How do Koss ESP/9 electrostatics stack up? - diyAudio
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Old 7th December 2010, 03:54 PM   #1
tmblack is offline tmblack  United Kingdom
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Default How do Koss ESP/9 electrostatics stack up?

Looking at vintage electrostatics headphones like the Koss ESP/6 and 9 and Marantz.
They resemble electrostatic speakers in the use of step up audio transformers.
They are bulky and probably need servicing.

How do they sound compared to modern headphones?
Like AKG 240s, Sennheiser HD600, or whichever ..... headphones?
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Old 7th December 2010, 05:02 PM   #2
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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the ESP950 is current production and comes with a ss amp - the amp is despised on Head-Fi but that could be the cheap plastic box and tiny split knob volume pot - I wonder how "audiophiles" would rate it in a 20 lb Al box with a 2"+ knob?

quality step-up xfmr is surprisingly hard for headphones - the ridiculously low power requirement doesn't save much core material when you need huge Lm to support 500+ Vrms at 20 Hz
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Old 8th December 2010, 04:01 PM   #3
tmblack is offline tmblack  United Kingdom
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The ESP/9 have fairly good xfmrs, the leakage inductance of the transformer might be a concern, many modern headphones roll off the low end below 100Hz but not these ones.
How do the ESP950 compare with previous models?
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Old 8th December 2010, 05:56 PM   #4
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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the 950 are the only es I've owned

you can get your fill (or more) of subjective opinion at Head-Fi.org - Headphone forums and reviews for audiophiles

I believe the ESP/950 headphone is considered competitive with Stax (higher end Lambdas?) when driven from a "better" amp

Last edited by jcx; 8th December 2010 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 10th December 2010, 01:03 AM   #5
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I only have a chance to compare ESP/9 with my DIY electrostatic headphones. Even though ESP/9 sounds pretty nice, I feel that my DIY headphones with open back sound more natural. The bass response on ESP/9 isn't as good either.

However, if you can get them cheaply, they are not bad at all.

Wachara C.
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Old 10th December 2010, 02:05 AM   #6
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Default Bad Pun

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmblack View Post
Looking at vintage electrostatics headphones like the Koss ESP/6 and 9 and Marantz.
They resemble electrostatic speakers in the use of step up audio transformers.
They are bulky and probably need servicing.

How do they sound compared to modern headphones?
Like AKG 240s, Sennheiser HD600, or whichever ..... headphones?
I only posted this to make a bad pun and it may/may not be true. They don't stack up to Stax. This pair, $2200
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File Type: jpg Stax sr-007a.jpg (40.5 KB, 269 views)
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A stiff power supply in a great-sounding amp is always better for you than a stiff drink.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 03:16 PM   #7
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I have had a chance to recently audition Koss in Singapore. I would compare them to My AKG 702. I found the mid to a bit harsh, the soundstage and space was good. The bass was thin. Good for vocals.
The build quality was not good. Koss offers a life time warranty on the product. I was also not inspired by the looks.
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Old 29th December 2010, 05:48 PM   #8
tmblack is offline tmblack  United Kingdom
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Is there a source for the 5 pin connector?
Looks the same as the STAX connector.
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Old 30th December 2010, 08:52 PM   #9
tmblack is offline tmblack  United Kingdom
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I found the Koss ESP/9 to be smooth sounding, rolled off compared to modern dynamics.
There shouldn't be any harshness, perhaps the capacitors need to be changed from ceramics to polypropylene in the audio path.
I would like to try them with a tube headphone amp but that would require DIY or modification.
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Old 7th January 2011, 10:31 AM   #10
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I had ESP/9 and found them neutral and wide range, probably better fidelity than my Stax SR3. But the weight and the pressure was way over the top.

I still have the SR3 but traded the ESP/9s away.

David S.
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