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Review: Koss UR 55

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

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
post #2 of 50

Glad to know someone else finally got a chance to try these. I've been raving about them from day one. I wasn't even a huge fan of the Porta Pro's because they hurt my ears due to wearing glasses. I liked the KSC75 so much that I even upgraded them with a headband I bought online. It seems like everyone knows about Koss from the Porta Pros and then everything else from them is basically ignored, it's very strange. I haven't heard any reviews of their other headphones in years!

 

I still remember when I got them. I was thinking they'd be garbage and I'd be returning them the next day. Well, I ended up listening to them for a lot of hours each day. At the time I was thinking that surely if these sounded this good, Koss would have an even better headphone. I ended up driving two hours to get my pair of Pro DJ 100s and it was worth it. The UR-55s are a better match probably out of an Ipod or without an amp though. There is also less bass on the DJ 100, but more detail. The sound signature other then this is very similar. To me, they're the perfect neutral headphone. Sadly, i'm only aware of only 3-4 people that have tried them. They remind me of a mix between the Grado SR-80 and DT-880 without the fatiguing highs.

 

I gave my mom my UR-55s instead of returning them. Since my version of "portable use" is around the house and not outside, I just use bigger headphones. She likes the UR-55 more then her Shure SRH-240, but she's no audiophile and uses them on her treadmill.

 

Best thing I can say about both of these new models is that the sound signature is one where you can listen to them for hours without fatigue. The highs may be very slightly rolled off a tad, but it doesn't bother me.

 

Both headphones also sound best after burn-in (especially the UR-55). The DJ 100 needs an amp to really bring out the bass. The bass is about equal to that of the SRH-840, but maybe a tad less. I don't find them to be bass light at all.

 

BTW you're review is spot on. Not really anything I disagree on. The most impressive thing about these to me (and the DJ 100) is the instrument separation. Even for a closed headphone, both have a really good soundstage also. Actually the #1 thing I like is how clear vocals are. The vocals are just as good on the DJ 100 as on the SRH-840. Vocals are UR-55 are nearly the same too.

 

To go back to what I was saying earlier, the DJ 100 is only different then the UR-55 because of that extra detail it provides, but with slightly less bass then the UR-55. They should have called it a "studio monitor" instead. In the marketing description they say the DJ 100 has "insane bass response". Not quite! But it's kind of funny.


Edited by tdockweiler - 9/15/10 at 11:02pm
post #3 of 50

Hi guys, i just want to know a few things about this headphone.

 

First, is it a closed or a open headphone ?

 

Then, is it pleasant to wear ?

 

Does it hurts ?

 

And what about it's sound ?

 

Thank for answering smily_headphones1.gif

 

 

ps : scuse my english, i'm french smily_headphones1.gif

post #4 of 50

It's closed. At first I thought it was semi-open, but another person said otherwise and I believe him.

There is a lot of foam for the earpad, so sound may leak out of that, but it's not too bad.

 

They're very comfortable as long as you don't have a huge head. I've heard of a few people that said they had too much clamping force, but not for me at all.

I find them even more comfortable then the Porta Pro.

 

The sound signature seems to be similar to the Porta Pro. Maybe they even share the same drivers? I doubt it, but it's possible.

 

UR-55 is really good for any type of rock music. Pearl Jam just sounds amazing on them. They are just a fun sounding headphone. Anyone who likes the Porta Pro SHOULD like them as long as they fit well.

I'd be amazed if anyone loved the Porta Pro and hated the UR-55.

 

The only negative i've found is that the mids are slightly muffled out of the box. After burn-in this goes away.

 

For me, it's easily the best sounding headphone under $50USD along with the KSC75 and Beyer DT-235. I'm not a huge fan of the Porta Pro. I prefer the KSC75.

 

I'd love to tear apart the UR-55 and see what driver it uses...

 

post #5 of 50
Okay thanks smily_headphones1.gif

And what about isolation ?
Does it sounds better than an akg k430 or an akg k518 ?

Sorry for many questions ^^", but thanks .
post #6 of 50

Sorry, i'm not sure about isolation. Probably not good due to the foam.

I actually gave them away to my mom when I upgraded to the DJ100. I still wish I had a pair.

 

I'm not sure how they compare to the k430 or k518. I've actually never tried those before.

AKG stuff isn't very common or easy to find in the USA sometimes.

post #7 of 50

I could buy both of them on internet, and i don't know wich one i shoud chose ...

 

Tha K430 is good, but very small, so no isolation, the K518, is good too, but it hurts, and there is this UR55.

 

I need isolation, confort and good sound for +/- 45 $ ...

post #8 of 50

Can anyone tell me is this headphone have a good isolation please ?

 

I'm really thinking about buying this headphone...

post #9 of 50

wearing a pair at school at the moment

 

i can tell you these headphones have fairly good isolation, people don't seem to be bothered by them at a normal listening volume, as long as the room isn't dead quiet.

post #10 of 50

So when comparing the sound of the porta pro to the UR-55's, you guys are saying the bass is stronger on the Porta Pro's?  If so, how much of a difference are we talking?  And besides that, the difference in the sound between the two is the UR55's are much clearer and defined?

post #11 of 50

I haven't heard PortaPros in a long time, my memory of them is that they have a little bit more bass than the UR-55 but not a great deal more. I think you've summed up the differences between the two in sound nicely.

 

I decided to pick up a pair of these for someone as a gift after listening to them at a Best Buy booth, and would agree that they are an excellent value. The sound is reminiscent of my old Goldring DR-150 in a lot of ways, which is no surprise as the Goldrings are often described as offering a more refined version of the KSC75/PortaPro sound. The differences that struck me were:

 

+ The UR-55 have an enjoyable midbass bump that is absent with the DR-150.

+ The UR-55 sounds smoother in the highs. There is no lower treble peak like with the DR-150. Listening fatigue, in my case, was nonexistent.

 

- The DR-150 is more resolving and more sensitive to changes in amping or sources.

- The DR-150 has better instrument separation and a little wider soundstage. The UR-55 can sound congested with complicated musical passages.

 

Imaging is pretty different with both phones, the DR-150 is more L/R-channel centric whereas the UR-55 is a little bit more balanced in that regard.

 

Considering the DR-150 goes for ~$150 and are themselves often considered a great value for the price, I would say the UR-55 should be regarded as an excellent value as well. The only headphone that goes for around $50 which I prefer would be a used AKG K141 (the first version, with the sextett drivers and the silver cups). However that headphone requires a somewhat beefy amp to perform adequately and are less comfortable, so for overall value I'd give the edge to the UR-55.


Edited by CFabian - 11/13/10 at 7:30am
post #12 of 50

Just bought this headphone from Best Buy.  Didn't want to wait for a delivery from

an internet source, and it turned out that this was one of only a few headphone choices

that could be picked up, same day, at a local store.

Selcted the UR-55 before finding this website/forum.

As someone who is brand new to headphones, my remarks are:

- fits a big head, with glasses

- some sound leaks thru the cushions - which is fine.

- seem comfortable... have worn for 60 minutes straight,

As to the sound, I'll let the rest of you elaborate.. sounds great to me.

post #13 of 50

IMO, Koss makes some of the best department store budget headphones under $50. Much better than sony or skullcandy crap overall.

post #14 of 50

Yeah, but most of their other stuff is well not that good. Not to bash them or anything, but IMO a lot of their other stuff other than their KSC75-Pro3AA's are any good.

 

I may have to walk down to their store in the next few days. Man these guys are like 30 minutes from me (via walking, 5 minutes by car).

 

While I'm there I will have to try the Pro4AAAT again. I wonder how the UR55 will stack up against my UR40's and HARX700's. I will let you all know.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EYEdROP View Post

IMO, Koss makes some of the best department store budget headphones under $50. Much better than sony or skullcandy crap overall.

post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie_X View Post

Yeah, but most of their other stuff is well not that good. Not to bash them or anything, but IMO a lot of their other stuff other than their KSC75-Pro3AA's are any good.

 

I may have to walk down to their store in the next few days. Man these guys are like 30 minutes from me (via walking, 5 minutes by car).

 

While I'm there I will have to try the Pro4AAAT again. I wonder how the UR55 will stack up against my UR40's and HARX700's. I will let you all know.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EYEdROP View Post

IMO, Koss makes some of the best department store budget headphones under $50. Much better than sony or skullcandy crap overall.

That is true they are generally not very good, Im just saying they are better in comparison to other rubbish in the same category. I know Koss will sound atleast acceptable no matter what model. I cant say the same for durabrand, maxell, sanyo, coby, etc... Even sony in that price range is crap (mdr-v150 for example). 
 

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