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Koss ESP/950 electrostat thread


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Now for something pretty rare... the ESP900...  This is the closed back version of the ESP950 made for medical use such as MRI's etc.  Not much is known about these and only a few sets have

So I've had the Massdrop version of the Koss ESP/95X sitting here for probably a month but not spent any time with them.  I know I'm awful...    That changed today so first some pics:  Let's start wit

So yea Angle'd Vesper Pads and the removal of that nasty foam make a difference!  @spritzer , I thank ya for your recommendation and guidance, it makes quite the improvement

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You push the wires through the pins and solder them indirectly. I usually tin the wire, feed the wire through the pin, feed solder in from the other side and heat up the side of the pin. Works like a charm with a very strong bond.

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I figured I'd toss in another option, Drew from Moon Audio now offers a cable-mount-specific Stax plug (pro only). I ordered one to fix an adapter that a friend sent me, it should be here in a few days and I'll try to remember to post my impression of working with it. It should provide a much easier and better looking alternative to the Allied plug. At $15 it strikes me as exceptionally reasonably priced.

Staxplug.jpg

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Those are pretty miserable connectors, i have a few. But they are better than nothing.

Soon i will have some teflon units made up.

The problem is that the pins are smaller in diameter than the stax pins, so that plug

mates with the amphenol connector perfectly, but not real stax connectors.

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  • 3 years later...

Got my Koss ESP-950 kit back from Koss today (upon arrival from Amazon it had a horrible low freq distortion in the right channel). It sounds perfect now. Pretty brilliant warranty, gotta say. I bought it used and the cunt who sold it to me admitted he had heard the distortion too but "thought it was just the way the sucky Koss energizer sounded" because the headphones "always sounded great with my KGSS amp) ... sheesh! Anyway, its all suss'd. BTW ... can any of you more technically minded folk decipher these repair notes from Koss' repair department?

 

...

 

(see attached image) (edited/corrected this as I might have unknowingly made a political faux pas in use of a former link)

...

 

post-652-0-94077900-1388616437_thumb.jpg 

 

???

 

 

Edited by s1rrah
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  • 4 years later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I bought these real-leather replacement pads and I love them. My ESP's are finally comfortable and my ears don't sweat! 

https://fongaudio.com/store/default/headphones-31/headphones/headphone-accessories/koss-esp950-custom-replacement-pads.html

He also offers a ready-made adapter cable for Stax amps. He even gives instructions for making your own adapter cable!

Darin Fong has contributed greatly to the San Diego headphone scene and I give him my highest recommendation. 

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  • 8 months later...

So I've had the Massdrop version of the Koss ESP/95X sitting here for probably a month but not spent any time with them.  I know I'm awful...  :)  That changed today so first some pics:  Let's start with the any real change from the stock Koss version, the earpads:

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Now the stock pads are terrible but these are somehow worse.  Cheap and nasty fabric covering the same nasty foam...yeah they went into the trash.  Get some Vesper earpads but more on that later.  As for the amp, well here are some internal pics:

DSC00055-2.thumb.jpg.9a519e8882eb31ed81714092f513061d.jpgDSC00054-2.thumb.jpg.1b3cf6c15678a184a5192426a22d47ee.jpgDSC00053-2.thumb.jpg.4473e3c71800e0e994448c50ffaa63fc.jpg

This is the same as the last unit I opened, stock 1990 amplifier board but the new PSU board.  It's the same circuit, they just had to update it for new parts such as the new nasty volume control. 

Now for some impressions of the phones.  The cable situation is the same as before, rather short cable and then they supply an extension to make up for it.  As if anybody is ever going to use these as portables...  ::)  So I ripped out the stock cable and fitted a wide PC-OCC Stax unit and angled Vesper earpads.  I also removed the foam they have on the baffle as the Vesper pads come with some dust protection.  Now this is more like it, here is the true king of budget headphones.  Granted you have to spend the 500$ for the set and another 200$ for new cable and earpads but that's still the same as Monoprice is asking for their very mehhh set. 

The angled Vesper pads I got were a custom order and they really add something to the set.  The imaging is improved and the slightly smaller cavity really helps them spring to life.  They are a tiny bit top heavy now but that helps them really, makes them feel more alive.  All in though, very much recommended and nice to see this 30 year old design still shine. 

One small caveat though, this set which is one of the first from Massdrop did ship with some dust inside the right driver so they are no noise free.  One kinda expects that from the ESP950 though so it doesn't bother me too much. 

DSC00056-2.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

I miss my ESP950 that I sold a few years back, so I ordered this thing as well. ? Still waiting for it to come.  Can I still run these off Stax amp using an adapter or did they change something?

Edited by faust3d
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I ordered from Massdrop a little while ago, and it arrived earlier this week.

Fired it up last night, and right out of the box sounds pretty good.

Letting it burn in now, will see how it sounds tonight.

My initial thought is for a set of cans and amp, its a bargain at the massdrop price.

My long term plan is to build an amp for it, which hopefully I'll be able to get done one of these days.

Randy

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Out of the box and based on my somewhat fuzzy memory of the original set that I had these sound a bit better with a bit more lower mids. Pads are not very good but, and it's a big but, they are not sweaty like the original pleather shit. Where can I get nice angled pads for these?

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The Koss is smoother and less bright than the 207 which in turn supposedly is supposed to be more neutral than the 407 model.  The 207 tended towards brightness with better than 252s amps, I personally founnd the ESP950 to scale better than the 207 as well so slapping it on the 007tii should reap some real benefits.  The koss is no slouch even next to the L700.

Don't pay Darin Fong what he is asking for his stax adapter cable, it's just way too expensive for what he is asking.  The extension cable was about $15 before the Massdrop run; I think these are hard to come by at present.  The Amphenol plug is about $15-$20 via ebay sources or even Moon Audio.  The solder work can be a little tricky and the fit and finish will be a little awkward due to the cable shape and connector form factor but it is what it is.

 

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You can also just use the extension cable that came in the box.  :)  

Also the angled earpads were a custom order from Vesper Audio.  Fong carries the normal flat pads but it is easy enough to order the custom ones from Belarus. 

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