This series of headphones by Koss, known as the PortaPro is true retro at its grungy best. Reminding one of the late 80's moving into the 90's, these on ear stereophones come with punk rock written all over it — you can imagine contorted teenage faces leaning with one leg on a graffiti encroached wall wearing one of these.
Now it’s Koss' 25th anniversary, so lets get out a cake and candles, and gift them a detailed review, Tech2 style.
This updated model has quite a striking appearance, and most of the design attributes are unconventional and old school. The black painted metallic extendable headband reminds one of the Discman days, with it's distinct ‘street’ feel. The style of this headphone is typical on ear, supra aural headphone, with a special slider switch on the earpieces which can switch from ‘firm’ to ‘light’. This switch, or lever, to be more precise, is gray in color, and though small in size, is responsible for imparting the sporty look to the unit.
Now here is the first caveat: putting the headphones on can be a little trying, or it definitely needs some getting used to. But once it’s on, there's no doubt that it feels light and comfortable. One thing's for sure, the foam on the earpieces is going to come off, and there is not a thing in the world that we can do about it. It’s replaceable, and quite inexpensive though, and every supra aural headphone in the mid level segment has this same foam, and they always tear in a year.
As for rated specifications, the frequency response is 15-25,000 Hz, Impedance is 60 ohms, Sensitivity is 101 dB SPL/1mW, Distortion <0.2%, and the cord is about 4 feet long, with a polka dotted, cloth exterior (!?).
I plugged it onto a Philips GoGear Opus and took it out for a spin. My first impression was that this headphone was capable of delivering enough loudness to cut out external noise to a large extent. The sensitivity at 101 dB is on the higher side, though not the highest we’ve seen. This notwithstanding, the sound is full bodied and large.
Speaking of frequency response, the bass is very good, and is more than most full sized circumaural headphones I've heard from other Koss headphones to be honest. The bass and low mid frequencies have body, but are not boomy. There is no distortion; the loudest levels also come through very well. The only small iffy, if it has to be mentioned is a small one — basically the sound has less accuracy in its dynamic range, thus soft parts sound a little louder than they should, but this is hardly a real issue to dampen the performance. The high frequencies( treble) was also very clear and in perfect proportion to the lows, though overall it is the low bass that takes precedence in the frequency range. The sound is very slamming, a stark opposite from ‘laid back’, like some other models of Koss.
At Rs 4,500, there is not much to complain about these cool headphones except that they're slightly pricey. They have a clean, wide soundstage, with especially sweet treble. Bass is powerful enough to satisfy my Low Frequency urge. The Portapro is a very nice headphone and it's no wonder that it’s been around for 25 years. It's still worth a buy for constant travelers and portable media player users.
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