The L700 is the current top-of-the-line Lambda model, released a few years ago with the L300 and L500. The stators on the L700 use elements from the 009, but in a rectangular Lambda design.
The build quality leaves a lot to be desired, especially at this price. The plastic feels very cheap and fragile in the hands. Comfort is great, since the leather ear pads are deeper than other Lambdas models I have tried. Relatively light weight and low clamping force are also appreciable.
○ Release : 2015
○ Current status : In Production
○ Type : Over-ear / Open-back
○ Measured weight : 372g
○ Impedance : 145k Ohms
○ Sensitivity : 101dB/100V
○ Average used price : $800-900
The L700 is my second favorite Stax after the SR-007. I have owned a Lambda Pro, a SR-007 mk1 and a modified Sigma, and I’ve heard the 009, SR303 and SR407 in a meet. The 3 other Lambdas I have heard were lean and a bit hot in the mid-treble. The L700 sounds like a mix of traditional Lambda lean tonality with a warm touch ala SR-007.
The bass is not very impressive, and not on par with the midrange and treble finesse. The reason of that is simple ; intentional venting under the pads (where they are mounted on the plastic frame). These vents allow air flow and kill the sub-bass response, below 50-60 Hz. Instead, we get a bumped mid-bass around 50-100 Hz. The bump is too strong for my tastes, and the bass doesn’t feel very tight. Hopefully, sealing the ports solves the issue (I didn’t do it yet on my pair, but I’ve read positive reports).
The midrange and treble response are not as linear or “neutral” as some other headphones like the HD600 or HE500, but they are still very pleasant. There is an emphasis in the middle of the midrange, around 1-1.5 kHz, present on almost all Stax headphones. I’m not really bothered by this shout although it affects the timbre of many instruments and sounds a bit nasal.
The upper-mids and low-treble are a bit recessed, and provide a sentiment of smoothness to the L700. The treble, going from 6 kHz to the upper-treble, is near perfect. Very airy and refined. There is a mild peak around 8-10 kHz but it rarely annoys me.
The L700 is the most detailed headphone I have heard that can be found used under $1000, with the HD800. It is definitely a detail monster, with great resolution, transients (very fast sounding) and cleanliness. The dynamics are also pretty decent considering it’s an electrostatic driver. They “slam” harder than most electrostats I’ve heard so far. Staging is not super wide, but pretty tall beat most open-backs in that regard. Reminding me of the “oval” cups Hifiman, like the HE-1000 v1 and Arya.
The L700 is easily one of the most pleasing headphones I’ve used so far, and despite the build and cost (with an additional energizer), I recommend it. I could see people preferring the L700 to the 009, which is a detail monster but with a leaner tone. The SR-007 is warmer than the L700 but a bit more resolving, with better bass.
Measurements & Resources
I read your comments on the headphones with great interest and found them very appropriate.
Like you, I am a fan of listening with headphones and I am also a musician, I listen mainly to classical music and acoustic jazz.
I would like to ask you with which amplifier you listened to the stax 700 mkii
I thank you and will continue to read your articles
Marco from Italy ( ciao )
Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it.
I was using a Stax SRM-323S for the L700, and it drove it really well.
L700 for under $1000..?