Baby Stax Take 2: STAX SR-002

Disclaimer: The Headfonia Store is a STAX reseller.

Back in the days, roughly some 4-5 years ago, there was quite some hype on the original baby Stax which I had to work very hard to get a review unit on. Back then, the Baby Stax was supposed to be the retirement set up for Etymotic ER4 users. I felt that it was mostly overblown talk, as with a lot of vintage Lambda gear: nice, but not quite competitive to modern drivers. The revised version is here, and the SR-002 earspeakers coupled with the SRM-002 amplifier can either be bought separately or as a SRS-002 package. The Headfonia Store is a STAX reseller and that is how I got access to the STAX SR-002: the store’s demo unit.

STAX has improved the design of the SRM-002 amplifier (or the driver unit, as STAX calls it) considerably. Slightly smaller and more compact than the previous unit, clothed in a nice matte black finish, the all plastic enclosure oozes the typical Japanese standard build quality. I also love the all black finish that the new SR-002 earspeakers have. In contrast, the older SR-001 earspeakers come in a grey/gold finishing, not quite a good looking color combination these days.

The local STAX distributor got the SRS-002 package maybe some 2 months ago and I got a chance to audition it then. It was supposed to be the FitEar 334ToGo competitor, and so I brought the FitEar 334 (back then I was the FitEar distributor in Indonesia) along for the audition. I don’t remember the exact set up then, but it was probably both the Astell & Kern AK100 and the Altmann Tera player. Technically, it was not even a close comparison: the SR-002 is some pretty low-tech stuff in terms of technicalities. The 334Togo, completely blew the SRS-002 out of the water. I didn’t even have to pitch it agains the FitEar, to be honest. I can take the Etymotics ER4 and the Ety would still be fairly superior technically. I kept the result of the comparison to myself since, well, I was distributing FitEar products locally and I didn’t think it would be fair if I give the Stax an evaluation. But now things are different, I’m no longer the distributor for FitEar, and having the STAX in stock in the Headfonia Store, I thought I can share a thing or two about the product.


The SR-002 was mostly similar to how I remembered the first baby Stax to be. Warm and smooth tonality, but very limited frequency extension both top and bottom. The limited frequency extension reminds me of vintage Stax gear, like the Lambda, Lambda Pro, the SR-34 electret, the SR-202, or even the SR-404. This is the disease of all vintage gear I listened to, and you can extend the list to vintage orthodynamics (Yamaha, Fostex, among other things), or to dynamics like the AKG K340 electret-dynamic duo or the K240 Sextett. Among all of these vintage headphones, the SR-002, perhaps due to the limited driver size or the amplifier limitation, has one of the worst frequency extension, perhaps roughly the level of the SR-34 electret (which is a “value” or “budget” Stax line up) or the original Stax Lambda. Even a Koss Portapro has a better frequency range than this Stax.

I’m not saying that the SR-002 is a bad headphone because that’s not where the game is with this Stax. The game is about getting an electrostatic sound in a portable package. Extremely clean and smooth, with instruments very well ordered, the SR-002 reminds me of the same clean sensation I hear on the SR-007. The midrange is quite special and while I won’t say that it’s the best midrange I’ve heard on an IEM (the Aurisonics ASG-1 still tops the ranking), it’s very special and is a big selling point with this package. With the right recording (slow music, acoustics, female vocals, slow jazz, singer/songwriter type), I get some real goosebumps with the SRS-002 set up. It really reminds me of the SR-007 only with 50% the black background of the 007. And unlike the SR-007 with its extremely nasty low bass roll-off, the SR-002 handles the transition better. You still get a good upper bass, but without the upper bass bump found on the SR-007, you feel the low bass roll off to be much less of a dip.

It’s an open back IEM just like the predecessor, and you do get some open-back feel with it, just not as much as say if I was listening to a pair of Grados. Perhaps due to the fact that the open back grille is pretty small in itself. And though the sound feels very smooth and spacious, soundstage depth is pretty minimal and definitely can’t be compared to the likes of the Etymotics ER4.


It’s a niche product, and I tell people that overall the SR-002 is a specialized instrument for people who wants an electrostatic sound in a portable package. The open back design means that I can hear people talking quite clearly even when music is playing (medium loudness), and that may be a good or a bad thing (for instance I don’t have to take the IEMs out of the ears when people are talking to me). The wide, six channel cable is extremely soft and fragile. Likewise the IEM itself, so I will be using this mostly when sitting down in a cafe or in my office, but definitely not when mobile. I just fear that I’m going to damage it one way or another. It’s quite a nice solution for the office, actually, as it doesn’t isolate you from your coworkers.

It’s not something that I’d recommend to the general public, but I know that someone definitely will strike a match with this set up. Lastly, I find the pricing to be quite affordable as well. Roughly $700 with the included amplifier, while not exactly cheap, is quite understandable considering the IEM already comes with an amplifier.

I will try to add the SRS-005 (the desktop set up version of the SR-002) impression when I got the opportunity.


A94Q9688 A94Q9690 A94Q9689 A94Q9698 A94Q9693



3.5/5 - (29 votes)


  • Reply April 24, 2013


    Sorry for the long absence of reviews guys.

    • Reply April 24, 2013


      We need more Mike’s review! Are the FitEar 334ToGo really that good? Can they match world class full size headphones? Nice review for the baby Stax but they are out of my radar for now:)

      • Reply April 24, 2013


        The FitEar 334s,
        They are extremely good. So good that now the local distributor has been out of stock for a few months and people are still asking for second hand units.

        Of course it’s not the perfect headphone and nothing is. But it’s extremely easy to get a huge wow factor out of the FitEars. We took it to a hifi show when I was still the distributor and many high end guys were impressed by it.

        Compared to the 009s and the HD800s, the FitEars are easier to get an impressive sounding system running. Plug it to an Altman Tera and you’re done. The full size headphones however scales higher.

        • Reply April 26, 2013


          Be drunk, reading headfonia, the credit card in the wallet, extremely dangerous condition!

      • Reply March 28, 2014

        ohm image

        I can confirm with Mike that the ToGo!334 is an amazing earphone. Lots of great 3D space, great mid/bass detail, incredible transitions.

  • Reply April 24, 2013

    Ahmad Ar

    Great review mike. I’m wondering the 2 AA Batteries can powered the Stax .

    • Reply April 24, 2013


      A voltage multiplier should do. Stats don’t require lots of current.

  • Reply April 25, 2013


    I listened to the stax on mikes headphone store, i am noy exactly experienced with headphones, but thr stax really doesnt fit me, it have that dry empty sound

    It sounds like somekind of a phone loud speaker through my ak100.i dunno if its what i meant to sound like that, but I can say for sure this is not the headphone for me

    • Reply April 25, 2013


      There was another Anthony today with a baby stax as well. His amp was modded and we compared the two.

  • Reply May 12, 2013


    I really impressed by the sounds, but the fitting is…. well… bad

    • Reply May 12, 2013


      Fitting is not as bad as say the TF10, but yes it ain’t the typical comfortable IEM

  • Reply November 21, 2014


    Many years ago I reviewed headphones for Stereophile. I’m prejudiced towards electrostatic & orthodynamic transducers, and am bothered by your review. Specifically…
    You seem to be judging all these products on the basis of whether you >>like<< the sound, as opposed to whether they accurately render the program material. You tepidly recommend the SR-002 to those who

    • Reply November 21, 2014


      I’d sure like to have a list of headphones and earphones that render music accurately. I remember 2 or 3 that I had which were fairly accurate, but they weren’t enjoyable for long-term music listening. I guess it means my recordings were mostly crap. If I knew that was coming when I was just 15 years old, I think I would have concentrated more on classical music so my brain wouldn’t be polluted with all of the stuff I’ve listened to since then (metal, rock, EDM, jazz, blues, female vocals etc.) I wouldn’t suggest that all of this colorful music demands colored reproduction, but until the industry experts come up with the requisite list, I’ll have to keep looking and reading the common man’s reviews.

      • Reply November 21, 2014


        The question of a whether a given transducer is generally accurate (or not-so-accurate) is subjective, and listeners will reasonably differ. I know from experience as a hi-fi salesman that most people are aware of errors in tonal balance, regardless of their gender, the type of music they listen to, or even how old they are. But they are not generally aware of the finer points.
        For me, there’s a dividing line between acoustical music (classical, jazz, opera, folk music) and electronically amplified music — especially when recordings of the latter are made by studio manipulation, rather than by placing mics in front of a performing group. Such recordings have no meaningful acoustic parallel, so the question of “accuracy of reproduction” becomes largely meaningless.
        Why don’t you attend classical concerts or visit jazz clubs, and see how you feel about genuinely “live” music? This might educate your ear to make better judgments about which speakers/headphones are more accurate.

        • Reply November 21, 2014


          I’m fond of live music, but when I’m listening to recorded music with nearly all headphones, it sounds dull compared to the live music. There are a few brighter headphones like the Beyer T1 or AKG K812 (and possibly the Senn HD800) that sound more lively, but not as natural as live music. Maybe with a handful of premium recordings, one of these $1500 headphones, and a $2000 amp, I could get closer to live sound. But I’d hate to invest in all that just to get a few glimpses of natural sound, and only when chained to the chair where that system is located.

  • Reply December 11, 2014

    Aninto Jati Nugroho

    I’ve had share of various IEM and headphone with diverse characteristics. Starting from DT880, TF10, D7000, um3x, custom IEM and lastly sr-002. I would say horses for courses. I really like sr-002 for it’s transparency and it’s uncanny ability to separate vocals/instruments. Listening to duets/group vocals in acoustic setup with this earphone is just a delight. Sometimes when I can’t make up what the singers are singing, i reach my sr-002 then ,”Aahhh …” that small eureka moments.
    the bad thing is the lower register quantity and fit. It always hurts no matter what kind of tips I use. I can only listen to 30 mins max.
    My most frequent companion are um3x for daily listening and D7000 whan work with my acoustic band.

  • Reply July 18, 2016


    this chap has no clue about what he writes….and is mixed up between conflicts of interest and paid “reviews” (sic)

    • Reply July 19, 2016

      dale thorn

      Mike is the founder. None of us has the slightest doubt about his integrity. And BTW, he doesn’t need the money or the gear – the site functions the same regardless of who reviews what.

  • Reply March 15, 2021

    Peter Sovinc

    I am using SR-002 at work (working in architecture office). I could not be more happy with them!

    For comparison I had LCD-X at home, impressive bass, strength of sound…
    I bet most people would chose those at first impression.
    But when you learn to listen for clarity… this is simply so much better.

    After having such a good impression with small ones, I got myself L300 limited for home use. They are better, but not at work place.

    With small stax i have no issue of people around me listening to my sound. And i can hear what is going in in office. They are open enough so I know if somebody calls me.
    Also, this is psychological – the big stax are taking my focus away. The small ones are not. It is not just about the quality of sound. Somehow the over ear headphones create space around you, and this is great when you listen and relaxing, but can be distracting if you need to concentrate.

    Comfort – well, lets just say you can get use to anything… It is worth it.

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