Impressions: King Sound's KS-H3 Electrostatic Earspeakers

When iFi sent me their Pro iESL, they graciously included a pair of King Sound's previous flagship earspeaker. This will be the first pair of electrostatics that I've reviewed, and I'm certainly excited to see if they live up to the hype.

1 Earcups with 5-Pin.jpg

I'll start, as per usual, with the design. The earspeakers themselves are uniquely designed, but still attractive. They fold entirely flat for storage in the included zippered, semi-hard case. The case also has a storage pocket for the included and extensive media on the headphones themselves.

Aside: I will use the terms "earspeakers" and "headphones" interchangeably over the course of this post and the upcoming full review, as I feel that for all the disagreement, both terms usefully refer to the same thing in this case.

The earcups are made of an anodized metal, which I believe to be aluminum. They are perforated across the entire area, lending them their open design. The earcups swivel back and forth, and up and down by an arc of metal that wraps half-way around their top side.

The headphones adjust to head size via a spring loaded, pressure-sensitive band that lies under the over-arching support band to which the earcups are connected. This hasn't been an issue for me, as the headphones are very light, and seem to stay relatively stable on my head, distributing their weight evenly. However, they do not stand up to head-banging of any sort, and can slip off if I lean as far back as my neck allows.

The difference between these and any other headphone I have tried is immediately noticeable. The first thing that struck me was their immediacy. Notes, transients, and tones all start, crescendo, and decay exactly as intended, with very good intimacy and fidelity. The bass is certainly light, but isn't non-existent. Mid-bass has okay impact, but very good detail and clarity. Sub-bass is present, but has virtually no slam to it. The mids are not lush, but they are very detailed and sound incredibly realistic. With songs like Amber Rubarth's "Novocaine", it seems as though she is right in the room with me, and that's a very impressive effect in person. The highs are airy , but not particularly light, with a good sense of poignancy. I am not particularly sensitive to grating treble, which I have noticed in the past, so for those are more prone to treble annoyances, these may straddle the line in that regard.

I'll continue to spend time with these on my head over the next few weeks and come back with a more in-depth and better organized review at that time.