Massdrop x Koss ESP/95X Electrostatic Systemsearch

Massdrop x Koss ESP/95X Electrostatic System

Massdrop x Koss ESP/95X Electrostatic System

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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.  
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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.
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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.
I won't be joining the drop because I've already got the ESP/950s. I bought them more than 20 years ago, and just a few months ago, took advantage of the lifetime warranty to have them refurbished by Koss. I was getting a bit of noise when adjusting the volume. Koss fixed that, and replaced the worn ear pads, so I'm back to enjoying the same amazing sound as when I bought them.
Can Massdrop offer this with an option of no energizer, and instead include an adapter for use with a Stax Energizer?
Hard decision between these and the L300s
that hurts. after obsessively seeking some opportunity to have these for months, i am magnetized by satan and just spent the same planar amount for another can (yeap, you all know which one)... yesterday and without a discount. you must have been very good boys and girls all year to be elektrostatzen right now.
Has anyone here tried either the iFi linear power supply wall wart or chassis based model (regular or Signature Edition) from Swagman Lab in Hong Kong for their Koss ESP/950 or 95X? If so, was there an improvement over the stock switching supply wall wart?
Since I am new to Massdrop but joined the drop for this wonderful headphone please allow me this question: Is the drop successful and the items will be shipped if the time is up but we do not reach the 713 units? Thanks
Hirsch2k
The drop was already successful. This is the second time it was offered. The drop was one month ago, for about 360 units, and it succeeded. They will be shipped around Feb 20. I believe they mean that their limit for this drop will be when the total number, including the first drop (which is included in their count), reaches 713 units. At least that is the way I am taking it. I was in the first drop.
If I purchase, do I need a DAC too?
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Thank you!
oldtrout
Depends on what you are trying to play. The Koss do not have a dac built in. They accept analog signals from numerous components using the RCA line level and 1/8 (3.5mm) "headphone" inputs. Cd players, daps, computers, receivers, and many phones have analog outputs and will play through the Koss without using an outboard dac. An outboard dac may provide better sound with digital components. Depends on if the outboard dac is better than the one in the component.
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?
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I too am in the first group. On Oct 24 I received an email from Massdrop " Hi everyone, Congratulations on joining a Massdrop Made drop! You and 338 others will be among the first to receive the Massdrop x Koss ESP/95X Electrostatic System. We’ve placed the order and the estimated ship date is currently set for February 20, 2019. We’ll be back with a production update in January! " Hope that helps.
ericleckey
They sent that update out like 12 hrs after my last post.
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.
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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?
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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
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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?
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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.
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I've thought about this... but how would I connect a disc player that reads DVD-A to my PC? Is it even possible to use the Oppo's digital out? I assumed I'd need a disc player in my PC that could read DVD-A. I don't know too much about that. Is there anywhere I could read up on this? I'll try some searches online, but thanks for the idea. I hadn't thought it was really possible without getting more hardware.
WaydeR
Your computer/dvd drive reads the disc. The problem is most computers don't have the dac to handle 24/192. Doesn't matter here. The digital signal isn't being decoded. We are just extracting and moving it to a hard drive. I use a Dell i5 laptop with built in dvd drive to rip DVD-A to an external hard drive. Then plug that hard drive into the Oppo's front usb input. Instant hi res music. DVD Audio Distractor does require you to find cover art. You may also see different versions on disc. Hi res stereo pcm, surround, Dolby, etc. Pick the version you want to rip. Takes less than 10 min. to rip a disc.
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
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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?
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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.