While the several hundred hours of “break-in” was ongoing, I selected from my library a collection of vocal, solo instrumental, chamber, orchestral, symphonic and jazz of various colors to be used during my audition adventure. All of this music was downloaded from several online “high-resolution” sites.
Being experienced with headphone listening since the early 1980s, and exclusively so since the mid 1990s with earlier STAX equipment, I can state that my experience with the STAX SR 009 and the WOO AUDIO WES combination was a “mind blowing” revelatory immersive experience. Prior to receipt of these new headphones from STAX, my system included two SR 007 MKII “phones.”
Vocal performances, solo and small instrumental groups (classical or jazz), symphonic and orchestral pieces, the oft-used phrase “you are there” is supremely accurate. The articulation, blending, harmonics, dynamics and presence of each performance are startling. An example of what I am trying to portray is this: Consider that during a live performance you leave your seat for a visit to the rest room. Upon your return to the auditorium, as you open the door and enter, the on-going performance leaps out at you and you are enveloped by an infinity of sonic stimulus. Suddenly there is no longer anything between you and the music.
The depth and speed of the bass and the presentation its inner details are extraordinary. The wallop of the tympani and gigantic drum in Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” may not move your flesh, but it sure will “jiggle” the stuff between your ears. The mid range is smooth and airy and absolutely convincing. In Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony (movement #1, “Boisterous Bourree”), the power of the massed strings has earth tremor dimensions. Further, the dynamic keyboard attacks in Minoru Nojima Plays Liszt (Mephisto Waltz #1) have the power of cannon reports. As you progress up into the higher registers the “air” and detail continues and the freedom from congestion of massed strings and chorus of multiple other instruments is breathtaking, and given past experience, unexpected. In sum: Magical! Of course, these references assume that the high-resolution recordings are well recorded and contain the requisite digital information, and that the playback equipment is up to the task.