KOSS ESP-950 Thread
Jan 23, 2021 at 8:23 PM Post #3,841 of 3,951

Brahmsian

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Sent the 95X to Koss to fix the noise issues. $25 to mail, took 3 weeks to get them back, and Koss returned them without having fixed the problem. Worse, there is now a channel imbalance. What good is the warranty if they don’t repair the headphones?

To sum up my experience with Koss: purchased new from Drop. First pair had noise issues. Sent them back to Drop. Got new pair with noise issues that went away. After a month, noise came back worse than before. Sent to Koss for warranty repair. Got them back unfixed.

How can I recommend this company or this product? Will call them on Monday to see what they can do.
 
Feb 16, 2021 at 8:41 PM Post #3,842 of 3,951

AudioCats

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I came here to ask something just like this. Has anyone used the ESP/95X (the Drop one, in my case) with an alternate power supply? I was considering replacing the wallwart with a high-quality supply, but I'd be curious too about whether a battery supply might make a performance difference (for better or worse).

...
...

not exactly a direct answer to this question, but might give some ideas of what to expact
"sound" of different power supplies driving a modified E90
 
Feb 22, 2021 at 7:05 PM Post #3,843 of 3,951

tvr2500m

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not exactly a direct answer to this question, but might give some ideas of what to expact
"sound" of different power supplies driving a modified E90
Thanks. This is much more comprehensive and interesting than my question about only the power supply. Concerning just the power supply, the person doing the exploration preferred a battery supply.

I was also curious about the energizer. This thread describes tweaking the existing energizer. I've seen people use different energizers. Anyone have any experience they'd like to share with using the ESP/95X headset/drivers with another energizer? How capable are stock ESP/95X electrostatic drivers? Responsive to revealing differences among different energizers?
 
Feb 22, 2021 at 10:10 PM Post #3,844 of 3,951

robo24

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Thanks. This is much more comprehensive and interesting than my question about only the power supply. Concerning just the power supply, the person doing the exploration preferred a battery supply.

I was also curious about the energizer. This thread describes tweaking the existing energizer. I've seen people use different energizers. Anyone have any experience they'd like to share with using the ESP/95X headset/drivers with another energizer? How capable are stock ESP/95X electrostatic drivers? Responsive to revealing differences among different energizers?
I've used mine with a Stax 323A and the iESL powered by a Hugo TT2. Both are far better than the included energizer. I can't really give details because I sold off the stock one and haven't heard it for months. Had to get a custom cable that's around $100. I also got custom Vesper pads for another $100. At some point it begs the question of why not just get something better instead of paying so much for a $400 headphone. To put it into perspective, I'm trying to decide between selling off the Koss or HD 800 SDR and am leaning strongly towards ditching the HD 800.
 
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Feb 23, 2021 at 6:02 PM Post #3,846 of 3,951

PolloLoco

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I hadn't used my Koss ESP95X much in the last couple months, mostly because I've put together a small collection of stats I'd been playing with and occasionally modifying. Most recently a Nectar Pollinator that I'd modified with better pads, headband and dust protection. After a head to head comparison, I had put my Pollinator's as my 2nd favorite stats - and my ESP95X at 4. I was debating whether to sell the ESP95X, but had been thinking for months about what might happen if I removed all the damping, and decided I had little to lose. I've loved modding headphones as a release during the pandemic.

So for 2 days I listened to the Koss ESP95X with Stock pads to re-accustom myself to them. Again - they do nothing wrong, and have a nice relaxed, airy presentation. I decided I definitely preferred the more fun/full presentation of the Nectar Pollinators. So I decided to take a risk and open up my ESP95X.

**Disclaimer - I take no responsibility for damaging your Koss stats if you try this, this mod is not reversible and likely voids your warranty. I was prepared for the possibility I might accidentally destroy my headphones. Second Disclaimer - at 43 I know I'm not too treble sensitive. My reasonable listening maxes out between 14-15 Khz.

I removed the headband first, and the pads. Under the pads is a stick on filter, that's pretty thick. I'd previously removed it alone - as I'd reported previously with some improvement in resolution. BUT taking it off requires patience, and it definitely tears as you pull it. I had to be careful not to accidentally put a finger through the dust protection underneath, nor the driver.

Once the filter was off, I had to undo 4 screws and expose the driver/stators/dust protection which are bound together in one assembly I did not disturb. I pulled the whole assembly by lifting up at the cable strain relief, paying attention to how the headphone cable is slotted in. The driver assembly pulls straight up if you have the headphones laying flat.

Behind the driver assembly is a thick sheet of paper - that I figured would make little difference sonically, but I was wrong. It connects to the grill at 4 points with 4 spots of glue. I carefully pried those 4 spots with a tiny screw driver so as not to tear the paper. I was relatively successful - but the paper now has 4 circular holes and I don't think it would be easy to replace.

After that - I just reassembled. At first I considered whether I would replace the thick filter paper with speaker cloth for added dust protection - but I don't think I will. Connected the way it was, at just 4 points - it didn't offer great dust protection to begin with.

To make a long story short - listening afterwards was a night and day difference in clarity and microdetail. I feel these are MUCH faster and more resolving now, among the best I've heard. But they were very fatiguing with the stock pads, and sibilant as well. I tried my thin Vesper leather pads, and had much the same experience. Finally - I tried my perforated Dekoni leather pads, added a sheet of speaker cloth over the dust protection on the pad side, and the sibilance and fatigue went away. I've listened 4 hours straight at a sitting. Though I usually prefer solid leather on the outside - I've found that perforated leather or pleather inside pads goes a long way towards killing sibilance and reflections.

I then compared my ESP95X and Pollinators for 3 hours connected to my Stax SRM 717 amp. They both played at the same time, and I was switching between the Pollinators and the Koss often during songs. It's quite obvious the Koss were less congested and picked up every detail, where the Pollinators suddenly seemed slightly "hollow" by comparison. The Koss did seem to lose some sound stage, the mids were more intimate. But to me, classical music and female vocals never sounded so good. The bass quantity was still much lower on the Koss versus the Pollinators. The Pollinators have bass I could FEEL in my chest - and for the same notes, I could only HEAR it on the Koss. The bass was very resolving and layered on the Koss, just not a lot of quantity. I used a tone generator at my regular listening volume - and could hear down to 20 Hz, but the slam of the bass just wasn't there.

Right now the Koss ESP95X without damping are my 2nd favorite headphones, and I'm dying to do another head to head with my Stax L700's. The only reason I haven't done so is that I disassembled the L700's to design better yokes. I ordered the hopefully upgraded yokes - but due to the recent weather, they've been stuck at Fedex for over a week. I'm hoping they'll get here by the coming weekend.

One last note - I previously sent my Koss ESP95X for warranty repair, since my right driver suddenly had a huge imbalance. They came back repaired. When I took them apart - the repaired right driver was clean, but the left driver had white dust between the dust protection and the filter paper? I wonder if that dust might be from construction - and can cause the buzzing some people have heard? In my case I just blew out the dust - and have had no issues. *crosses fingers* But again - getting to the driver assembly probably voids your warranty, so please proceed with caution.
 
Feb 26, 2021 at 5:18 PM Post #3,847 of 3,951

PointyFox

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I hadn't used my Koss ESP95X much in the last couple months, mostly because I've put together a small collection of stats I'd been playing with and occasionally modifying. Most recently a Nectar Pollinator that I'd modified with better pads, headband and dust protection. After a head to head comparison, I had put my Pollinator's as my 2nd favorite stats - and my ESP95X at 4. I was debating whether to sell the ESP95X, but had been thinking for months about what might happen if I removed all the damping, and decided I had little to lose. I've loved modding headphones as a release during the pandemic.

So for 2 days I listened to the Koss ESP95X with Stock pads to re-accustom myself to them. Again - they do nothing wrong, and have a nice relaxed, airy presentation. I decided I definitely preferred the more fun/full presentation of the Nectar Pollinators. So I decided to take a risk and open up my ESP95X.

**Disclaimer - I take no responsibility for damaging your Koss stats if you try this, this mod is not reversible and likely voids your warranty. I was prepared for the possibility I might accidentally destroy my headphones. Second Disclaimer - at 43 I know I'm not too treble sensitive. My reasonable listening maxes out between 14-15 Khz.

I removed the headband first, and the pads. Under the pads is a stick on filter, that's pretty thick. I'd previously removed it alone - as I'd reported previously with some improvement in resolution. BUT taking it off requires patience, and it definitely tears as you pull it. I had to be careful not to accidentally put a finger through the dust protection underneath, nor the driver.

Once the filter was off, I had to undo 4 screws and expose the driver/stators/dust protection which are bound together in one assembly I did not disturb. I pulled the whole assembly by lifting up at the cable strain relief, paying attention to how the headphone cable is slotted in. The driver assembly pulls straight up if you have the headphones laying flat.

Behind the driver assembly is a thick sheet of paper - that I figured would make little difference sonically, but I was wrong. It connects to the grill at 4 points with 4 spots of glue. I carefully pried those 4 spots with a tiny screw driver so as not to tear the paper. I was relatively successful - but the paper now has 4 circular holes and I don't think it would be easy to replace.

After that - I just reassembled. At first I considered whether I would replace the thick filter paper with speaker cloth for added dust protection - but I don't think I will. Connected the way it was, at just 4 points - it didn't offer great dust protection to begin with.

To make a long story short - listening afterwards was a night and day difference in clarity and microdetail. I feel these are MUCH faster and more resolving now, among the best I've heard. But they were very fatiguing with the stock pads, and sibilant as well. I tried my thin Vesper leather pads, and had much the same experience. Finally - I tried my perforated Dekoni leather pads, added a sheet of speaker cloth over the dust protection on the pad side, and the sibilance and fatigue went away. I've listened 4 hours straight at a sitting. Though I usually prefer solid leather on the outside - I've found that perforated leather or pleather inside pads goes a long way towards killing sibilance and reflections.

I then compared my ESP95X and Pollinators for 3 hours connected to my Stax SRM 717 amp. They both played at the same time, and I was switching between the Pollinators and the Koss often during songs. It's quite obvious the Koss were less congested and picked up every detail, where the Pollinators suddenly seemed slightly "hollow" by comparison. The Koss did seem to lose some sound stage, the mids were more intimate. But to me, classical music and female vocals never sounded so good. The bass quantity was still much lower on the Koss versus the Pollinators. The Pollinators have bass I could FEEL in my chest - and for the same notes, I could only HEAR it on the Koss. The bass was very resolving and layered on the Koss, just not a lot of quantity. I used a tone generator at my regular listening volume - and could hear down to 20 Hz, but the slam of the bass just wasn't there.

Right now the Koss ESP95X without damping are my 2nd favorite headphones, and I'm dying to do another head to head with my Stax L700's. The only reason I haven't done so is that I disassembled the L700's to design better yokes. I ordered the hopefully upgraded yokes - but due to the recent weather, they've been stuck at Fedex for over a week. I'm hoping they'll get here by the coming weekend.

One last note - I previously sent my Koss ESP95X for warranty repair, since my right driver suddenly had a huge imbalance. They came back repaired. When I took them apart - the repaired right driver was clean, but the left driver had white dust between the dust protection and the filter paper? I wonder if that dust might be from construction - and can cause the buzzing some people have heard? In my case I just blew out the dust - and have had no issues. *crosses fingers* But again - getting to the driver assembly probably voids your warranty, so please proceed with caution.
This is interesting because I just bought a ESP-950 with Dekoni pads, Hive, and SRM-717 and will be comparing them in a few days.
 
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Feb 26, 2021 at 9:59 PM Post #3,848 of 3,951

robo24

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Why? What do you like about the Koss versus the 800, and what kind of music do you usually listen to?
I just spent a little time with them both. My amp, the iESL can drive the 800 via XLR at the same time as the Koss so that made it easier. The most obvious is that the Koss just has so much more bass and unlike the 800 doesn't approach sibilance at times. Of course the 800 has the wider soundstage, but the Koss is very detailed like the 800. If I didn't need money for my next amp I'd keep them both. Overall I'd say the 800 is the better headphone and I'm comparing it with a DAC/energizer combo that's about $6000 new, so it performs quite a bit better than the stock energizer. Music I listen to is kind of everything except rap, metal, male country singers, and classical.
 
Feb 27, 2021 at 12:40 PM Post #3,850 of 3,951

PointyFox

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Feb 27, 2021 at 2:55 PM Post #3,851 of 3,951

Allanmarcus

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Mar 10, 2021 at 7:58 PM Post #3,852 of 3,951

Brahmsian

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I just spent a little time with them both. My amp, the iESL can drive the 800 via XLR at the same time as the Koss so that made it easier. The most obvious is that the Koss just has so much more bass and unlike the 800 doesn't approach sibilance at times. Of course the 800 has the wider soundstage, but the Koss is very detailed like the 800. If I didn't need money for my next amp I'd keep them both. Overall I'd say the 800 is the better headphone and I'm comparing it with a DAC/energizer combo that's about $6000 new, so it performs quite a bit better than the stock energizer. Music I listen to is kind of everything except rap, metal, male country singers, and classical.
What I like about the 95X is that they are very easy to listen to, very inoffensive, no fatigue. Having said that, this has easily been the worst experience I've ever had with an audio product. The first unit I received from Drop had noise issues from the left driver. Sent it back for another, which developed the same issue. So I sent it to Koss for warranty repair. It came back with a note that they replaced a few minor parts, but they didn't fix the issue. Sent it back. I just got it back a few days ago with a note that they replaced the left driver and energizer box. Thought everything was fine. Was totally enjoying them. But earlier today I was listening when suddenly the volume dropped way low on both sides. I have to crank the volume up all the way to get a decent level. And the worst part is that the bass on the left driver, the one they replaced, is all distorted, like when you blow out a speaker. So now I have to send it back again. Counting the time I sent the original unit back to Drop, this will be the fourth time. Incredible. By the way, anyone suspect what might have happened this time around based on my description?
 
Mar 15, 2021 at 11:11 AM Post #3,855 of 3,951

PointyFox

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hello everyone
could you please tell me if the koss can approach the stax sr007 mk1 + srm 007t
thanks

The Koss will be a bit smoother and not quite as detailed or impactful, but still pretty close overall and very transparent sounding.
 

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