Stax Omega2 Mk2 Review

Ergonomics, Build Quality.

Unlike the square shaped Lambda Frames, the Omega2 frame is circular. Most of the housing seems to be made from aluminum. The headband frame is a leather covered aluminum band, and there is a second leather band that will suspend the headphone on your head.

Wearing the Omega2 feels like a true high end headphone. The pads are made from sheep skin leather, and it’s one of the most comfortable pads I’ve ever tried. The elastic headband adjusts automatically to your head, and there is not the slightest sense of discomfort in the headphone. The aluminum frame has the perfect blend of pressure and elasticity, so you always have a good seal, but the pressure never feels excessive.

Perhaps the only other headphone that I can relate to in terms of comfort is the HD800. The design of the HD800 frame is very ergonomic, and I still hasn’t found a headphone more comfortable than the HD800. If the HD800 feels precise and lightweight, like a modern Ferrari, the Omega2 feels like old school luxury, more like a Bentley. In comparison to the Lambda frame Staxes, the Omega2 is miles ahead in terms of comfort, even compared to the SR-404 Limited Edition.

The pads are circular, and has a D-shaped opening for your ears. The pads are also thinner on the front than it is on the back, which puts the drivers on an angle to your ear. When I first received the Omega2 for this review, I couldn’t get a good fit, which really puzzled me because the Omega2 was really comfortable the last time I tried it. Turns out that the pads can be rotated, and D-shaped opening was positioned the wrong way. Once I set it right, then the headphone feels very comfortable on my head.


Variants

From Faust3D’s Wiki Page, I was able to find out that the first Omega2 variant, also known as the Mk1, was produced from 1997 to 2007, and the Omega2 Mk2 takes over from 2008 till today. Although the two variants seem to share the same driver, the Mk2 variant supposedly has a more prominent upper midrange. The Mk1 comes in two different colors: a champagne housing with brown pads & cables, and a champagne housing with black pads & cables. The Mk2 comes in an all black housing, pads, and cable color for the export market, and the same champagne housing and brown cables for the Japanese market.

Depending on where you buy your headphone from, it may be labelled as an Omega2, or an SR-007. There was also an SR-Omega (aka SR-Ω), which was introduced in 1993 and remained to be the flagship model until Stax went bankrupt in 1995.


  • Matt

    You made it sound like the omega 2 was the end of the road at the beginning of the article but by the end you made it sounds like you prefer the hd800? Was there any definitive winner in your book?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Hi Matt, I'm glad you asked that question. Sometimes writing reviews, gosh, are not easy, and I may lead people to the wrong impression. I probably need to edit my conclusion there.

      I pointed out that the Omega2 has a limited extension (top and bottom) in comparison to the HD800. Detail is also less, and the thing with the soundstage coming from all around you but not the front. But I also said this:

      Despite the shortcomings on extension and detail level, the presentation of the music is far easier to like than the HD800. The frequency balance might not be too flat, yet it sounds very good on the ears, and I think that’s all that matters.

      I also want to quote the introduction part, where I said:

      As the flagship STAX headphone, the Omega2 is the most perfect headphone I’ve ever listened to. All of us can start from different headphone preferences, and ultimately we would end up with the Omega2 as the ultimate end of all headphone. At this level, there is no more dynamic vs electrostatic debate. The Omega2 reigns supreme at the top of the food chain.

      I think that's the highest praise I've given any headphone. Despite the technical shortcomings, what matters is how it plays the music. I can tell you that if I play a random playlist to ten people, 8 of 10 will probably choose the O2 over the HD800. It's just that good.

      The conclusion is not very positive, true, and that's probably what gives you the negative impression. Should've ended the article a different way. Again, thanks for the question. I do appreciate you asking that.

      • Matt

        Thanks for the detailed response Mike. I think the new ending does a great job of summing it up.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Thanks Matt.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      I added some stuff to the conclusion, to avoid further confusion. I also added some small stuff to the part about the Frequency Balance.

      • Jose

        Very nice review Mike. Thanks for doing such a great job every time!

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Thanks Jose. We strive because of support from people like you. :)

  • Ian

    Thanks for a great review. I've always wanted to try Stax gear but been frightened off by the cost which you mentioned in the concluding paragraphs. Just waiting to see comments over the next few months for a couple of new developments:

    * New headphone from Stax – SR5-7 – http://www.stax.co.jp/Export/SR507e.html

    * Woo Audio's Electrostatic Energiser – http://www.wooaudio.com/products/wee.html

  • manaox

    Nice review Mike, thanks for taking the time to write a detailed review and comparison.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Hey dude, haven't seen you back here for a while. Been busy with other things?

  • Budi

    Mike, thought I may want to chip in a bit. Your article said that Mk2 solely available in black. This is not particularly correct. The black Mk2 is for export product whereas for domestic Japan, the Mk2 still comes in champagne color housing and brown cable. Just wanted to clarify

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks for the info, I'll add it in!

  • Budi

    Mike, my apology, it actually comes in silver color for domestic market. Attached is the link http://www.stax.co.jp/Japan/sr-007a.html

    Export market remains the same ,black on black pads/cable. Once again my apology

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks dude. I didn’t even check the website because I thought you’re the O2 expert. :P

  • Ahok

    Tried this yesterday, (soooo late lol)
    and im pretty much agree with mike, that this is a more preferable headphone to most people, because its signature is easier to preceive for many people, 
    and played most genre yesterday, from rock, to classical to j-pop, 
    all songs played by the omega2 flawlessly, 

    I also have the chance to audition the SR-009 (yeah), side by side with the SR-007Mk2, 
    driven from the SRM-007tII, 
    even though the technicalities on the SR-009 is slightly better, slightly here means the difference is really small, (a bit better soundstage and extension), 
    I prefer the darker sounding SR-007Mk2, as its very relaxing to hear, the brighter and less bodied SR-009 is not as relaxed as the 007Mk2

    • Anonymous

      Awesome review there man. ;)

      You know after the LCD-2 is released I think it would take a lot of people away from the O2. Tonally very similar (the version 1 at least), and though it’s not quite electrostatic-smooth like the O2, the bass is just phenomenal, and it doesn’t require a $2000 amplifier to drive. And at the end, bass remains the #1 problem I see with Stax headphones. Especially more that our music these days tend to be beats-heavy.

      • Ahok

        yeah, LCD-2Mk1 is very similar tonally wise to the O2Mk2, 

        the LCD-2 is a steal for its price, for its phenomenal bass, simplicity of its setup, and the level of sound it produces, 

        i think the LCD2 is more suited to nowadays beaty music than the O2, which has narrower genre bandwith, although i have no problem playing j-pop music on the O2Mk2, :D

  • Chevrol1

    This review is a joke.
    How many times did he wrote “black background”?
    What is a black background, is it absence of noise or what? If so, how many headphones noise by them themselves?
    “ you know that you’re still not using the best amplifier there is for the Omega2.” -about SRM-717.
    Ok, says who? Any independent test results that confirm this?
    Actually, Omega2 might be the best headphone in the world, I don’t know, but this kind of bullshit and nonsense isn’t useful for anyone.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Yes I was just joking and this article is a total bullshit.

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  • STARSTERN

    the same amp that you suggest for the audeze lcd 2-3 ,is also suggested by you to pair the stax Omega2 sroo9 ?

    in other words its BHSE or alo 6 or somthing else ?

    • Dave Ulrich

      Electrostats usually require a special amplifier

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      No the Stax headphones need a different type of amp.

  • STARSTERN

    which one you suggest ?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      I like the WA5 + WEE combo

  • STARSTERN

    sound wise they do better then BHSE ?
    just bringing that one up again ,since seen many prefer that for their stax

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Yes best set up I’ve heard

      • STARSTERN

        thank you ;
        recently have came across ,some reviews saying that lcd-xc by audeze with the wright amp ,they get almost the same quality sound ,as stax 009 with paired BHSE ,i asked them and waiting whether respond will come ,my question ,stax 009 as electrostatic can only be better in transparency and detail ,but sometimes thats a minus ‘since it gives a very analytic touch to the listener ,while audeze lcd x should be the better in the sound signature that you always prefer ,’which is warmness and joy ” am i wright ?

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          The Stax sound is unique and it’s a nice sound to listen to. The problem is ultimately Stax just can’t deliver a decent bass even from the BHSE. Planars are taking over as it’s very easy to get the bass out of planars.
          And what music these days don’t require bass?

          • STARSTERN

            BHSE with Psvane EL34PH’s tubes !?