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Koss ESP-950 Stax Recable


jimmyb233
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All I can offer is the sound changes markedly by cupping the ESP-950's with your hands....and not in a good way.  If that is all they have done, then a big no.  I'd like to think there is more to them than that.

 

I had read about these for the medical industry, but had not seen them.  I have the awful picture in my head of the slap of a rubber glove on the wrist as scary doctor approaches...

 

 

???

 

HS

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I have a set of closed-back ESP-950 that I bought a few years ago.

 

They are not exactly the suck, but mneh. Bass is WAY lower than anyone would expect with the fully closed back, but mids and highs are pretty nice. 

Yes, as you guys guessed above, they are fairly "slapped together." Mine had tool-marks where it looked like a badge was removed (there was speculation that they used the cups from whichever the high end(ish) closed studio can was before it was discontinued) and NO damping material in the actual cups. 

 

Take them apart, drill a few 1/4" holes in the cups (experiment! plus I don't remember how many holes I have in mine) and they improve significantly. 

Edited by nikongod
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Well, that left a mark.  Ready to blow shit up....

 

NeutrikStaxforKossmaleconnector.jpg

 

 

IMG_4949.jpg

 

 

I elected not to finish up the heat shrink given the high level of confidence I have in my skizzels...

IMG_4956.jpg

 

 

Big shout out to ALL that chimed in to save me from misef' and actually braved sending me stuff.  

 

 

 

;D

 

HS

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So, who scored the Koss ESP900's  ?

 

That was me. Of course only one of them. As spritzer mentioned only one set was on offer yet. Not sure if the other 11 will appear on ebay bit by bit. Mine are on the way and should arrive tomorrow.

 

Also on their way is a Koss extension cable and some Neutrik plugs. But I'm still not sure how to get the plates for the pins made. I have to look for a turning shop or a 3D printing service nearby, or maybe I spend the weekend with drills and files (... for a less than pleasant result). So the report with the first impressions has to wait some more days. :-

I hope they have some good degree of damping and don't compromise too much on the sound. Currently my electrostatic gear is used way too rare, because usually in the evening my wife watches TV in the same room so I have to go for closed cans.

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There were 3 offers on these.

 

So, Spritzer, ChrisX and someone else...

 

Good to see someone on this forum got it.

 

 

 

btw, I would have bought it outright except for the fact that I am now retired and the Australian dollar is sitting somewhere below 82c US.

 

And also the postage charge was somewhat savage.

Edited by wink
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So, Spritzer, ChrisX and someone else...

 

Good to see someone on this forum got it.

 

I was the other offer. No reply to my inquiry message about them either.

 

I have also placed my first offer on Friday and it timed out. So I assumed (as it turned out correctly) that the seller only looked into ebay during office hours. Therefore I contacted him on Monday morning and placed a second offer after his reply.

 

The cans arrived today. I received exactly the box that was visible on the second photo, it was sealed so the headphone on the picture must have been another one. It was sent without further packaging, just the address sticker glued on this box, not very careful :( . Anyway the box looked good on arrival. But when I opened it now it seems that the headband is bend at the right side. Since the box looked ok this could have already been happened before shipping to me, in any case I don't think that this is Koss standard and that they have left the factory in this state.

 

post-4415-0-71214600-1421958156_thumb.jp

 

post-4415-0-83196000-1421958155.jpg

 

post-4415-0-48224200-1421958157.jpg

 

What's you experience? Is the headbamd easily bendable back into shape or is this a case for a replcement? In any case I will contact the seller about this tomorrow.

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ChrisX,

 

I can only share my experience with the Koss ESP-950's I purchased directly from Koss during one of their sales late last year.  They arrived in great shape and were perfect.  Very plasticky...LOL, but no issues whatsoever with either the leather carrier, the cables (both those on cans and the extension), or the E90 amp.

 

By the look of it, yours got beat up in transit, perhaps before they even left the seller.  I expect you could bend the headband, but I would be extremely careful if you want to do so given the plastic that holds the cups.  Perhaps remove the cups first and then you can try to adjust if you elect to go that route.

 

Best of luck.

 

HS

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I contacted the seller today and will get a replacement, so everything will be fine.

 

In the meantime the Koss extension cable and the Neutrik XLR plugs arrived. I remember a posting from Kevin on the other forum where he describes how to get the pins out of the Neutrik plug pressing them with a vise. Is this a proved method or should I better break the plastic insert?

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I use the vise to hold the plug firmly then lightly hammer on the pins to get them out.

 

Hammer worked well. Thanks!

 

Would be great if you could open that set up Chris so we can learn about the dampening type/method used inside the cup.

 

Obviously I don't want to risk to destroy my new headphones on the very first day. Maybe you can point me to some pictures/instructions (possibly of the 950) which show how the parts are mounted, so I can judge if I dare to dismantle them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have received the replacement for the bent headband of the Koss ESP900 and also finished building the Stax2Koss adapter, so it's time for some impressions.

 

First the adapter: I don't have access to a 3D printer and any friends who can machine plastic, so I decided to try to use hot-melt glue. The result is not really nice, more like a hot-melt glue mess. But with the heat shrink tube attached the mess is perfectly hidden and the adapter works like a charm. Let's hope it will survive the next summer. ;)

 

post-4415-0-18304600-1423400235_thumb.jp

 

To the headphones: The first impression points to the ear cushions, they are made of a hard plastic with a smooth surface. So they are not very comfortable and you sweat easily under them. I assume easy cleaning and disinfection was a requirement for the medical use. I assume that the cushions of the ESP950 will fit, so I probably will buy a pair as an upgrade (When doing so I can maybe open the cans as DefQon requested ).

 

Second impression: I know now what the "Koss squeal" is. It's not permanent, it was very annoying when I first tested the adapter before I closed it with the heat shrink tube, but it disappeared after that. During todays session they were quiet at first, but the squeal came back after some minutes of listening. Since it already happens with CD off and volume set to zero it only seems to be related to the bias and possibly some static charge.

 

Listening session: So today I quickly arranged some stuff in the kitchen for a small comparison session, involved were a Cambridge Audio CD player, the Stax SRM323 amp, a Violectric V200 amp, a Stax 404LE as electrostatic headphone, a Beyerdynamic DT770 (600 Ohm) as closed headphone and of course the Koss ESP900.

 

When I knew how the result would be I wouldn't have moved all the stuff, since the differences are anything but subtle. ::)

 

The Koss has a very thin sound with nearly no noticeable bass. It may work for some vocal music but a CD like Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms is a pain to hear with the Koss. In the mids they have the speed (don't know better how I should call it in English) why we love the electrostats and in this and only this point they outperform the Beyers. There is nothing to compare with the 404LE, worlds are between it and the ESP900.

 

The damping of the closed construction is not very high, much less than the Beyers even less than the Ultrasone HFI-780.  But at least the damping seems to be similar over the frequency range which is an advantage over the HFIs which seem to favor some frequencies. Possibly some softer ear cushions could improve the damping since the hard cushions don't seal very well (I should say that i have a small head, so the pressure with which the cans are pressed to the ears is also small).

 

So as a short summary I wouldn't really recommend them. I expected to have some inferior sound compared to the Stax but hoped I could use them due to their closed construction when (mostly TV-) noise is present in the same room, but in this case I will have to continue using dynamic cans.

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