Koss KSC75 Portable Stereophone Headphones

Average User Rating:
4.29545/5,
  1. AmberOzL
    4.5/5,
    "King of the entry level"
    Pros - Sound, price, life time warranty, easy to mod
    Cons - Design (clip-on system), relatively cheap build material, due to clip-on system comfort issues
    They have good old fun sound signature, very engaging and very dynamic. I found mids are a bit too recessed for my tastes and affected by the low region unfortunately however from a cheap can like this, I don't expect the separation of HD800 obviously. Treble is nice, sparkling very detailed and crisp. Bass could be more controlled but it does its job, it has a strong, punchy bass and when the song calls for it, it knows how to give 'boom' effect.
     
    So what do we have here? Very good sounding on ear headphones which can easily compete against 100 euro price range. Is there a problem, you bet! Some people seem to like the design and clip system but I totally hated it. I am currently looking for a chance to make a headband mod otherwise it is too painful for me to wear it longer than 20 minutes. Also I keep on playing with the clip because it doesn't fit correctly and keeps on moving around. Design-wise, unfortunately they are failed in my experience.
     
    At this point, you probably know that they are open back cans, so they don't isolate and they leak sound quite a lot. If you want to hear your surroundings, that's good for you but pay attention, you might disturb people around you.
     
    They are also easy to mod, I saw already Kramer mod and headband mod. If I can do the headband mod (looking for a headband donor cheapo headphone) I will continue with the Kramer mod too.
     
    Also, they might need a little bit more power than your usual average consumer targeted iems/headphones.
     
    I have problems with comfort but I like the sound, I will try to mod them to keep it, otherwise no go for me. I bought these ones to use in gym not as a main headphone and for 15 euros, I think they punch way above their price. However, if I fail modding, probably I am gonna order PX100-II to use at gym.
     
    So if you are looking for can to use in the gym or outside running they are good. Also if your budget is tight, I can still recommend them since they are kind of giant killers. Just be sure that you can handle the clip system or do a headband mod.
  2. thelostMIDrange
    4.5/5,
    "All hail KOSS"
    Pros - Value, natural, balanced sound
    Cons - treble
    ....... as a young lad, some 30 years ago, when I first got into headphones and placed my order from J&R music world, waited in ernest for that UPS truck to deliver my pro4AA 'digital ready' headphones. I'd just gotten my new technics CD player and copys of police-ghost in the machine, billy idol's rebel yell and dark side of the moon. before cd's all we had to listen to for portable music was via tdk and maxell tape through a sony walkman that were dubbed and traded from friends lp collections. There was only a few cd offerings at first and boy was I excited about the dynamic range of the digital sound and really liked the idea of instantly skipping to my favorite song and lack of cracks and pops that were the norm on my turntable.......but I digress, the Koss sound was a good one even back then, but the ksc75 reminds me of what I like about vinyl whereas the digital ready pro4aa was a less organic sound. The ksc75 is an accurate and natural sound with the exception of the top end which is inaccurate and is thrashy. Cymbals will not sound right for example. This may help with some amplification but who buys $20 headphones to use with $400 amps? In any case, I've not found amps to completely solve the high end problem......while these headphones have a nice analog'y sound, there's nothing here that will astound or impress for anyone 'into headphones', unless you really just like to sit down and listen to your favorite music and are on a budget. Eq the treble down a notch and enjoy....... 
    monousa and Rhenoware like this.
  3. JoeDoe
    5.0/5,
    "Is there better bang for your buck!? I don't think so..."
    Pros - Price, SQ, Price, Clarity, Price
    Cons - Clips!
    If there are better sounding headphones in this bracket, they sure aren't available to the public yet! The KSC75s just might represent the apex before the downslope of diminishing returns.
     
    The sound: Very fun and engaging all-purpose sound. The bass is certainly present, although far from basshead territory, the mids are maybe a little recessed, but they sound just great all the same, and the treble extends nicely without a trace of sibilance or harshness. 
     
    Design: Probably the only downside to these guys. The driver covers look super-cheap and the earclips make these the most uncomfortable cans I've ever used. Granted they do get more comfortable as they loosen up. I however, would recommend to anyone who experiences discomfort (which will most likely be anyone with ears) buying a  partsexpress headband to use with the 75s. Super easy to install and totally relieves all of the discomfort.
     
    Value: Like I even need to go here. For under $20 you can purchase earphones that rival in sound quality, IEMs and on-ears in the $75-$150 range. When's the last time you saw a frequency response of 15-25k Hz for phones that cost less than $100 brand new!? Such a great deal! At the very least everybody should try these just once. I was able to pick up mine for $5 a pair as they were recently put on clearance at a local office supply store! Two pairs of $100 sound earphones for $11 including tax.
     
    It should  be mentioned that the 75s don't come with any accessories like 1/4" adapter or case, but honestly if you need a case, you can find something cheap.
     
    If you need some beaters that are gym-ready, office-ready, or just walk-around ready, look no further. Plus they won't break the bank! Kudos to Koss!
  4. julian67
    4.0/5,
    "Really nice with amp or full size gear. Not so great with personal players."
    Pros - Comfortable. Sound great with amplification.
    Cons - Needs more power than typical small player offers. Low power equals poor stereo imaging. Zero isolation, beware hearing damage.
    I bought these this week from amazon.co.uk for £10 including delivery. That's US $15.

    edit: I've changed my rating and feel more positive about these than when I first wrote the review. See the comments after the review.

    Packaging, appearance, warranty, euro-nanny knows best:

    Mine arrived in the small European packaging box, branded as Pulse clips as well as "Koss high performance on-ear clips". With the clips came the Koss warranty and the euro-nanny-state leaflet on waste disposal. The phones are the silver plastic Koss branded items everyone knows.

    The lifetime warranty is valid but irrelevant because shipping costs from UK will exceed the value of the product. But I do very much appreciate a company that has faith in its products and is known to honour the warranty.


    Construction, design, materials, euro-nanny isn't done yet:

    The slightly odd design works extremely well. With a little careful bending of the plastic-enclosed metal clips I got a good snug fit and no discomfort. I wear spectacles with ultra thin titanium frames and there is no difficulty. With more conventional specs there could be obvious problems.

    The silver plastic parts are a blast from the past, looking like cheap stuff I remember from the 1980s. But I don't care. The materials clearly do the job and don't cost much. The cable is unremarkable, 4' long with a straight jack. When I go to plug it in I notice a tiny sticker attached: it's another euro-nanny warning not to dispose of electrical items in household waste. Yes mummy. No mummy. There is a committee in Belgium worried that the first thing a customer will do is cut off the non-detachable cable and throw it in a landfill. I won't do that because I like to listen to some tunes while burning old tires and drunkenly shooting at endangered species in the national park at 2 am.

    Everything seems properly assembled and when I press play it works as intended.


    Using with portable players:

    The Koss KSC75 need much more power than typical budget portable headphones, IEMs or buds. With a player like the Sansa Clip+ you'll probably need to run it at or close to maximum volume which means battery life is reduced. This is especially true for well produced music such as from before the modern loudness war fashion, and any classical music. My iRiver H140 and H340 players put out about a third more voltage than the Clip+ and do a much better job of driving these Koss earphones but unless you're in a quiet environment it might both be not enough and also too much because.....

    Isolation:

    There isn't any in either direction. If you use these on public transport everyone will hate you. In the street or a noisy workplace you'll hear everything around you and anyone close by will hear your music. The natural thing to do can be to keep raising the volume. This is the road to hearing damage. Compared to using IEMs I find myself running the Koss 'phones at dangerously higher levels and still finding the background noise doesn't let me fully enjoy the music. Beware.

    Sound Quality:

    It has some bass, which is a welcome contrast to similarly cheap buds and IEMs. I've listened to some orchestral music, some harpsichord pieces, some choral music, some heavy rock and some bass heavy electronic stuff. The sound is nicely balanced and generally enjoyable. The biggest defect is poor stereo imaging. There is no possibility of imagining oneself being present at the performance. There is no convincing illusion such as I get with a really nice recording and my Shure SE215 or Sennheiser CX 95. With the Koss 'phones the impression of sound is close left, close right and a slightly recessed bit in the middle. Some of this is due to the lack of isolation. For the last few years I've been using IEMs and closed and semi-open headphones. I am really surprised how background noise such as the rumble of traffic from the street below or a kitchen or bathroom extractor fan might not be loud enough to dominate the music but is enough to really kill the dynamics and imaging in a fully open 'phone.

    The above might sound overly critical but I'm trying to describe the experience without allowing the price and value to totally colour my opinion. It's true that the Koss KSC75 is still unambiguously better than any bud or IEM included with any device I've ever bought.

    Is it worth £10?

    Yes, but I might not have bothered if it had been £15 and I definitely wouldn't pay £20 because for £30 I can buy Sennheiser PX 100-II that have much nicer sound, work better with low powered portable devices, are made of nicer materials and come with a carrying pouch. I would also hesitate to recommend these to anyone because the tendency to keep raising the volume to dangerous levels is hard to avoid. Because you can get a better sounding headphone at £30, and better sounding IEMs at less than that, the Koss is running out of selling points and has too many drawbacks. The most attractive feature is probably the clip-on design which is great for runners and people working out and those who won't or can't use IEMs.

    It's about 9 pm here, the traffic noise has died down and I'm starting to enjoy the sound much more. And that's why these are hard to recommend as portable 'phones: they only make sense in quiet environments where others won't be disturbed. I expect to mostly use them with my PC because the USB soundcard has enough power to drive them properly and it's good to still be able to hear voices, phones, the doorbell and so on. These are also good to use with a mini system or domestic portable.

    Conclusion:

    As odd as they look. An idea whose time has come and gone. Worth £10 or £15 but not giant killers any more.
  5. yokken
    5.0/5,
    "Phenomenal for the price"
    Pros - Inexpensive, fantastic soundstage/imaging, incredible instrument separation, very detailed, textured bass, crisp highs, energetic and engaging sound
    Cons - Clips aren't the most comfortable, aren't sexy looking
    Taking price into account above all else, these are the best headphones I have ever owned.  Obviously my HD650s and DT880s sound better, but they also cost 15-25x as much. I've probably put ~150 hours on them. I did do the kramer mod (involves drilling a few holes in the driver cover to allow more sound through) but they sound great even without the mod. I also bought a Parts-Express headphone from Amazon, took the garbage drivers off them and snapped the Koss drivers on. I find them much more comfortable this way. As a plus you can bend the headband however you like to suit your comfort level. Some people do the "quarter mod" where you put a quarter over the earpads (after taking them off the drivers) and cut out a circle to allow more sound through as well. I chose not to do this because I love their sound with the kramer and headband mod.
     
    I listen mainly to electronic music, so people who listen to more jazz or rock might not like these as much as I do. But for trance, dance, dubstep, these are simply amazing. My DT880s show me new things in my music that I've never heard before. It's one of the things I love most about them. Now this isn't me blowing smoke... but there have been times I heard something on the Koss that I've never heard before. This includes faint vocal tracks in the background, synths, and little things here and there.
     
    These are my work headphones, because they allow me to hear people talking and not completely isolate me from my environment. Some people say they leak too much sound to use in public, but I use them in my cube and no one has ever complained about hearing my music. I don't crank them up but I certainly don't listen quietly. I use them straight from my phone (Nexus 4) and they sound great. I brought my Fiio E17 to work once to try them amped and I just felt like they lost some of their magic. Don't ask me why, or how, I don't know. All I know is that they didn't have as much sparkle, which is something I love about them.
     
    I'm no expert in describing audio, but I'll do my best. They have a great attack and decay on the notes, which to me translates to good PRaT (pace, rhythm and timing). The space between notes is very discernible and they just get me groovin'! The imaging is fantastic as well. I can clearly hear music going from side to side, and even in front of and behind me to a degree. The bass is punchy and extended. It also has a great texture to it. It's not muddy or bloated at all. They're also very airy and have a nice open sound to them. The treble is sparkly but unfatiguing (in my opinion). Some people find them a bit too treble-forward, but I have experienced almost no sibilance from them. Mids and vocals are good, nothing amazing but they're not recessed. Female vocals are quite nice on them, with male vocals almost as good.
     
    I honestly think these are worth $75. I might be slightly more critical of them at that price, but these are so cheap, I have literally nothing to complain about. I don't plan on recabling them because I love them just the way they are. I bought 3 pairs over the holidays to give to friends. I only ended up giving away 1 pair. These are just... so good. I'm more satisfied with these than I am with my HD650s.
     
    What Koss has done here is simply magical. I would never have dreamed something so good would be so cheap. I honestly could not love these more. They are my favorite headphones out of all that I have ever owned.
     
    Thank you, Koss. THANK YOU!!!
  6. nachomex
    4.0/5,
    "KOSS KSC75 Clipon EarPhones"
    Pros - Excelent sound ever in this small lightweight set of phones.
    Cons - The clips are Sturdy to wear after a couple of months of daily use.
    This are Titanium coated Earphones. Actually I've known no other headphones brand that uses this kind of technology. 
    Pros: Excelent Sound from the very bottom low frequencies (well balanced and undistorted), through excelent mids definition, plus a superb high definition (no like other phones which sound like piezo electric cheap tweeters on your ears!).
    Once you get to know how to wear the clips, you forget that you have the KSC75 on.
    Cons: The volume control is oversized and after let's say the first 4 months of wearing, they sound like my grandma's Telefunken hi-fi audio system knobs!!!  
    The clips get unuseful very quickly (due to the wear iself) too. So you may have to use a little superglue dots in the clip/driver-junction to make them a little tight again.
     
    I´ve used Koss stereophones since I first knew the brand using a set of Koss' TNT (Titanium Nitride Tech) 66's, which lasted me more than 18 years of really serious home-studio use!!! The sound never changed.!!! (I only had to change the cable twice during these years).
    Well this little set of portables (KSC75), are amazing with no distortion perceptible at loud or mid volumes, also you can hear the fingers stepping over guitars when listening to Acustic Alchemy with no fatigue, or you can actually feel the solid bass in some late remixes by Tiesto and Armin V.B!!. This phones can handle whatsoever kind of music. Even let me tell you that once, when I had to suddenly move to another state for a while, I  didn´t have the budget to get a koss or a Bose set of new phones, so I went to Radio Shack and bought this model KSC75 and opened them, and together with another set of Audio Technica phones (not inexpensive at all, by the way) that I already had; So I took the audio technica poor sound quality drivers away and then i glued these KSC75's (takin its clips only off) drivers to attach them to the Audio Technica's right and left shells, and... Voualá!!!  I got a new set of pro-stereophones!!  I compared their sound to one friend of mine's BOSE AE2, and believe me, the only difference was the more powerfull bass on this Bose's. But in mids and high tones, I prefered the koss natural balanced sounding.. Anyway Paying more than 150 bucks is worth the KSC75!!! 
     
    So i love them very much for the quality of details you can get from any kind of music, and there is no comparison against Skull Candy, Sony, Pioneer, even some Panasonic or JVC bass powered models... Obviously, talking into account products under the $100-$150 price!!
    I have to mention by the way, that these clip-ons are open-design, so when you give them a better acustic environment, you´ll exponentiate their bass response through your ears too.
     
    And if you evre don´t have the budget for a BOSE or any higher koss model, think on having these 75's and put them into another stereophone shell just as I did, and get amazing bass response with new acustic!!!
     
    So give them a try and find why this inexpensive model is an outstanding performer out.  It's around $15-$20 bucks only!!!
     
    Hopping this helped you to decide with your next shopping!!! (dec.2012)
  7. harrislp
    5.0/5,
    "Best bargain in the headphone world"
    Pros - Fun, fun, fun. Ideal for jogging/bicycling, brilliant highs and more detail thn you could reasonably ask for for at the pricepoint. Did I mention fun?
    Cons - A design only a mother could love, pinchy earclips, flimsy cable, not bass-focussed, leaks too much sound for public listening at volume..
    As someone who enjoys all different kinds of headphones and has owned a few different ones at a number of pricepoints, I can reccommend only one headphone to pretty much anyone who listens to music and wants more fun out of their portable rig. That phone is the Koss KSC75.
     
    Why are these phones so great, so much so that I am on my fourth pair? For half the price of an apple earbud, you get a pair of detailed, easy-to-drive, energetic and involving headphones that will bring out detail and life you have never experienced with the phones that came with your ipod/iphone/walkman/discman/minidisc player etc. While they are not perfect, They are so good that I use them more than any other phone I own (including ones that cost 100 times more) that I can only assume that it is my favourite headphone of all time.
     
    Looks aren't that great, let's be honest. You aren't going to impress your Dr. Dre Beats-wearing friends with these, and the clips take a while to loosen up to where they dont pich your ears. And don't expect world-class build quality either -- the plug and cable is flimsy and is prone to breaking easily. It helps to be handy with the soldering iron if you want em to last longer than the gestation period of your average foetus. But that's not the point of these beauties. It's their incredible sound quality for the price means you can buy three or four pairs and always have a spare ready in case one needs repair or needs to be tossed.
     
    In terms of genres, I find they do best with genres that aren't so dense and layered. Metal and heavy rock can get a bit muddled and muddy, but it's still a marked improvement over most earbuds. Jazz, folk, country and blues go fantastically well with the Kosses, and electronica sounds great (but a little light on boom in the bass area if that's your thing). Hip hop is not my area but the stuff I have is serviceable but not outstanding.  I should mention that they don't isolate sound at all, which is both a positive and a negative. For me, it means I can use them while riding my bicycle at low volumes and still hear quite a lot of what is going on around me. For that reason they are the only phones I use on the bike or when running. Not that I necessarily endorse using headphones on a bicycle, though I have done it extensively for many years and am still here to tell the tale. So there's that. Of course the negative to this is that they leak sound like crazy, so you have to have them pretty low not to annoy people on the train or in the office. This is their mean weakness in being a portable phone, so if you listen a lot to music in public, you might need to look elsewhere.
     
    They respond well to amping, I use a Ray Samuels Hornet portable headphone amplifier with them and they do gain a bit in bass control and punch, but the beauty of these phones is that you can drive them perfectly out of your iphone or ipod headphone jack. They give great detail but they're not so good that they make your 128kbps rips sound like crud, which is a big issue with the better phones. And their all-plastic construction means they're light and very portable.
     
    I love these things and I hope they never go out of production. They can be modified and repaired easily, are cheap as hell and worth at least five times their asking price sound-wise (but not construction wise). Try a pair today, you really have nothing to lose, and I guarantee you'll like them a lot more than your apple ibuds. You might even like them more than your $1000 Beyers or Sennheisers [​IMG]
  8. Xaborus
    5.0/5,
    "Prefer them to my $300 DT990's"
    Pros - Lightweight, Cheap, Lifetime Warranty, Fun, Value, Rugged, Open-back
    Cons - Takes 5 minutes to properly adjust the earclips
    If you don't own a pair, BUY THEM! Seriously, their that good.
    I prefer them to my DT990's, hands down. Nuff Said.
     
    If that still doesn't convince you, they're super comfortable once you adjust them properly, sound fantastic, cost $20, and can be modded for fun.
     
    The ear clips are pretty durable. I've snapped them off the drivers multiple times to adjust the clips and the connection point is still in perfect condition without any stress marks that usually happen in plastic.
     
    I might have limited experience, but I can't imagine a higher value.  
  9. soundstige
    4.0/5,
    "Incredible value. THE go-to on-ear under $50."
    Pros - Unbelievable instrument separation and "energy"; balanced sound
    Cons - For the price, nothing; in absolute terms, things are a bit "hollow" and not full-sounding, could extend better on both ends, and clips are a pain
    These headphones have it all for the price. I've never heard anything like them at this level. They have a clear, balanced sound with all frequency ranges represented fairly equally, with mids and highs ever so slightly forward compared to bass in "clip-on configuration". If you mod them with a PortaPro or Parts Express headband, the drivers are pushed closer to your ear and give a bit more bass and mids.
     
    The main thing that stands out with these is a simply silly amount of instrument separation. Everything sounds like it is popping out of a pure-black background -- think of turning the contrast up on your TV or monitor; or more correctly, adjusting the gamma level. This lets you analyze tracks very easily, useful if you're a musician. A downside to this is that they don't sound too "cohesive", and music can sound a little hollow, flat, or broken-up. Don't confuse this in any way with "dull", though, because they are full of energy and never fade into the background, while still not being harsh.
     
    A fairly unique sound in absolute terms, and a steal at the price. The only downside is the comfort of the clips; I could never get them to feel great, but they were at least functional. Good work Koss.
    LaughMoreDaily likes this.
  10. gregoire
    5.0/5,
    "Best headphone bargain ever?"
    Pros - Cost, comfort
    Cons - pretty cheap looking
    Bought purely out of curiosity after reading so many Head-Fi-ers say great things about them.
    Simply amazed at the sound quality to price ratio. I love these headphones! I can wear them for hours. In fact i forget they are there after a while. 
     
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