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Koss KSC75's. Dont Forget This Giant Killer in all the ''Hidden Gem'' Hype. - Page 10

post #136 of 521
I still suspect clipping. I notice the FiiO E11 has both a gain switch and a bass booster. When I first got my KSC75 I tried them with my Clip+ and found the bass inadequate. I used Rockbox's parametric equaliser to add bass with the low shelf filter. I think the low shelf started at 50 or 60 Hz. Anything more than a 2 dB boost caused obvious bass distortion. I notice the FiiO specs state the bass booster applies more than 4 dB extra bass. This will definitely cause clipping.

I think I would try the KSC75 with the FiiO set to Hi Power but no bass boost.

edit: a really big factor could also be eq on the player. Any boosted frequencies could cause distortion. I would start with zero or flat eq on the player, then zero bass boost on the amp.
Edited by julian67 - 6/14/13 at 12:33am
post #137 of 521

Saw in the deals thread that Office Depot has KSC75s on clearance for $5!

post #138 of 521
Yes. Scored two $5.00 Koss at nyc broadway and 41st store. Two more were left on the rack. Rack said 19.99, but register got it right.
post #139 of 521
If anyone wants to help a fellow headfier, if you come across 2 at office depot I'll pay for them and the shipping to be sent to me
post #140 of 521

The only Office Depot near me closed frown.gif

 

However, I just got my Sportapros in the mail! 

I tried all combinations with the 2 drivers and the clips/headband and found the following:

 

KSC35s sound almost identical in clips or ehadbands

KSC75s sound a little better in the clips than the headband since the soundstage is wider and the sound is less muddied

KSC75s have more pronounced bass (although not as clear) in the headband

KSC75s sound alot better than the KSC35s overall

 

I ended up going with the 75s in the headband just because I didn't think they sounded much worse (maybe a 5% difference in overall SQ), boosted the bass, and the comfort was WAY better with the headbands. So now I have my 75s in the sportapro headband and the 35s in the clips although I doubt I'll ever use the 35s since the 75s are just better to my ears. 

 

KSC75s in Sportapro Headband with Sennnheiser PX200 pads

post #141 of 521
I alternate between using my KSC75 as supplied and in a headband (slim parts express type). I alternate not because of difference in sound but because sometimes a headband isn't convenient.

I got the headband a couple of weeks ago. I have to say I don't think there is any real difference in bass response due to clamping pressure that you can't also get with the clips. It's easy enough to bend the clips so that the earphones are held very snug to the ear. Any difference with a headband comes about from the position of the earphones. For me, with the clips the driver sits a little back. With the headband I can replicate that same position and get the same sound, but I can also choose to put the drivers a little forward and low (like most modern circumaural headphones would do) and this does make a difference. I'm not sure one is better than the other. With the drivers in the clips they are slightly high and backward and it can make the stereo image seem above as much as to the front instead of simply to the front. On the other hand it does seem that in the clips the drivers can swivel enough to sit at a more pronounced angle and this makes for a slightly wider image. The ideal would be to have the drivers fairly low, a little forward, and quite obviously angled. This is how recent Sony circumaural headphones are designed (MDR ZX700 for example).

Comfort, headband vs clips:

I was listening with my KSC75 when I started this reply and had to put a hand to my head to check if I had them on clips or in the headband. Quite comfy! If you get the clips wrong they can be horribly uncomfortable but a bit of trial and error will get you there.

edit: and while I'm here I'd just like to repeat that these things are great! biggrin.gif I know they don't measure perfectly and the deep bass response is not the most tightly controlled, but the overall sound (with suitable source) is remarkably natural and pleasing. Voices actually sound like voices and instruments are lifelike. I listen to a lot of orchestral and choral music and it sounds vivid and real with these odd Koss 'phones in a way that I never got from my Shures, Sonys, Klipsch and Sennheisers (all of which cost more, some a lot more).
Edited by julian67 - 6/20/13 at 4:52pm
post #142 of 521
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycee1 View Post

Up 'til now, I've had a rather naive faith that this forum would serve as a guide in the quest for the 'holy grail.' Despite this faith, it's become abundantly clear that not only is this faith misguided, it seems more and more obvious that most members don't care much about sound quality at all.

 

Instead, they're closet status chasers. They want 'props' and congratulations from other forum members as they climb up the status ladder: from $80 to $100 to $200 headphones, and so on. And of course it doesn't stop there: must buy ever more expensive amps, DAC's. Oh, and it doesn't stop there, either. Must recable, and recable again. Must mod. Wood is better than, whatever. 

 

It's like watching a dog chase it's own tail. At under $30 the ksc75's plus a headband plus shipping, is likely to get you 95% of the way towards the VERY BEST headphones AT ANY PRICE. They are certainly likely to exceed just about anything else out there up to $150 or $180 aside from grado sr60i's. 

 

It's really sad watching people waste their time and money their entire lives over non-existent, pseudo-incremental gains in sound quality. 

 

That's the sad delusion of shopping addiction: nothing you buy is ever enough: once the "high" of a new purchase wears off, you have to buy something else, something typically more expensive in a never ending spiral of debt.

 

PATHETIC!

Sorry I haven't posted in a long time guys!

 

This post resonates with my experiences. 

 

You see, when i started this audio adventure in 2010 i was only 14 years old. At this time there was still a lot of audio "myth" running wild with subjective claims of "increased sound quality"; back in those days you would see people buying $150 bag of gems to attach to their equipment to "lower the noise floor" or $100+/ft cables. Not to mention a huge bias towards "audio quality = more money". Unfortunately I live in a small town with no specialty shops that have demo rooms, and had to buy products myself and form opinions at the expense of my wallet.

 

Between now and then we've seen a large movement away from purely subjective reviews to objective reviews and products, such as innerfidelity's measurements/reviews and the ODAC/O2 amp. At this same time a huge movement towards value and community contributors mass-reviewing audio equipment (CliOS, ljokerl, Dsnuts, Innerfidelity, HiFiGuy528, ect) has greatly improved clearing out the myths surrounding audio.

 

Between now and then I've spent countless dollars trying to find audio perfection. I've built many speakers such as Paul Carmody's Overnight Sensations and Amiga, I've bought cutting-edge science amplifiers such as the Dayton Audio DTA100-a, helped friends build car audio systems with top end Infinity Kappa components, Bought DT990's, Sony MDR v6's, Grado 60i's, many IEMS, ect ect. To this day to my ears the Koss KSC75's are still the best sounding pair of audio reproduction equipment, period. 

 

You see, Headphones and IEM's don't have the issues surrounding speakers. Mainly baffle step diffraction, high voice coil inductance, room interaction, problematic acoustic phase shift between tweeters/midranges/subwoofers, intermodulation distortion caused by high x-max(excursion), complex passive crossover networks which create tons of problems themselves, box (enclosure) resonances, ect ect.

 

My point is, I've spent thousands of dollars and thousands of hours in work and research into audio to try to create an audio experience better than a $15-20 pair of Koss KSC75's. As a overall package, i have never been able to achieve that. Of course this is subjective, i guess the frequency response of the KSC75's just sound pleasing to me. Not to mention it doesn't have all of the above problems of speakers and more. 

 

What I've come to understand after approximately 4+ years to finding audio nirvana is that there is no perfect way to engineer a speaker/iem/headphone. Audio engineering is all about trade offs.

 

You're free to spend all the money you want to find better finding audio equipment. All i ask is that you at least give the KSC 75's a try before buying more expensive equipment. You may find no improvement, or too little to not justify a nice refund. 

post #143 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by julian67 View Post


I got the headband a couple of weeks ago. I have to say I don't think there is any real difference in bass response due to clamping pressure that you can't also get with the clips. It's easy enough to bend the clips so that the earphones are held very snug to the ear. Any difference with a headband comes about from the position of the earphones. For me, with the clips the driver sits a little back. With the headband I can replicate that same position and get the same sound, but I can also choose to put the drivers a little forward and low (like most modern circumaural headphones would do) and this does make a difference. 
 

I completely agree that with the clips, you can replicate the sound of the headband identically, but at least with the sportapro headphone, it fits in exactly one position. Therefore, if I'm wearing the headband, I'm getting heavier bass. So in other words, the clips can be made to have a few sound signatures but the sportapro headband is restricted to one. Having listened to it for a couple hours I've found that I happen to really like this one sound signature so I'm totally fine with that. 

 

I was also never able to get the clips in a position so that they wouldn't eventually hurt my ears after 1.5+ hrs of listening and the headband basically disappears on my head. It also stays on EXTREMELY well. I was excersising pretty intensely and it didn't budge an inch or get in the way at all. I highly recommend the sportapro headband!

post #144 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaborus View Post

.... To this day to my ears the Koss KSC75's are still the best sounding pair of audio reproduction equipment, period. 

You see, Headphones and IEM's don't have the issues surrounding speakers. Mainly baffle step diffraction, high voice coil inductance, room interaction, problematic acoustic phase shift between tweeters/midranges/subwoofers, intermodulation distortion caused by high x-max(excursion), complex passive crossover networks which create tons of problems themselves, box (enclosure) resonances....

.....Of course this is subjective, i guess the frequency response of the KSC75's just sound pleasing to me. Not to mention it doesn't have all of the above problems of speakers and more. 

There is something very simple and direct about placing a well balanced driver on each ear and pressing play isn't there?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaborus View Post

.... give the KSC 75's a try before buying more expensive equipment. You may find no improvement, or too little to not justify a nice refund. 

I think that's good advice. I wish I had been aware of the KSC75 a long time ago. I've never bought really expensive headphones but I have spent a few pennies on various low to mid-priced Beyerdynamic, AKG, Sennheiser and Sony full size and earpad headphones. The KSC75 have proven more enjoyable than all those. I also prefer them to any IEM that doesn't isolate well. The only occasions I now prefer something else is when somewhere noisy and then I'll choose my Shure IEMs.
post #145 of 521

@Xaborus... excellent post! 

post #146 of 521
If you can't find something better than the ksc75 with thousands of dollars than there might be something wrong with your ears. No offense. While I love the ksc75, my jh13s pretty much annihilate them in all categories.
post #147 of 521
KSC35 was my introduction to good headphones. My personal opinion is that the KSC75s aren't quite as good but they are certainly built a lot better and they are a lot cheaper. It depends on sound preference... 35s are slightly bass light compared to the 75s but their midrange is more emphasized.

I don't know if they get you 95% of the way there, but I would say that they would get most people much farther than they would ever expect. They've been in my inventory for much longer than anything else.

These mods look terrific! I wish I had stocked up on $5 KSC75s.
post #148 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaborus View Post

You see, when i started this audio adventure in 2010 i was only 14 years old.

 

Between now and then I've spent countless dollars trying to find audio perfection. I've built many speakers

 

I've spent thousands of dollars and thousands of hours in work and research into audio

????

post #149 of 521
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TekeRugburn View Post

If you can't find something better than the ksc75 with thousands of dollars than there might be something wrong with your ears. No offense. While I love the ksc75, my jh13s pretty much annihilate them in all categories.

Believe me, I've had the same thoughts. Maybe i should explain this statement.

 

My first headphones we're DT990-600's. They sounded decent, worse than my desktop computer speakers, but the weight of the headphones and clamping pressure gave me headaches, even after stretching over a basketball overnight. Not to mention that the highs were fatiguing to my ears. Overall i couldn't stand wearing them for any extended period of time. I was quite disappointed by this as $300 is quite a lot for a pair of headphones for a 14 year old (at the time). Because of this huge disappointment it was a long while until i gave audio bliss another try..

 

After the DT990's I decided I wanted something with a little more bass and enough time had passed that Dsnuts was raving about the ath cmk50. Decided to buy a pair and loved them & still have them to today.

 

After some time I was browsing the headphone section at k-mart, with a friend, trying to find a pair of decent headphones for him not more than $20. K-mart ended up having the JVC HAFX1X and Koss KSC75. I was always curious about the KSC75's so i bought a pair and he bought the HAFX1X's. We were excited to try out our new gear and were hungry from a long day of longboarding, so we scurried off to McDonalds to get some grub and compare our shiny new toys. 

 

Long story short, I plugged the KSC75's into my phone and put on some metalcore, A Day To Remember to be exact. Upon first listen I was shocked how natural the KSC75's sounded. Metalcore is a very hard genre to reproduce, and is always the first thing I use to demo equipment. I ended up disregarding the surrounding customers and blasted my KSC75's in amazement. (If your wondering how the HAFX1X's sounded, they had better bass in comparison but distorted easily at high volumes and had way to much highs.)

 

When I got home I ended up A-B comparison testing them against the DT990's. As you already know I preferred the Koss KSC75's; they are much more comfortable and are less fatiguing with nearly identical sound signature.

 

After that i ended up going on an expensive experience spending a few K's on trying to best my desktop computer speakers. Needless to say to this day I still can't find a pair of speakers that outperform mine. Believe me after building $800 dollar low-distortion ultra-flat-frequency-responce floorstander speakers and preferring $130 desktop speakers I believed my ears were broken too. These speakers are a hidden gem within themselves I guess. I've never heard anything close to them in Best Buy for example. I guess I'm just sensitive to crossover distortion though.

 

After much disappointment again on not besting my cheap sound equipment (my trusted $130 speakers and KSC75's) I bought a pair of Sony MDRV6's and Grado 60i's. Both are well reviewed and I was interested on the "grado" sound so many spoke of and the linear frequency responce of the MDRV6's. Long story short i found the Grado's and KSC75's to sound pretty much identical, with again the Grado's being more uncomfortable. I ended up giving them to my girlfriend. As for the MDRV6's I found them to sound too "sterile" for me (but good! Just not my taste). I ended up keeping them as a "flat" reference pair and a backup pair.

 

So this is where I am now. Out a few grand and so far nothing has beat $130 desktop speakers and $20 clip-on headphones. While I'd love to try more audio equipment out, my experiences have shown me that i just can't possibly justify expensive audio purchases anymore. Maybe this next paycheck ill try out the new Philips Fidelio S2, but if its not an improvement over my KSC75's I'll probably just end up saying goodbye to the audio world.

 

I do hope they sound better. Nothing is worse than spending a few grand and finding that your cheapest equipment is the most well-liked. 


Edited by Xaborus - 6/20/13 at 11:36pm
post #150 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by TekeRugburn View Post

If you can't find something better than the ksc75 with thousands of dollars than there might be something wrong with your ears. No offense. While I love the ksc75, my jh13s pretty much annihilate them in all categories.

Preferences aren't subject to being right or wrong. When the important factor is personal preference then it doesn't hold that someone who prefers the cheap product is wrong, or has something wrong with them.

I have no idea what a $1000 dollar headphone might sound like but I do know that I like my Koss KSC75 a lot more than another headphone I own that cost ten times more, and another that cost about six times more. I bought the KSC75 only because it was so cheap that I could "throw away" the money on seeing what the fuss was about. It turns out that against my expectation I'm really pleased with it. If I had owned the KSC75 first and then spent ten times the price on something else only to find I liked it a lot less I would have been really annoyed.

With other headphones I've felt a bit dissatisfied, not exactly unhappy but still sure that I could have made a better choice, or that if I spend a bit more I can get a real improvement. That kind of curiosity can get expensive. It's nice to have something that clearly isn't going to be trumped by a near competitor and which can stand on its own merits without reference to price.

I think a big factor is having a really well balanced sound, which is something most budget headphones don't manage, and lots of more expensive ones don't do well either.

I found it quite entertaining to visit headphone.com and compare the frequency response graphs, starting with the Sennheiser HD800 as reference. It doesn't take long to realise that many cheap and midrange headphones make a mess of the higher frequencies. Of course the KSC75 don't achieve the evenness of the expensive Sennheisers but they do an awful lot better than many budget and midrange 'phones which tend to either fundamentally lack high frequency response or to have extreme peaks and troughs. It's interesting to see the KSC75 maintain a relatively even response all the way to 10000 Hz. Obviously there is more to how any audio product's sound than a frequency response curve but I think it does give a clue as to why the KSC75 sound very natural where many substantially more expensive headphones can sound dull or harsh. When you have a headphone that allows music to sound natural then any other headphone that doesn't achieve has very little appeal, and it doesn't matter if it has better bass response, or smoother sounding highs, or any other quality. If the balance isn't right any and all other good qualities don't count for much. And if the balance is right but the price is huge I'm also not that interested, being already quite content.
Edited by julian67 - 6/21/13 at 5:37am
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