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.
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.