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KOSS ESP-950 Thread - Page 6

post #76 of 1530
Thread Starter 

The main benefit of putting a Stax cable on a pair of ESP-950's is not to change the sound, but to allow driving them with a Stax amp.  There is a dongle-adapter available to allow use of phones with Stax 5-pin 'PRO' plugs from the Koss amplifier.  So, with a Stax cable on a set of ESP-950's you could use the Koss on a Stax amp, and with the dongle, use them also on the Koss amp.

 

I'll leave it up to others to decide if wire changes the sound in some appreciable way.  ( Although I must say I once posted a $400 wager  open to anyone who could hear the difference in a double-blind level-matched comparison between one meter of  24 ga stranded copper wire and an equivalent length of silver wire in at least 6 out of 10 comparisons.  None of the guys who were posting about how they "absolutely could hear the difference between copper and silver" were willing to put their money where their mouth was. )

post #77 of 1530

Can someone post a link to the Elenco power supply? I can't seem to find it.

 

I am still trying to decide the HD600 w/Crack and the ESP-950 w/E90 & Elenco.

 

I haven't been able to find a good description of the sound signatures by anyone yet. Can someone help, please? :)

 

My only problem with the HD600 is the treble. I like sparkle, and a little bit of sharpness.

 

Is the ESP-950 treble a big improvement on the HD600 treble (in that ^^^ regard)?

 

 

post #78 of 1530

Sorry, I cant speak in terms of the HD600. I do have a modded HD555.

IMO the ESP-950 isnt a "treble monster" when compared to a modern Stax Lambda.

The Koss treble is sharp, but not what I would call "sparklely". My Stax SR202 has sparkle, and lots of it.

I think the treble the ESP950 renders is good by most standards, these phones are more focused on the mids.

 

Not sure which model you are seeking, Elenco power supplies can be found on Amazon or ebay.

If you run a search, use all three words. If you just type "Elenco", you will end up looking at a mountain of kids toys.blink.gif


Edited by livewire - 12/20/11 at 11:50am
post #79 of 1530

Speaking of that midrange, I'm thinking back to Faust3d's electrostatic shootout:

 

 

Quote:

Koss ESP/950 sound very different from Stax amp and for the purposes of this review I will not describe how it sounds out of E/90 amp that came with it.

ESP/950 plugged in SRM-1Mk2Pro is a great headphone. It can do everything a almost any Lambda can but it has more bass slam and seems to be even faster with better attack. The soundstage is also a bit different, as Koss is even more forward in the mids than SR-Lambda. Think of Koss as SR-Lambda on steroids. Well balanced and somewhat laidback, with great tone, but forward mids. With Koss possessing so much of SR-Lambda’s best qualities it brought it up to LNS level but with it different presentation of soundstage and details that gave Koss a nice edge over SR-303 and especially SR-Lambda. I still think LNS is a more neutral and accurate headphone, but Koss seems to be better when it comes to very technical music as it can really become a speed monster no Lambda can.

 

If there's one thing I've just discovered about the SR-Lambda that I love and the SR-202 falls short on, it's the midrange. Vocals are prominent on the Lambda whereas they kind of fall back into the overall mix with the SR-202 until you bump up the region around 1 KHz on an equalizer. Even then, there's a sort of slight roughness in the SR-202's presentation not present with the SR-Lambda.

 

However, there's one thing I don't get here...some say the ESP/950 is slower than the Lambda line, others say it's faster. Could it be the difference between the E/90 and the SRM-1/Mk2 Pro?

post #80 of 1530
Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioCats View Post

The 950 will benefit quite a bit from a recable, to open up the stage and improve details.

But since these phones tend to have reliability issues (intermittent static noise) which means you might have to send them back to Koss sometime down the road, it might not be a good idea to recable them. Plus, dust might get introduced into the ear cup during the recabling, and the drivers don't have rear dust cover......ph34r.gif



The Koss warranty IS as stated - no questions asked!  I had to return my Stax  RECABLED 950'S due to a headband issue.  I simply removed the Stax cable before sending and sent them a phone with no cable whatsoever.  I received back a brand new Koss ESP-950 with the standard factory Koss cabling.  All I needed to do was remove the Koss cable and re-attach the Stax cable - - NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

Their warranty is the best there can be - so please go ahead and recable as you'll have absolutely no problem 'down the road' should you have to return them. 

post #81 of 1530
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankCooter View Post
The ESP-950's respond well to amplification upgrades. I'm running mine off a DIY tube amp, and I know of others reporting good results with Kevin Gilmore designs. I spent about $350.00 building my amp, The entry level Gimore designs can be built for around the same price.

 

 



Hi Frank,  

I recently re-discovered a neglected  ESP9 with energizer, and had a very enjoyable time listening to them last night.  I used the stock energizer with tube amps, but I'm interested in a "direct drive" DIY amp. I found the Kevin Gilmore design using 12AX7.  I see the need for gain, but would be interested in some other tubes, maybe even octals like 6SL7.  I've got a lot of tubes and other parts... anyway, what did you build, and how do you like it?  And do you know any tech reason why the amp unit for the older ESP 9 would have different requirements from the ESP950?  I'm thinking they would be similar...

post #82 of 1530

The ESP9 is very different to the ESP950, the latter is a lot closer to the Stax offerings.  The ESP9 schematics are somewhere out there...

post #83 of 1530

About the ESP-950...

 

How is soundstage and imaging with E90?

How is soundstage and imaging with third party good amp?

 

How does it fare against beyer T1 and good tube amp


Edited by sinae - 1/21/12 at 2:30pm
post #84 of 1530

I think it's time someone answered your question. I've messed with both, and out of "a good tube amp" as you speak. Balancing act to T1.

 

Personally I found the ESP 950 superior in every way. HD 800 is the best dynamic can out there (to me) and the slew of Orthos are quite good too. However let me put it this way, if I were to own two endgame headphones, they would not be Orpheus + Sr 009. They would be Sr 009 + ESP 950.

 

(To me) ESP 950 is totally unique because it's got a dynamic signature, with all the embodiments and advantages of stax. I love this phone. Imagine any dynamic you want, only faster, more detailed, and having the sound floated rather than forced at you. I've been thinking about KOSS EarSpeaker 950 since the last time I heard it in September. After hearing it again, with a slew of other Electrostats and all the best in the world, I can say out of a powerful amp I love ESP 950. For the price (around 600.00 flat) it is a real bang for bargain. However in my case I do not think I would want to own it alone. It would have to go hand in hand with a Stax headphone. And maybe some diy stats. There is no other way.

 

ESP 950 is a great phone, and feed it ExTaTa and < voltage and you will love it for good. Lifetime warranty is something else to get teary eyed about (to me).

 

Gone are the days of this headphone selling for < $400. ESP 950 has gained a larger following over the last couple years. I cannot seem to snag one for cheap! (Been trying for 6 months).

 

I suppose I'll have to cave eventually.


Edited by Hennyo - 1/29/12 at 7:36pm
post #85 of 1530
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hennyo View Post

I think it's time someone answered your question. I've messed with both, and out of "a good tube amp" as you speak. Balancing act to T1.

 

Personally I found the ESP 950 superior in every way. HD 800 is the best dynamic can out there (to me) and the slew of Orthos are quite good too. However let me put it this way, if I were to own two endgame headphones, they would not be Orpheus + Sr 009. They would be Sr 009 + ESP 950.

 

(To me) ESP 950 is totally unique because it's got a dynamic signature, with all the embodiments and advantages of stax. I love this phone. Imagine any dynamic you want, only faster, more detailed, and having the sound floated rather than forced at you. I've been thinking about KOSS EarSpeaker 950 since the last time I heard it in September. After hearing it again, with a slew of other Electrostats and all the best in the world, I can say out of a powerful amp I love ESP 950. For the price (around 600.00 flat) it is a real bang for bargain. However in my case I do not think I would want to own it alone. It would have to go hand in hand with a Stax headphone. And maybe some diy stats. There is no other way.

 

ESP 950 is a great phone, and feed it ExTaTa and < voltage and you will love it for good. Lifetime warranty is something else to get teary eyed about (to me).

 

Gone are the days of this headphone selling for < $400. ESP 950 has gained a larger following over the last couple years. I cannot seem to snag one for cheap! (Been trying for 6 months).

 

I suppose I'll have to cave eventually.


I love my ESP950 but it simply can't resolve as well as the HD800 can when both scale to max.  It's certainly better than a tone of phones out there but the HD800 + BA (right tubes) + PWD just extracts more information than the ESP950 + KGSSHV or BHSE.  I still need to try the dampening mods on the ESP950 but they've been on loan for awhile now so no dice.  Maybe Spritzer or someone else can chime in about whether the mod can increase the 950's resolving ability.

 

post #86 of 1530

I'm neutral of this as of right now, but earlier in this thread recabling to a Stax cable was also said to improve (even further) the retrieval. Personally, my time was limited with a decked HD 800. I will recable my ESP 950 (for kicks and to easily run to Stax amps) and compare with unrecabled 950's out of the same amp. Personally I'm curious if it makes a difference. And don't really care until I get to that point. I'll be recabling anyway to run them from Stax amps.

 

I still find HD 800 horribly lacking (70% of Orpheus) as opposed to Orpheus and I find Sr 009 on more or less the same level (Orpheus), with an emphasized transparency. Whereas Orpheus is musical. You guys like your HD 800's a lot, and rightly founded, but I have also heard them out of great systems, and found them still lacking. I prefer ESP 950, and Sr 009 for everything else. HD 800 is cool, but mostly it's comfortable. (omg yes). They are quite good out of BA though if I remember correctly. I heard them through Jalo's setup this time around (a very good system). I always enjoy a listen through HD 800! But they're particularly grainy. Although the best of traditional dynamics, the grain is evident.

 

HD 800 seems perfect if you listen to it for awhile. And then you listen to Orpheus, which is tuned the same way. Some at the meet (there were actually about 15 there) found HD 800 through fully decked system to be 60% of Orpheus (I found this quite harsh, but not unfounded)... That was 4-5. Some 70% of Orpheus. I found them to be give or take 80% of Orpheus.. But that last 20% is just incredible. Sound is sound, and we're all hearing the same thing. My guess is we just use different measuring sticks.

 

Preference aside though, I would say objectively that HD 800 / ESP 950 are equals. They're both above merely 'good' and never fail to take us to another place. smily_headphones1.gif


Edited by Hennyo - 1/30/12 at 10:50am
post #87 of 1530

Hopefully I'll get to hear an Orpheus at the upcoming meet.  So far I can hear Senn has a similar sound sig targetted between the HE60 and HD800 last time myself and purrin had a brief listen.  

 

Objectively I'm not sure we can actually say that as the HD800 even measures better in technicalities than the ESP950 does many areas.  My ears seem to pick up on this wrt what I look for.  Of course graphs don't tell everything and aren't always right w/ how people perceive their meaning but they are useful especially in relative contexts.

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/Koss%20ESP950.pdf

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD800.pdf

 

compared to HE60

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennhheiserHE60.pdf

 

I finally realized what some of you have been calling grain is a treble sheen or glare effect, treble digititus sort of sound.  Grain for me is an attribute prevelant in treble, mids and bass across the whole spectrum where it actually sounds rough as part of part of a phones sig.  Often found in lesser phones and associated w/ overall lack of refinement.  So I was always kind of lost as to wth people were talking about but I get what some are referring to now.  Yes, the HD800 lacks the sweet sort of treble you get in some of the best Sony's they have put out.  Though the SA5K still gets rough to me with peakiness and distortion when pushed too hard.  Once you control that 6khz peak, which seems to vary phone to phone, the 800 is relatively even in the treble compared to most phones.  The 800 also could use better low end resolution and texturing compared to the best sounding Audezes (when they work) or Stax but the Stax are too light and airy for me.  009 gets a lot better but I find the Senns have better note weight on their stats IMO.  There's also a few other areas where the stat and HD800 camp can diverge but that's another discussion for another day.  Anyway, as much as I love the 950 I'm not sure we should be talking about it w/ the HD800, HE60, HE90 and 009.

 

For the money the ESP950 rox and I still think there might be more potential.  Keep us posted on your cable works!


Edited by Anaxilus - 1/30/12 at 12:16pm
post #88 of 1530

First things first, not all ESP950's are the same.  This model has been in production since the 80's so there are some major production variances.  Anybody following Koss knows they like nothing better to mess with the designs (I counted at least 7 different versions of the ESP9...) so there is no way to nail down how the damping is in a particular set.  A few I've had here were very lightly damped while others used much denser materials. 

 

When modding the final sound is always a personal preference but I do believe in light damping for electrostatics.  Glass wool is ideal for this since it can be very thin and last for decades.  Fiber paper also works well plus the standard open cell foam. 

 

 


Edited by spritzer - 1/30/12 at 12:12pm
post #89 of 1530
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post

First things first, not all ESP950's are the same.  This model has been in production since the 80's so there are some major production variances.  Anybody following Koss knows they like nothing better to mess with the designs (I counted at least 7 different versions of the ESP9...) so there is no way to nail down how the damping is in a particular set.  A few I've had here were very lightly damped while others used much denser materials. 

 

 


Ahhh.......got it.

post #90 of 1530

Thanks Spritzer

 

Yea, I just read about Koss's current state of finances. What a sad story.. Those guys over there have potential.. What a shame, and to think a "compulsive buyer" really ruined a company.. I could not fathom it. SacDeva... Zomg.. My opinions of her and how her state of life/affairs should exist going forward are not for this forum. One thing I can think we Koss lovers can safely say for SacDeva though is; "All of my hate."

 

 


Edited by Hennyo - 1/30/12 at 12:46pm
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