Nectar Pollinator headphones a $285 electrostat that might surprise you
Mar 11, 2020 at 11:31 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 39

Geezer Rock 001

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Admit it. You check Ebay and Craig's List for those hidden headphone and amp deals and ideas. During one of those field trips I saw something called the Nectar Pollinator electrostatic headphone that was selling for $285. That got my attention. Then I looked and saw that the seller lived about 30 miles from me. So I went to his web site. This is what I saw:

DSC_0239-1536x1502.png

I contacted the owner from the contact on the site and we had some good discussions about the Pollinator and his electrostatic amp kits. I wasn't in a position to buy at the time so I shelved it. But I did exchange PMs with VRacer111 who had mentioned Nectar electrostats in a post.

VRacer111 said that the Polinator was an interesting design. It had on ear pads and a pretty tight headband. He liked the drivers but was not enthralled with the whole package. Being new to estats and since the builder was so close I decided what the hay.

I met up with the builder last Sunday and we talked for a bit and I brought a Nectar Pollinator home to add to my small estat collection. An ESP95X and a Kaldas RR1 that I am driving with a SRM 353X.

The build quality of the stock Pollinator was marginal. But for $285 I was not expecting a premium feel. A donor headband and cups are used by the builder to mount the estats in. The cups were fine but the pads were not to my liking and the headband was way too tight for my big head. But.... the drivers sounded good and it seemed that there could be more there if I could get them to open up a bit.

I have built a few Grado clone driver headphones so I looked into my spares box. There were a pair of ZMF Auteur perforated leather pads that would fit over the cup opening. To make a long story short, I put the ZMF pads on the cups and came up with a donor headband and gimbals.


IMG_0435.jpg

Here is what I came up with. A little ugly but they kick some serious tail! Very good bass, sound stage and separation. A very fun listen and they are quickly becoming my favorite estat Even trumping an L300, a modded L300 and a L407 imo.

So if you have a Stax amp and want to tinker a bit with ear pads you might want to check out the Nectar Pollinator. They are built by an Electrical Engineer who has a passion to produce excellent drivers. If you want to give them a look, here is their site information:



Nectar Sound
 
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May 22, 2020 at 10:21 AM Post #5 of 39

Geezer Rock 001

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Great post. I know we've heard three of the same Stats, and I now own a Kaldas RR1 along with my Koss ESP95X.

Is there anything the Nectar do better than the Kaldas or Koss stats?
In my humble opinion, when driven by the 353X and with the ear pad and head band mod, the Pollenators are the best stat for me. I still have the Kaldas RR1's and the 95X and I rotate through the 3 of them. The Stax are down the road.

What is better about the Pollenators? They rock hard with great bass extension. The soundstage is wide and the separation is Stax like.

Try them. Like a famous person says, " What have you got to lose? "
 
May 22, 2020 at 11:28 AM Post #6 of 39

PolloLoco

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In my humble opinion, when driven by the 353X and with the ear pad and head band mod, the Pollenators are the best stat for me. I still have the Kaldas RR1's and the 95X and I rotate through the 3 of them. The Stax are down the road.

What is better about the Pollenators? They rock hard with great bass extension. The soundstage is wide and the separation is Stax like.

Try them. Like a famous person says, " What have you got to lose? "

$300. 😉

I got my Kaldas in a great deal, since they occasionally squeal. Even if they were perfect, I wouldn't have been happy to pay full price for a potential upgrade to my Koss. I believe only the Bass is better on the Kaldas RR1. I'll have to do a detailed comparison on mids, treble, Soundstage and detail.
 
May 22, 2020 at 12:13 PM Post #7 of 39

Geezer Rock 001

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I have never had the RR1 squeal. Do you ground the pins before you plug it into the energizer? I am doing that with all my estats now. Anytime one sounds a little off I pull the connector and ground the pins. The RR1 and the Pollenator do not like your ear making contact with the driver. The Koss doesn't seem to be effected. Maybe the filter material?
 
May 22, 2020 at 1:43 PM Post #8 of 39

PolloLoco

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I have never had the RR1 squeal. Do you ground the pins before you plug it into the energizer? I am doing that with all my estats now. Anytime one sounds a little off I pull the connector and ground the pins. The RR1 and the Pollenator do not like your ear making contact with the driver. The Koss doesn't seem to be effected. Maybe the filter material?

You're lucky, Spritzer commented on it in his review of the Kaldas RR1.

Its typically dust between the driver and the dust protection. My Koss used to randomly squeal but STOPPED over a year ago. I guess I got lucky.

The Kaldas uses cloth for dust protection which supposedly impacts the sound less, but allows bigger particles through. What I found out the hard way is if you tap your headphones in any way, the driver will rattle making a horrible noise. It will only stop if I power off my amp, and ground each of the pins on the cable.

That rattling will also happen if you suddenly take them off or put them on after they have been biased. The creator commented that it's a result of his special dust protection. Any sudden pressure change will set them off and you should ground the connector.

Right now, the work around I've found is that after an hour or so, the squealing goes away in every session. Ive listened for 2 hours at a time without a squeal. I plan to start powering them for an hour before listening. Hopefully if I can put them on carefully, I will avoid the rattling.

From the Nectar website, it sounds like they no longer use dust protection? They used to use crumpled mylar but the Nectar creator decided it hurt the sound too much?
 
May 22, 2020 at 3:38 PM Post #9 of 39

Geezer Rock 001

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Their creator is an electrical engineer who likes to work with headphones. I think that he may have taken his estat design to it's sonic limit. He still makes Pollenators to order, but he was working on a ribbon driver the last time I talked with him.
 
May 24, 2020 at 12:28 PM Post #10 of 39

PolloLoco

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Well it turns out that my initial impressions about the Kaldas RR1 vs the Koss were wrong. I plugged them both into my SRM 717 and listened for two three hour sessions, often swapping mid song to notice the difference.

The Kaldas are more detailed with better instrument separation, better dynamics and a blacker background. The only things the Koss ESP95X do better is treble. While the Koss are more extended with more treble energy - the Kaldas are somehow more sibilant with my more difficult tracks. A lot of Loreena Mckennit's stuff for instance.

Can you do a similar comparison between the Kaldas and Nectars? Which extracts more micro detail like picking up breaths, or vibrato?
 
May 25, 2020 at 7:05 AM Post #11 of 39

Geezer Rock 001

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I will do a side by side comparison in a day or two. What type of music do you listen to?

Off the cuff my thoughts would be:
Pollinators- best bass, very good sound stage, they rock the hardest.
RR1s- the best detail retrieval, slightly better sound stage
95X- most comfortable, good at everything, but not best , still a great listen
 
May 25, 2020 at 7:56 AM Post #12 of 39

PolloLoco

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I have an eclectic collection of music, which includes classic rock, metal, folk, alternative, jazz - even a bit of country. I'm sure whatever music you throw at it would help.

Going off the cuff I THOUGHT the Kaldas had better details and mids than the Koss, but I was surprised when I put them to the test.

Thanks! One last question, do the original pads come glued on?
 
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May 25, 2020 at 11:47 AM Post #13 of 39

SDBiotek

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@Geezer Rock 001 , what did you use for your replacement headband? I recently got the Pollinator and while it fits fine, I'd like something that feels a bit sturdier. I have seen some different replacement headbands online, but I'm not sure what size will fit the earcups.
 
May 25, 2020 at 12:00 PM Post #14 of 39

Geezer Rock 001

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I used a donor Hyland Headphones Saturn One head band. It looks like the Sony Studio replacement headbands could work. I have used them for Grado mod projects. The pins and the gimbals on the Sony replacements can be lightly heated with a hair dryer on high to bend them to get the right position.

imo the Nectar Pollenators benefit a bunch from a decent ear pad that gives you more off set for your ear and increases the soundstage and bass. I taped mine on and never tried to improve on that.

They are the best modded "affordable" headphones I have experienced. The flexing of the driver can be a problem. But with gentle handling and grounding the pins when it happens, they are my go to estat.
 

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