Koss KCS-75 - first impressions.
Mar 22, 2006 at 11:53 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

_gl

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Well, my KCS75 just arrived. They fit well, seem very comfortable and don't look too stupid (although if I'm keeping 'em they'll be sprayed black). Only having seem them on the net before, they're also thankfully smaller than I imagined. So far so good.

Some background, I normally don't use headphones, but I just got a 2nd-hand iRiver H140 which now holds all my music losslessly (can't stand compression) and needed something portable that wouldn't keep falling out of my ears! I listen to a wide range of music, some very laid back, but mostly alternative rock/pop & some electronica. I have pretty good ears and often listen on studio type speakers so quality had to be good without breaking the bank.

OK, I've listened to them on the iRiver for about 20mins now (flat EQ, low-ish volume). My immediate impression was that the sound was congested - for my type of music I was hoping for something more lively. However, actually mids and treble are there and quite good (cymbal crashes sound really nice and consistent for example, and the detail is there) - but the lumpy bass is overpowering them! I like bass, but I don't like it artifically overblown.

Pulling them away from my ears a little helps to reduce the bass, and it's better, but they still seem pretty 'tame' to me. I'm sure that's a good quality for some of you, but I like my music involving (I tend to listen in shorter but fairly intense bursts).

I'll see how they burn in (or my ears do). The foam hole mod might also help here. I'm also trying to secure a Grado SR60 to compare to, which by all accounts could be right up my street. Updates as I have them...
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 12:28 PM Post #2 of 10

boss

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They do have a lot to offer after burn-in. Mine have about 60 hours on them, and they already sound noticeably better than out of the box. Bass is smoother, soundstage opened up slightly, mids mesh well with highs.

I also own an H140. If you're using Rockbox, try messing with the graphic EQ a bit until you find something you like.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 1:16 PM Post #3 of 10

_gl

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Quote:

Originally Posted by boss
They do have a lot to offer after burn-in. Mine have about 60 hours on them, and they already sound noticeably better than out of the box. Bass is smoother, soundstage opened up slightly, mids mesh well with highs.


Yes, I'm not writing them off yet. But so far they sound a little sterile to me. Have you done the foam hole mod on yours?

Quote:

Originally Posted by boss
I also own an H140. If you're using Rockbox, try messing with the graphic EQ a bit until you find something you like.


Rockbox yep, but I never use EQ. I really need phones that sound right without it.

BTW, I just noticed the sound is clearer and a little more dynamic through the line-out!
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 11:15 PM Post #4 of 10

boss

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Quote:

Originally Posted by _gl
Yes, I'm not writing them off yet. But so far they sound a little sterile to me. Have you done the foam hole mod on yours?


Nah, I'm not a big fan of the Grado sound (owned, then sold the SR60s). Maybe someday I'll give it another try, if I can find some thicker pads.


Quote:

Originally Posted by _gl
Rockbox yep, but I never use EQ. I really need phones that sound right without it.

BTW, I just noticed the sound is clearer and a little more dynamic through the line-out!



I think it's interesting that you found them bass-heavy. I find mine a bit light on the bass, and use the EQ to deliver a punch in the low end.

Using the line out, highs come in loud and clear, but lows and mids are distorted (even with a flat EQ). IIRC, though, powering cans directly from any line out can be harmful.
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 6:07 PM Post #5 of 10

_gl

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Quote:

Originally Posted by boss
I think it's interesting that you found them bass-heavy. I find mine a bit light on the bass, and use the EQ to deliver a punch in the low end.


Guess it depends what you're used to (or how you hear). I'm used to pretty flat audio. The consensus here seems to be that the KSC75/35s etc are bass-heavy.

Saying that, they sound better today, more balanced (I left them running overnight). The odd track still sounds too basy though. Now I notice the treble's a bit grainy. But even if they don't improve any more, they're a great portable all-rounder.

Quote:

Originally Posted by boss
Using the line out, highs come in loud and clear, but lows and mids are distorted (even with a flat EQ).


I have no distortion at -17db vol (Rockbox, flat EQ) with either Alt. Rock or Nat King Cole ballads. Anybody else have an iRiver H1x0?

Quote:

Originally Posted by boss
IIRC, though, powering cans directly from any line out can be harmful.


Do you have a reference for that? This is the audio chip schematic for the H1x0's, anybody with electronics experience want to comment?
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 6:23 PM Post #6 of 10

Purgatos

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Well a line-out is designed to be going into a heavier resistance load than a pair of headphones and does not have its own variable volume. This has the result of being loud if you plug 'phones straight into it.
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 6:50 PM Post #7 of 10

_gl

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Purgatos
Well a line-out is designed to be going into a heavier resistance load than a pair of headphones and does not have its own variable volume. This has the result of being loud if you plug 'phones straight into it.


Right, but the iRiver H100's isn't really a true line-out, ie. it's affected by volume and probably eq. At full volume levels it is about right for a line-out (using Rockbox at least). A lot of people are using it as a 2nd headphone out.
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 6:55 PM Post #8 of 10

Purgatos

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Really? I thought that was only on the later iRivers...

I don't see what on earth the point of having one of those would be then.
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 7:08 PM Post #9 of 10

_gl

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Purgatos
Really? I thought that was only on the later iRivers...

I don't see what on earth the point of having one of those would be then.



Well, they do sound different and on the schematic they're slightly differently configured. On my modified version of Rockbox the volume can be automatically set to (say) 0db when the AC adapter is plugged in (and restored back to battery levels when it's removed), so it works more like a real line-out.
 
Apr 20, 2006 at 12:24 PM Post #10 of 10

_gl

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Thought I'd update this now I've had them for a while.

In short, I love 'em. For me they are ultra-comfortable even for long perdiods (I don't even notice them when they're on), stay put on the move without changing the sound at all, and have a solid, clean, balanced and dependable sound.

My initial misgivings about them being a bit sterile are probably still there, but then I always listen to speakers at home so it might have been an unfair comparison - and the upside is that the sound is just really solid, non-fatiguing and just nice to listen to. And re. bass, either they burned in a bit, or I burned myself in - either way, they don't seem too bassy now, at least not to the point of skewing the overal balance in any bad way.

Obviously it's all subjective, but I'm glad I found head-fi and read everyone's praise - I'd seen them in pictures but didn't like the look of them, so I wasn't planning to try them. Now they're staying
smily_headphones1.gif
. Thanks guys.
 

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