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Koss KSC75 Impressions

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hello.

These are my impressions regarding the Koss KSC75 clip on style headphones. I have owned these for about 2 years now, and used to use them for portable use. A quick check online shows they can be had for 16$us at amazon.com. My version does not have the built in volume control.

My impressions are based off the KSC75 being sourced by my Mhdt labs Paradisea+ NOS dac with WE396A and a WooAudio WA6 headphone amp with 274B. On occasion I will also mention how they sound out of my ipod nano.

Sound Quality
If there was one headphone that could make me a believer in “source first”, this is it! There is no way these headphones can cost 16$us. They sound amazing out of my setup.

The mids are wonderfully lush sounding. It’s a sweet sound. Vocals sound full bodied and natural. At no time do I find any brightness throughout the frequency range. The bass is also full bodied having a fair amount of weight to it to make it sound natural. The bass never sounds overbearing, which I am very thankful for. The mids progress down to the very low bass with ease and the bass seems to roll off slowly. The highs are present, never sibilant, and have a little punch to them though not as much as my HD580 for example. Now, I have heard these compared to the grado house sound a million times, but out of my setup I am getting a very close resemblance to my HD650 headphones. When properly sourced, these headphones have a wonderfully smooth sound that is very easy to listen to for extended listening. I would not even think about EQ’ing these even the slightest bit.

I am blown away by the sound I’m getting out of these headphones when properly driven. I remember when choosing between the Sennheiser PX100 and these KSC75 for portable use with my Ipod nano. The KSC75 did present a more aggressive sound. Plugging them into my home setup though, these have become the baby HD650. Simply stunning!

The biggest thing going against these is the way they sit on my ears. They do not sit snugly on my ears and do not trap in the sound, so I am missing out on a fair amount of soundstaging. I get very little depth to the soundstage, and practically no vertical separation. It does have a pleasing left-right separation; without much focus. It also means that I am missing out on subtle detail. This is in absolute terms. If we now consider the price of 16$us, these are probably above average.

Build quality
They are plastic, so I would not want to crush them. The driver housing detaches from the ear clip, and back in the day that I used them for portable use they would sometimes pop off and I would have to reattach the clip.

Comfort
Sitting down at home, these are neither comfy nor uncomfortable. They rest on my ears, but they don’t push against them. They remain cool which is nice. The metal rod inside the rubber clips can be bent to adjust how they fit on your ear, but I have trouble getting the pressure I would prefer.

When I used them portably, I was unhappy with how loose they were on my ears even after adjusting the clips. Looking around would shake the headphones loose. I found that I had to keep pushing them back on my ears to keep them from falling off. This was the biggest complaint I had with them, and was the main reason why I opted to use the Sennheiser PX100 for my portable setup back then. However, the cable was very comfortable and never annoyed me. They also do not suffer from ‘microphonics’ in the cable.

Misc
To be honest, these headphones do not look very stylish. If you are conscientious about such things this might not be the best choice.

In terms of loudness I never had a problem driving them from my little Ipod nano.
They also do not attenuate much sound at all, so I would not get these for use in noisy environments.

When properly sourced, the KSC75 sound the best to me out of the Koss KSC75, Senn PX100, and Senn HD201 by a large margin in terms of musicality. For portable use out of a junk source the KSC75 can sound bright and harsh in which case other headphones such as the PX100 might be a better option (and for me it was).

The KSC75 are VERY source dependent!

Conclusions
The Koss KSC75 are a strange headphone. They are very picky about what equipment you pair them with. Driven right out of my Ipod nano they sound bright and harsh, very reminiscent of the Grado house sound. Pair them with a very smooth source/amp combination like I have done today and they are very reminiscent of my Sennheiser HD650.

Assuming they are paired with a nice source, they sound wonderfully smooth and very musical! Never in a million years would I have expected anywhere near the sound quality out of 16$ headphones. NEVER! If it wasn’t for the dimensionless soundstage and the lack of subtle detail, these headphones would be a serious competitor in the 150$ price range, if not higher.

Unfortunately, due to their clip on design they might not be the ideal choice for a portable setup in which you will be moving around a lot. I find this funny, because that is the exact audience these headphones are targeted at.

A picture


As always, feel free to post any questions or comments.
I hope this was helpful,
~Drew
post #2 of 26
What a comprehensive and great review. A tight headband mod with the sennheiser 414 kramer modded pads, might make them look a little weird and yellow, but it increases the sound value
compared to the clips. Add a 75 ohm resistor, decent amplification and a reasonable equivilant source, I totally agree that they can easily match up with some way more expensive headphones. But as you point out , they will loose their portability..
post #3 of 26
I love the sound of my KSC75s. Mine must be 4 years old by now and still sound awesome. The sound signature is excellent, they only lack a bit in detail when compared to more expensive headphones. (Compared to HD555)


I have to agree the clip design isn't the best for active use, I think the old KSC35 clip was better and looks a bit better too, but those are 3x the price and ony available directly from Koss. I"d say the sound is worth the $45 price tag, and the KSC75 is just an incredible bargain in comparison. (same drivers in either except possibly the coating )
post #4 of 26
I love my KSC75s. If you spend a bit of time to get the clips perfect, you'll find that they actually stay on your ears quite tightly. A quick Kramer mod to them really helps them shine! But as you noted, they definitely could use a makeover, but for ~$15, you really can't complain XD
post #5 of 26
Another surprised KSC-75 owner huh hehe....

I definitely have the same impressions as you about the properly amped part.

Properly amped = wow silly good for the price.
Sure plugging in a $15 headphone into a $200+ amp and $200+ source = lol, but it does definitely scale well.
Sure, doesn't compare to more expensive 'phones but well, they're more expensive for a reason! :P
I'd say, the best sub-$30 audio product out there really.
post #6 of 26
IIRC, apuresound even provide recable for this lil can. That say something.

Mine are kramer'ed and burned in for more than 1000 hours. SQ never failed to amaze me. But comfort-wise, it suck big time...
post #7 of 26
my only complaint: the stupid volume control
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thomasshi View Post
my only complaint: the stupid volume control
It's funny, because there are two versions of the KSC75. One with the volume control, one without. It's also funny that the name doesn't distinguish between the two.

If I was given the choice, I would buy the one without the volume control (which is the one I have).
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Towert7 View Post
It's funny, because there are two versions of the KSC75. One with the volume control, one without. It's also funny that the name doesn't distinguish between the two.

If I was given the choice, I would buy the one without the volume control (which is the one I have).

What's the matter with the volume control? I've never seen/tried the KSC75, but I'm willing to give it a shot.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewsvt View Post
What's the matter with the volume control? I've never seen/tried the KSC75, but I'm willing to give it a shot.
I'm sure thomasshi can chime in to why he doesn't like it.

I personally don't like the thought of putting a potentiometer in the headphone cable when it is not necessary for me. An extra thing to impact the sound for the worse.

I'd only get it with the volume control if the added convince of it outweighs the potential impact on sound quality.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Towert7 View Post
I'm sure thomasshi can chime in to why he doesn't like it.

I personally don't like the thought of putting a potentiometer in the headphone cable when it is not necessary for me. An extra thing to impact the sound for the worse.

I'd only get it with the volume control if the added convince of it outweighs the potential impact on sound quality.
I got the KSC75s with volume control, cause I didn't have other option (here in Mexico there arent to much places to buy them). I just dont like it, I dont know if it changes the SQ for worse, but it looks fugly with the thin stock cable and the large potentiometer in the middle, I'm later recabling with Mogami Cable, Ill put my impressions when done.

I agree with you Towert7, the KSC75s sound amazing, and even more amazing after the Kramer Mod, I even like them more than my Senns HD540II Reference. The thing I enjoy more is the soundstage and the loud and crisp highs and mids.

BTW I drive them from my iPhone with ALAC files through CMOY amp.
post #12 of 26
Great review!
I personally prefer them on a Portapro or Sportapro headband, the drivers hold tighter around the ears and the sound is less "airy"(IMO)

regards,
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Towert7 View Post
It's funny, because there are two versions of the KSC75. One with the volume control, one without. It's also funny that the name doesn't distinguish between the two.

If I was given the choice, I would buy the one without the volume control (which is the one I have).
I wish I had that choice.

Now the volume control gives problem of un-even sound
post #14 of 26
I was just on the market for another portable phone. Basically, it was going to be either KSC75 or PX100. I went with PX100, again, since I know what PX100 sounds like and I like it. But, I'm still curious about KSC75, though. Everyone seems to like it especially for the price. Too bad, they don't sell this at radioshack anymore.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogbox View Post
I was just on the market for another portable phone. Basically, it was going to be either KSC75 or PX100. I went with PX100, again, since I know what PX100 sounds like and I like it. But, I'm still curious about KSC75, though. Everyone seems to like it especially for the price. Too bad, they don't sell this at radioshack anymore.
Yea.... but for 16$.....
Can't get much cheaper than that.
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