Koss Porta Pro Headphones Review

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If you consider yourself to be a headphone connoisseur, especially when it comes to vintage models, then you’ll be interested in the Koss Porta Pro Headphones. Since its first release in 1984, the Porta Pro design has changed very little since its re-release a few years ago.

Koss Porta Pro History

The Koss Porta Pro was first released in 1984 in response to the fast-growing portable music player market, the most famous of which was the Sony Walkman. Koss released the Music Box, a portable AM/FM stereo with a tape cassette, in 1983, and the Porta Pro was designed as the best headphone to accompany the new device.

The headphones were designed to be ultra-lightweight and foldable making them easy to transport with the music box or other portable music players.

Koss Porta Pro Specs

Cable or Wireless: Cable
Speaker Driver: Unspecified
Impedance: 60 ohms
Primary Build Material: Metal and plastic
Weight: 2oz
Color: Black, black & silver – other colors available in the limited edition range

Koss Porta Pro

The Design

Not much has changed on the Porta Pro since 1984. The headphones feature a thin headband with foam-covered on-ear ear pads. The adjustable headband is somewhat robust with a sliding mechanism to fit most head sizes.

The ear pads feature the Koss’ comfortZone mechanism, which allows you to angle the ear pads closer or further from your ears depending on the size and shape of your head. This allows you to get a firm fit without experiencing any pressure or fatigue.

When looking at the Porta Pro, you may think these headphones can’t be comfortable. They’re too old school. But they are surprisingly comfortable to wear, especially for an on-ear headphone. The main contributors are the lightweight design, compact size, and the super-soft adjustable ear pads.

For those who like to take their music on the go, the Porta Pro folds up to be fairly compact with a clip to keep the headphones locked in place. The simple design works well and means your headphones won’t open or fall about while in your bag. When completely folded up, the Porta Pro is about palm-sized which is a perfect fit for handbags, laptop bags, and small backpacks.

Koss Porta Pro

The Features

One of the best features of the Porta Pro is the Koss Limited Lifetime Warranty. Koss will fix any breakages under “normal use” by the purchaser for the product’s lifetime. This involves registering the product under your name upon purchasing a pair of Porta Pro Headphones.

One upgrade to the new Porta Pro is the addition of vents on the rear of the ear pads behind the drivers. These vents assist with air movement to improve the low-end capability of the headphones.

The drivers themselves have obviously been overhauled since 1984, which has improved the overall sound quality.

Koss Porta Pro X with Microphone & Remote

The standard model of the Porta Pro is very simple, with no audio features. If you’re looking for more control, you can upgrade to the Koss Porta Pro with a Microphone and remote for about $20 – $30 more.

The Porta Pro X features a one-button inline remote which allows you to play/pause and answer or end incoming calls. The built-in microphone allows you to use the headphones as a hands-free device for calls on your mobile device.

Koss Porta Pro

Koss Porta Pro Wireless

The Porta Pro Wireless is also available if you prefer a wireless setup. These headphones operate on Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX™ so that you can enjoy excellent wireless audio. The built-in battery lasts up to 12 hours, perfect for most listening applications and long-haul travel. The headset also controls your audio device with play/pause, volume control, call answer/end/reject, track skip, and more.

The Koss Porta Pro Wireless costs almost double the standard Porta Pro, but at $80, they’re still under $100, which is excellent for wireless headphones.

What Does The Koss Porta Pro Sound Like?

The Koss Porta Pro sounds surprisingly good for vintage style, on-ear headphones. Especially given that the standard model costs less than $50! This is probably one of the only cheap headphones audiophiles recommend.

The Porta Pro produces a surprising amount of bass for an on-ear headphone. It’s not what you would consider a bass headphone, but it certainly has enough low-end to appreciate most genres of music. The mids are warm yet clean, delivering upfront vocals and mid-range instrumentation.

The only sound characteristic some people may not like is the high-frequency response. The highs seem somewhat rolled off with almost a dull treble sound. This doesn’t affect the overall clarity of the headphones; rather, the Porta Pro doesn’t deliver a bright sound. For long-term use, this is an advantage as it reduces listening fatigue.

Koss Porta Pro

Conclusion

The Koss Porta Pro will be your best option if you’re looking for a cheap pair of headphones but don’t want to compromise sound quality. At under $50, they’re an absolute steal for the quality you receive. They are a bit retro vintage-looking, which might not appeal to everyone, but they’ll certainly stand out from the crowd.

If there is one flaw to the Porta Pro, it is the adjustable headband. I’ve seen many reviews point this out, which can be annoying. The headband slides to enlarge and adjust to your head. When you put the headphones on, the slides tighten, which can pick up strands of your hair, which then pull out when you take the headphones off. If you use your fingers on the sliders to remove your hair while removing the headphones, this does help.

While the Porta Pro is not a noise-canceling or noise-isolating headphone, I would still highly recommend these for travel. The compact size makes them easy to fit in almost any bag, and the minimal wear or listening fatigue means you can use the Porta Pro for extended periods without them getting uncomfortable.

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Author: Matt Hallowes

Matt has worked as a sound engineer and tour manager since 2003. His work as a sound engineer includes both live production and venue installations. With a passion for the industry, Matt shares his knowledge and expertise with us.

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