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A partial history of headphones - Page 3

post #31 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by PredatorZ View Post

This got me thinking about my old Koss Pro's, in the attic I think. Got them at a little electronics repair / supply store, saved up bussing tables at the local country club when I was maybe 15 yo. That was the beginning for me :)

Which Pros? I have the Pro/4AAA, and if that's the set you have, they're definitely worth digging around for. Though they're a bit monstrous, the soundstage they can provide is unmatched in a closed headphone and their bass is like that of a speaker. 

post #32 of 53

Great read! I'm really curious now to the history of headphones after the Koss SP3s! smile.gif

post #33 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by niic View Post

Great read! I'm really curious now to the history of headphones after the Koss SP3s! smile.gif

Here's a brief history of KOSS.

 

After the SP/3, Koss went on to designing the PRO line.

 

They started with the PRO/4, which still used the basic paper cone drivers of the SP/3. It wasn't anything special.

 

After that, KOSS made the PRO/4A, which was the transfer into mylar drivers. This is when KOSS' headphones really started to gain their reputation. The 4A was much more detailed and natural sounding than its predecessor, and was pretty popular.

 

After that, they made the famous PRO/4AA, which has been a favorite among their customers for a very, very long time. The 4AA uses liquid-filled earpads and a foam-padded headband, increasing the comfort of the 4A nearly tenfold. The drivers had also been tweaked to give it more treble and more bass. To this day the 4AA remains the most loved KOSS headphone ever made. 

 

A couple years later KOSS took it a step further, and designed the PRO/4AAA. This headphone is basically a 4AA on steroids. Better build, better fit, and better sound. It was the best dynamic headphone in the world at the time of its release; the only headphones that could outdo it were electrostats. It never saw the amount of fame that its predecessor did, but it is certainly one of the best headphones KOSS ever made; easily comparable to many modern headphones in the <$500 price range.

 

Unfortunately, KOSS headphones became so immensely popular that the company really seemed to stop trying. Once the 80's hit KOSS completely changed and re-released all of their headphones, all of which used significantly cheaper materials and a newly redesigned driver. All of the "Plus" versions of KOSS headphones use the same series 3 driver, with a thinner membrane, weaker magnet, and smaller voice coil. The detail is nonexistent and the sound is tinny and distant. One of the worst sounding headphones I've ever heard.

 

They seem to be getting out of that habit a bit with headphones like the ESP/950, but they really just don't care about sound as much anymore.


Edited by takato14 - 4/16/13 at 12:41pm
post #34 of 53

Thanks takato! Very interesting to read all the history behind those companies that we sometimes take for granted now! smile.gif

Liquid-filled earpads seems so ridiculously comfortable!

 

I hope this thread grows out to the go-to thread on headphone history. popcorn.gif


Edited by niic - 4/18/13 at 7:38am
post #35 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by kookoo View Post


Good point but i don't think it will happen anytime soon though.

My friend uses Jay Bird wireless earphones and while smallish, the battery life isn't quite long enough. Also with wireless stuff...it's one more thing you need to remember to recharge...

Well he is talking about the future :) I'd say in the next ten years there will be wireless in ears on the market.

post #36 of 53

nice read, thanks :)

post #37 of 53
Nice article.
Having Hifiman's, I think companies like them, Audeze (and Stax) can up the bar further in the near term as new composite materials (3D printing?) could make them better, especially from a price/performance point of view.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PredatorZ View Post

This got me thinking about my old Koss Pro's, in the attic I think. Got them at a little electronics repair / supply store, saved up bussing tables at the local country club when I was maybe 15 yo. That was the beginning for me smily_headphones1.gif

Koss Pro 4AA's were my first real headphones too. Big and heavy, but cool back then. I had them for many years until I got a pair of AT-706 electrostatics in the 80s.
post #38 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbtruitt View Post

Nice article.
Having Hifiman's, I think companies like them, Audeze (and Stax) can up the bar further in the near term as new composite materials (3D printing?) could make them better, especially from a price/performance point of view.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PredatorZ View Post

This got me thinking about my old Koss Pro's, in the attic I think. Got them at a little electronics repair / supply store, saved up bussing tables at the local country club when I was maybe 15 yo. That was the beginning for me smily_headphones1.gif

Koss Pro 4AA's were my first real headphones too. Big and heavy, but cool back then. I had them for many years until I got a pair of AT-706 electrostatics in the 80s.

3D Printing is only applicable as a rapid prototyping method, the results are fare too inconsistent to be used for any part of a driver. You could make a frame with it, but that would be immensely slow and expensive, and just not worth the trouble.

 

I think you would be surprised to find that the original 4AA (NOT the new one from koss) is still quite a good headphone compared to most offerings available now. After modifications the 4AAA can compete with headphones in the $500 price range, and the 4AA isn't far behind the stock 4AAA.


Edited by takato14 - 4/29/13 at 9:25pm
post #39 of 53
^
Yes, I'm not an expert, but know most current applications of 3D printing are mostly for prototyping, but there are also those in the military and elsewhere (aerospace, medical) that are already using 3D printing to manufacture parts. But I was going along with what the future might bring, and any thing you read on 3DP points to a big future for it.

I have actually thought of looking at eBay for a set of Pro 4AA's - I bet you are right, I'd love to see how they stack up to some of the cans out now.
post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbtruitt View Post

^
Yes, I'm not an expert, but know most current applications of 3D printing are mostly for prototyping, but there are also those in the military and elsewhere (aerospace, medical) that are already using 3D printing to manufacture parts. But I was going along with what the future might bring, and any thing you read on 3DP points to a big future for it.

I have actually thought of looking at eBay for a set of Pro 4AA's - I bet you are right, I'd love to see how they stack up to some of the cans out now.

Save for a slight resonance, the 4AA is quite good. Detailed, lush and warm, smooth, very good soundstage for a closed can, and an extremely impactful, speaker-like sound. The only thing it lacks is high end extension... which I have never found to be a problem.


It is, however, quite difficult to power. 250 ohms and 90 dB/mW SPL. The 4AAA really shines out of my friend's Schiit Asgard, and KOSS's vintage drivers are quite similar, so I'd expect the same is true for the 4AA.

post #41 of 53

I would love to try an ESP/9 or ESP/10, but no one has brought one to a meet yet. I had a pair of Superex 'stats many years ago which I loved, despite the fact that they were very bass shy.
 

post #42 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbradley02 View Post

I would love to try an ESP/9 or ESP/10, but no one has brought one to a meet yet. I had a pair of Superex 'stats many years ago which I loved, despite the fact that they were very bass shy.
 

Same. The ESP/10 is gorgeous. I want to know how it sounds so badly...

post #43 of 53

If it wasn't for the war would headphones even exist at all today?

post #44 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by orky87 View Post

If it wasn't for the war would headphones even exist at all today?

They may not be as advanced as they are now but they certainly would still exist in some form. Just like stereo headphones were gonna happen sooner or later, KOSS just managed to be the first ones to think of it.

post #45 of 53
Awesome article
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