anetode

Turns out that while Stax was jumping around between the OG Omega, 007 and 009, Sennheiser had already nailed the design and desired curve on their first go-around at high end with the HE90. Milos’ Clones follow in those footsteps, retaining perhaps the Orpheus’ most appealing feature — that liquid smooth sound. Despite the curves they don’t sound quite as warm as the Orpheus or quite as pronounced in the bass as a top end planar magnetic. But they straddle a happy middle-ground between the 009 and the 007. The clones then are an 008, or more precisely an 007.9. They are tuned for pleasurable listening, slightly laid back without sounding dark. Now keep in mind that to my ears the 009’s treble is just about perfectly neutral, so those of a warmer persuasion may not find it laid back at all. Put it another way, they nail and even top Audeze’s idea of neutrality. Except unlike the LCDs, they are quick, focused and have air (and not random glimpses at air like on some 3s).

Bass-wise they are very good, feed them well and you will get the sort of slam that the 007 can deliver, or perhaps even more. I wouldn’t know, having driven them with an unmodded 727II which did them no favors. Just as well, since the main reason I kept the 727II was their pairing with the 009. Speaking of the 009, I still think that it has cleaner, more detailed bass, albeit notably less of it. That’s not to say that the Clones’ bass is slow or muddy, far from it, they handily best all dynamics in digging out texture. They even allow you to tell the difference between specific drum machines in cheesy 80s synthpop. Overall I’d put them just short of the Orpheus and 009 on resolution and just short of the HE6 or Abyss in terms of slam. (The 007s can sometimes sound like they slam harder, but that may have to do with the midbass or upper bass boost on the 007mk1 and 007mk2+, respectively).

Saving the best for last, my favorite feature of the Clones is their soundstage. Finally a stat that sounds vast!! No, not HD800 vast, but easily the equal of Utopia in size and image consistency. Milos wisely chose to forgo some extraneous design flourishes most stat makers employ to suggest the impression of extra safety. (That’s not meant as code for them being dangerous, they really aren’t.) This choice rewards the listener with an openness to the sound that the Stax Sigma wishes it could have.

Their fit is fine, adjustable to ensure a seal necessary for good even bass response. Their build quality is… well, to parphrase Obadiah Stane, “Milos was able to build this in a cave! With a box of scraps!” So don’t tell us it can’t be done, that a stat with good bass and great soundstage can’t come to market, because I’m counting on it.