Koss PortaPro - Headphones ( semi-open )

Average User Rating:
4.11905/5,
  1. colgatetotal
    3.0/5,
    "Good value freely available."
    Pros - Lifetime warranty, lightweight
    Cons - Slightly overpowering bass, high counterfeit rate
    This is a timeless classic, although lately it's been outclassed by others at the same price point. But the main advantage is that the PortaPros are readily available at a local shop for less than the MSRP. However, if the price is too good to be true, it probably is! Be aware that there are counterfeits being sold: http://loveray.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-to-identify-fake-koss-porta-pro.html
     
    As for the sound, expect an above-average amount of loose bass, which smears the other frequencies a bit. Of the KSC35, the KSC75, and the PortaPro, the PortaPro has the most bass because of how the driver is clamped to your ear. This extra bass works when listening to music outside, but in a home environment, a dedicated home headphone is a better match.
     
    The ComfortZone setting is a nice idea, but most people will probably prefer the lightest setting. As a result, it's nothing more than a gimmick. The headband may also snag some hair, so watch out for that. Lastly, the carrying bag barely fits the PortaPro when it's folded, so it's a bit of a hassle to pack it up.
     
    Of course, there's always Koss' lifetime warranty, so they can be abused pretty heavily.
     
    The PortaPros are a good value for the price, but if you want better audio quality and portability, and are willing to pay extra, take a look at the Koss KSC35.
  2. BloodyPenguin
    4.5/5,
    "Inexpensive to the Max"
    Pros - Bass, Comfort, Sound
    Cons - Hair Ripping, Short Cord
    What can be said about these headphones that has not already been said in the 25+ years they have been in production?
     
    Well, my girlfriend thinks they look silly...  And that for some odd reason makes me love them more.
     
    Out of few phones I currently own, I always find myself reaching for these. 
     
    With the wonderful bass and full bodied sound comes the whole "PortaPro Experience".
    - First you try and squeeze them out of the tiny bag that Koss has provided.
    - Then you unroll, unhook and unfold them.
    - Next comes the pain of adjusting them on your head as they rip hairs out (surprisingly gratifying).
    - The plug, that Tiny little plug now gets placed into whatever devise you have waiting for them.
    - Finally, the sound, you forget just how wonderful it is almost every time as it hits your ears.  Heaven
     
    Thank you Koss for this gem.
     
    ..
    Syros likes this.
  3. kaixax555
    4.5/5,
    "Amazing retro headphones"
    Pros - Punchy bass, great soundstage, light, comfortable fit
    Cons - Open design, flimsy feeling, clips yank on hair
    Went to buy them at the suggestion of my friends. I could not believe how long this headphone was produced, 24 years and counting!
     
    Would like to talk about the design first. Having a retro style look, it sure looks ugly to me at first, but I loved it when I saw it in person. Perhaps it might turn a few heads around when you wear it outside, but well, who cares? The folding mechanism is quite cool and makes the PortaPro a really portable headphone.
     
    Comfort is amazing, the ComfortZone pads take away pressure from the ears and allow me to wear it hours at a time. The pad is adjustable to different levels of comfort and the headband is adjustable as well. However, my hair catches on the clips easily, which can be slightly irritating.
     
    The sound was great. Bass is very punchy and extends quite deep down the frequency curve. Mids are not overwhelmed by the bass and can stand up on its own. Treble is not sibilant but lacks sparkle. The soundstage is amazing, very immersive. When used in games it provides a very immersive feeling as well.
     
    My friends are all impressed with these headphones and are considering to purchase one as well. Apparently the sound signature fits the general listeners out there and also the comfort is amazing for an open headphone.
  4. sbm168
    3.5/5,
    "BASS-o- philes only"
    Pros - Price, Sound, Retro Design
    Cons - Bass Boomy and slightly Muddy, You get what You pay for
    Fantastic cheap Headphones despite the bass.  However do not expect them to sound as stellar as people rave them to be. The are a great deal for people who like bass heavy heeadphones and dig the design. The adjustable slides pich hair and they leak ALOT of sound. If you like lots of bass, like the quirkey design, and have no money, then go ahead buy 'em.
     
    I have the REOs and love them. I listened to my friends Koss.
  5. lilhaiti
    4.5/5,
    "A pleasant surprise!!!"
    Pros - Sound, unique style, comfort, price
    Cons - Feels cheap, unique style, not very loud
    Last week I was looking for some cheap on-ear headphones that fold.  I went to the store and saw a bunch of choices and at first I settled on the Skullcandy Lowriders...big mistake.  They were extremely bassy and the sound was not clean at all.  I took them back, and for a few more dollars I decided on the PortaPros.  The look was not grabbing but their reputation precedes them...so I pulled the trigger.  
     
    When I first fired these bad boys up I wasn't expecting much.  I was greeted with really clean sounding headphones.  The bass is strong but not overpowering, the mids are clear and detailed, and the highs are a little bit on the bright side in the higher frequencies but not harsh.  Overall I was surprised at the sonic performance of these puppies.  I could easily compare the sound of these phones to my bother's Denon AH-D7000's.  
     
    The looks are growing on me, at first I was NOT a fan, but now I think I can dig it.  But the good thing is, I can't see them when I am listening so...  
     
    The build quality seems a little flimsy, I handle them lightly.  On the bright side, if they break, there is a lifetime warranty.    
  6. beebot
    4.5/5,
    "PortaPro - still good, still cheap"
    Pros - powerful sound, cheap, signature sound
    Cons - slightly muddy bass, hairpulling
    I have no time to scribe a full review here - and there's already plenty written about these phones. I've had PortaPro's for years and they've been jacked into pretty much every device capable of outputting through a 3.5mm hole. What is not to like? They can be slightly muddy in the lower bass regions, but otherwise they are quite faithful warm sounding cans. They compare very favorably to much more modern (and much pricier) equivalents... I've had quite a few pairs and well, there is a noticable difference when you buy a new pair... they burn in nicely. If you need a cheap / good quality pair of headphones that don't hurt your pocket when they go wrong, you can't go wrong really.
     
     
  7. rataplan
    3.5/5,
    "You get what you pay for"
    Pros - lightweight, portable, cool story, retro look
    Cons - you porbably won't get past the novetly factor
    I was prompted to buy these headphones for two reasons: I had already owned an Electric Avenues PA2V2 amp and Gary has really hyped the synergy between the Koss PortaPros and his amp.
     
    the other reason was a flippant comment from another head-fier about how he preferred his PortaPros to his Grado 325is -- so as a 325is owner i thought "i've got to see if this is true." And let me tell you it's not, i knew this going into it, but i was in spending mood so i figured "what the hell."
     
    Now, as for the merits of this headphone on its own. They do provide a tremendous value, and i'd recommend them if you're looking for a unique looking headphone that won't break the bank; but if you're used to higher fidelity you probably won't use the for anything other than a watch youtube videos while at work.
     
    they do sound muddy, but probably a lot less muddy than any other comparable headphones in their price range.
     
    If you like quirky headphones these will be a great addition to your collection, but if you're looking for a commuting headphones then go with a $100ish closed headphone.
  8. BotByte
    3.0/5,
    "Great for HiFi Starter"
    Pros - Great audio for the value
    Cons - Ugly, large for size, cheapy
    I bought these after I bought my Grado SR80i, so comparison will ensue
     
    Audio:
    They say the same drivers as the... Clip on Koss headphone - too lazy to steal them from my mother
    But the Koss PP are more bass and are clearer
    Good highs
    Lacking mids, but there
    Good heavy bass, but little muddy
    Great for a starter hifi and will give you the "I never heard that before" feeling in your music
     
    Design:
    Horrible. Seriously
    You don't notice the top band, but you have to adjust to your head every time you get them out so long assembly time for every listening.
    The band does go from baby to fat head size. And the band does not grab hair as well as others.
    It does adjust the pressure but still is a chore to do and keep adjusted
    The cable is thin and too short for me, but can be used well.
    Plastic is hard and may cut people
    the "ipod compatable" jack is stupid. Koss is a suckup
    They hardly fold up and I would rather bring my mdr v6's then these because they fold up to the same size
     
     
    Comfort:
    They do have nice pads and adjust for comfort, just a pain to do.
    They do not go around the neck well, but can be possible
     
    Overall great for a starter Hifi headphone and will keep you coming back to them as a standard of audio quality. I recommend these to anyone before they buy a more expensive headphone
  9. webspider
    3.5/5,
    "Best On-Ear for its price. Used the anniversary edition."
    Pros - light, timeless design from the eighties, very unique kind of sound signature, portable, lifelong warranty in the US, long warranty in germany.
    Cons - tends to break, bass does overpower mids and highs if used at home without any mods, tend to rip out your hair or strangle you just for fun.
    After my previous skullcandys my parents gave me as a present broke, I went to a store for electronic stuff in general and tested some headphones. The standard Porta Pro as well. The bass was cool, especially because it came out from nowhere.
     
    Some days later I bought the anniversary edition in full black. Maybe the sound was a little bit better, I don't really know. First their design is really striking. I haven't seen such a headphone before, only earbuds, IEMs, over-ears, clip-ons and head-sets, but not this one. After adjusting the metal band to your head, there is almost no pressure. There were several times I totally forgot the headphones were still on my head. The less punchy, more muddy bass can be a benefit if you use this headphone primarily on the subway or other loud places. If you happen to dislike it because of usage at home or simply your personal preferences, you can mod it. I just used tinted HD414-Pads which increased the comfort even more and took a bit away from that bass. Only the portability somehow wasn't that good anymore, because the big pads prevented them from being simply folded in.
     
    Some friends of mine reported to be strangled by them when they wore the Porta Pros around the neck. Mine just ripped out some hair. Another con is that they tend to break even if used with care. Most times it is the cable itself, because it is too thin for longer use. Sometimes the remaining plastic. And if yours manage to survive, the pads anyways need to be replaced some day. Except if you out HD414-Pads over them, then the wear is much less. Although folding them is possible, I advise against it, because it isn't good for them. At least you have a long (Germany) or even lifelong (US) warranty, but it still sucks to have certain parts replaced over and over.
     
    Maybe someone invents a mod with an interchangeable cable like the Grado ones. That would make them the ultimate portable headphones next to the KSC-series which I haven't tried out. Who knows, it could happen at some day that I get some broken ones to experiment and make this true. Still got to learn how to solder properly.
    trellus likes this.
  10. Marlene
    4.5/5,
    "Classic portable headphone"
    Pros - Good soundstage, strong bass, good resolution, detailed, easy to drive, comfortable fit
    Cons - noticeable frequency bump, very open design, cheap looks
    The Koss Porta Pro is actually one of the oldest headphones still around - and it´s alive and kicking! Since I bought them, I tried several others (like Sennheiser CX-300) but I always came back to the Porta Pro. The sound mixture is just so easy to enjoy, the sonic design was done with a lot of taste.
     
    They look and feel very cheap but they are surprisingly sturdy nonetheless. Much has been written about the sound: "too much bass, not crisp, etc." While this is not untrue let me explain a bit. Most portable players attentuate lower frequencies, this was a fact 20 years ago and it´s still valid today (unless the headphone output is amplified digitally). The Koss Porta Pro simply compensates for that. Also, did you ever notice while for example riding a train that when you were listening to music with a very open headphone you couldn´t hear the bass anymore? The slight overamplification of frequencies around 100 Hz also helps to compensate in that situation. Furthermore, I never had the impression that the bass sounds muddy or drowns the mids.
     
    They also attentuate frequencies from 3,000 to 7,000 Hz - effectively turning them into very charming sounding headphones. While this certainly takes away some attack & drive it could be of help with harsh sounding portable players. One should be aware of this before buying the Porta Pro.
     
    The rest: they have a fantastic soundstage (considering that they are portable and very inexpensive), they have no resonances whatsoever and also sound very dynamic with much precision. The fantastic soundstage comes at a cost of course: you won´t be the only one hearing your music while using the headphones in public. Your neighbours inadvertently will take part of your sonic experience, the Koss Porta Pro is - as I´ve mentionend before - a very open headphone.
     
    But for me, all the cons are minor obstacles. Because I still marvel at the wonderful, realistic soundstage, the grown-up bass, the precision, the dynamic and that they sit very comfortable on my head.
    twinkle likes this.