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Thread: Vintage Koss electrostatic headphones in da house

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 4,644
    I'm Lawrence.

    Default Vintage Koss electrostatic headphones in da house

    Got these today, has anyone tried them before? Took a punt as they were described as not working but they play well with my headphone amp if a little quieter than usual with dynamics. I'm particularly pleased that there is no apparent channel imbalance.

    Weight wise they are a bit heavy as they are quite chunky, and contain the transformers in the cups, unlike the ESP9s with a separate energiser. However, as I listen mainly at night lying in bed that shouldn't be an issue.

    There is not as much bass as I'd like but then the gel pads have shrunk as usual, so the phones are right next to the ear. I imagine even a pair of HD600s would sound bass light if you took the pads off and played them close to the ear like that. I've ordered a pair of nice looking large generic hemp pads off eBay that I hope will fit.

    Will also try and run them off a speaker amp if I can find an old QED cable to jack adaptor I've got somewhere. Am running in for a while to "charge up" but I am already feeling positive about the sound, esp the mids and treble.

    I'm sure they'll also benefit from a little light restoration, but from research online, opening them up can quickly become a can of worms.

    Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 4,644
    I'm Lawrence.

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    Ok spoke too soon, after about 2 hours of playing at moderate volume (but loud on the amp volume) to fully "charge up" after not being used for years I can hear some distortion on one side. Will leave them to "cool down" a while but it looks like some restoration will be required.

    (mods sorry maybe move this to the Vintage section, I didn't think?)

    Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Lawrence001; 28-01-2021 at 17:43.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 24,804
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    I have a pair of the Koss ESP6 self-energised headphones.

    Yes - they are heavy, hot and sweaty and uncomfortable to wear, but do sound good. I'm not a headphone buff (despite having seven pairs!) and only listen using them infrequently.

    Mine could do with a service (there is some channel imbalance, and the ear 'pads' have lost their flexibility), unfortunately Koss no longer service them nor can I find an independent servicer.

    Lawrence, are you powering your ESP6s directly from the headphone jack on your headphone amp. or from the speaker terminals of your amp via the little black box that comes with the headphones? And when you say 'loud', were the lights on the cups flickering?

    Barry
    Barry

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 4,644
    I'm Lawrence.

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    The headphone amp for now, I didn't get the box with them sadly but I have a QED big that should do he same thing.

    I could just see the LEDs dimly flashing but very dim. Hadn't noticed as they were face down while I was running it in.

    Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 4,644
    I'm Lawrence.

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    I'll let you know how I get on with the pads I've ordered. Have just noticed some "juice" leaking out of one of mine, must have been the one I took off to see how they go on.

    Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 4,644
    I'm Lawrence.

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    They're sounding better again that leaky pad was on the same cup as the distortion. Took it off and left it for 24 hours to dry and sounding balanced again must have got a bit of liquid on the diaphragm.

    Will leave it over the weekend to make doubly sure. In fact I'll leave it until the new pads arrive from China I'm not risking those old things again they're shot.

    Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 24,804
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Hi Lawrence,

    Can you provide a link for the replacement fluid-filled pads please? I would be interested in replacing them on my ESP6s.

    Thanks
    Barry
    Barry

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 4,644
    I'm Lawrence.

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    They're not fluid filled they are just material. I did some googling and someone online said that Brainwavz HM5 pads fit the Koss.

    I searched for them on eBay and bought a pair of the hemp ones a they looked better than pleather.

    Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 4,644
    I'm Lawrence.

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    I stuck some old plastic AKG pads on to keep me going until the new ones arrive. The phones are now firing on all cylinders again, so I'm sure some drops of the liquid must have got on the diaphragms the other day causing the distortion and have since dried off.

    The old pads are very suboptimal being less than a cm thick but I put some thin tissue in the cups to tone down the close treble and I have to say that they sound very nice now. Hard to believe they are about 50 years old. Listening to Andy Bey and his voice has so much detail and texture

    I've owned a few pairs of Stax electrostatics and various self charged electret phones and these are better. Stax are amazing in terms of air and detail but in the end there's something not quite natural about the amount of it after a while. These are much tonally richer, smoother and more natural overall.

    Very much looking forward to getting the thicker softer pads from eBay to see how the sound changes. For a punt on a pair of potentially nackered old headphones I'm rather pleased with the result.

    Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 4,644
    I'm Lawrence.

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    In for a penny...

    Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk

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