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Koss PortaPro - Headphones ( semi-open )

  • This high quality portable stereophone set performance and comfort standards for personal listening worldwide. Over the years, much to the delight of devout PortaPro enthusiasts, Koss has preserved the original design and performance that made the PortaPro a portable music icon. Today the PortaPro remains the headphone of choice for the discriminating listener.The PortaPro features dynamic elements that deliver exceptionally rich, deep bass and a remarkably wide frequency response from 15 - 25,000 Hz to capture every nuance in your favorite movie or musical performance. Constructed from mylar, the elements are extremely rigid, minimizing mechanical distortion and ensuring exceedingly accurate sound reproduction. Neodymium iron boron rare earth magnet structures enable the PortaPro to deliver greater volume so you can hear every note, even when competing against the sounds of a commuter train with a low-voltage MP3 or disc player. Oxygen free copper voice coils improve signal transmission and conduction for cleaner, clearer sound. Foam earcushions provide an open, hear-through sound that lets you keep in touch with your surroundings perfect to wear while running, at work, or while traveling. Whether you're listening at home or on the go, the PortaPro will bring the excitement of a live performance to any recording.

Recent Reviews

  1. lambdastorm
    Loyal companion, a.k.a. the headphone Model M
    Written by lambdastorm
    Published Dec 17, 2017
    Pros - Very punchy and fun; non-aggressive
    Cons - none at this price point.
    Over the years I've acquired more than a few keyboards, CM, ducky, DAS, you name it. Guess which one's my daily driver? IBM Model M. It's turning 31 this year, but its every bit as good as its modern siblings. In my headphone collection I have HE6, LCD2 Rev.1, HD600 and Porta Pros. Guess which gets the most head time? Porta Pros.

    Switching back to porta pros from any other headphones feels like going home. It's a sound signature I'm familiar with, and I can very comfortably sit down for hours with these on my head. Okay u say, where's the subbass? Missing. Where's the treble? Muffled, completely cut off above 10K. None of other headphones in my collection exhibit these problems, but none of them gets this much love.

    There is a reason why portapro remains popular after 3 decades. It's non-offensive nature, its powerful mid-bass, its mids. There are a list of things I can say about PortaPros but let's not forget its a headphone engineered 3 decades ago, and it unmistakably exhibits that kind of sound you'd expect from the 90s.

    None offensive in nature, yet highly dynamic and engaging. Porta Pro has that sort of power that sucks you into music without thinking about gears or anything audio related. I can definitely notice the missing subbass switching back and forth between these and LCD2s, the endless treble extension of HE6 also put these to shame. But the mid is among the most life-like I've ever heard. It's very muffled yet highly realistic. It conveys the emotion even Utopia fails to bring out, and romanticize it 1000 times more. There you go. A sound addictive like no other. Adding sub-bass or treble extension would kill portapros, cuz that's what makes them unique. I use them every day for more than 8 hours since I first bought em in 2002, and if u ask me to keep only one headphone, this is the one. It happens to be the cheapest one, but over the years it has proven itself to be the most loyal companion. My one and only safe house. To anyone out there who wants to buy one, don't be fooled by its price tag. There're only two headphones that'll drive you to tears: Orpheus and PortaPro.
      supermoon and pure5152 like this.
  2. krenky
    Great Value Headphones possibly the best sound on budget
    Written by krenky
    Published Apr 23, 2017
    Pros - Great sound clarity and details, lightweight, comfortable, punchy bass, lifetime warranty
    Cons - Old looking design, headband that will rip off your hair, leak sound in and out, not quality cable
    These headphones are well known for its low price and quality. I think they should be called shockers because when you look at them its one thing but when you listen to them suddenly they change to the most expansive cans you can get :)  Sounds is really impressive, something you must try. 
    Overall great headphones. I actually prefer the design of Sporta Pro not Porta Pro... I had both so I took speakers from Porta Pro which are better and got them into the Sporta Pro headband which looks cooler. I also put double pads on both sides so they are a lot more comfortable. These are great for travelling where you dont have much space to take them with as they fold into pretty small compact size.
    Koss should really reconsider to change the design of these as the headband could be done better way, they could try to make a closed version of these, replaceable cable and maybe rotating cups then they could seriously compete with HD25 from Sennheiser. The fact they do leak sound in and out makes them difficult to use outside which I find the biggest issue with these. Forgot to mention the cable quality should be improved too as it intend to break when you wearing them outside due to the hot / cold weather. This happens to all of them and I have 3 pairs.
    I always wanted to try some other models from Koss but haven't had the chance.
  3. Vatnos
    Still one of the better headphones below $50
    Written by Vatnos
    Published Oct 19, 2016
    Pros - Price, comfort, mids, upper bass
    Cons - Poor sub-bass, fluffy treble, build quality
    From 100 Hz to 3000 Hz, they trade blows with much more expensive headphones, and that is not hyperbole. That is why so many people love them.
    Above and below those cutoffs... no of course not.
    But still, the mids are crunchy and savory. The highs are smooth yet detailed enough to be enjoyable. The bass is warm but reasonably tight, and certainly not bloated. The sub bass is nonexistant, the upper treble is lo-fi. But these little bastards cleverly stylize their deficits to mask their impact on the sound. It's an enjoyable filter that you can view your music through, that isn't the highest in fidelity, but it's faithful and playful enough to be enjoyable for what it is. Don't EQ these (it'll just reveal how flawed the upper treble really is in painful detail). Just listen to them as-is, think of it as a flavoring for your music.
    Another thing is that just about any crappy hardware can power them. And they will take the worst onboard DACs and the most cringeworthy recording qualities and even the oldest and most unlistenable 128 kbps mp3s and they will make something tolerable out of those. They are the ideal consumer-grade headphone, basically.
    Comfort... is a mixed bag. The headband will make you bald if you're not careful. The hook will dig into your right ear if they're sitting wrong.
    Build... they're $30. What do you think?
    In summary... These are great starter headphones. I would strongly recommend them for students on a budget, as I was a decade ago when I first bought these. Going further with your sound requires significantly more research, time, and money. If you don't want to fall into that hole, this is a good stopping point right here. I still enjoy these guys. I've had them for 11 years. I've bought 4 during that time. Two got stolen, one broke (now I keep two at all times so I have one spare in case the other breaks). One other interesting thing is that they're easy to open up and repair. I've soldered the wires back on multiple times after snapping them with a doorknob, and they still work great. Even if you've been exposed to higher def headphones, if you listen to these for a while, their easy-going nature and crunchy, savory mids, will win your heart once again.
      menuki likes this.
    1. JK1
      The Koss Portapro was a decent buy when it first came out over 20 years ago. Imo the JVC HAS160 for around $10 sounds better than the Portapro. I bought the Portapro in the 1990s and am very familiar with its lack of treble and murky bass. The JVC HAS160 is closed but doesn't isolate so well, so it is a bit different than the Portapro. Imo the $15 Koss KSC75 headphone with ear hooks sounds much better than the Portapro in terms of both midrange detail and treble. If someone likes the form factor of the Portapro and is willing to pay more, the Sennheiser PX100ii at around $47 has so much more detail than the KSC75(and of course much more than the Portapro). I have the original PX100 and like it very much. The PX100ii adds a bit more bass, and has the cord on just one side. Both fold to a very small size.
      JK1, Oct 27, 2016
    2. Vatnos
      I never detected much of a difference in quality in the KSC75, and preferred the warmer tuning of the PortaPro, but I'd agree cost/quality the smaller brother is a better deal. I wouldn't be surprised if there are much better things in the price range these days, particularly with IEMs, which seem to be moving quickly. The Philips SHP9500 is just a hair more expensive at $57 and definitely beats the Porta Pros by a good distance, and you get quite a lot more hardware for the money as well. Probably gonna bump my review down a bit.
      Vatnos, Jan 3, 2017
  4. Telecaster555
    The benchmark in affordable on-ear headphones
    Written by Telecaster555
    Published Dec 23, 2015
    Pros - They nailed it; pure enjoyment of music in a comfortable, fun-looking headphone with a killer guarantee.
    Cons - You might get mistaken as a hipster. They're not a replacement for studio monitor phones. The ear-cup foam will degrade over time.
    Market niche: To provide a high level of musical enjoyment at an affordable price.
    Obstacles: People associate cost with quality. Fashionable name brands, aesthetics, compactness, and gimmicks (noise cancellation) command a higher priority in today's market.
    I'm one of THOSE. You know...vinyl is superior to digital. Tube amplifiers beat solid-state. FLAC files only. Definition, soundstage, separation, muddy/boomy/punchy. No replacement for displacement...drivers, magnets, cone construction. Yup. Guilty. 
    But I'm going to say it; for pure portable musical enjoyment, I reach for these every time. They aren't "accurate" headphones. They look dorky. They leak sound. The foam muffles some of the frequencies.  But at the end of the day, we listen to music to FEEL something. Nostalgia. Sadness. Jubilation. Air guitar. Steering wheel drums. Head bobbing. A heart that skips a beat. Gall-darn it...the Koss Porta Pro makes you want to pull a Risky Business and run around the house in your underwear. Or cry while you wash dishes. Or daydream while you go about your daily business. Or sing along and actually hear yourself (sorry, closed-ear phones). 
    The Koss Porta Pro is the guilty pleasure hamburger of headphones. If I want a 5 course meal with foie gras, Filet Mignon and Lobster tails, I'll cocoon into my Audio Technica MTX-50's. If I want a spicy thai stir fry or tasty sushi, I'll borrow my daughter's Audio-Technica MTX-30's. Nevermind the Dr. Dre Beats Solo and Bose Soundtrue II and heap of Apple earbuds stashed in a drawer somewhere around here. For pure comfort food, there is only one choice: Koss Porta Pro. 
    Just buy them. And shave your face, unless you like being identified as a Hipster. 
      kamysmith79, kggutang and trellus like this.
  5. zazex
    A Very Satisfying Listen
    Written by zazex
    Published Apr 29, 2015
    Pros - "Listenability", Warmth, Soundstage, Lack of Irritants
    Cons - Treble Roll Off, "Fold" into a round rather than flat shape
    So, 35.00, 40.00?
    What do you get?
    Very good sound, outstanding comfort,
    a lifetime warranty.
    It's a warm sound.  Plenty of bass, not too much IMO,
    significantly rolled off treble.  Smooth midrange, not
    overly present or recessed.
    So light that they apply just a touch of pressure to
    the top of your head and your ears.  Mostly your ears,
    and its softened nicely by the ear cushions.  Very
    comfortable, so that they can be worn for hours.
    Clearer and more sonorous than the somewhat
    competitive Sennheiser 100 II.  Better bass and
    generally similar build quality. More comfortable
    as well.  To my knowledge, there is no other
    competition in this category.
    The PortaPro > very, very comfortable, light in weight, inexpensive,
    suited to a wide variety of music, sound far better than their price could ever indicate.
      stalepie likes this.
  6. cipurian
    The reason I have became a vivid music consumer
    Written by cipurian
    Published Dec 19, 2013
    Pros - really impresive sound quality and good soundstage, value master due to koss lifetime warranty, no need to amp them, really portable
    Cons - hair ripping, can't be worn around neck, not the most comfortable to wear, cable tends to break, hair gets under the membrane, leaks music
    Porta Pros simply made the biggest difference for me when listening to music as I have switched from some low-end sony in-ear to them and suddenly when playing the same song music became more rich and colourful and instruments more noticeable soundstage improved and on top of that really nice bass for me as I listen to classical rock or big beat and those bass makes it more pleasant for me. One thing I hate is how in past few years quite a lot more people started to use them and they can't appreciate the music as they are just kids listening to recycled audiosmog king of commercial waste.
    If you are concerned about bass being too strong there are some mods that are supposed to deal with it and either bring out the mids and highs or weaken the lows, p.e. Kramer's mod, using HD414 pads.
    Some people says they are not portable enough or that the when folded in bag it not practical, on the other hand form my experience I found that while carrying in the small bag is pretty good when packing or travelling and space is an issue, but the most notable advantage is that they are so much more durable when in the bag, because of fragile cable and if you wear the around your neck other than discomfort cable breaks a lot quicker. 
    As mentioned comfort is bit of an issue. Forget about them hanging around your neck but if you have either longer or curly hair they will get caught and ripped by them and like once a week and it can be really painful. Also if you are using them for more then 2 hours or so it gets fatiguing and you feel them pressing your skull. It gets a little better when they are worn in but if you plan on using them for longer periods of time I advise you to switch to a light comfort zone and then it's absolutely minty (although they don't hold on your head as firm).
    But other than comfort and weak cable Portas are wonderful, they have sweet old school design that really grow on me, also are very lightweight and music experience is sensational, on top of that the are delivered with koss lifetime warranty so they are embarrassingly inexpensive. I have paid for mine and 6 new ones due to warranty about 90 bucks, so there goes the value.
    For the final verdict: go and pick yours today or if you are concerned with comfort pick the Koss KSC75 and enjoy the music.
  7. HPuser9083
    They're the best bang-for-the-buck headphones you can possibly get, IMO.
    Written by HPuser9083
    Published Dec 16, 2013
    Pros - Sound quality, comfort, design, aesthetics, design hasn't changed since '84, uses KSC35 drivers, just in blue instead of black.
    Cons - May be considered to be dorky and ugly by the Beats, Soul, Skullcandy, and Bose crowd.
    I got a pair of Portapros last month, along with a Sansa Clip+ 4GB, these headphones sound really, really good for $40, especially with an EQ'd Clip+, and I had UR40s, which are also great bang-for-the-buck headphones, sound great, comfortable as can be, however they're not as portable as the Portapros are. Unfortunately, the UR40s died due to a short in the plug a few years ago, so I lived on MDR-V150s and Bass Freqs, both of which are OK for the price, but not as good as the Portapros or UR40s.
    On the comfort aspect, the Portas are extremely comfortable, especially on the "Light" setting, and actually a bit more comfortable than my old UR40s and way more comfortable than my V150s or Bass Freqs, V150s get painful after a while, and Bass Freqs just feel weird after a while. As far as aesthetics, I dig the vintage styling vs. a pair of Beats Solos, but others may prefer the styling of the Beats Solos.
    To go into more detail on sound, the Portas have plenty of bass while still allowing plenty of mids and highs, and overall sound really sweet, beating both the Bass Freqs and the V150s, and rivaling the UR40s.
    Overall these are a great bang for the buck and are quickly becoming my primary headphones, while the V150s and Bassfreqs are going by the wayside. And this is my first review on here so it may not be very good.
    PS: may get some KSC35s at some point and stick them in the UR40 housing to see how the Portapro drivers combined with an open-back circumaural enclosure sounds vs. the open-back supra-aural enclosure of the Portapros/Sportapros. And considering the Parts-Express headband mod for KSC75s as well. In addition, the Sportapros are just a cheaper, more modern-looking version of the Portapros that don't have adjustable temporal pads like the Portapros, but can be converted to behind-the-neck, as they use the same drivers as the Portapros.
    Best uses: All-purpose, great-sounding set of open-back on-ear headphones in the sub-$50 pricerange, sound great on MP3 players, computers, or home stereos (although an extension cord may come in handy for use with a stereo). Sound great with pretty much every genre.
    Ideal audience: people who would rather have a vintage-looking pair of headphones that sound great and only cost $40 than a pair of Beats, Souls, Skullcandies, or Bose headphones. Basically people who value sound quality over looks.
      trellus likes this.
  8. King of Pangaea
    Written by King of Pangaea
    Published Feb 24, 2013
    I bought my first pair of these when they first came out in about 1986 or so and have been using them for portable audio ever since. first with Aiwa Walkman tape players and now iPod Classic 160.  I have gone through a number of them since then, but the great thing about Koss, no matter what you may think of their cans today, is their lifetime warranty.  If the cable shorts out, or they otherwise break, or become unusable, just send them back to Koss with a check for $7.00 and they will fix (maybe replace).  Used to be $5.00.   Check with them for the current repair rate.   I've bought a few more pair, had several repaired by Koss, and been using ever since for portable audio.  Great value, great sound for the bucks.  I've just bought some B&W P5s, so maybe I will have something better to wear outside, maybe not.  Who knows.  A definite bargain.   Currently about $35 on Amazon.
    1. Mshenay
      yar, a great sounding can! An I see why ppl LOVE to mod these things! Although didn't fit on my head entirely xD
      Mshenay, Feb 25, 2013
  9. Griffith
    Best low-end headphone I've ever used
    Written by Griffith
    Published Feb 20, 2012
    Pros - Cheap, great vivid sound
    Cons - Fold into a circular shape, rather than a flat one. Might pulls some of your hairs, specially if they are curly due to the metal band.
    I picked these up when I was living in Belgium when I was looking for a cheap and durable portable headphone, that wasn't in-ear, and I was certainly not disappointed.
    These headphones have almost the same level of clarity as my Grado SR125i but have a considerably more pronounced bass and are, quite simply, a lot of fun to listen to.
    The form factor is quite interesting, because rather folding as most portable headphones, the PortaPro bend into a circular shape, around the size of a tennis ball, which makes them a bit inconvenient to carry if you intend on carrying them inside a laptop case.
    I've used these headphones while riding a bicycle to work, I've used them while running, while working in public places, and although they are not ideal for all of those situations, they are certainly more than passable, and give you very enjoyable listening experience. Just remember that these headphones do leak sound, so they might not be ideal for commuting.
    When I want to go for a walk, and I don't feel like putting the "rubber band" and the DAC around my iPhone, these are the headphones I'll usually grab because I'm certain they'll sound great, regardless of what I plug them to, even though their sound does improve noticeably when you plug them to a DAC.
  10. mrpetemd
    Best for The Buck
    Written by mrpetemd
    Published Feb 19, 2012
    Pros - Surprisingly well balanced SQ for the price but it needs an amp to really sing.
    Cons - Speaker cables extremely fragile, especially at connection with drivers. (Sennheiser PX's have same fragility as well).Needs amp to tame the bass.
    My third set of these classics due to the weak speaker cable connection to the drivers which breaks if you just think about it! Koss should have addressed this long ago by adapting the, IMHO, much more substantial cable it uses on its extension cable w/volume control. It is not much heavier.
    The issue with bass quality can be controlled with an amp which sharpens/tightens the bass response. Doing so really opens up the midrange and treble and widens the soundstage. It gets even better with a DAC in the chain. I use a NuForce Icon uDAC2 with my laptop (running JRiver Media Center 16) and a NuForce Icon Portable with my Sansa Clip+.The DACs sharpen the focus, add depth and air and reveal the detail already in the recording (Assuming its a decent recording in the first place!)
    This review also applies to the KSC-75
      trellus likes this.


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