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Was on the fence about whether to pick up these Koss headphones. While passing time an antique store this weekend, I came across an interesting box...
Looked inside and found these...
It was like I had stumbled upon a Massdrop collaboration headset in the wild...I was powerless to resist. They're Koss SP/3X, circa 1960. Took them home, plugged them in, looked up the top songs from 1960, and played some that I had in my collection - Elvis, Marty Robbins, Roy Orbison, Everly Brothers and some others. They worked great and I was able to hear an authentic rendition of what it sounded like during the earliest years of this hobby. Pretty cool. They'll make a great decoration for the listening station I'm setting up in my home theater.
Fully functional, nearly 60 year old Koss "Stereophones" discovered at random was obviously a sign to join yet another headphone drop for headphones I don't need :)
That's gorgeous, looks mint.
Yeah, they're pretty sweet. I wouldn't say they are mint, but they definitely show more age than wear, if that distinction makes sense.
I'm legitimately salty about how cool that is...
Not just a headphone but a piece of audio history.
I've had a chance to put several hours of listening time on these old Koss phones now, and can say they sound surprisingly good. They're pretty warm, not particularly clear, but not muddy either. I ran through my standard headphone test playlist, and they sound pretty bad with guitar-heavy punk (Social Distortion and Bad Religion) but do pretty decent with the lighter genres I enjoy. They sound notably good with large-arena live albums (Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett).
But I have to say they are absolutely magical with music from the 50s and early 60s. I'm not quite sure how to articulate this without sounding goofy, but they just make music from that era sound fantastic and...authentic. I wasn't around then, but I'm old enough to remember how music sounded on the hi-fi systems of that era when my older relatives played their records. Think lots of brown veneer with yellowish-brown speaker grilles from the pre-disco era, and you'll have the image of the equipment I'm talking about. They sound like that.
I know, what a surprise that music from that era played on the equipment of that era makes it sound like it did in that era - but it's hard to describe how cool it is. I'm not old enough that I have nostalgia for those early days of rock & roll, but I am old enough to appreciate lucking into the opportunity to hear what people were hearing when rock and stereo were still pretty revolutionary.
Now I'm really curious to know whether the PortaPro has been tuned differently over the years, or if they still have their original sound. And if so, is there anything about their tuning that would be distinctive to their birth era. Since I do have nostalgia for the 80s, I'm totally looking forward to finding out when they get here.
In the meantime, I think I may have found a little hobby that I can indulge in when the wife is treasure hunting (and a much cheaper one than buying every single Massdrop collaboration headphone) :)
Sweet find. I would love to stumble on a pair. Congrats!
I'm in the midst of upgrading, picking up the individual pieces as I find good deals. The end game is a 7.2.2 Klipsch Reference Premiere setup (I'll be hooking up 5.1 of that soon), Denon receiver, and 65" LG OLED TV (already in place, best picture I have ever seen). I have a separate part of the room that has the perfect space for a recliner and a side table. I'll be re-purposing an older tablet with a Schiit Modi/Magni stack there as a headphone listening station.