Massdrop x Koss Porta Pro X Headphones
Massdrop x Koss Porta Pro X Headphones
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Product Description
In the 1950s, when rock ‘n’ roll was sweeping the nation but headphones were still largely reserved for communication purposes, Koss came along and changed everything by making the first stereo headphones designed specifically for personal music consumption. Since then, the company has continued to bring listeners closer to the music they love, and among their most popular releases was 1984’s Porta Pro Read More
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All of our reviews are from verified customers.
4.6
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93%
would recommend to a friend
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raansire7
459
May 2, 2018
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HIGHS - Not overly sharp, but smooth and pleasant. Surprisingly, they reveal tape hiss and noise. The excessive bass makes these headphones seem treble-shy, but it's all there in the right amount. I'd say they sound close to real life's treble. Just EQ some bass out if you want sparklier highs. As is, harsh tracks make these sound sharp enough to bother the ears.
MIDS - As a whole, the mids are full-sounding and well-composed, if a bit colored in the sense of sounding thicker than in real life. Even on low volume, they sound big and enveloping like coming from speakers, not headphones. I am impressed.
LOWS - Drivers this small should not be able to sound so bassy. Seriously, how is this much bass coming out? It's not flabby, but it's a bit muddy, bleeding in to the mids and masking the highs a lot. Good thing is that it has reasonable tightness and speed, and thumps impressively. Seriously, these Porta Pros remind me of how an 8" SQ-oriented subwoofer in a ported small box in the trunk of a car with the rear seat backs up thumps my ear drums. Not boomy or rattley, but authoritatively weighty and present enough to feel the lower octave without sticking out like a coffee-burned tongue. It's not super detailed bass, but it's textured enough to hear the difference in the bass instruments. The lowest sub bass is almost non-existent, though, but I don't miss it, because the rest of the bass is plenty ear-filling.
TONALITY - They sound like good paper cone speakers, conveying sounds with good tonal accuracy compared to real life. Nothing weird about them. I wish my beyerdynamic headphones (DT 880/DT 990/T90) had this realistic tonality instead of the metallic-tinged character they all have. In my opinion, Koss could've easily screwed-up the tonality of these headphones, or chosen to not make them sound so good. But they didn't. Without getting dramatic or teary-eyed, I don't think a sound presentation this subjectively pleasant can be attained by accident or without trying.
SOUNDSTAGE - Better than most affordable headphones I've heard. These drivers are special for sure. Hard-panned sounds sound hard-panned like they ought to sound, but everything else not in the center seems to come from outside the ears and hovering inches over the head. Center channel sounds in front of eyes/forehead, not inside head. The front/rear depth is shallow, but the height and width is smile-inducingly good. My brain is boggled that these seemingly innocent headphones sound so big, even at very low volume.
SENSITIVITY - I've weed-whacked while wearing them with foam earplugs and they got loud enough on my LG G3 on max volume that I could hear the music over the engine noise. One thing I noticed is that they don't need to be enjoyed on a deafening level like lots of higher-end headphones. A bit of volume is enough to bring these to enjoyable levels. They sound good without having to make much noise, like for example, my Denon AH-D340, which on low volume have basically no bass, and on the sweet spot, the bass is perfect, but they have too much upper mids/lower highs for me to endure.
COMFORT - I don't like how they feel on my head/over my ears, but they do not hurt me. The metal touches my big ears sometimes, but I re-adjust them and I'm good.
PRICE - A bargain for sure. Great job by Koss. Long decades later, their formula still shines.
CONCLUSION - They seem so unassuming, but the sound is impressive. I have headphones over ten times more expensive than these, and I don't think of my Porta Pros as my "cheap headphones" but as "my Porta Pros". They're somewhat of a benchmark for me. They're the ruler which I use to measure pricier headphones. I would like less bass on them so the highs would sound more upfront, but other than that, I think they're iconic and punch above their weight. Their marketing says, "Whether you’re listening at home or on the go, the Koss Porta Pro delivers all the excitement of a live performance." As hyperbolic as it might read, I can't disagree with that statement.
Thanks for reading and God bless you!
May 2, 2018
Nephtys
11
May 2, 2018
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Great review man, you're hitting all the right notes! (no pun intended)
May 2, 2018
raansire7
459
May 3, 2018
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Hey! Thanks so much! I'm glad you're...in tune with my review. *ba-dum-tss*
May 3, 2018
MXRC
211
May 5, 2018
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Massdrop and Koss have not done anything to change the tuning of these headphones; not that they needed to, but I wanted to get that out of the way. So, there’s no new sound signature/profile compared to existing Koss Porta Pro and Koss Porta Pro LTD. The new and updated things about this model have to do with quality of life changes and aesthetics.
For those unfamiliar with Porta Pros, these are considered to be the gateway drug to the rabbit hole of headphone audiophilia for many. It has a very pleasant sound signature that’s neither super accurate for reference or embelished for enhanced listening. These sit right in the middle with characteristics of both side of the spectrum. This is what makes them so good. You get pretty much the best of all worlds sub $50.
Sound: High frequency extension is decent. It’s just right for casual listening. They’re not super airy and there's not a lot of sparkle, but what is there is enough for high frequency presence and definition. The mids bring a lot of warmth to the sound signature. There’s plenty here that somehow doesn’t muddy the sound. It’s punchy when it needs to and mellow when it counts. These headphones deviate from the smiley EQ, making them sound boosted in the mids at times, but there is an emphasized bass reponse that smooths it all out. Surprisingly, these headphones can deliver sub frequencies. It extends to 15hz in the paper specs, and it definitely achieves that spec in practice. There’s a bit of bass bleeding into the mids which makes the bass and mid bass frequencies sound loose. Bass response is definitely not fast with these but it induces a rumble that just gives you that feel-good. Overall, these have a sound profile that is easy to recommend. It’s just good for what they are; good, not great, but GOOD, so good.
Upgrades: Where Massdrop and Koss put some effort are bits and pieces of the hardware. For the most part, the headband, plastic structures, and driver housing are all the same. The differences are in the cable. They now have a more robust cable compared to the original Koss Porta Pros. They‘ve also got an in-line microphone with a single button control, which isn’t new but has been redesigned to be more prominent so that it’s easy click without looking. Microphone sound quality doesn’t seem to be any better or worse than the original microphone. The limited edition Koss Porta Pro had an in-line volume control which isn’t present here; to me, that’s a welcome omission. Its 3.5mm stereo connector is now also more robust and includes a cable tension spring reinforcement to lengthen the life of your cable at the termination point. Finally, the stock cylindrical, tough case has been replaced with a very nice headphone pouch.
This edition of the Koss Porta Pro has been upgraded where it counts and more importantly, left untouched where it excels. This is the best version of the Koss Porta Pro.
May 5, 2018
miksmi
1
May 31, 2018
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Kudos for your rigorous review; most descriptive. No likes?!? This is the gold standard for reviews. Bravo!
May 31, 2018
MXRC
211
May 31, 2018
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I appreciate it, man!
May 31, 2018
Poat
9
Mar 22, 2019
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This is my first pair of Koss headphones. I am poor and have not experienced any of these "audiophile" headphones, though I'd like to. I purchased them with high expectations after seeing all of the glowing reviews. They sound good... Very good for the price. I can't say they're incredible, but I can say that I really like them and with an equalizer you can make them very enjoyable. They do leak somewhat. They are very open and do allow other sounds in, but i like this for keeping awareness of surroundings. The microphone is also not bad. I can talk through it without problems. The build quality is high. The cable and its play/pause button feel very high quality with a rubbery grip feel (luckily not overly grippy.) My one complaint about the build is that the cord is twisted up and cannot be untwisted unless i disconnect the headphone from the band; I don't know how to do so without damaging it. They are very lightweight and even smaller than I was expecting. The feel is pretty good. Its comfy and i have worn it for long periods without pain. The temple pads make these comfortably used with glasses. I've seen people complain about the band being annoying to fidget with--I've not found it to be problematic, but I can enpathize. If you feel like taking them off and resting them around your neck, you will be disappointed. They are far too tight. To have them at a resting/standby position, I put them at the precarious hanging position from my hoodie's headhole (yes, they're that light... Plus the rubber cable gives it enough grip). I do this by normally having them strung up through the hoodie. If I'm not wearing a second layer, i have to just set them aside because theres not much else you can do with them. Ive thought about hooking them up to a carabiner on a beltloop though this probably both looks and is dumb. One thing i have done to secure them is tied my hoodie ties around the band and allowed them to hang at my chest just that bit more secure. Again... Options are limited. Also, these are extremely comfortable, in fact almost unnoticeable when worn over a hoodie hood or beanie. In short: They sound good, are comfy and lightweight with a good build quality. I recommend them to anybody that like the lower ends to be stronger and is welcoming back the return of the 80s and 90s aesthetic. I rated 4 stars instead of 5 for the twisted cables that I received. I assume that this was a rare case. I also don't like that theyre so hard to set aside if on the go. I just want to drop them at my neck but am not able to. I wouldn't let those discourage you from purchasing, all being said. They're a fantastic pair. They're sounding so good that I've decided I don't need to buy a dedicated gaming headset. These play that part very well as well as for my music and videos.
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Mar 22, 2019
Comabereni
1
Apr 16, 2019
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Thanks. Excellent review.
Apr 16, 2019
DJAT
204
Aug 9, 2019
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A classic worth having, regardless of what else you have. Period.
I already have a Koss Porta Pro. Besides that, I have the HD6XX, He400i, EMU Teaks, Focal Elex, Takstar Hi2050. I've had Sennheiser HD8DJs, M-Audio HDH50s, Pioneer DJ500s, Panasonic RP-HTF600s, American Audio HP550s, Audio Technica M50Xs. Of all these headphones, if I talk of value, nothing comes close to the Porta Pros. That is why when I saw a discount on MD and one that will ship right away, I had to go for it. The Porta Pros Xs:
  • Are identical in almost every way - they do have a thicker, more solid cable, a more solid connector and an inline mic.
  • Are, just as the originals, comfortable and forgettable.
  • Have that great low-end, same as the Porta Pros.
  • Are light and almost weightless, yet still solid for the form factor.
  • Have a great sound-stage, better than any closed back cans, and competing with many open and semi-open cans. The best thing is that the mids and not too far and still forward, while staging is still outside of the cans.
  • Have a thick and meaty sound - many full sized headphones that I've had in my time didn't. Those Takstars up there don't, and they have a 53mm driver.
  • Don't have sibilance.
  • Probably the only on-ear I can or want to wear. Otherwise I wear full sized headphones.
  • Audio fidelity OTG - this one pair of audiophile pair of headgear you can actually pretty conveniently take with you OTG.
Now there are some cons too, like with everything else:
  • Feel a bit flimsy sometimes and will need some care - but audiophiles do care for their gear anyways unlike people who don't really give a shit, and for the price, you can't really expect beryllium frames and titanium cups. Build is better than a lot other cans at this price, maybe even higher priced cans.
  • A little dark - the highs feel a bit rolled off. Personally, that's a good thing for me as I can raise the volume without them becoming piercing up there.
  • Not isolating. But then again, true audiophile gear has to be non-isolating as it has to be a) natural sounding, 2) airy and open, 3) have great sound-stage and so be open to deliver so.
Do I recommend these cans, and especially Drop's variant? Yes. If the prices are not too far apart (maybe $5-10 difference overall), they're worth it. Are the Porta Pros worth it, regardless? Every damn penny. It's worth having just to be astounded by how close it sounds to your $200, $500, $1000 cans. It's a keeper, regardless of what else you have. Why did I buy another one? I got $20 off my purchase. And these sure are worth a personal insurance policy in case my existing pair breaks. I don't wanna be Porta-less at any given point. If you want that casual timeout with them every now and then, and those 1000 dollar cans are a little too far for you to reach or a little trouble to put on right now, just grab those Portas on your desk. And always keep em there. That's what I do. If you wanna go portable and want an "audiophile" experience OTG with minimal investment, I can't think of anything else. Needless to say, these, to me, sound superior to any other in-ear headphone form factor gear.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Aug 9, 2019
Moth13
8
Nov 1, 2019
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No business being this good
How are these headphones this good at this price point? I have $230 Bose headphones that are baby talk compared to my new Porta Pros. I was excited to get these but was skeptical about them performing as well as seemingly every Porta Pro owner is claiming. Well I can attest that they are every bit as good as everyone is saying. It is simply amazing that Koss is able to make headphones with higher quality audio than headphones 10 times their price. Highs and mids are clear. But the bass. The bass. It's so rich! I've never had headphones able to get as low as these. It's not muddy nor does it overshadow the highs and mids. It's witchcraft to be able to get that kind of bass out of drivers so small. Seriously, Koss used black magic to manufacture these. Sure there are head phones out there that are better. But they are, without a doubt, much more expensive. These are stupid good. So good. So good. To not get these headphones would be a travesty. Especially when they're only $25. If you pass these by, you'll regret it. One day, hopefully years from now, you'll be on your death bed surrounded by loved ones. Your children will ask you if you have any regrets. And you'll reply, with a tears in your eyes, that you never bought Koss Porta Pro X Headphones.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Nov 1, 2019
MrKarda
10
Sep 12, 2018
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I had three of them in the past and I love this headphone! I am very glad of the improvement you made! Nice sound for the price, comfortable, nice colour with that blue ring! Love it!
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Sep 12, 2018
PennyK
1
Sep 30, 2018
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Koss has a Lifetime Warranty on the PortaPro's. I bought mine back in 1987, I have mangled, damaged, trashed them several times now, each time they have been warranty replaced no questions asked, this is my 3rd warranty replacement headphones.
Sep 30, 2018
Cweiss88
5
Oct 22, 2019
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Worth 3-4x the price for the sound
These immediately became my favorite headphones. The sound is INCREDIBLE. I'm a brand new audiophile so I don't have the terminology to describe the sound, but I was blown away by how many more details I was hearing in songs I've been listening to for years. It was like hearing them for the first time. They need a little bit of break-in time for the sound to reach it's full potential, not much though, maybe 5-10 hours? That's a rough guesstimate. They are a little uncomfortable for extended listening, but the sound is so good that it's often times worth enduring. I ordered those yaxi pads everyone else recommends, so hopefully that makes a great thing even better. The only real con for me is that the part that makes the sound so spacious and immersive— the open back— means these leak pretty bad. So definitely no library or quiet subway use. Not enough of a drawback to affect the 5 star rating though. But these would be great for home listening, places where noise is tolerable (they have a bit of noise cancellation with the inline mic but probably not enough for very loud places,) and they would be awesome for running or outdoor fitness I think, because you could still have some spacial and situational awareness. Overall, you will not regret this purchase. The sound out-performs many of my more expensive headphones. Plus they look funky and unique and are fun to wear in public for the looks lol. Buy them, what are you waiting for?
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Would recommend to a friend.
Oct 22, 2019
KrisP
5
Jun 23, 2018
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I can't really express how much I LOVE these. I have had great difficulty finding over-the-ear headphones that don't have an issue within weeks or worse. I also wear glasses, so it's often uncomfortable to wear these types without them squeezing or shifting the arms of my glasses. With the additional foam cushion, these are the most comfortable pair I have ever owned, period. The Sound quality is excellent, the microphone picks up sound well without grabbing too much background sound and my voice is extremely clear. Ci have been using these daily since I bought them and they are still working as they were on Day 1. I am VERY happy with these and will be ordering at least one more pair to keep as backup. Thank you for making such a quality product!!!
** Edit: Of course right after I submit this review something happens. I had my phone in my back pocket like I normally do, and unfortunately I had to hop out of the way of an inattentive person. I bumped a shelf but thought nothing of it; it wasn't a hard hit. Later on I discovered that bump was devastating as it had bent the 3.5mm plug, rendering the headphones useless. Attempting to straighten the plug just caused separation of coating from core, so I just headed over to the fresh vegetable department to buy onions in an attempt to cover up my embarrassing weeping over the situation. :'(
Jun 23, 2018
creaturekyle
19
Jul 23, 2018
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Try contacting Koss. They're really good about delivering on that lifetime warranty!
Jul 23, 2018
ajaxsoap
52
May 23, 2018
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10 thumbs up!!!!! this headphones is absolutely exceeded my expectations, I was expecting an average headphones since the price is cheaper but to my surprise, it is indeed a bang for the buck way bang bang bang! The sound is clear and at the same the lows and highs are balanced! I'd highly recommend this headphones! Koss Porta Pro! You rock!!!
May 23, 2018
haproot
16
Nov 23, 2019
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Great!
These sound great for what they are. Through all the headphones I've owned and currently use many of which are from Sennheiser, Focal, Grado, AKG, etc while using amplifiers like the THX-AAA, Xduoo XD-05, Creek OBH-11, JDS Atom and running DACs like Airist R-2R or Topping D10 etc... I really dig these as a go to when I'm at work or simply playing my Nintendo Switch. Plug and go and they sound fantastic. I have let my friends demo many of my headphones, and while they appreciated the higher end offerings, they were literally throwing money at me to get a set of these for them. I ended up buying about 4 pairs of these to give 2 of them to friends and have a set in my backpack and another for around the house. They do sound a bit dark but surprisingly they aren't as veiled as I expected. They are "fun" to listen to and detailed enough. They are very easy to drive and do not need any amplification. They will stay on your head very well and you can dance around like an imbecile and they won't go flying.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Nov 23, 2019
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