and ground cable is very well made and against other cables I tried, carries it’s weight effortlessly.
The Carbon Fibre tone arm is audibly dead and adds an exquisite style to the overall aesthetic. Pro-Ject have now included a dual speed selector rocker switch fitted to the underside of the plinth. So no more lifting off the platter and moving the belt for speed changes. Note: Pro-Ject include a 78rpm belt in the box. When this is used the 45rpm position is now used for 78rpm.
The lid is solid and uses the standard Pro-Ject mounting brackets.

Pro-Ject’s Debut Carbon Evo only requires minimal setup out of the box.
Fit the belt in place, place the platter on top.
Plug the RCA and ground cable in at both ends.
Here I would advise using the included cartridge protractor just to be sure the cart is set right. In my case on *both turntables I found I didn’t need to make any adjustments.
Plug in the power and start spinning your favourite records.
*I would like to make a note here that although Henley Audio were very helpful over the phone and quick to send out a replacement, it turns out they didn’t need to do so.
My system in its configuration was generating a feedback loop. At first I thought it was the turntable, however upon a more detailed inspection of my kit and removal of the ground cable, it remedied the issue. Or Non-issue in this case. Do not take this as a recommendation as each system is unique and will behave in a different manner than mine did.

The Evo is vibrant, full bodied and dynamic in its presentation.
With a hefty low end, neutral midrange and shimmering high frequencies with snappiness and detail, it’s an exciting listening experience.
Every genre I played performed flawlessly and the Evo brought every note, every symbol crash, fret sweeps, background sounds on quieter parts of classical pieces and punchier percussion sections to life in a way that put a grin on my face!
My Jean Michel Jarre records were a particular delight to listen to. I’m pretty OCD about how my system delivers Jean Michel Jarre’s unique sound and the Evo exceeded expectations.
Live recordings sound great and don’t get lost in the busier parts of those records.
Phil Colins “In The Air Tonight” hits like a freight train in all the right ways and Peter Gabriel’s “So” is bouncy and full bodied.
Gustav Mahler is possibly one of my favourite classical composers and Symphony No.5 gets played the most at The Audiophile Cafe “HQ”. The Evo performs this record in a way that sounds natural and organic and doesn’t colour the piece in any discernible way.

Summery and recommendation:
At this price tag I can’t find anything about this deck to find fault with or complain about.
In fact there is a lot going on here that make the Debut Carbon Evo a compelling investment.
Solid build with a stunning and elegant finish. Sound characteristics that engage the listener and induce prolonged listening sessions.
Sure there are competitors out there at this price, however at this point I have not had them here with me and so cannot comment on any other deck.
I would happily go out tomorrow and buy an Evo if I was in the market for another turntable, which unfortunately I am not.
However, my son is looking for his first decent turntable and the Evo just made the shortlist.

Many thanks to Simon and Molly at Henley Audio for making this review possible, their patience and for all of the help and advice over the phone.
And thank you to all of my readers. As always, I appreciate your ongoing support!

Sponsors and partners:
The Audiophile Cafe is sponsored by a number of sponsors who help me bring better content to the blog as well as being in a few partnerships. I mention each sponsor and partner on rotation per review or article.
This once I’d like to take a moment to thank all of my sponsors and partners.
Without their support over the past few years and some more recently, the blog wouldn’t be where it is now.

Thank you in no particular order to:

Custom Cans.
Meze Audio.
Silver Note Tonearms.

Grado GW100 Wireless Headphones.

Grado have entered into the wireless audio market with 2 models now, let’s see how the GW100 fairs…

Grado Labs have kindly sent these 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 Grado GW100 retails at $249.00 at the time of this review.

You can pick a pair up at the following link:

Review equipment:
Grado GW100 headphones.
Grado SR125e headphones.
Astell & Kern AK70.

Micheal Jackson – Dangerous. ( 16bit / 44.1kHz Redbook )
David Bowie – Hunky Dory. ( 16bit / 44.1kHz Redbook )
Indigo Girls – Indigo Girls. ( 16bit / 44.1kHz Redbook )
Fleetwood Mac – Audiophile Collection. ( 16bit / 44.1kHz Redbook )

What’s in the box:
Grado GW100 headphones.
Grado story-sheet.
Micro-USB charging cable.
3.5mm audio cable.

Bluetooth Version: 5.0.
Battery Capacity: 850mAH.
Working Distance: 10m.
Battery Life: 40 hours**.
Frequency Response: 20Hz~20kHz.
Mic Sensitivity: 42dB +/- 3dB.
Transducer Type: Dynamic.
Operating Principle: Open Air.
SPL 1mW: 99.8 dB.
Nominal Impedance: 32 ohms.
Driver Matched dB: .05 dB.

Build and finish:
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to own 9 Grado headphones and IEM’s.
Grado is a renowned family run company that have been around since 1953 creating in my opinion, some of the best headphones, IEM’s and cartridges out there.
Their work ethic, attention to detail and quality is evident from their lower end line right through to their higher end models.
Their design process is creative yet sensible. As a result you won’t see a product released that hasn’t been painstakingly thought through, tested or tweaked.
Of the products I’ve owned I can attest to all of the above.
The GW100 are no different in this regard. The same solid build is here boasting premium craftsmanship.
I admire the satin black finish. It’s a change from the usual gloss black and has a premium, subtle aesthetic.
The headband has been updated with a slimmer but thicker headband with improved padding. The forks feel robust and adjustment is firm and stays in place.
Compared to the SR125’s I noticed a slightly stronger clamping force which I’ll get into in the comfort section of this review.
There are three physical buttons. A Power button and a volume +/- rocker. Both have a firm click with little play.
The audio cable included is slimmer than usual but has the advantage of being detachable, allowing the end user to upgrade to any cable they choose. However I will add here that the included cable is more than satisfactory and doesn’t hinder or change the sound signature.
The charging cable is USB type-C. More brands are now embracing this connection over Micro-USB and this is a most welcome development.
The ear pads are I believe the same foam pads seen on the SR60, SR80 and SR125. They’re made from a high grade foam that doesn’t easily tear.
It’s comforting to know we can swap the pads out for others from Grado’s multiple options.
G-Pads anyone?
Grado have opted for an almost all plastic construction similar to the SR125’s etc. I’m glad in this instance that they have used plastic cups and forks as this results in the GW100’s being a lightweight headphone. I’ll also say that the plastics Grado use have always been high quality and make for a hardy construction.

Pairing is straight forward.
Put your device into pairing mode, Hold down the power button on the GW100 until the LED flashes red and blue.
Your device will ask to pair, click ok and you’re done.
Grado don’t have an app and in all fairness it’s not required.

Battery & charging:
40+ hours is a big statement but it’s accurate. After an initial charge I was able to use the GW100 at the stated 50% volume for a few days before needing to charge.
2 hours is also an accurate statement and they took exactly two hours to charge from flat.

As suspected the GW100 are a lightweight comfortable headphone that disappears when you’re wearing them.
They have a slightly stronger clamping force than I’m used to from a Grado headphone but it’s only slight and doesn’t affect comfort in any way. In fact it helps to keep them securely in place which makes sense as the GW100 is going to be used as a portable headphone in many cases. I’m confident they’re not going to fall off when I’m out and about.
I managed to wear the GW100 for a solid 4 hours ( wired ) with no discomfort or fatigue.

Wired or wireless the GW100 sounds exciting, although when listening to them over a wired connection I hear more body, a little more clout.
Thanks to the GW100 being an open backed headphone we are presented with a wide, open soundstage, bestowing depth and headroom.
I hear layers of sound, separating instruments and vocals into a refined stereo image.
The GW100 is not a bass heavy headphone, yet they retain a lively, fast paced bass that grabs your attention with both its agility and punch.
The mids and high mids are dynamic, clean and detailed. Vocals are airy and transparent.
High frequencies are extended and vivid, though not obnoxiously so.
Grado claim to have reduced sound leakage by 60% and although I can’t measure this, sat next to my SR125’s I will say that they have indeed managed to tame the GW100s without losing the “Grado sound”.

Summery and recommendation:
For $249 you’re getting a wireless headphone that has a capable and stable bluetooth connection which doesn’t impact on timbre or performance.
The controls are easy to comprehend and placed in a manner that is soon remembered through muscle memory.
The Grado sound signature is clear as day and the GW100 haven’t lost any of that Grado magic.
They are stylish and lightweight with a more retro design than what the competition have to offer.
Grado have made some discreet improvements to the design without losing the look and feel that we are all familiar with, while improving comfort and robustness.
The sound they reproduce is well balanced, fast and lively, if a touch on the bright side. A wide open soundstage with a vivid image. Suitable with various genres. And when listening to them in a wired setup you’ll find they perform with a boost in timbre and scale.
If you want to have that Grado sound and ruggedness with you when you’re on the move or pottering around the home and don’t want the hassle of having a cable to deal with then look no farther. With the added bonus of reduced sound leakage you really can’t go wrong!

Thank you to you, my ever supportive readers! please, as always, subscribe, like and share.
Thanks to John and Rich Grado for sending these out and for your patience. You’re both proper gents!
And thank you to todays sponsor, Airpulse. Sponsors of the blog are an invaluable source of support and generosity.