KOSS ESP-950 Thread
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theangelboy

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How do these compare to the best dynamic/planar headphones? Can they compare to something like the Clear/Utopia/HD800 series/Beyer Teslas?
I'll admit that I haven't heard any of those that you list, but what I can tell you is that it sounds more like a fast planar than a dynamic headphone.
 
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I'll admit that I haven't heard any of those that you list, but what I can tell you is that it sounds more like a fast planar than a dynamic headphone.
How would you compare them to Audeze/Hifiman cans?
 
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theangelboy

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How would you compare them to Audeze/Hifiman cans?
I don't have any Audeze but I do have several HIFIMAN and an M1060 (yeah, I know it's not really a LCD-2 but it has some similarities). Sound presentation wise the 95X has a lot in common with the HIFIMAN Edition XX. I think the large ear cups on both give them a rather unique vertical sound stage. Both headphones are laid back but the 95X has less bass and definitely can't hit anywhere near as hard. The 95X is faster and cleaner sounding, especially in the midrange (the weakest part of the Edition XX, IMO). The Edition XX is rather warm and the 95X is less so but doesn't sound cold. It's close but I would say the 95X has more detail but not in an overwhelming way.

I should note that when I said the 95X sounded more like a planar, it has that same subtle texture characteristic to the sound, I think it's because it's because both have a large, flat diaphragm instead of a cone like a dynamic. It's hard to describe but when I first tried the 95X I definitely remember thinking to myself, "Huh, this sounds like a planar."

Compared to the M1060 the 95X is way faster. The M1060 is thick, full, and slow by comparison. And the bass slam on the M1060 especially with a little eq is really good. The 95X just can't compete in the bass but it has a lot more detail and sounds a lot cleaner.

Overall, I would say even bone stock, like mine is, the 95X is a decent value at $450, even with its limitations. But if are looking for a more traditional headphone driver design that has some of the unique characteristics like vertical soundstage, a large-sized HIFIMAN like the Edition XX or Ananda (that one might be closer match since it has less bass than the XX) might be a good fit.

Anyway, sorry for the rather unstructured musings. I hope it helped.
 
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I don't have any Audeze but I do have several HIFIMAN and an M1060 (yeah, I know it's not really a LCD-2 but it has some similarities). Sound presentation wise the 95X has a lot in common with the HIFIMAN Edition XX. I think the large ear cups on both give them a rather unique vertical sound stage. Both headphones are laid back but the 95X has less bass and definitely can't hit anywhere near as hard. The 95X is faster and cleaner sounding, especially in the midrange (the weakest part of the Edition XX, IMO). The Edition XX is rather warm and the 95X is less so but doesn't sound cold. It's close but I would say the 95X has more detail but not in an overwhelming way.

I should note that when I said the 95X sounded more like a planar, it has that same subtle texture characteristic to the sound, I think it's because it's because both have a large, flat diaphragm instead of a cone like a dynamic. It's hard to describe but when I first tried the 95X I definitely remember thinking to myself, "Huh, this sounds like a planar."

Compared to the M1060 the 95X is way faster. The M1060 is thick, full, and slow by comparison. And the bass slam on the M1060 especially with a little eq is really good. The 95X just can't compete in the bass but it has a lot more detail and sounds a lot cleaner.

Overall, I would say even bone stock, like mine is, the 95X is a decent value at $450, even with its limitations. But if are looking for a more traditional headphone driver design that has some of the unique characteristics like vertical soundstage, a large-sized HIFIMAN like the Edition XX or Ananda (that one might be closer match since it has less bass than the XX) might be a good fit.

Anyway, sorry for the rather unstructured musings. I hope it helped.
I have the M1060 as well as the ESP 950, and I would agree on the comparison. I listen a lot with the ESP 950’s, not very much with the M1060
 
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Could that be a ground loop isolation issue? You could use a ground loop isolator in your chain to see if that fixes the hum issue.
Already returned the iPower. I liked it but the stock power adapter works fine and has no hum.

By the way, the crackling and squealing noises have all but vanished. Really does seem like the diaphragm has to go through some sort of break-in process. If you experience similar issues, I would advise you to wait it out. But time will tell and if the squealing or static returns with a vengeance I will be sure to post it here.

Wonderful sound for classical music on these headphones by the way. Totally prepared to eat my words. I originally said these headphones aren't good for classical. I was wrong.
 
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Bismillah

One thing I appreciate about esp950s are their ability to work well with analog sources. They are not so revealing that they show all the pops and cracks sometimes associated with analog but their speed and tonal balance makes analog sound very natural. A great introduction to electrostatic especially for the price and in a world where everything is so detailed focused and sources are so steril sounding.
 
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If I were to buy a cheaper STAX amp for the L700 or Koss I would buy the 353x. I have not heard the 252 but I am tempted to buy it just so I can test it. I'd rather mod my T1 though. IMO SS is the better match for both the L700 and Koss. I'm a big tube guy but when it comes to electrostatic I think SS is the way to go.

I'll go on record now as saying if anyone here is in so cal and wants to experience the Koss, Stax and Mjolnir experience, hit me up. I'll bring the equipment to you. You just need to supply the drinks.

I'll bring the dacs and preamps too if needed. I'm more curious now than ever on hearing people's opinions on Koss vs stax.
So I eventually bought a Stax L700 and did a head to head against my Koss ESP95X with angled leather vesper pads. Long story short - I pretty much prefer the Stax L700 in every category, though I still enjoy my Koss. I did return my Stax L300/L500 in favor of the Koss before that. I suspect the L700's will be my end game. I love the way they sound.

I have also bought a Kaldas RR1 and prefer it to the Koss - but perhaps not everyone will. The RR1 provides better bass and mids - but treble is more extended and airy on the Koss. I gave a detailed comparison on the Kaldas RR1 thread.

Going further down the electrostatic rabbit hole - I was curious about Koss' earlier electrostatic models, and have been heavily modifying a Koss ESP6. It's been fun and rewarding. They sound very good so far - when I think I've maxed them out, I'll compare to the Koss ESP95X.

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/koss-esp6-refurbished-vintage-electrostatics.234504/post-15832960
 
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@PolloLoco I'm glad you enjoy the L700. Did you buy the mkI or mkII?

Anyways, yeah coming into this thread and always stating how much more I like the L700 vs the Koss has most likely not gone over well but the truth is the truth. To my ears the L700 is on such a higher level than the Koss. I still use the Koss 7 days a week though. It is my go to cheap headphone. The L700 comes out on special occasions and is IMO my end game. I like other cans but I can't see me wanting to replace the L700 period. I may buy one of those fancy expensive amps for it at some point but for now my Octave III is fantastic.

The RR1 looks interesting to replace the Koss but I'll refrain for now. I need to stay away from this site. Everytime I log in I start thinking about buying more audio equipment! Now the RR1 has me curious. thanks PoloLoco!!
 
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@PolloLoco I'm glad you enjoy the L700. Did you buy the mkI or mkII?

Anyways, yeah coming into this thread and always stating how much more I like the L700 vs the Koss has most likely not gone over well but the truth is the truth. To my ears the L700 is on such a higher level than the Koss. I still use the Koss 7 days a week though. It is my go to cheap headphone. The L700 comes out on special occasions and is IMO my end game. I like other cans but I can't see me wanting to replace the L700 period. I may buy one of those fancy expensive amps for it at some point but for now my Octave III is fantastic.

The RR1 looks interesting to replace the Koss but I'll refrain for now. I need to stay away from this site. Everytime I log in I start thinking about buying more audio equipment! Now the RR1 has me curious. thanks PoloLoco!!
I ended up getting a mark 1. After a year of considering it, I found a good deal on a used pair on this forum. One member on HeadCase owns both a mk1 and mk2 and describes the sound difference as subtle based on clamp.

I think its fine to comment on the competition on these threads, especially since it does the Koss no disservice that the L700 costs 3 times as much new. Not counting that the Koss includes an amp.

Before you consider the Kaldas, make sure to read my comments on that thread. I have a Frankenstein pair. Also, if you like a more bright or balanced sound, you may not like the Kaldas RR1 to replace the Koss. That said, they complement the L700 nicely. At one point I thought they sounded so good that I offered my L700 for sale. When I listened to both back to back connected to my Stax SRM 717, it became obvious I was missing a lot on the high end with the Kaldas. So I retracted my offer.
 
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New amp for stats that will work with the Koss headset (with a Stax adapter)
Stat Electrostatic Headphone Energizer
https://bottlehead.com/product/stat-electrostatic-headphone-energizer/
$1499 (they build it)
Tube rollers dream
This is really cool, thanks for posting. With all the Koss being sold, it would be nice if the amp had a Koss connector. It would save the cost of buying an adapter plus all the extra connections would be eliminated. Will have to consider this. Even though this is assembled, I built a BH Foreplay years ago.
Thanks again for the link.
 
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New amp for stats that will work with the Koss headset (with a Stax adapter)
Stat Electrostatic Headphone Energizer
https://bottlehead.com/product/stat-electrostatic-headphone-energizer/
$1499 (they build it)
Tube rollers dream
have you tried it? interested in this. I was looking at a Linear Tube Audio headphone amp / estat amp combo, but it didn't have preamp out functionality so I'm leaning more towards the standalone Linear Audio Tube headphone amp which has a few preamp outs. Might need to get this ( at some point! )
 
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Allanmarcus

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have you tried it? interested in this. I was looking at a Linear Tube Audio headphone amp / estat amp combo, but it didn't have preamp out functionality so I'm leaning more towards the standalone Linear Audio Tube headphone amp which has a few preamp outs. Might need to get this ( at some point! )
Nope. I rarely use my Koss and would have trouble justifying a $1500 amp for it, given what I already have. In fact, since I'm been working at home, I rarely use headphones :frowning2: Too many phone calls.
 
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Amish

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That bottlehead amp looks nice. I've been looking for a good tube amp to drive my STAX and was leaning towards Mjolnir Audio but it's nice to have another option.
 
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