If you consider yourself to be a headphone connoisseur, especially when it comes to the vintage models, then you’ll definitely be interested in the Koss Porta Pro Headphones. Since its first release in 1984, the Porta Pro design has changed very little since their 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, 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
Color: Black, black & silver – other colors available in the limited edition range
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 be inclined to think that 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 contributor being 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 really 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.
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 lifetime of the product. This obviously 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 a little more control, you can upgrade to the Koss Porta Pro with Microphone & 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 handsfree device for calls on your mobile.
Koss Porta Pro Wireless
If you prefer a wireless setup, the Porta Pro Wireless is now also available. These headphones operate on Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX™ so you can enjoy excellent quality wireless audio. The built-in battery lasts up to 12 hours which is perfect for most listening applications and long haul travel. The headset also gives you control over your audio device with play/pause, volume control, call answer/end/reject, track skip and more.
The Koss Porta Pro Wireless cost almost double the standard Porta Pro but at $80, they’re still under $100 which is excellent value for wireless headphones.
What Does The Koss Porta Pro Sound Like?
For a vintage style, on-ear headphone, the Koss Porta Pro sound surprisingly good. Especially given that the standard model costs less than $50! In fact, this is probably one of the only cheap headphones you’ll hear audiophiles recommend.
For an on-ear headphone, the Porta Pro produces a surprising amount of bass. It’s not what you would consider being a bass headphone, but certainly 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 just doesn’t deliver a bright sound. For long term use, this is an advantage as it reduces listening fatigue.
If you’re looking for a cheap pair of headphones but don’t want to compromise sound quality, then the Koss Porta Pro is going to be your best option. At under $50 they’re an absolute steal for the quality you receive. They are a little 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 is the adjustable headband. I’ve seen many reviews point this out and it can be a little 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 to 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 just about any bag and the minimal wear or listening fatigue means you can use the Porta Pro for extended periods without them getting uncomfortable.