Massdrop x Koss ESP/95X Electrostatic Systemsearch
In The Works:This new product is still in the manufacturing process. We’re working hard to make something you’ll love.

Massdrop x Koss ESP/95X Electrostatic System

Massdrop x Koss ESP/95X Electrostatic System

bookmark_borderSave
Where's the price?
To negotiate the best possible price for our members, we must agree to hide our prices externally.


Add a comment...
Stickied
Today we’re excited to announce a new collaboration with Koss based on the iconic ESP/950 electrostatic headphone system.  
Koss released the ESP/950 in 1990 to rave reviews, and it was widely recognized as the best headphone system in the world. Koss has continually produced the ESP/950 from launch until now, but as time went on, the community demanded more low-end performance in headphones, and competition developed around the $1000 pricepoint. As a result, the ESP/950 fell out of Audiophile community focus.
Now, almost 30 years later, we’re working with Koss to deliver the ESP/95X, an updated ESP/950 with deep low-end and at an accessible $499.99 for the entire system. We updated the earpads to improve comfort, which also smoothed out the low-end & upper-mids frequency response (as you can see in the graphs on the drop page). Soundstage has increased slightly as well. Removal of some vestigial accessories allows this accessible pricepoint.
Out of thin air… Why should you care about electrostatic headphone systems? -Speed and resolution. -Low distortion and low coloration.
Electrostatic forces move an entire membrane to produce sound without any physical contact or interference by parts required in other types of drivers. The driver is ultra-thin with extremely low mass so it moves very quickly/easily. This leads to a level of resolution and space between sounds that delivers more information to the ear which can be perceived by the brain. Electrostats are the endgame for most detail addicts.
The membranes are lighter than air and store no extra energy when they move. This leads to low distortion and less sonic coloration than other types of drivers. Much of your music is captured by microphones using similar technology, but in reverse.  Sound produces waves in the air which move sensitive electret membranes to generate small electric signals that we record.
COMFORT The overall headphone is super lightweight and comfortable due to the drivers, cups, and headband.  For many people who find regular headphones to be bulky and uncomfortable, the ESP/95X will be a load lifted off of your shoulders.
“DD” vs. “e-stat” The popular headphone battle seemed to be won by dynamic drivers since regular amplifiers are much more common than the high voltage “energizers” needed by electrostatic drivers.  But is the battle over? Many people enjoying “Summit-fi” (owning the most expensive or end-game rigs) enjoy “e-stats”. Adding an iconic electrostatic headphone system from such an important brand makes this a very special day that we have been working towards for a long time. The Massdrop Audiophile & Collaborations Team (Will Bright, Matt Takaichi, Michael Billeci, Thomas Fernandez, & myself) would like to thank Michael J. Koss, Chairman & CEO of Koss, John Koss Jr., Vice President of Sales, and  Michael J. Koss Jr., Vice President of Marketing & Product. Michael Koss (CEO) was involved in the original development of the ESP/950 in 1990 and all three of the family members have been instrumental in our partnership to bring you the ESP/95X.  
Load 58 more comments
Hey - does that mean we get two extension cables??? 8-Þ
Sorry, my mind has gone on one of its extrusions again...
Er, I mean excursions...
I was busy trying to get a replacement bluetooth adapter for my KZ earbuds, and your drop for the KZ ZS10 distracted me... Gearb*st is my frennd... Don't leave your earbuds out in the rain is the moral of this story...
Koss to Stax adapter would be hot. Any chance Koss will make one?
Not saying it should be included free in this drop, but as an extra cost option or even a separate drop? Something more reasonable than the only available option at $150--for those that can't DIY.
Stickied
Hey Everyone, Good news- we have worked with Koss to have 120V & 220V options at check-out! The dev team at Massdrop did a lot of coding to add the options and retroactively assign your orders based on location.
If you already ordered: Please go to your Transactions page from your Profile drop-down menu and find your Order. Please check it to see if you have the correct voltage for your country and usage.
If you have not ordered yet: You can now order and clearly select a voltage option at check-out!
Please Note: the wall power supply will now work with the voltage that you choose, but you may need to provide your own small plug adapter to fit your country’s outlet.
Load 15 more comments
Hello and good afternoon! I'm glad to hear that you like the 58x - I haven't tried pulling out the foam as I am quite fond of them they way they are - but I have been curious about it myself. I may pull them apart to test it one day - I'll let you know if/when I do! It's always exciting to get new toys and the srs-3100 was a great deal! I am still on the fence on the elctrostats, when you receive the other set (same thing I'm considering) please let me know your thoughts. I honestly have been eyeing them for a while, but just haven't pulled the trigger.
Cool, I'll check it out... I have Little Dot MKII.
This thing has a junk power brick for DC, so you'll need to get a linear PSU.
These are apparently an exact copy of the 1990 introductory headphones. Reading through the comments, they say a squealing problem happens occasionally and others complain the energizer is too weak. One wonders if the massdrop headphones being sold now are an EXACT copy of the 1990 version, complete with those problems, or since the headphones they are based on have been in production since 1990, incremental improvement's have probably been made that address those and other problems. If not, one might wonder why not?
What would be the shipping method for Canada? 'Free shipping' really isn't free if we're charged 100$ for brokerage fees by fraudulent FedEx, UPS, Purolator, etc... :/
Have I missed something? When I joined the drop, the estimated ship date was February 2019 and the drop volume was 360. Now, the drop volume has been increased to 713 and the estimated ship date is April 2019. Can those who joined the original drop still expect to see shipment earlier than April?
Load 3 more comments
Hi Tigole, This second drop has a different ship date- it comes from a different batch delivered on a different date. So this does need to be a different drop. If you were in on the first drop, you will be the first to receive the 95X!
CEE_TEE
Hi CEE_TEE,
Thanks for the reply. I am part of the first drop, and was only checking back since it's been a little while and I haven't heard anything about it. I was looking for some sort of update, and was surprised to find that the drop was open again, with a new quantity target (which looks like a typo of the # that joined the first drop), and a new ship date. So, I hope you can understand how that can be confusing from the perspective of someone in the first drop. MD can use an improvement on how overlapping drops are presented to make it clearer.
How about an update on the first drop?
Delivery April 2019
Custom tax & postage expenses added for us Europe customers
Possible issues if warranty claim needed
Need I say No Thanks !
Olsen
sad but true, VAT added ... sooo OK, but if the warranty will not be valid in Europe ( local Koss service ) than sorry ... MASSDROP, pls how its with the warranty in EU???
As shipment date is so far away I am not willing to invest that money before Christmas. Would you do second drop when Koss will have them in stock? Thank you.
Yayoming
U can count on it
How does the lifetime warranty work with overseas buyers? I'm abit worried...
Lunaticas
Same question here ...
Pls, from which country will be shipped? For customs purposes ... Here in CZ there is 21% VAT fee from outside EU :( Thx for info. Daniel
danikd
It's always the U.S.
Yakov
Thx for info ...
Finally great drop at Massdrop. I have one, otherwise would definitely buy.
This is great pair of unique earphones. Vesper-like pads included - great addition.
is it possible to connect this to a stax amp if I decide to save up the money down the road.
Load 1 more comment
then I’ll just buy a stax headphone, haha.
Pocket
Good idea, they’re better than this headphone but more expensive
For the Sennheiser fans that want an electrostatic, hopefully this project can gain traction to revive the famous HE 60, aka baby Orpheus, with a better energizer. Hopefully it can get endorsed by the community :)
https://www.massdrop.com/talk/10100/massdrop-x-sennheiser-he-0-x-electrostatic-system
Why has the drop ended so quickly? I thought there's 8 days left. Any idea when the next drop will come?
Load 2 more comments
i thought so, thanks!
ShadyMercenary
Hey ShadyMercenary... Thanks for the interest! We're working on another drop soon with a slightly later ship date depending on production.
I'm quite blind to read and find the actual info so let me ask you guys a dumb question.
Q. What are the difference btw ESP 95X+E90 vs $999 original ESP950+e90?
Thx
Load 4 more comments
Yes, the specs are totally the same.
It was also common to see the whole original package with the other accessories discounted to $600 or $700 a few years ago. Koss MSRPs are much higher than the usual selling price of most of their models. New models and this top of the line model are now selling for much closer to the MSRP than they had for much of the last decade, but it appears that the actual production cost is much closer to something that would typically sell for around this $500 price through a discount online retailer like Amazon or B&H. I was kicking myself a few years ago for not snapping up the original for $500 when I saw it on sale for a couple of weeks at Amazon, but here it is again minus a couple of the rarely used accessories. Just wait another year or two and you'll see it on sale in other places with all of its accessories for $600 or $700 again. Actually, don't wait. This is a better deal than you're likely to see anywhere else, as long as you don't want the cheesy vinyl carrying bag and plastic battery box.
Are the Koss ESP 95X ear pieces larger or smaller than the Sennheiser HD600 cups?
Barondla
I did not own the ESP 95X, but according the measurement in the spec category, it is larger. The earcup height is 15cm, while HD6XX is only around 11cm (I think)
HoboLobo
Thanks for the info. Plenty of room in these ear cups. No wonder the Koss have large driver panels. Large panels are good panels.
Like what the review said about the 95X bass being tighter and deeper than the original 950. The new foam pads might allow bass lovers to increase low end even more. Grado owners often wrap electrical tape around the outside edge of their big bowl foam pads to enhance low end. Done properly, it is barely noticeable visually and easy to undo.
Curious if @CEE_TEE or any of the other developers have tried or measured this on the Koss?
Load 2 more comments
What pads did you switch to? People might wish to try them with the 95x.
Barondla
On the pads I switched to... I actually forget who makes them... But I did an search last spring for replacement earpads + model number... I went through a few sources to find someone who ships to Canada, but it seemed like a reasonable source, they had lots of replacement earpads for various models of headphone. The ones I got are a faux leather with memory foam, significantly thicker than the originals. Although, I do like the feel of the originals, I believe it was lambskin, which is what the bag was made out of. It's too bad the bag isn't included with the drop, it's definitely awesome in its ridiculousness, it looks like a camera bag, so it's kind of fun to travel with it and crack open the bag and assemble the headphones out of them. Anyone seeing the bag would assume I've got some kind of high-end camera.
Considering the 950s originally retailed at $1K, this drop is a steal. Fortunately I didn't pay the G for them. You can find deals online for the 950 all over the place but I think it'd be difficult to find them in this drop's price.
I thought I'd add my 2-cents. My Massdrop avatar photo since I joined happens to be me in my Koss esp-950s.
They were long my favourite headphones, but have been replaced in that top spot by Audeze LCD-3, but they're still a close 2nd.
I love the electrostatic sound, for midrange and high-end it's beautifully detailed, accurate and responsive. These won't be bass monsters by any means. Switching back and forth between the LCD-3 and the 950s when listening to anything with a lot of bass will leave them sounding a bit thin. But bass just isn't where they shine. I tend to use them for rock music, classical, jazz but not techno, EDM/hip-hop.
There's a sweet-spot around 1000Hz and up where there is a slight warmth that really makes acoustic music and female vocals, very warm and non-fatiguing as other headphones might be in the upper end.
I've had my 950s for over ten years and my time hasn't been without technical issues. I had them for years when the notorious "buzz issue" started up. The right side would get this faint intermittent buzzing sound that would be drowned out by music but still annoying. I sent them in to Koss and must praise the warranty here.
I started with a phone call for instructions and talked to a really nice lady at the Koss headquarters. The whole process of shipping from my home in Ontario, Canada to their headquarters in Milwaukee and back again repaired took about two weeks. To my surprise they not only fixed the buzz but they slapped on brand new earpads and even replaced the cables with new ones. The fact that this service exists, no questions asked, no proof of purchase, no wacky verification number requirement - for life, cannot be understated. Koss deserves much praise for their excellent support policy.
I still use them semi-regularly. They are my go-to for jazz, acoustic music. I turn to my Fostex/Massdrop TH-X00 purpleheart for anything that benefits from a more bass-forward presentation (such as electronica), so I feel like I've got the best of both worlds between the two headphones.
It's a shame the battery pack won't be included with this drop. I love the battery pack, but I admit I hardly use it anymore. Attaching a battery pack to the "energizer" is ridiculous fun just because it's so impractical.
The overall build quality and feel by today's standards might seem a bit "cheap". The earcups are plastic, but seem to be more solid than they feel because I've never broken them or had any issues with cracks. They're extremely light on your head, they almost feel like "nothing"... especially compared to my LCD-3s which are pretty heavy. The build quality and design are definitely out of the past, but know what you're getting into. They're vintage headphones, but good sound is eternal. And that lifetime warranty will keep them eternal - so it's easy to overlook the plasticiness of the shells around the earcups. I guess it's worth noting you can get aftermarket earpads, I ordered them online and they're a bit thicker than Koss's stock earpads . There might be a slight bump in the mid-bass due to the earpads and their placement being slightly further from my head, but honestly I didn't notice much difference in sound quality.
I hope you enjoy the drop, good luck.
Load 4 more comments
Hey, Vishmaw.
I don't want to go too far with the comparison to planar magnetic, but as a fan of PM headphones there are some similarities to electrostat, in the flat response across the audio spectrum. So, you'll miss the mid-bass bump or the sparkle in the middle-highs you might get from dynamic drivers and this make headphones made with either PM or electrostat seem dark or distant to some. The mid-bass bump is infinitely popular in today's mainstream headphone market, which makes sense given the amount of electronica/hip-hop on the charts these days.
So. long story short the bass can certainly be EQ'd. I have a collection of Yeraycito's Master Series, I assume Yeraycito is (I assume a guy) who that makes master recordings, eq'd to his own specifications off "fist run" vinyl to high-res digital FLAC files. They sound wonderful but what I notice is that he eq's a bump in the bass, which makes his master series really good for PM or electrostats, as you get a rendition of that punch that might be missing. Bass-forward headphones don't tend to sound as good with his master recordings.
I did a freq sweep 20Hz to 20kHz, of a flat tone (not the most musical way to do it, I know) it definitely has no problem reproducing the tone way down to the bottom. I'm not certain of the science of it but there is a natural rolloff as go down below 30Hz, it's just a natural thing for either our hearing does or all headphones, and the Koss 950s are no exception. In fact the sweep test program I used gives recommendations to turn up the volume between 20-30Hz and then turn it down as you go up above 100Hz because it will kill your ears, especially as you head into the mid-range and beyond.
So, I will say if you're thinking of this drop, it really comes down to the music you like. I think the 950s are a great rendition of the electrostat sound signature. It's definitely no Stax SR-900, but who knows, maybe a Stax energizer would improve the sound of the Koss ESP-950s, it almost has to, because that energizer seems pretty threadbare. But it does the job.
The sound signature is about as flat as I've heard, but it really comes alive listening to acoustic music, or simple, 3-piece bands where the detail of instrumental harmonies are important.
One of my favourite tests for the kind of mid-range accuracy and detail and sweetness in that range, perhaps described as "warmth" is a song called "War of the Mind" by Lauryn Hill off her MTV Unplugged album. The song goes through a range of intimate slowness where Ms. Hill is practically whispering in your ear, then she picks up the pace and raps aggressively, before returning to singing sweetly, her guitar mimics her voice in intensity. There's a point in that song where her voice cracks, just listening to the song on the radio you might not catch it, it just sounds like she starts singing a bit quieter for the rest of the tune. But through a good set of headphones that can illuminate details in the upper-midrange, about where she sings, you really hear what sounds like she might have actually hurt her vocal chords. But like a good trooper she finishes the song and immediately takes a drink of water.
Sorry for the long rant here... I have no problem singing the praises of these headphones. They were my first real "audiophile" grade headphone, so I am definitely biased. Part of what I like about them is that they are archaic by today's standards, they're a piece of historic hardware, designed in the 90s as an improvement to a design from decades before the ESP-950s came out. But they still sound great by today's standards, even if the build quality is a bit vintage.
Wayde
WaydeR
Thanks for the detailed reply! Most headphones are quite rolled off under 30hz indeed, most of them need some EQ to get a good response there. Good to hear they reproduce down to 20hz just fine even if quiet, that means a 5db or so boost in that region will get a good response albeit not a headrumbling time like a dynamic can do.
I havent heard a electrostatic yet, so jumping in to give it a shot. I prefer Planar bass to dynamics, so electrostat bass might be right up my alley. Think the ESP 950 will be a great complement to my T60RP.
Since HD6XX just went live, I am now torn between this and a (semi-)good AMP + HD6XX. The price is more or less the same. From my very limited experience, I have ER4P, PX200 and HD497. Oh I do own BOSE QC25 and QC35 too. What I am trying to get is a pair of cans that can satisfy my home needs (because I already have cans with NC feature), mostly watching TV and movies but also occasionally listening to music. I do not want to continue burning money and was considering this as an end-game (at least for my needs). And I am so afraid that once I get HD6XX, I will continue along the path to HD8XX etc. Should I stick to this, or is HD6XX good enough for me to get out of this "upgrade cycle thing"? :P
Load 9 more comments
If you end up purchasing the HD-6XX later, the longer Sennheiser cables (3 meters) are less than $25 on Amazon. Probably a better option than a Bluetooth amp and keeping your amp options open is part of the fun. :)
Delay is not a problem with Bluetooth 4.2 or later devices. I have the Ear Studio ES100 which works well with my HD800, HD600 and HD6xx phones(in either unbalanced or balanced modes).. i also have Audeze Mobius phone which have fantasic range. The ES100 and the Bluewave Get have a 25 to 30 foot range (from an iPad Pro 2 while the Mobius phones get a range of over 100 feet. All the older Bluetooth had range and latency problems.
As far as lifetime warranties with Koss go, one time back in the 80s I returned some cans to them for repair and they replaced them with a lesser model saying, "Your model is no longer produced." So if you need to rely on the warranty maybe there's no telling what you will get back. I got out of Koss home cans when I discovered Senn HD600s. I still love my Porta-Pros though for on the go listening.
kingofpangaea
So if the Massdrop version of ESP95X has issues in the future and needs warranty for replacement, will the original 950 be the replacement or the navy blue 95X be the replacement? Or is there a lesser model as mentioned in Kingofpangaea's example??
kingofpangaea
Koss backs products better than most, if not all, companies. There are numerous stories where they even replaced or repaired headphones bought on the used market. Probably as close as we can get to a perfect warranty.
Wow, couple dozen people already backed out of the drop. Koss needs to step up their game.
Hello. I'm confused. Is it a long or short cable, or both?
Load 1 more comment
So and 1.2 meter cable to the engergizer, and a 1.8 meter cable to the sound system?
Terje
both of them are use to the engergizer, the 1.8 meter cable is just connect between the headphone with 1.2 meter cable, when you find 1.2 meter is not enough long.
i dare say 950 powered by airbow 253 is not far behind L300 Ltd...they sound differently..but in the same league as far as resolution..speed..dynamic are concerned...had massdrop offered a choice of headphones only....
search
Clioman
How would you describe the differences between the 950/L300? and which would you choose if you had to choose between them?
Vishmaw
if vocal or song is the main listening, I would keep 950. It has more bass presence, offering a more lively feel . However, classical music, (particularly, symphony, choir) is the main listening, then Stax is the better choice. the soundstage is more 3D and defined, you can tell the position of various instruments more easily. Bass is less "touchy" than 950, but it is there. Say, if there are multi-number of drums on the stage. The sound from bass drum and than from snare would be more easily picked up and positioned by Stax than 950.
to my ears, Stax is less lively but more natural, sound is also more "accurate". Its very much like "kodak film vs fujifilm" in the old days. Kodak gave you more red and hence, much richer tone. Fuji less red and more green, less eye catching, but more natural. Hope you can "feel" what I am trying to say here.
I might risk offending some ppl here by the following statement, for the reason of looking for more natural sound, I marginally prefer older stax (srx mk3/ lambda pro/404 ) than modern ones (507/L300/L700). :)
Electrostatic headphones, stax/koss/kingsound have different character than traditional dynamic cans, keeping just one pair of cans (whether it is a dynamic or electrostatic) is not fair. You are being too mean to yourself.
Go and work harder, earn more and visit massdrop more frequently. My 2 cents.
*surfs Massdrop like a shark on the daily, gots 2 git muhdealz* *spots electrostats* "Hell yeah "puts on glasses before terminator eyes incinerate my OLED screen", we cool club now* *get them in box in box, so excited* *open them up, their smell makes me dribble and from more than one orafice* *plug amp into my 90s walkman and turn it on* *oh sweet creamsus.mp4* what .jpg? that meme's ded *angels literally singing in my ears, okay now they are licking the inside of my ears with their angel tongues* *ohhhhhh YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSssssss* *pant feeling tighter than usual, bumps desk* *knocks over glass of water by amp* MY FACE WHEN
search
*Amp and home explode* *runs choking from smoke, clutching my soulmate sakura-bodypillow* *she's the only survivor* *cry in my own filth on the street until the firemen show up* *Sakura stolen by a homeless guy and used to gag me* *distressed, loses job and all hope to live for* *remembers that sweet, sweet sound* *flips burgers for 9 weeks, and then 9 more* *buys electrostat again from library pc* Would buy it again and again lads, if I had to review I would say 9/9 for the weeks of work and best sound ever, do buy now thanks.
Uzuzu
9/9 enjoyed this post
Uzuzu
Medic!!
That is tempting, after thought for long as 2 min I clicked.... I'm expecting the number 337, please Massdrop don't do like with the 58x that was fake limited numbs, thanks.
ivanouk
They probably won't send you the number that you joined the drop.
I joined the drop today. Like others, I am concerned about the four-foot cable length; it’s simply too short. I’d like to see the six-foot extension added back in to the drop or the cable on the headphone lengthened to six feet.
JTori
The extension has been added back as of today 9-22-2018
I am another that will need the 6 foot extension so please put that back into the mix so as these can be more purposeful.
made in Japan or China ?! ;)
Does this not come with a battery pack and carrying case?
Load 1 more comment
HoboLobo
no pack and no case. Easy enough to make a battery pack, and a DSLR type camera case would hold all the components. Of course, the one that came with my ESP-950's is a nice leather one. Pick up one of these and then all you need is the proper connector. https://smile.amazon.com/BATTERY-HOLDER-C-CELL-SNAP-TERMINALS/dp/B00N39A3H0/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1537654410&sr=1-3&keywords=6+c+battery+holder
Maybe someone knows what connector is needed and where to purchase it.
Battery life with 6 C cells is around 3 hours if you don't turn it up too loud.
HoboLobo
Another drop of the battery pack itself is needed.