First...yeah I know I JUST reviewed the Sennheiser HD 201s.
Well, guess what. I just returned them. I found these Koss headphones called the UR 55 at my best buy, demo'd them on my mp3 player, liked them, returned the Sennheiser and bought the Koss.
Well...I'm stunned. I'm absolutely stunned. These are incredible headphones folks.
My best way to describe this quickly would be to say that they sound like a more refined porta pro. I've been a fan of the porta pro for quite some time, and they are my "go to" portable headphones. They are sort of a bench mark of sound for me. I always find myself comparing my new headphones to them.
These have a very similar sound to the porta pros. However, they differ in a few key areas: these headphones have a much more detailed and textured sound. Stringed instruments in classical music have a ton of depth and clarity, drums hit with a lot of impact and depth, voices sound very sharp and natural. Instrument separation is phenomenal. The mids are forward and smooth. The highs are very present and again, have a sharp, smooth sound reminiscent of the porta pros. The bass is very full and rich, although it too suffers from a very subtle lack of definition (as the porta pros do). The bass, however, is less overwhelming to my ears than it is on the porta pros.
The sound stage wasn't as good as the Sennheiser hd 201s, (for some reason those cheapies have an incredible sound stage) but it is a little better than the porta pros. You can definitely hear the spaciousness of the music, and the instruments seem to occupy an absolute space, rather than sounding as though it's merely coming from a speaker next to your ear.
The openness of the UR 55s lends to an airiness. I don't normally like this quality in my headphones since it normally sort of "fogs" up the analytical qualities of a pair of headphones to my ears, but the UR 55s are so innately detailed that it doesn't matter.
The overall sound is very rich, full, detailed, and atmospheric. They can be used with just about any type of music, whereas the porta pros seem to favor rock, rap, and other pop genres.
Build quality is excellent. These don't feel or look cheap. The use both a metal headband and a metal mesh on the outside of the speakers. The plastic is high quality and very rigid. I don't feel like I could easily break these.
Comfort is fairly high. The headband fits a little more snugly than I prefer, but compared to something like the HD 205s, these are very comfortable. The snugness is actually nice in the sense that these are staying on your head. They fit securely. The ear pads alleviate any discomfort that could arise from the snug fit, as they are very soft and add plenty of padding, as well as provide a decent seal. They aren't leatherette ear pads; they are sort of a mix between the foam on the prota pros and a memory foam that would go in a nicer ear pad. I have been wearing them all day without any major discomfort.
They are easy to drive, and you can use them in moderately noisy environments. They aren't quite as powerful as the porta pros, but they aren't limited by volume and they don't need an amp, although they certainly would benefit from the use of one.
The best part? They were $50. This is a steal that I've never partaken in before.
These deserve to be made known!
Edited by swaffleman - 9/15/10 at 9:18pm