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deepak

Koss ESP/950 electrostat thread

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Yeah, short answer: very.

Has anyone heard the relatively newer reference series from Quad, specifically the 2905?

To match the SR-007 on a BH you need some serious kit but a basic Quad can do amazing things.

I've heard the new model briefly and it sounded pretty much the same as I remembered the 989 sounding. It's the same speaker and the brace doesn't really work as the elements are "floating" inside the speaker so just buy a 989.

my heeeerroo.... saving the ESP-950 from FOTM once again!

I've been under a gag order for quite some time now so it's good to be able to talk about the Koss...:P

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To match the SR-007 on a BH you need some serious kit but a basic Quad can do amazing things.
Yeah, that was what I was trying to impress.
I've heard the new model briefly and it sounded pretty much the same as I remembered the 989 sounding. It's the same speaker and the brace doesn't really work as the elements are "floating" inside the speaker so just buy a 989.
What, used? I don't think so. Speakers are probably lowest on my list for things I'd buy used, and ribbons and electrostats would be lowest among speakers. I mean, maybe if I knew the buyer, and was somehow else confident as to its condition, but other than that, no.

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You bastards make me want to buy stats. Good thing I know better ;)

Bike up to NH, we'll make a day of listening to stats and drinking Dead Guy :)

why not index it paky?

They developed the squealing sound in one driver and the original owner didn't really test them out prior to shipping. So we're figuring out how to handle repairs.

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it's free lifetime warranty from koss, just call them and have it fixed

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Speakers are probably lowest on my list for things I'd buy used, and ribbons and electrostats would be lowest among speakers. I mean, maybe if I knew the buyer, and was somehow else confident as to its condition, but other than that, no.

Huh? The only speakers I can remember buying new cost about $50/pair. Old speakers may need reconditioning, especially electrostatic speakers, but buying a "new" old speaker can be problematic anyway. Newer production speakers normally work or they don't. Highly unlikely to need concealed repair. Note that every time you buy a used headphone, you're buying a used speaker. It's just really little, and mounted funny.

Phono cartridges, OTOH, are something that I'd only buy new. Buying a used phono cartridge feels like buying a used toothbrush. You just don't know where it's been or how it's been used.

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Huh? The only speakers I can remember buying new cost about $50/pair. Old speakers may need reconditioning, especially electrostatic speakers, but buying a "new" old speaker can be problematic anyway. Newer production speakers normally work or they don't. Highly unlikely to need concealed repair. Note that every time you buy a used headphone, you're buying a used speaker. It's just really little, and mounted funny.
Would you buy used Quads or Martin Logans (assuming you'd buy them at all, which we've already discussed, you wouldn't)? I'd just be too worried about shipping and stuff.

And yeah, obviously I'm exaggerating a little bit about the whole used speaker thing -- 3 out of my last 5 I bought used. But in all cases, I found a way to assure myself that they were in the condition in which they were described (either by prior inspection, or by reputation of the seller).

But really -- electrostats? Would you buy used electrostats (unless you knew the seller or were able to see them for yourself)?

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I'd never buy a used cart.

As for speakers I'm pretty sure I'd buy new to have dealer backed peace of mind. Or direct from manufacturer, whatever.

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I'd buy a used set of Quads, I already have (21L), but theres not exactly any other way to get ahold of a 57 model, which is where im going to go one day (and then stack).

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Would you

But really -- electrostats? Would you buy used electrostats (unless you knew the seller or were able to see them for yourself)?

I already did. HE60, Omega II, Lambda Pro, Sigma Pro...all bought used. You try and find a new pair of anything on that list but the OII (and that's got a new version that may not be the same sonically). I knew the seller of the HE60.

I'd hesitate over older Quads, if only because they are now over 20 years old at best (and could be twice that) and would almost certainly need work, if not already done. If I wanted to buy one of the newer Quads that don't have years of abuse on them, I wouldn't hesitate if the right deal appeared. Wanting them is another matter...

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Yeah, that was what I was trying to impress.What, used? I don't think so. Speakers are probably lowest on my list for things I'd buy used, and ribbons and electrostats would be lowest among speakers. I mean, maybe if I knew the buyer, and was somehow else confident as to its condition, but other than that, no.

I would never buy a stock Quad as the build quality has only deteriorated over the years and especially with the new Chinese plant. Get the refurbished and rebuilt by somebody who knows what they are doing so that they will sound like they should have in the first place.

I already did. HE60, Omega II, Lambda Pro, Sigma Pro...all bought used. You try and find a new pair of anything on that list but the OII (and that's got a new version that may not be the same sonically). I knew the seller of the HE60.

There are always risks when buying used headphones but if you stay off ebay it's mostly all good. That being said electrostatics are often easy to fix if you know what you are doing and have steady hands...

The SR-007 A/mk2 is good step down from the old model.

I'd hesitate over older Quads, if only because they are now over 20 years old at best (and could be twice that) and would almost certainly need work, if not already done. If I wanted to buy one of the newer Quads that don't have years of abuse on them, I wouldn't hesitate if the right deal appeared. Wanting them is another matter...

Just get a rebuilt one from the likes of Electrostatic solutions or Quads Unlimited, that's what I'm going to do. Quad's were always badly built and the only testing they did was to line up two speakers at a fixed position, play a squarewave through them and if they canceled each other out then it was a matched pair. They might even still do this today... :eek:

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I would never buy a stock Quad as the build quality has only deteriorated over the years and especially with the new Chinese plant. Get the refurbished and rebuilt by somebody who knows what they are doing so that they will sound like they should have in the first place.
I don't know -- I'm quite happy with my (recent production) Quad 12L's, build quality and all. That said, I'm not interested in Quad ESL speakers, except maybe the 2905. I like to go loud, and Quad ESL's aren't exactly famous for being able to go loud well.
I already did. HE60, Omega II, Lambda Pro, Sigma Pro...all bought used. You try and find a new pair of anything on that list but the OII (and that's got a new version that may not be the same sonically). I knew the seller of the HE60.
:palm:

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I don't know -- I'm quite happy with my (recent production) Quad 12L's, build quality and all. That said, I'm not interested in Quad ESL speakers, except maybe the 2905. I like to go loud, and Quad ESL's aren't exactly famous for being able to go loud well.

The dynamic speakers are just that, dynamic so much easier to make properly then the ESL63 which no industrial engineer did ever touch. PJW was one of the best audio engineers of all time but coming up with an efficient way of building said designs wasn't his forte.

The Quads will go well above 100dB in the right system so the loudness crap is just like the "common knowledge" that electrostatic headphones have no bass. :mad: Some of these speakers have been in use for 30-40 years so it's no wonder they are starting to show their age.

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The Quads will go well above 100dB in the right system so the loudness crap is just like the "common knowledge" that electrostatic headphones have no bass. :mad: Some of these speakers have been in use for 30-40 years so it's no wonder they are starting to show their age.
Really? You think maybe the ones that don't sound good loud don't sound good because of their parts aging? Or are you saying that the whole "they don't sound good loud" part is a myth, entirely? Because one myth I have verified for myself is that the LS3/5a's don't sound good loud. That one's true.

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Really? You think maybe the ones that don't sound good loud don't sound good because of their parts aging? Or are you saying that the whole "they don't sound good loud" part is a myth, entirely? Because one myth I have verified for myself is that the LS3/5a's don't sound good loud. That one's true.

Those that know far more then I about Quad's say that they will go very load with the right amps and if the speakers are in perfect condition. I've heard one restored set driven by some old ARC tube amps and they went very loud indeed though we didn't want to push them into protection mode.

As the speakers age, the crap glue used by Quad comes apart so all tolerances go out of the window and amp has to work much harder to get the same dB level. The speakers are also often used with very badly matched amps which may have a lot of power on paper but since the RMS figures are worthless when it comes to driving ESL's lower can be much better.

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I received the ESP/950 today and have been doing some listening out of the E/90 amp. Here's some short first impressions:

- Everything about the Koss looks cheaper and feels cheaper than a Stax Lambda, let alone the OII. I dig the leather bag though.

- On the other hand, the comfort is pretty good and comparable to a Lambda model. It takes the same approach than the Lambda by feeling light on the head and not applying a lot of pressure. The best way I could describe it is "non-obtrusive". When I wear my OII, I definitely feel it because it's quite heavy, but it's like a good pillow so I don't mind. These, I don't really feel them because they're very light and don't clamp much.

- I really like the sound so far. Like many people reported, the tonality of ESP/950 is very right in the sense that nothing stands out and everything sounds natural. The sound isn't round and slightly euphonic like the OII, nor dry and slightly thin like the Lambdas. It appears so far to be a middle ground between these two.

- They are not "impressive" headphones. They won't blow your head off on the first listen like the Stax Lambda, Grado RS-1, Sennheiser HD650, Grado PS-1, AKG K1000, or that kind of headphones. In my experience, that's a good sign because my favorite headphones have been those that takes some time to appreciate: Stax OII and Sennheiser HD600.

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More impressions of the ESP/950 with E/90:

- Compared to the OII/KGSS, they sound much less dynamic. They miss the small nuances and the differences between loud and soft passages seem minimized, at least compared to the Stax emperor. It's not too bad with pop, rock, metal or even jazz, but doesn't cut it with classical. With that said, I still haven't found headphones that work to my tastes with classical, but the OII comes damn close.

- Like some people have already reported, the overall sound signature is more forward than the OII. I'd say it's comparable to the Lambdas in that sense, but it's been a while since I listened to a pair. The percussions and guitars sound harsher than on the OII, so it seems like they "rock" more. It's not black and white like a HD650/RS-1 comparison, but it's pretty apparent that they are more lively headphones than the OII. I like that because it makes a nice contrast in the listening experience, and I'm sure it'll only get better when I power the ESP950 with a better amp.

- Again, compared to the OII (my ultimate reference), the bass of the ESP/950 isn't as linear. There's a typical mid-bass hump apparent and it doesn't extend as far as the Stax. The bass notes also appear more cloudy than on the OII, where they are really cristal clear and punchy. I've read some reviews where they said the ESP/950 was a little light on bass. I don't find that at all, to my ears, the bass quantity is just right.

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I forgot a couple of things:

- With the Koss amp at least, the ESP/950 is quite forgiving with bad recordings. While the OII and the Lambda Signature don't like music poorly recorded, the Koss do just fine. Is it because the ESP/950 doesn't have as much resolution power as the Stax or just because the E/90 amp sucks? I don't know yet.

- I said earlier that the overall presentation was more forward than the OII, well that's true with everything except vocals. I wouldn't go as far as calling the midrange recessed, but it surely doesn't have the OII magic. Don't get me wrong, the mids are good compared to most headphones, but that's the place where the OII really shine IMO and there's no going back when you've heard it.

- The ESP/950 does headphone "soundstage" pretty well. There's a sense of air typical of electrostatic headphones and the positionning of the instruments sounds accurate to my ears. Again, it's a big notch under the OII, which does instrument placement like no other, but it's better than most of the dynamic headphones that I've heard.

A lot of the flaws that I mentionned in my impressions can possibly be cured with a better amp, so take what I said with a grain of salt.

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I don't know, maybe I'll build one myself. The guy from whom I bought the KGSS threw a Stax extension cable in the package, and I don't use it, so I might just build an adapter with that. It will look very ghetto though. There's also webbie64 from Australia who wanted to lend me his pair of ESP/950, but I guess he could just lend me the adapter now that I've bought the Koss.

Did you try them with an adapter yet?

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Did you try them with an adapter yet?

I haven't had the chance to yet. But I might ask around to see if someone could lend me one.

With the Stax extension cable you could just rewire the entire headphones with that cable.

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With the Stax extension cable you could just rewire the entire headphones with that cable.

I'm also considering doing that, but I read a post somewhere (I think it was KG) which said the recable was hard because of glue inside or something like that. Also, it would be my first recable and I'm hesitant to do that on 500$ headphones...

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Adapters work fine. Just reterminate the koss extension cable with a stax connector :) (rather than reterminating the stax cable)

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Adapters work fine. Just reterminate the koss extension cable with a stax connector :) (rather than reterminating the stax cable)

Where can I get Stax connectors?

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