KS-H2 KingSound headphones and M-10 headphone amplifier

cuffie KS-H2 e M10 miniatura
cuffie KS-H2 e M10 miniatura


Let's start the test of the partner KingSound KS-H2 headphones and M-10 headphone amplifier by saying that, although I like using headphones, succeeding in connecting an electrostatic model in your own setup can always be considered as a goal.


It is true, however, that in the last ten years, many types of electrodynamic headphones have become so good to compete with the electrostatic ones. There are then the orthodynamic headphones, a kind of trait d'union between the two categories. Actually, we can also speak of a "hybrid" typology: half electrodynamic headphones (for the low frequencies) and half electrostatic headphones (for the high frequencies). But, notwithstanding the positive comments of the public, the AKG K-340 are now out of production.


Anyway, we are talking about a charming technology that is delicate in its implementation, but virtually ideal to achieve a perfectly linear frequency response.


As most of you already know, the electrostatic headphones need an amplifier capable of delivering the required voltage to the armatures so that they can operate in the proper way.


This match is more complex and expensive than with any other headphone that could be driven by whatever suitable output. You have to take into account, though, that a good/very good electrodynamic/orthodynamic headphone, to express at best, needs an amp of good quality and therefore the price must be and is higher. In fact, most of the amps implemented in our integrated amps or optical drivers do not reach excellent levels of performances.


The only impossible thing with the electrostatic headphones is the mobility. But I think that for the portable multimedia players any simpler and cheaper headphones are suitable indeed.


KingSound Limited from their website

King's Audio Limited was founded in 2002 and, currently, is a well established electrostatic loudspeaker manufacturer. Under the KingSound brand, they retail in the UK, Italy, Canada, US, China and Australia. Based in Hong Kong, they have been quickly improving in terms of quality and reliability, thanks to years of research in their labs and, most importantly, thanks to the feedback of the audiophiles across the world to whom, over the last 10 years, they have always been offering high quality products.


The following statement proves the reliability of the company and is about a free change of their former model KSH1:


"Free upgrade from KS-H1 to KS-H2 - Published on Dec 30, 2013 - Dear Customers, After one year service of KS-H1, we exhibited that the materials used for the KS-H1 Headset is not quite matched to the Electrostatic element under different extreme weather. To solve such problems, we explore new materials to produce KS-H2 & KS-H3 headset. Thus not only improve the strength but also sound performance. For our enthusiasm, we will be most happy to offer the exchange process to exchange the KS-H1 headset with KS-H2 free of charge. End user may approach authorized dealer for the exchange service.

Thanks for supporting our products".


Description of the products


KingSound KS-H2 headphones

From the ergonomic point of view, I am really satisfied with the KS-H2. They are lightweight and easy to put and positioning. The headband applies a "correct" pressure on the ears without any sense of oppression. The pads are soft and made of transpiring imitation leather. The cable is enough long so to allow the mobility around the amp. The stated weight is 420 g., cable included, whereas only the headphones are 300 g.: a feather weight! The look is elegant and agreeable.


KingSound M-10 headphone amplifier

A compact parallelepiped that can be placed vertically thanks to a small unhooking bracket that can rotate of ninety degrees so to assure a stable support. A sturdy manufacture, minimalist, but aesthetically pleasant. The faceplate is in brushed aluminium and hosts, starting from the top: the volume knob, a small commuter for the bass boost, a very small green LED for the ready function which lights up after few seconds after the commutation of the power supply button showing that the amp is ready to play. Then, another small power supply LED, the headphones jack and the on/off button. On the back, always starting from the top, we find two inputs: a 3,5 jack and two RCA connectors. Below there are two other RCA sockets suitable to connect another device like an integrated amp. Besides, there are: the selector to change the voltage and the IEC socket to connect the power cord included in the package of the M10.


N.B.: after a couple of hours of functioning, the top of the M10 amp is quite hot, so don't use it as a headphones support!


Listening test

Like most electrostatic headphones, the KS-H2 require a long break-in. To start listening to a good performance it will take at least ten hours, although the best is fifty hours.


The good think is that these headphones are really light and comfy so you can wear them for more than two hours without any problem.


After the break-in, what you can immediately notice is the detail: that quality that allows discovering new instruments and counterpoints never heard before! The capability of unravelling the musical message at best is remarkable. The voices are natural and enjoyable and the sound of the strings is extremely realistic and pleasant.


You have to take particularly care in choosing the source. Such kind of headphones is quite ruthless and can immediately highlight all the flaws of DAC, CD player and analogue chains. There are no deep bangs on the low frequencies as well as it's impossible to get strong sound pressures without distortion. But the purchaser must be aware when it chooses this kind of headphones. The bass boost can be used with satisfaction at a moderate volume, but at mid-high levels of sound pressure it's a bit annoying and unnatural.


Optimal is the output with the classical music. The full orchestra is always clear. I must add, however, that the best performance was with Immersion Edition - The Wall - by Pink Floyd.



Do you want to own comfy, refined headphones and with a great detail? Do you rather listen to music without drum and bass, dubstep, trip hop, extreme metal et simila? If you do, I think that the KS-H2 matched with the M10 amplifier can be the right choice. I cannot say which will be the retail price in Italy, but the price of the two devices communicated by the manufacturer has a real good quality/price ratio.


Selection of listened music

Dave Matthews Band - Away From The World (CD-2012)

Pink Floyd - The Wall Experience (CD-2012)

Orchestral Spectaculars - Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Erich Kunzel (Telarc CD 2002)

George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue / West Side Story, Bernstein & Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsche Grammophon (LP)

Peter Gabriel - So (SACD)

Ben Harper - Fight for your mind (CD-1995)

John Abercrombie - Wait Till You See Her (CD ECM 2009)

Official technical specifications

KS-H2 Electrostatic Headphones

Frequency response: 10Hz - 46kHz

Electrostatic Capacity: 140pF

Impedance: 113kΩ (at 10kHz)

Sensitivity: 109 dB (at 100vrms)

Maximum output sound level: 116dB

Standard bias voltage: 550Vdc

Weight: 0.42kg

M-10 Headphone amplifier

Frequency Response: 1Hz - 50KHz (-3dB at 50Vrms out)

Input Impedance: 24kΩ

Rated Input Level: 150mV (100V Output)

Max. Output Voltage: >300Vrms (<1% THD)

Signal to Noise Ratio: >100dB (re. 100V output A-weighted)

Bass Boost: +9dB at 20Hz, +3dB at 100Hz

Gain: 58dB

Harmonic distortion: 0.01%(at 100Vrms/1kHz output)

Dimensions: 170x265x60mm (WxHxD)

Weight: 2.3kg


Official current price in Italy: KS-H2 + M-10 1,050.00 USD

Official Italian dealer: not yet distributed at the date of the review

Associated equipment: to Mauro Cittadini's system

by Mauro
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