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Nice comparison! I really want to hear an ESP-950 now. Electrostats have piqued my interest.
Great review, and a stellar example of how enjoyable it can be to have more than one pair of headphones around to enjoy. Very interesting read overall and makes me want to get out and give the RS-1s more time on my noggin!
They certainly are quite different, measurement-wise:
From purrin's CSDs, it seems that ESP950s are quicker in transients, both have very clean treble though ESP's are a tad quicker and RS1's are a bit less rolled-off; ESP's have a significantly cleaner and more neutral mid~upper midrange (explains ESP950's mids omnipotence with all music, and RS1's pickiness); while the RS1s have a significantly cleaner lower mids/upper bass (explains its bass dynamics).
Would also help if those measurements applied to the headphones compared, but alas...(the ESP/950 is on a different amp, and it's tough to say if there's a difference or not (I've read Gilmore and others speculate that the E/90 vs STAX amps could account for legitimate differences, because of differences in voltage swing, bias, and current delivery), and the Grados tested there are not remotely similar to what I'm talking about above (wrong vintage, wrong pads, etc)).
Personally I would say the ESP/950 have cleaner/tighter bass with better extension, and the RS-1 have better/more impact - both are very good though. Treble-wise, I wouldn't call either of them rolled off - they both extend very well up into the "dog" frequencies. But interesting to read your impressions of them (I'm assuming you've had both at some point based on your impressions); how would you compare them to the HE-400 or similar? (A lot of people keep pushing the HE-400 on me, but I keep seeing the 500g+ weight and staying away).
Lol oh no, that was just a wild interpretation of the measurements, nothing related to subjective impressions experience hehe. Just thought it'd be interesting trying to correlate your detailed explanations of the sound characteristics with the CSDs, which unwittingly is pointless as they aren't matched at all.
HE400s are coloured in a way that distances itself a lot from the likes of neutral/forward cans like these you compared, so it'd be impossible for me to compare even if I heard these cans too, very much apples and oranges, maybe even apples and eggs. The weight is not an issue (it's only 440g which is over 10% lighter than HE500s/LCD2s) if you don't have a weak neck or problematic spinal issues.
Still curious, given the rave reviews they get, but I'm suspecting they probably wouldn't be my cup of tea based on what you've said.
The reviews are raving because it provides the bulk of technicalities that higher cost planar magnetic cans possess, at half or a-third the cost - most notably the "planar" bass, separation, and detail/texture in general. Its voicing is also very unoffensive and works well (but not exceptional) with all audio applications.
Bump/update: I followed up the original (see the first post - the "update" section) and expanded a bit on thoughts about amplification, if anyone is interested in reading that.
I am new to this site and new to headphones. I appreciate the effort that you put to this project, original and update. I have found the content interesting and very helpful. In a word - Thanks.