KOSS ESP-950 Thread

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by milosz, Nov 22, 2011.
  1. illram
    Also just got these in from Massdrop. I am using software EQ with these and they really handle an EQ well. "Out of the box" I found them muffled and a little lifeless but after EQ'ing them I am super satisfied. For now I am using a Creative E5 as the DAC, nothing fancy but it has an easy to use EQ for lazy people like myself and it was easy to throw it in my chain. (I am using these as gaming headphones as well. They work very well with a surround DSP.)

    If anyone else has these, try an EQ first before you replace the E/90. When I was researching these it seemed most agreed the E/90 was the weak link but for myself, EQ'ing them gets me 95% of the way there and I probably won't need to go the Stax Amp/cable adapter route, which is good since that would cost more than I paid for the headphones.

    Also really dig the little leather case these come with, it's a great bag for electronics in general.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  2. Kukuk
    My simple fix to my volume knob annoyance.
    trellus likes this.
  3. illram
    Yeah the volume is annoying. I am thinking about painting a line on both so I can tell when they are aligned or not. For now I am relying on Windows' volume control.
  4. Kukuk
    Part of my frustration is this little corner of my desk is dark, so it's hard to see if the lines are actually lined up, but also they can look like they're lined up, but be ever so slightly off.

    Is there any particular reason for the channels to be separated like this? Like, will one channel start to lose volume over time?
  5. denwenz
    To Gardibolt-the ESP 950 are safe to listen to. In fact, I acquired these headphones because of health concerns. Whenever you place on your head dynamic or planer headphones, you are placing a magnet on each side of your head that is sending magnetic energy into your brain. I had a pair of sennheiser hd-800 which I like a lot-however, when I measured the gauss level coming from the cup of the HD-800 with a gauss meter I knew I could never put those headphones on my head again. There is one dynamic headphone maker who is doing something about this, and that is Ultrasone (sold my headphones.com and moon audio). The following passage is taken from Absolute Sound latest issue in their review of the Ultrasone Edition 5 unlimited. "Ultrasone is not that comfortable with the idea of delivering hundreds or thousands of gauss of magnetic field strength a couple of centimeters from an owners noggin so the company shields the magnets inside of it headphones". The technology they use is simple Mu Shield which is suppose to decrease the magnetic field by 95%-I have no idea why other manufactors have not addressed this issue. Of course with electrostatic headphones, there is no magnetic field because magnets are not used. I have tested the Koss headphones and there is no gauss reading with the headphone. I also have tested the headphone with an EMF tester, The Trifield Meter, and the headphones do not measure any EMF-so I feel these are very safe headphones
  6. Muinarc
    Electrostatic drivers are much more finicky to manufacture than dynamic or planar drivers and the variances between them are higher. Add in that small things like dust, hair, or lint can be attracted to the diaphragms due to static charges, and the drivers can vary more with age. To combat this, Stax and Koss have implemented dual volume controls for years and years. The processes have gotten much better in the past 25+ years compared to back in the early days of these designs, so it's not as necessary as it once was, but it's still nice to have.
  7. gardibolt
    Thanks for that Denwenz. Did you also check the E90 unit as well as the headphones themselves?
  8. denwenz
    There some EMF coming from the amplifier when I place the Trifield Meter next to the amplifier-however, when you move about 2 feet away, that reading goes goes down to zero-so just make sure you sit about two feet away from the amplifier and you will get no EMF
  9. gardibolt
    OK so I expect I should keep planar magnetic headphones at least 2 feet away from it too.
  10. denwenz
    Based upon my original email, you should not use planar or dynamic headphones because all of these (except for the ultrasone) will put out a high gauss reading at the inside of the cup
  11. Caribou679
    There is a small hiss when I move the volume controls towards the low volume , like if there is dust in the pot at some places. I have put both volume controls to the max and control the volume with the source.
  12. VRacer-111
    Finally got the Darin Fong Koss to STAX adapter cable in, running the ESP950 off the SRM-323S now. Adapter fits very well, no issue with being too tight of a fit. With my setup, the sound change is very minimal, maybe a little more bass brought out and slightly smoother, but not really a very noticeable change. Would need a setup that would allow switching between the E90 and SRM-323S on the fly to better hear the differences. I'll spend more time with the SRM-323S to get really familiar with it and then go back to the E90 to compare later. Reason I picked up this SRM-323S was it was available locally and I do want to eventually get a STAX SR-L700 when can find a pair for a great deal. Plus, the SRM-323S can pass through to another amp (can't find my other twin RCA cable I thought I had right now to test it out with one of my Gustard H10s though...) It will remain at home with how big it is, the E90 can be used for portable listening away from home. I do like the gain knob much better on the SRM-323S, though it seems easier to find the 'center' balance point with the E90.

    Listened to the finale of Beethoven Symphony #9 ripped off London Festival Orchestra SACD, Alberto Lizzio conductor... VERY, VERY enjoyable experience. Really like how with electrostatics it's not a 'choir' you hear, it's distinct individuals all singing together at the same time... the details... so nice.

    Allanmarcus and trellus like this.
  13. gardibolt
    Happy Beethoven's birthday tomorrow!
  14. ratboi
    London Festival Orchestra are the folk that recorded with Moody Blues on Days of Future Past. May never have been SACD, but the recording is still one of my favorites. Fairly awesome on these phones. Admittedly, I'm messing with the sound field, I've gone over to the dark side and run OOYH on top. My favorite toy from Fong Audio by far... I've got a Mozart Requiem with the Academy and Chorus of St Martin in the Fields / Marriner, the Lacrimosa has been an acid test for me for voice reproduction. In point of fact, it is good but should be recorded better; I'm open to suggestions. Looked and can't find your reference. Familiar with usenet?? :wink:
  15. VRacer-111
    Actually was incorrect, was just a regular CD release.

    Doublemaster 'Beethoven' SPJ90115 2 disc set, symphonies #5 and #9 and piano concerto #5



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