Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Review

by crackler01

Here is a headphone review after quite some time: Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Review. So let’s see what Edifier as a brand has to offer with this new headphone model.

Intro

Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Review

 

The Edifier STAX Spirit S3 is a model of headphones that has nothing to do with the STAX brand, despite its name. However, the headphones do use magnetostatic transducers, similar to the technology used by STAX. The headphones are actually a licensed rebrand of the Audeze Mobius headphones, which have undergone a slight slimming treatment and re-tuning to create a slightly different sound. Today I’ll try to find out if the changes made to the headphones negatively affect the construction and sound quality of the headphones.

Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Specifications

  • Bluetooth version: V5.2
  • Audio codecs: Qualcomm® aptX™ Adaptive, Qualcomm® aptX™ HD, Qualcomm® aptX™, SBC
  • Driver unit: 89mm*70mm Planar Magnetic Driver
  • Playtime: 80hrs
  • Charging time: 1.5 hours
  • Charging port: USB-TypeC
  • Battery capacity: 1500mAh
  • Input: 5V/1.5A
  • Microphones: 1
  • Microphone Type / Size: MEMS / 3.50X2.65X0.98mm
  • Microphone Sensitivity: -37dBFS±1dBFS
  • Frequency response: 20Hz~40KHz
  • Sound pressure level: 94±3dB SPL (A)
  • Impedance: 24Ω
  • Weight: 329g
  • Dimension (L x W x H mm): 208x110x255mm

You can download the manual here->Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Manual

Design, Build Quality and Package

The headphones came very nicely packed, with a nice hard case and equipped with a set of cables, a grommet for a large jack, and a pad changer.

Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Unboxing

The Edifier STAX SPIRIT S3 wireless headphones are made entirely of plastic, but they do have two logos on them – one for the manufacturer and another for the “SS” sub-brand. It’s unclear if this is a hint at future models in this line.

Overall, this model is made entirely out of plastic and is lightweight yet gives off the impression of being solid. It has a carbon accent and is upholstered in soft, eco-friendly leather. It’s similar to the Mobius model, but it has a different visual and tactile feel.

These headphones remind me of the HyperX Cloud Orbit X model, which is very similar to the Mobius and uses the Waves NX system for 3D audio. However, the Edifier S3 headphones do not have this feature or a microphone on the headband, but they do have some acoustic modifications that I will explain later in more detail.

Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Comfort & Features

I can’t recall if I had any issues with this in the Mobius headphones, but I can confidently say that the Edifiers are great in this aspect. Despite being closed and not as large as they appear, they don’t press against my head or ears while I use them. I can wear them for extended periods without feeling any discomfort. The only downside is that the closed design can make them a bit warm in the summer, but it does provide good isolation from external noise like a fan or air conditioning. It’s a trade-off, but overall I am happy with them.

Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Wireless Planar Magnetic Headphone, Bluetooth Hi-Fi Headphone with Hi-Res & Snapdragon Sound with Mic for Audiophiles, Home, Studio
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Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Wireless Planar Magnetic Headphone, Bluetooth Hi-Fi Headphone with Hi-Res & Snapdragon Sound with Mic for Audiophiles, Home, Studio
  • 【Wireless & Wired Hi-Res Supported】 STAX SPIRIT S3 is Edifier's flagship headphone created without compromise for...
  • 【Bluetooth Planar Magnetic Headphone】The planar driver technology delivers a distinctively pure & detailed sound...
  • 【Inovational Planar Magnetic Tech.】Edifier invested in Audeze LCC in 2016, combining planar magnetic audio...
  • 【.Snapdragon Sound】Creatively applies high-definition audio of Snapdragon Sound technology to planar magnetic...
  • 【CLEAR CALL】Most advanced Micro processing system powered by Qualcomm QCC5141 solution with newest Snapdragon Sound...

80 Hours of Working Time

One downside I found with these headphones is that they require a battery to function. Whether you’re using the cable or not, they need to be turned on and have enough power to work. While the battery life is impressive at 80 hours, it can be inconvenient to always have to make sure they’re charged.

When we take out the analog cable, the headphones turn off on their own, which can be frustrating when we want to quickly switch to a wireless connection because we have to keep turning them on and off.

Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Noise

I was disappointed to notice a slight humming noise during wireless operation. While it is not overly loud, it is still audible. I remember the Mobius also had a similar issue, but it’s a letdown compared to the quiet and inexpensive Soundpeats H1. The earphones did not have any audio skips or disruptions, except for during phone calls where I occasionally heard a brief squeak in either the left or right earpiece.

When using the cable, the headphones tend to pick up interference from ground loops easily. So if you’re using the cable instead of wireless mode, any poor grounding in the electrical network will, unfortunately, be noticeable through these headphones.

Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Sound Test

Connectivity

The fantastic quality of telephone calls is a huge plus of the Edifiers. Each of my interlocutors was in shock at how well the headphones picked up the voice, and how loud and clear I can be heard. In addition, the pairing itself is trouble-free and never caused any problems, and the range was also exemplary, allowing you to move around the apartment without any interruptions in sound.

Practical Use

The headphones have only three buttons on them, limited only to turning on, turning off, playing, and answering calls. There are no additional functions here, which makes their use very simple and intuitive in practice. All commands are accompanied by a mature female voiceover.

I only noticed the very long time of switching on and off, about 5-10 seconds. This is far too long and in the meantime, the user becomes suspicious that the headphones are definitely registering the press. The more so that buttons are very small and it is very easy to press the wrong one or do it while trying to hold down the middle button.

Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Buttons

Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Sound Test

The headphones, which are based on the Mobius model, have a very similar sound signature. They may be slightly more refined in the treble, which is likely due to improvements made to the transducers since the first Mobius model. However, overall the sound signature is still very similar and tends to be neutral with a slight brightening.

Bass

The bass on these headphones is just right for me. It has a balance of overtones and depth, without being too overpowering or weak. The amount of bass is just right, making the overall sound feel complete and satisfying. I really enjoyed the bass line because it is even and pleasing, without being too intrusive. It’s great to listen to for long periods of time and never gets tiring or leaves me feeling unsatisfied. Some people who are particularly fond of heavy bass may think there isn’t enough of it, but those types of listeners would likely be looking for different headphones anyway.

Midtones

The Edifier STAX Spirit S3 headphones are excellent in the middle area. I would even use the word “proper” to describe it. The distance is just right, not too far or too close. It’s the perfect distance. The vocals are gently placed in front of the listener, a bit closer than farther, which adds extra flavor and engagement, especially in the sung parts. The well-recorded vocals are displayed beautifully by the Edifier S3 and there is nothing missing. I didn’t feel the need for more or less of anything.

Treble

In fact, only here you can hear that this model belongs to more budget solutions, but it does not automatically mean that the quality of the S3 is the bottom plus a meter of silt. On the contrary, these headphones for such money, really give a lot of elementary quality, especially compared to dynamic models of a similar class. You can only hear a slight roughness, even compared to the much larger and more expensive LCD-XC, but also a shift to nasality, less naturalness. This nasality of timbre, on the other hand, is beneficial in the electronic genres, emphasizing some of the details and creating the impression of the overall brightness of these headphones.

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Sound Stage

Stage-wise, the Edifiers are relatively good headphones, although it will be a largely conventional stage, focused more on emphasizing width than depth. This classic stage setting is anchored in a brighter tonality and is not a bad thing at all. Edifier, like Audeze, offers headphones in an (almost) closed formula, so a huge part of the soprano and the sound wave returns reflected from the inside of the shell.

In fact, S3s accomplish more than just one property here, i.e. closure. There are vents hidden under the forks of the headband, probably to equalize the pressure in the chambers and at the same time act as phase/tonality correctors. Part of the acoustic wave will escape through them. The rest, however, will be in two ways: attenuated inside the box and at the same time returning to the diaphragm and the user’s listening chamber in its extreme range.

Don’t Go Without a Battery

There is one more aspect that cannot be excluded from the tuning of the S3. Namely DSP. Headphones for wired and Bluetooth use require being turned on, which causes the built-in micro-DAC and power amplifier to constantly function. So, we cannot escape their influence on the sound, while also forcing us to constantly monitor the battery status, and largely eliminating the sense of installing some wonderful audiophile cables. The headphones will not benefit from this at all, or at least not to the same degree as if it were a normal signal cable. At best, this will affect the quality of the input signal.

Because the headphones must be turned on anyway in order to work at all, we do not need to drive them, but it also means that we can only give an analog signal when using Bluetooth is simply impossible. Otherwise, it doesn’t make much sense.

Let’s be honest: these headphones were – already at the Audeze project stage – created as a mobile, portable, battery model. The jack socket is only a backup communication port in case of problems with Bluetooth or its absence. So if we don’t mind this state of affairs, everything is great. Others should bear in mind that if the S3 batteries run out, we won’t listen to anything.

Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Video Review

To Buy Or Not?

The subject of profitability in the case of this model can be very confusing and at first points to the fact that for a little more you can theoretically have a better rebrand from Kingston.

The biggest rival of the S3 will be the Orbit S, which – in theory – should offer stronger bass, a little more treble, a little less clarity, and a gyroscopic surround sound system known from the original Mobius. In turn, without these additions, the S3 will try to defend itself with better overall sound quality, and less offensiveness, but also – perhaps (because there is no chance to check it in such a short time of the review) – the lack of cracking of plastics at the adjustment mechanisms. Interestingly, from what I read after the reviews, Kingston rejects such damage as part of the warranty procedure.

Sale
HyperX Cloud Orbit S-Gaming Headset,3D Audio,Head Tracking, PC,Xbox One,PS4,Mac,Mobile,Nintendo Switch,Planar Magnetic headphones with Detachable Noise Cancelling Microphone,Pop Filter(HX-HSCOS-GM/WW)
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  • Audeze planar magnetic drivers
  • Waves Nx fully immersive 3D . Sound pressure level - >120 dB
  • Waves Nx head tracking technology
  • Advanced audio customization
  • Detachable noise cancellation mic with pop filter

This makes the topic of S3 profitability all the more interesting and, as I wrote at the beginning: misleading. We seem to get “less”, but not quite. Is the gyroscope system worth paying extra for full Mobius? Here you have to answer this question yourself. Personally, I’ve heard such things in the scene coming from what I believe is a decent stereo headphone that I’m a bit more conservative about it. While systems such as Waves NX once made an electrifying impression on me and gave me a lot of fun to use, at the end of the day, elementary sound quality and usability will count for me. Therefore, the lack of this system in the Edifier STAX S3 is not a problem for me and I do not feel “robbed” of pleasure. And if the product is to be potentially more refined (the aforementioned cracking of plastics), this already seems to be a safer proposition in general. Or at least that would be my reasoning when putting myself in the role of a person considering buying them.

Cracking plastics is a taboo in headphone audio and probably all possible manufacturers have this problem. Audeze did not avoid this problem either (early batches of LCD-i3), but also AKG had their hits in this regard (K540, K619, etc.), Sennheiser (HD 555, HD 595, etc.), and many others. Sometimes it resulted directly from putting on the headphones incorrectly (forcefully bending the headband while putting it on), and sometimes simply material savings or the designer’s inaccurate prediction of the scale of work of the material in a given area. In short, insufficient strength tests and design flaws. Unfortunately, as consumers, we are unable to distinguish a model that can cause problems from a model with long potential life in most cases.

In any case, all I can say is that I don’t think the S3 will cause any problems, and those mentioned in the context of the Kingston Orbit S may well not be present at all.

Conclusion

While there are a few things I don’t like about the S3, in my opinion, these are headphones worth considering. If we are looking for strictly wireless headphones with an incredibly long working time, are magnetostatic, and offer very good sound quality, then Edifier STAX SPIRIT S3 can be leaned over. Collaboration with Audeze seems to be healthy here, especially since the headphones, in my opinion, sound better than their prototypes, although it is difficult to judge whether this is the result of the work of Edifier or thanks to the development of Audeze technology. However, when assessing the final product, I like the sound of the S3 more than the Mobius, even without the gyroscopic mechanism. And above all – these are still wireless planar headphones, so a great proposition for people who are more economical and want to calmly familiarize themselves with the possibilities offered by this technology.

Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Pro & Cons

Pros

  • Superbly balanced planar magnetic sound
  • Accurate detail, excellent dynamics, and rich bass
  • Pleasantly compact for a headphone with planar magnetic drivers
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Supports aptX Adaptive codec
  • 80 hours of battery life
  • Comfortable for all-day listening

Cons

  • Must be powered even for wired use
  • No active noise cancellation (ANC)
  • No AAC support or adjustable EQ
Some will say that these headphones are too expensive. But, for a certain amount of money, you will get a superbly balanced planar magnetic sound with accurate detail, excellent dynamics and rich bass.
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