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Review: Handmade Leather Replacement Pads for Koss ESP-950 headphones

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I recently received a pair of replacement pads from Vesper Audio for my Koss ESP-950 headphones.

While the ESP-950 headphones are truly amazing for the price, the pads have been a weak point. The stock pads are tin, hard, and made from a cheap-feeling material.

So when i saw Vesper Audio’s custom, handmade, leather pads, I knew I had to give them a try.

I ordered a sample pair directly from Vesper in the Ukraine. SInce they make them by hand, it took about a week for them to make a pair of pads and about another 2 weeks to receive them in California from Ukraine.

The pads I ordered were black real leather with black alcantara contact surface, and fast foam which is 2 cm thick. (This configuration is the same as what we will be selling from our website.)

The build quality on these pads is really top notch. They look and feel like high end pads you might get with flagship headphones.

And since they are custom made to fit the ESP-950’s instead of generic pads that “fit” a bunch of different headphones, the fit is snug and tight. Once you get them on, they look like they could be stock pads or at least what Koss should have included with the ESP-950’s.

These pads are MUCH more comfortable than the stock pads. They are softer and thicker and feel much more “high-end” than the stock pads. 

I will comment on the sound after some eye-candy…

Here’s a few photos so you can see the quality:

But how do they sound?

Overall, the sound is better. Not night and day, but I think the pads give a much better seal which affects the sound in a positive way across the entire frequency spectrum.

To me, the most pronounced difference is in the bass. The better seal gives more bass and maybe lets you hear more of the lower frequencies giving the feel of better low end extension. The greater isolation may also contribute to the impression of better and more bass.

The mids are pretty much the same, but again, the better seal and better isolation leads to greater detail.

The highs are slightly elevated but never harsh. Just a boost in the highs and more apparent detail due to better isolation and elevated highs.

To me, it’s a “no-brainer” for a relatively inexpensive upgrade to an already great bargain in headphone world.

You can pre-order your pads directly from Darin Fong Audio now for $69.00 USD. We should be able to ship them out on February 27th, 2017. We will try to keep them in stock from that point on so you don’t have to wait the 3 weeks to get them from Ukraine.

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