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Battle of the American Titans! (Grado RS-1 vs Koss ESP/950) New and improved updated 2016 version!

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by obobskivich, Jul 11, 2012.
  1. obobskivich
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
    JoeDoe likes this.
  2. juantendo8
    Nice comparison! I really want to hear an ESP-950 now. Electrostats have piqued my interest.
  3. Focker
    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! 
  4. jerg Contributor
    They certainly are quite different, measurement-wise:
    index.jpg index.jpg
    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). 
  5. obobskivich
    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).
  6. jerg Contributor
    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.
  7. obobskivich


    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.
  8. jerg Contributor
    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. 
  9. obobskivich
    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. :)
  10. steinjw
    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.

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