Without boring you too much, I don’t necessarily have a sound preference. I tend to enjoy different sound profiles as long as they do well what they intend to do. I’m not very sensitive to treble so can enjoy most notoriously bright headphones, however I’m somewhat sensitive to upper mids area. Please keep these in mind.
Built, Comfort, Trivia of KSC75
KSC75s are kind of a legend in the “audiophile” community. Although they use almost the same driver with the Porta Pros, probably titanium coating on the driver changes the sound, arguably for the better. They come with ear clips instead of a headband. They are also much cheaper; while MSRP of Porta Pros is 50$, KSC75s are sold for 20$, what a bargain! However ear clips are annoying, at least they are for me. They pull down your ear, hurt after a while and seal even less than Porta Pro. Fret not though, ear clips are easily removable and interchangable with Porta Pro headband and several other 3rd party headbands. Also you can use change the ear cushions to suit your taste in color, style and tuning, just like Porta Pros.
Sound of KSC75
If you are a FR graph guy, imagine tilting the Porta Pro’s FR graph counter clockwise and you get KSC75’s FR. But I’m here to explain what ears hear. KSC75s are as neutral as it gets.
For the bass, these don’t have much of a sub-bass extension either, maybe even less than Porta Pro. In the mid-bass there is a slight hint of a mid-bass hump which adds a little fun factor but nothing excess. It just makes the sound not very lean which is very welcome if you ask me.
Mids are quite good and neutral, not forward, not recessed either. In this sense presentation is very similar to Sennheiser HD600s. In my HD600 review I said they are epitome of neutrality, the dictionary definition of neutral for audiophiles, if you will. Anyway, KSC75s are not as intimate but they don't become shouty either. Porta Pros have more of an intimate presentation in this sense.
If you are sensitive to treble, they may come as too bright or harsh sometimes but they don’t offend me unless I turn the volume too much or the song itself is excessively harsh in that region. They are definitely brighter than HD600s here. If your treble limit is HD600s', then KSC75s might be too harsh for you. Still I enjoy the extra zing. They are pretty detailed and have wider soundstage than average. Again KSC75s are very balanced. Timbre is also very natural, doesn’t sound off in any way.
KSC75s are the most "audiophile" headphones in Koss' on ear headphones line-up. They produce the most correct sound in the sense of fidelity to the original recording. However music enjoyment is not just about fidelity and if you go higher in price you will come across more technically capable headphones. But for 20$ what can go wrong? You can even play with them a little to satiate your curiosity without breaking the bank. Tonality-wise they can compete with 100$-150$ range. Just don't expect miracles and you will be fine.
Pros: Best tuning at this price range
Neutral sound signature
Very comfortable and soft pads
Clip-on style that is very convenient
Great value for money
Cons: Very bad durability and cable
Hair can get stuck on the pads and can go through to the drivers and can cause buzzing
Mids are a bit shouty
The KSC75 is one of the more popular models made by Koss. They make great value-for-money products in their budget lineups. The KSC75 is no different. It is an open-back clip-on headphone with Koss's titanium coated 60-ohm driver with a neutral sound signature. After using them for more than a month on a daily basis for 7-8 hours a day, I am writing down my review.
Disclaimer: This unit is bought by me and all my opinions are completely honest and unbiased.
The packaging is very minimalistic with the box including the headphones and some paperwork.
Build and Comfort:
The build quality of these headphones is very bad. The wire is very thin and plasticky and it can break very easily. It holds its shape and never straightens up. The plastic used in the headphones feels very cheap. As these are open-back headphones, they let all the noise in due to lack of seal, and they bleed a lot of noise. And sometimes, the hair can get stuck on the pads and can get through the pads to the drivers and can cause buzzing, especially on low frequencies. It can be fixed after removing the pads and giving them a quick blow. Comfort-wise, they are very comfy and the pads are very soft. After a while, you even forget that they are on your ear. They are also very stable due to their clip-on design.
This is where these headphones shine. They are very well-tuned and have a neutral sound signature with emphasis on the mids and sub-bass roll-off. They are one of the best sounding headphones at this price point and even competes with headphones way above its price bracket.
They have a sub-bass roll-off so it doesn't have the rumble that other headphones have at this price range. But the bass is punchy and is enough for most people. But if you are a basshead, you should look for other options.
The mids are a bit too forward due to which, the vocals feel a little bit shouty and can cause fatigue after a long time at high volume. Other than that, vocals and instruments sound very natural.
Treble is very natural and very detailed without being fatiguing.
The soundstage is pretty average, not very wide.
The Koss KSC75 are the best headphones under $100 in terms of sound quality. They even compete with headphones way above their price bracket and even beats a lot of them in terms of sound. They have a neutral sound signature that you will rarely find at this price point. The mids are a little bit forward and shouty, but eq can easily fix them. However, in terms of build quality, they are very cheap feeling and not good and the wire is very thin. If you want a headphone for sound quality under $50-100, The Koss KSC75s are the best headphones at this price point and are the best value for the money. They would be the endgame for most of the people out there.
Pros: Great overall sound quality and resolution.
Well tuned neutral focused sound signature.
'Around your head' soundstage.
Easy to power.
Plenty of mods for improvements.
Great value for money.
Cons: Rolled-off sub bass.
Lack of noise isolation & cancelation.
Pain on ear after long periods of usage.
Cheap build quality
Cheap cable quality.
Disclaimer: This review is based purely on my personal impressions, and won't go too detail as I prefer a more straightforward style preview.
< Backstory >
I first heard about the Koss KSC75 when I watched Crinacle's video: THE BEST GAMING HEADPHONES don't matter. My interest peaked up because of the fact that a 'clip on' headphone is somehow really good for gaming for under $50. I looked at various reviews about the KSC75 on Youtube and Reddit, and all of them praise it really well as a very good value headphone. Because of this, I've decided to buy it as my new headphone for gaming, and also for music listening. I bought it from Lazada for RM123 ($29.29) without shipping costs. I still have doubts during this time, and expected it to not 'wow' me as much I expected.
< The item >
The whole package appeals as a standard, non too appealing box, which is refreshing as most packaging of earphones/headphones on stores/e-shops nowadays always emphasis on 'Strong Bass, Clear Sounds, etc.
1. The box with info regarding Koss, and 'Hearing is Believing' quote.
2. Notes regarding environmental protection, and lifetime warranty.
3. Hard cheap plastic packaging with a cover.
4.The headphone itself.
Specifications based on it's website:-
- 15-25,000 Hz
- 60 ohms
- 101 dB SPL/1mW
Price: $20 (bought it for $29.35)
< First impressions >
Appearance & Feel
It's unappealing design does gives out that cheap, lackluster sounding headphone vibes. The cables just emphasis it more as it looks cheap, and feels cheap when I first hold it. The headphone itself is made from hard plastic, but not that cheap feeling kind like those cheap headphones, which surprised me. It's really light, which is expected due to the build materials of this headphone. Finally, the ear pads feels alright, not too thin and not too thick.
Since I ever wore a clip on headphone before, wearing the KSC75 is easy for me, so there's no struggle of trying to figure out on how to wear it. Unlike the previous clip on headphone tough, there's a bigger space between the clip and the ear cups, which makes this headphone easier and comfortable to wear. The ear cups itself actually swivel, which makes the comfort more better and also easier to adjust for more comfortable fit.
Plugging it into my pc, I went to Youtube and start listening to my fav. songs. As soon the song start playing, my mind was blown away and all of my doubts regarding it's sound quality are completely gone. It actually sounds so well that I will think this as an expensive headphone if I were to perform a blind test of guessing the price of a headphone. As I kept on listening to more songs, the amazement just gets more better and better. It's definitely great and way more better than I expected for it's price and appearance. Also, no amps needed as it runs pretty easy.
< Review after a week >
It is and still very comfortable for me, but it might be the opposite for some people due to ear sizes and shapes. The good news is that the clips are bendable which helps to improve the comfort and fit of the headphone. The design of the clips and the fact that the ear cups swivel made the headphone fit just right on my ears instead of pushing it, which is why I'm able to wear it for +3 hours and still feel comfortable, just with slight pain around the outer ears where the clips rests.
Still the same as my first impression of the sound. Really great and enjoyable overall with some downsides which I'll explain below later.
When I listened with the KSC75, I noticed that it has:-
1. A 'neutral with rolled off bass' sound.
- Neutral as like the sounds in general are clear and detailed, not harsh and not muddy. Bass is decent for me, but those D E E P rumbles just rolls off, hence 'rolled off bass'
2. Rolled off bass.
- There's still decent amount of bass, and that's already good enough for most songs that I've listened, but when it goes to the sub bass, they won't be emphasized. They just sound reduced to the point they sounded like 'rolled off' from the music. Those who really, really want those D E E P bass will not enjoy this, but since it sounds great overall, most people will definitely enjoy this regardless. Increasing the bass through EQ does help, but it still won't give out that D E E P rumble.
3. A clear, crisp, detailed yet not too harsh treble.
- Music sounds really good in general regarding this. Mids and highs just sound great without them overlapping each other. Some parts of the highs are bit too much for me, which can be solved easily by lowering it through EQ. When it comes to gaming, this really helps a lot to bring out sounds of footsteps, gunshots and other sound effects.
4. A spacious sound.
- If you never tried out an open-back headphone, the KSC75 is the best entry into experiencing the spacious and wide sounds that open-back headphones gives. The whole music, instruments just feels like it's around your head instead of being inside your head. Combine this with it's great sound quality, music listening just feels more immersive. For games like fps, gunshots and footsteps of other players sounds more accurate in terms of positioning, not just around left and right, but also more on front and back.
Sound isolation and leaks
Due to it's design, it's obvious that it won't isolate/block most sounds. Any typical noises like someone talking nearby, speaker playing a song, city noises, etc. can be heard while using it. This disadvantage really depends on your preferences and use cases, as I'm alright with it. It also leaks any sound currently playing, even at medium levels, so if you're listening to anything especially 'cultured' stuffs while someone's nearby, adjust the volume or find somewhere alone to listen
One of the things that impressed me is the plenty of mods that can be performed to the KSC75 to improve it's sound and reliability. One of the mods that I've done is the MMCX cable mod, where I made my KSC75 to accept detachable MMCX cables. Now, cable replacements are more easier to perform if the current one breaks. There's even a 3D printed mod for the adapter, which I've applied as well. It's relatively easy to perform this mod, providing that you have soldering experience. There are some other mods: Kramer mod, replacing the original pads into Yaxi pads and using Parts Express as a headband, all which help to improve the comfort and sound quality of the KSC75, and also which I'll explore into more depth someday.
< Conclusion >
The Koss KSC75 is the best clip on headphone, and is also the best sounding and the most comfortable headphone that I've used so far. All of these just for $20, which is totally unexpected and a very welcoming surprise. This is now my current endgame for music listening and gaming. Thanks for reading and have a good day ^^
< My current KSC75 with MMCX mod and 3D printed adapter >