Extraordinary DIY Electrostatic Headphones by Chinsettawong

This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Having recently announced my electrostatic headphone measurement program and the forum thread for readers to submit headphones for measurement, I've begun to see headphones arriving for measurement and the first SR-207 was measured last week. It's a good start and I look forward to filling up the headphone measurement page with all the Stax and other electrostatic headphone maker's products as time goes on.

What I didn't expect—at all—was to find myself measuring a DIY electrostatic headphone. These are not simple to build, requiring a substantial amount of knowledge both in terms of the technical information required to design such a driver (air damping, geometric constraints), but also in terms of complex construction skills needed (coating and tensioning diaphragms, programming CNC routers).

140619_Blog_Chinsettawong_Photo_BailDetailSo, it was with great care that I opened the box from Bankok and slowly unwrapped two of Head-Fi member Chinsettawong's creations: The Omega Clone, and the Orpheus Clone electrostatic headphones. Wow! The first thing I noticed was how light-weight these cans are...it's as if the airy speed of electrostatic headphones was already reflected in their structure.

And then there's all the sumptuous hand-stitched leather and over-all construction of these headphones. It's one thing to build electrostatic drivers (a big thing) but it's wholly another to construct a completed headphone with headband, fit adjustment, ear-pads, and the like. No, these don't look and feel like a manufactured headphone, but rather they feel—and smell—like a finely crafted saddle or boot. The vibe is supremely genuin and organic; it's as if Chinsettawong's hands were on mine as I seated them upon my head.

140619_Blog_Chinsettawong_Photo_HeadbandDetailBut as awesomely lovely as these were in hand, they were simply stunning around the ears. Solid bass response, a lovely smooth mid-range, and, though just slightly less refined sounding than the Stax SR-009, their treble response was marvelously articulate and detailed. I spent just a little time listening to these two headphones and the Stax SR-009 driven by my KGSS Special Reviewer's Edition and I know I'd have to spend a lot more time to pars out the differences because Chinsettawong's Omega and Orpheus Clones performed very near or at that elevated level of fidelity. Simply stunning.

My job here was simply to measure these cans, but I couldn't let them go by without special comment. I encourage all those who find this post of interest to check out Chinsettawong's thread "My DIY Electrostatic Headphones". It's almost a hundred pages long now, but it's chock filled with technical information and photos documenting not only his builds but the efforts of many others to construct electrostatic headphones.

Measurements of these two headphones and the Stax SR-009 for comparison follow. I'll not comment in detail but will offer the observation that the DIY cans do seem to exhibit a slightly larger second blip after the initial edge on the 300Hz square wave, but they also seem to do a better job of bass extension and measure slightly lower in distortion overall. These are very good measurements for a DIY headphone...heck, they're very good for a commercially produced headphone.

Congratulations Chinsettawong, these headphones are remarkable!


Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.