ESS 252 Closed-Back Headphones
ESS 252 Closed-Back Headphones
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Product Description
ESS has been in hi-fi audio since the 1970s, and now the company brings its expertise in speakers to the world of headphones. The 252 headphone is particularly eye-catching, with medium-density walnut ear cups and a shiny metal frame Read More

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Calaverasgrande
1415
Mar 24, 2019
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the copper tinged trim just pushed this into the dry heave category for me. Don't care how good or bad they sound. The slim chance that I could suffer a stroke and be found dead with something this hideous on my head mean a 'no buy' from this guy.
Mar 24, 2019
Thoughtfully_Critical
27
Jan 1, 2019
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Hi all, in *no* way to disparage this drop but if this model were built around ESS's original "Heil Air Motion Transformer" (ESS marketing term), a folded ribbon, I'd buy them in less than a heartbeat, lol. I owned a pair of the original ESS 'phones. Imho, those were the closest I'd heard to my reference Koss electrostatics, and could def play louder. Hope all who buy these enjoy, as at $100, they seem a good deal. Thanks!
Jan 1, 2019
Daeronicus
25
Nov 17, 2018
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OK, i must say i'm semi-dissapointed with this headphones. My pair arrived today and i have been testing it for a couple of hours now. I have pros and cons. PROS:
  • A very pleasant sound experience.
  • Vocals and mid-range are balanced. To my ears at least.
  • Bass is not too loud or deep but detailed. The overall sound experience was fantastic.
CONS:
  • A bit heavy. I was able to feel the presure on the top of my head. Is not too heavy but after a couple of tracks it was unconfortable to use.
  • Too rigid. I got a headache for the presure on my ears, is just too much for me.
  • Sometimes i could hear only trough the left side, because the imput zone on the headphone was not quite secure, i had to play with the connector to hear the sound on both sides. A little touch on the headphone connector and the sound was gone on the right ear.
I guess that the clamp pressure will get loose after some use, but i am very concerned about the audio jack on the headphone. It's the only quality issue i have detected, and i don't wanna be moving the audio jack all the time to fix it. **This was mostly machine translator so forgive if sound weird to you.
Nov 17, 2018
Marcus22687
98
Oct 7, 2018
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Oct 7, 2018
rslatara
201
Oct 5, 2018
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Company's pushing these cans need to get review samples out to Joshua Valor, Metal571, DMS3 TV or Z Review.
Oct 5, 2018
ChumbWumba
149
Jan 2, 2019
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I agree for sure... I enjoy and appreciate all of those reviewers for different reasons. Joshua Valor is typically spot for me as far as sound preferences go and I always enjoy the quality of the videos he produces!
Jan 2, 2019
kraken2109
2
Sep 30, 2018
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How can nobody know if these are over-ear or on-ear? None of the reviews seem to mention this either!
Sep 30, 2018
AK770
22
Jan 1, 2019
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+1 (VERY helpful)
Jan 1, 2019
tutetibiimperes
89
Jan 1, 2019
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The biggest weakness of both of ESS’s headphones are the pads. I just received my ESS 422h from Massdrop on Christmas Eve and they’re awful with the stock pads. I followed Zeos’ advice and swapped them with Shure 1540 pads and it completely transformed them, they’re awesome with those pads.
Jan 1, 2019
LX_Emergency
181
Sep 30, 2018
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On ear or over ear?
Sep 30, 2018
bigcjm
31
Oct 3, 2018
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Just got a pair in. these are on the tight side....
Oct 3, 2018
Daeronicus
25
Nov 17, 2018
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On the tight side? They are on the alien facehugger side, they will grab your head to never let it go. It feels like the diadems want to touch each other through your brain.
(Edited)
Nov 17, 2018
tsnoich
5
Sep 30, 2018
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A well spent $99. Haven't finished breaking them in yet, but I'm very happy with the comfort and sound quality. I wanted a pair of (relatively) inexpensive headphones that would fold down and provide good sound while travelling. These work for me. I'm using them with a Hiby R6 using the 3.5mm jack and the Hiby has plenty of power to drive these.
Sep 30, 2018
PolygonBronson
158
Oct 1, 2018
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Thank you so much for the measurements!
Oct 1, 2018
Maxxedout
17
Oct 6, 2018
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Brainwavz oval pads will fit.
Oct 6, 2018
Elsid
634
Sep 28, 2018
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Tried the 422, didn't like it.
Sep 28, 2018
DiMora
241
Sep 21, 2018
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I bought a pair of these 252's and also their 422h model which features a hybrid design with both a dynamic driver as well as a Heil air motion transducer (folded ribbon / accordion style tranducer). I had called Rick Caudillo at ESS (the CEO of ESS and also the head designer) to ask him about the sound character of each of these models, as I was attracted to the price, closed-back style for travel, and the beautiful wood construction. At the Massdrop price of $99, the 252's represent a tremendous value. They sound very good. I wanted to compare them to one another. initially, both were weak on bass, but that was because they weren't broken in. I ran them both continuously for 3 days on a bench to loosen up the dynamic driver suspensions. Ahhh, very nice after break-in. So here's the skinny: I like the 422h's the best. I'll give the 252's to my teenage daughter and they will absolutely punish the ear buds and "Beats" all her friends have. The 252's are well balanced, forgiving for any overly compressed music, and they have amazing bass response. But the 422h's...that Heil AMT is the secret sauce and brings Rick's design to the next level. The mids and highs are more clear, detailed and shimmering. They are unforgiving of poorly mastered / distorted / overly compressed music, but I don't listen to any of that garbage anyway. I'll use the cliche that swapping from the 252's to the 422h was like looking through a hazy window vs. looking through one that is so clean you almost cannot see that the glass is present. The 422's also have more space / air / ambiance...it's a bigger soundstage with the 422h. 422h are $199, so double the price of the 252's, and not on Massdrop. So, back to these...are they worth it? For $99 - yes they are. Tremendous value here...they sound very nice, and if I didn't have the 422h to A/B back-to-back I would be quite pleased to own the 252's as a primary closed-back design p[air of cans. Build quality on both is impeccable...the wood is stunning, pads are comfortable (although both pair out of the box are heavier than some other brands of cans and also the clamping pressure is firm. My head is somewhat narrow so they are a good fit for me, but folks with a giant head may find these too tight. The 422h earcups are bigger than the 252 (I like the bigger cups). In summary, I'd say the 252 are well worth the $99 if that is your budget, but the 422h are definitely worth double the money if you have the cash. Remember the dynamic drivers will nothave their final amount of bass when new right out of the box until you run them for a few days with some good bass tracks to loosen up the surrounds on the drivers. I used Techmaster PEB's "Bass Computer" to break them in.
Sep 21, 2018
Trigon
7
Sep 30, 2018
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Love the pics and thanks for your input! Would you say these are comfortable for folks like me with large heads? I really have a hard time with over the ear phones because of clamping pressure. I guess my ears/jaw are sensitive. Right now i'm using AKG's but they are semi open ( I really love them) but need some closed backs for travel/office. Appreciate any insight you might have . Cheers!
Sep 30, 2018
DiMora
241
Sep 30, 2018
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They both have significant clamping pressure. I don’t think they would be good for a larger head. Clamping pressure is not adjustable.
Sep 30, 2018
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