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Stax's first wireless headphones are Sony XM5 rivals with monster battery life

Stax ventures beyond electrostatics with new Spirit S3, its first wireless and afffordable headphones
(Image credit: Stax)

Japanese brand Stax invented the electrostatic overears (aka 'earspeakers'), but now it has launched its first wireless and more affordable pair of headphones. The Spirit S3 still aren't exactly cheap, but they are a lot more accessible than an electrostatic pair.

The Spirit S3 are aimed at audio professionals and enthusiasts (that's us). They use Planar technology, which combines the benefits of a dynamic and balanced armature driver to deliver "exceedingly detailed lower frequencies and clearer, more consistent high-frequency performance," according to Stax.

They are also certified to handle hi-res audio.

At a claimed 80 hours, the battery life is something special (and presumably helped by the fact there's no active noise-cancelling on board). Not only that, but Stax also says that a 10-minute charge will give you a staggering 11 hours of runtime – in that charging time, a lot of headphones can manage only an hour or two's playing time.

Bluetooth 5.2 comes as standard, giving you greater range and a more robust wireless connection than earlier versions. There is a dedicated app for tweaking the equaliser settings, aptX for higher-quality wireless playback, and a low-latency gaming mode for fragging with minimal delays. 

The headphones are made from carbon fibre, which should be hardwearing and lightweight, and they have replaceable ear pads and cable, for extending their longevity.

At £399 ($399, about AU$700) they're not cheap for wireless headphones; but they do look promising. Can they rival the Sony WH-1000XM5 and AirPods Max? Watch this space...


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Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.