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to sequence the flow of this essay such that the reader is gently, gently eased into
increasingly complex concepts. But what I’ve not done is to dumb down the essay. I resisted
the urge to simplify the concepts because I do not want to short-change those readers who
are highly curious about I have to share here.
Readers who listen predominantly to close-miked music (such as rock and pop) may find the
concepts rather alien and detached. Headphone-users who listen predominantly to closemiked music are more apt to go “so what?” or worse “what bullshit is this?” to a large part of
this article, because the things mentioned here lie outside of their scope of experience. If this
describes you, I hope you can suspend disbelief just for the duration of this article, so that
the knowledge gained from this write-up would lie dormant in your memory. In some future
moment when you least expect it, you hear something either at home or at the audio shop (or
at a Head-Fi Meet perhaps?) that will remind you of what you read here.
Readers who habitually listen to music with a lot of ambient cues (such as live jazz,
orchestral and choral) will more readily understand how the spatial subtleties mentioned in
this write-up relate to headphone listening. Such readers may have less problems diving into
the intricacies elaborated later on.
Readers of my review of the Omega II written 4 years ago may remember that I have used
the term “headstage” before, but I did not manage to explain its meaning clearly in that
review - hence some readers may have been puzzled as to the purpose of its inclusion then.
I apologize for your warranted puzzlement. In this current write-up I have finally succeeded in
nailing down the meaning of “headstage” in no uncertain terms. Additionally, I have found a
way to explain the Four Depth Cues in a clear and communicative manner. (The Four Depth
Cues first appeared in my archived essay at HeadWize’s Library, but this current write-up
takes it one step further by having a headphone review structured on the Four Depth Cues.)
It has taken me years to crystallize these concepts into a consistent framework. I am happy
to share with you today the fruits of my labour.
The objectives of this write-up are twofold:
Objective 1: to share my feelings of the STAX SR-007 (Omega II) after 4 years of ownership.
Am I still happy with my purchase, now that the new-toy-syndrome has passed? A
comprehensive review of a product owned after a passage of time must surely furnish a
better indication to another prospective buyer of that product’s worth (or lack thereof) than a
review written during the honeymoon period. Also, it is fiendishly difficult to accurately
describe the sonic character of a headphone - any headphone. A few of my detailed
observations now differ from those I made in 1999. Back when I was active in the forum,
there were instances where I promoted this headphone as the best headphone in the world.
But today, as a jaded forum lurker, I wonder about the fruitfulness and sensitivity of such