More paranormal activity taking place on the Audiogon ?
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Try playing your headphones at very high volume (louder than you would want to play them if they were on your head) for a few hours.
I've found that my older Stax headphones sound similar to what you are describing if they are not used frequently and/or given that kind of workout from time to time. That has been the case ever since they were new.
The fact that the symptom is not exhibited by different Stax models which are copper cabled does not by any means necessarily indicate that the cable material is responsible for the difference.
How do you know it is the wire that is the source of your concern? Have you heard a set with different wiring? Have you heard other Stax electrostatics and compared the sound?
I have only heard the 009s once, at an audio show where it was powered by a Woo amp. I own a Stax Omega II Mk 1 headphone and a Blue Hawaii SE headphone amp. Because I heard the 009 in an unfamiliar system, I cannot really compare the two. I have read the comments of others who tend to agree that the 009 sounds brighter. Some actually like the additional top end lift of the 009. To me, the Omega II's are themselves a bit too bright, and they are extremely merciless when it comes to matching upstream components.
If you don't like what you are hearing, it might be worth trying a cable swap, but, there are a whole lot of other ways to alter the sound as well. The easiest, and usually most effective, is to swap tubes (assuming your amplifier/interface is tube based). I would next look into the interconnect cables to the amplifier. Even power cords matter too, so that is another place to investigate.
Good luck on your quest.
Generally speaking, my experience has been that silver, being the second best conductor we can use besides gold, is one where silver will improve performance across the board on all levels. Initial 'tinniness' will always occur in cables with silver because I suppose it's some kind of chemical trait. This trait will give way later on after the cable has fully broken in, but this takes time. TRANSITIONING TO COPPER IS NOT RECOMMENDED because copper is completely inferior as a conductor. The 009s are known for a particularly sharp sounding signature, so I'd personally recommend either waiting longer until after the headset has broken in some by playing music on it for long periods as others have suggested or completely eliminating the problem by getting a tube energizer to fuel the cans. The latter is money restrictive, but would definitely provide a definitive solution. Whatever you choose, I would strongly recommend sticking to the silver cables, as Stax is one of the few companies that understands the value of good cabling on their products. There's a reason they don't allow interchangeable cables on their sets.
I have now heard the 009s on my amp (Blue Hawaii SE), and it is somewhat on the bright side and not quite as good in the midrange as the 007. I can see why someone might be tempted to change the wiring, although I have no idea if that will work out well. I am still considering an 009 because it has better bass response and dynamics, and does not require the amp to work as hard (more efficient).
For speaker wiring, I have found that silver wires sound more extended on top, but, when done correctly, silver wiring is particularly nice (don't know about silver-plating).
By the way, silver is MORE conductive than gold. What gold has going for it as a conductor is that it doesn't easily oxidize.
By the way, silver is MORE conductive than gold. What gold has going for it as a conductor is that it doesn’t easily oxidize.+1. Both silver AND copper are more conductive than gold, and by a considerable margin. See the resistivity and conductivity tables that are widely available for various metals, such as the one in this Wikipedia writeup.
That being said, in the case of a home audio system it can be shown analytically that under most circumstances whatever sonic differences may exist between cables made of these metals are not due to differences in the resistance and conductance of the metals, assuming the cables being compared are of equal gauge and length. A possible exception to that being speaker cables, in situations where cable length is long, speaker impedance is low, and wire gauge is narrow.
Also, to add some perspective, simply making a copper conductor one gauge size larger will lower its resistance by well over twice as many percent as it would be lowered by changing the original copper conductor to a silver conductor of the same gauge.
Since the Stax 009 cables are not interchangeable, I would refrain from changing them. To me, that's like changing the engine in a Ferrari to a high performance Chevy engine. It might go faster, might not, but what's the point? If you want a different sound, buy a different headphone (one with interchangeable cables) then experiment with different conductors all you want. The idea of cutting through the flat Stax cables and then twisting or soldering the wires to other types of cables is ridiculous. Ruin them if you want to, they're your headphones, but at least you have my opinion.
It's been said that since Stax are largely capacitative devices, low cable capacitance is the most important parameter by far (more so than conductivity). That's why Stax makes the cables flat. And that's why traditional cable design "logic" doesn't fully apply here.
I think the vast majority of experienced Stax lovers are going to tell you that recabling is a bad idea.
And yes, the 009 can sound anywhere from mildly to annoyingly bright out of many drivers...including the BHSE. A KGST or (much better yet) a KGSShv Carbon is a better tonal match for the 009 and the new L700. The BHSE is a great tonal match for the 007. Amps make a HUGE difference in the quality of sound rendered by your 009. Much more so than with dynamic headphones. Much more so than even most speakers.
If you truly believe the silver coated wire is top blame for the brightness (I believe that it's 99% the transducer + amp), then maybe try one of the Stax all-copper extension cables and see what that does to the sound.
Certainly the Stax 009 would benefit from a different cable. Perhaps only the Abyss headphones have been optimized by a headphone manufacturer. And I am of the opinion that the silver + copper wire gives you the worst of both worlds.
Modifying the cable may help but you will destroy the resale value.
Another approach is to decrease some of the noise getting to these sensitive headphones. Consider trying a Synergistic Carbon Headphone Transducer (HOT) . It is a parallel filter that plugs into the headphone jack and then the headphone jack plugs into the HOT unit. It has helped the sound with my Sennheiser 800 and Enigmacoustic headphones.
It is sold with a 30 day trial.
What A/C wall outlet are you using? That Stax unit does not like a ordinary house plug,it will generate a lot of high frequency noise. I would consider a darkish sounding outlet such as the Oyaide R-1. Another consideration would be the Synergistic Research Teslaplex unit. The SR unit are especially nice in that they come with a 30 day trial with refund. The oyaide do show up used on Audiogon.
A Synergistic Research Black fuse in your amo will also help you problem with the Stax Hot sound.
I do think the above three additions to your system would greatly help your headphones.
I fully support the comment by stringreen. The Stax 009 are great phones (I know, I own them), but if you aren't happy with them, move on. There are any number of headphones available out there, surely one will be to your liking. I strongly advise against defacing the Stax phones as it will make them difficult to sell.