KOSS ESP-950 Thread

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by milosz, Nov 22, 2011.
  1. Policar
    I find the sound of the ESP-950 to be similar to the HD650 except without the veil. Definitely mid-centric. I would not call them bright, but rolled off in the treble and bass while still being revealing of bad recordings.

    In my experience, all electrostatics headphones lack weight in the bass and sound "ethereal." There's tons of detail but no "slam" at any volume. I'm starting to just accept this.

    What do you mean by smearing congestion? I don't hear it, but I also don't have trained ears. The ESP-950s are nowhere near as nasal as the Shure SE535s, if that's what you mean, but I prefer the SE535s in some respects for being less resolving of flaws and having tons of bass. Someone suggested that the cheap amp can muddy things up at very high volumes, but I've yet to experience this.

    I have the ESP-950s and HE-4XX, which some people say sound like cheaper HE-560s? They're not that different, but the HE4XX sounds really plasticky and less effortless. But it's quite a performer. I far prefer the Koss for classical.
    timb5881 and Brahmsian like this.
  2. ThurstonX
    Sadly, since everyone's ears and rigs are different, in the end all I can say is you'll have to hear them for yourself, or rely on someone's opinion you trust implicitly. I can only say that what I described is what I hear. I'm sure compared to an Audeze open planar, the HE-560 could very well be bright, all comparisons being relative. Also, I'll iterate that what tubes I'm rolling in my Lyr change how the HE-560 sound, whereas the Koss sound like the Koss (the rest of the chain being the same, save for the cables, which I refuse to credit with that big a difference).

    So we return to YMMV. I bought the Koss on a whim, assuming I could sell them on at a loss which I would then equate to a reasonable rental fee. But now we're into philosophy... :wink:
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  3. ThurstonX
    For me it's exhibited in the upper mids/lower treble (sorry, can never keep freq. ranges in my head) where the "glare" (my word) obscures specific details which are then revealed in my HE-560 or HE-5LE. So, separation or imaging is masked by the "glare." It's painfully obvious when I hear it.
  4. Policar
    Do you have any passages in music you could provide as an example? You've convinced me to hold onto the HE4XX until I've A/B'd it a bit more carefully and I can listen for it.
  5. Allanmarcus
    Well, just like going from Dynamic to planar requires an adjustment period as one's brain becomes used to the different presentation, the same is true of electrostats. There is an adjustment period.

    I think the biggest adjustment is the bass. The bass on electrostats is extremely clean; there is little distortion. Even the best dynamic have distortion in the bass, but usually the distortion is very pleasant. Planars are cleaner than dynamics, and stats even cleaner. So much so, folks on this thread have discussed various plugins to "excite" the bass.

    The 560s will sound a little warmer than the 950s, but unlike just adding more treble to simulate detail, the 950s will be providing actual detail. That isn't always necessarily a good thing. Many recordings don't sound great with very detailed reproduction.

    Hope this clears it all up for you :)
    Brahmsian likes this.
  6. ThurstonX
    Off hand, nothing specific. No time to check now. When I hear it again, I'll try to remember to post or PM you.
  7. Policar
    No worries, but if you can think of anything let me know. I might simply be listening to different music from you.

    I do quite like the HE4XX.
  8. Kukuk
    This might sound kind of silly, but does anyone happen to have any scans of old ads or reviews for these things? Kinda curious to see what was thought of these when they first came out.
  9. JimL11
    barondla likes this.
  10. Kukuk
    I did find that, but that's about all I could find. I'm kinda more interested in ads to see what kind of hype they built up for these. Heh.
  11. JimL11
    Well, there were no Koss ads in Stereophile in the issues I checked in early 1993.
  12. Kukuk
    I'm thinking I might have to send these in. The mild chirping I was getting in the right channel is turning into a full-blown screech, and tapping on the side no longer fixes it. Probably going to give Koss a call tomorrow when I get the time. Will I have to send in everything, or just the headphones themselves?
  13. Allanmarcus
    Assuming you are in the USA, I don't thing you need to call them. You just send them in. They request everything, but I just sent the headset and amp. it's highly unlikely the issue is with the power supply, and virtually no possibility it with the case :) Unfortunately, sending the amp increasing the cost. I sent via FedEx with insurance for $500. I think it was about $22. You also have to include a letter explaining the issue and where to return the stuff, and a check for $9.

    You may need to register the headphone first. I don't recall if I did that. I got mine used, but the seller had the original receipt. This helped me fill out the reg form, but I didn't need to send in the receipt.

    Full info here: https://www.koss.com/support/warranty-repair
  14. elwappo99
    Interesting the buyer asked about pad removal. Where did you sell them?
  15. ratboi

    Just splurged on e-bay, a late model SRM-313 with only pro level outs. Interior picture, all caps look good. Have the plugs already from Moon, and Koss is sending me two extension cords. I'm gonna hear better dynamic range, whether it is really there or not. What other lies can I tell myself to help justify the four hundred?

    Whatever; TIA!!!

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