• Axel

Koss ESP/95X

These are a tough one. My first electrostatic headphone experience.

I received these headphones one week ago. My first impression was "these aren't that much different." After a week of adjustments, different inputs, and listening I do say these are something else.

These headphones require a special amplifier in order to work. In the box you'll find a wall mammoth power plug, the amp, a extension cable, the headphones and the headband. Its nice that their is an extension cable and I use it with my set up. The headphones are feather lights, the amp isn't heavy either. The energizer is lighter than my SP200 and about the same as my Bluetooth transmitter. I think my Q5s is actually heavier.

The headphones themselves are a mosaic of plastics and foam. It creaks audibly at the pads. I ordered the DROP Dekoni pads within 5 minutes of opening the box, that's how bad the creaking is. The plastic is fairly stable, I don't have any issues with the build quality.

The route for the music this time is: pc> DX7s>RCA (unbalanced)>95xenergizer>headphones.

How does it sound? Accurate and blissful. Let me explain.

Bass: This is the weirdest part about these headphones. The bass is accurate and awesome. If you listen to a song like "Come Together" by The Beatles you will be swirled into a blissful experience. The bass range here is amazing, I feel that these headphone reach more of the bass frequencies than my DT770 pro's. This does change depending on the mastering of tracks and recording quality. I find that some of my favorite tracks are bass lacking and some are perfection, keep this in mind.

Mid: This is the focus of these headphones. The mids are incredibly clean and image crazy. The headphones separate out all of the mid frequencies beautifully. Both male and female vocals are like listening to the vocalist in person, "Gasoline" by Halsey as an example gives me chills. The atmosphere of the song, the vocals, the instruments send chills. "Detention" by Melanie Martinez is another good example. The vocals are reproduced so clearly, I feel like I'm hearing it live in a studio. I also pick up new sounds I haven't noticed before. The "electronic" washboard sits behind me scratching away, I never noticed it before. I think I have, but I didn't know what it was or where it sits I didn't notice (my bad).

Highs: These are my favorite part of these headphones. Listening to "(Nothing but) Flowers" by Talking Heads really shows me how clear the highs are. The shakers (maracas?) sound like they are shaking inches from my head. The high notes on guitar sound just as great as the bass guitar does! I find it hard to describe these headphones, they are something else.

Imaging: "Amaranth" by Nightwish is my usual test for imaging and separation. The chorus has alot of instruments and vocals and a choir. It is difficult for alot of headphones to separate out the sounds. Most of everything is present, the hardest sound to hear is the chimes (as usual). I can hear the choir, singer, guitar distortion, bass, drums, and most accompaniments quite well. These image as good, if not slightly better than my Sendy Aiva planar. The bass doesn't overwhelm me here like it did with the DT 770 pro. Another test I like to use is "Summer's Cauldron" by XTC, the early sounds on the track are great for silent imaging. I've not heard the birds as clearly here as on other headphones. It sounds like I am in a forest mid summer, truly.

Complaints? I have a few. While I love the fact the headphones detach from the headband, I still wish the cable was detachable. The DT 770 250ohm cable needed it because it was a long cable. For the 95x, being expensive headphones, I feel that detachable is needed in the event of a needed replacement. It's not a big complaint here due to the nature of the energizer being needed and included. The pads are crap, no if ands or butts here. They creak and I felt like something was broken out of the box until I found the source of the noise. I can't wait for the new pads....

My final thoughts here are positive. If you want to spend $500 on headphones, these are definitely the pair to get. Koss and Drop did very well here and it shows. While I do wish more metal was used, the lightweight nature of these headphones makes them super comfortable and the most affordable electrostatic headphones I have found thus far. Stax energizers start at $600 and do not come with headphones! These are a keeper pair

(Disclaimer: I purchased these with my own money. Koss and Drop did not contribute nor advise me on these headphones nor had any influence on this review. I am not cool enough to get free headphones, yet. The photo is taken from DROP.com and I do not own it. But I do own this S4 with a crap camera...)

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