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

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

Japanese brand Stax invented the electrostatic overears (aka 'earspeakers'), so it is fitting that Edifier, which acquired Stax in 2011, has launched a new product line inspired by the now-iconic cans, under the new Stax Spirit brand.

The Stax Spirit S3 headphones ditch pricey electrostatic technology in favour of innovative (and much more affordable) Planar technology. Planar 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 Edifier.

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 Edifier 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) the Stax Spirit S3 are 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 Svetlik

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.