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KOSS Porta Pro Review (On-ear Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 14 8.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 47 28.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 84 50.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 21 12.7%

  • Total voters
    166

ElNino

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These measurements correspond pretty well to my subjective impressions of the Porta-Pros.

I have an older pair of KSC-35 and I’ve always thought they’re more balanced in the bass, without the hump of the Porta-Pros. It’s strange because people online say they’re the same drivers (though Koss is cagey on this)… but it’s got to be more than just the ear coupling differences, no?
 

Moderate Dionysianism

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solderdude

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Just a note about the 4kHz distortion peak to put it in perspective.
It looks really bad, even at 94dB SPL. The plot below appears to show distortion of > 6%.
index.php

This only appears to be this bad. The plot below is a bit more conclusive. The(a bit smoothed) 2nd harmonics are 44dB below 94dB which is 0.6%. This is why @amirm also shows the plot below. Not everyone combines the info from these plots so is why I explain a bit more.

The distortion plot above only appears to have huge distortion. Appears because the percent scale also looks at the level at that frequency which is dipped many, many dBs which is the reference for the % scale. So at the dip frequency the percentage shoots up but the actual level of the distortion products (from 2kHz as 2nd harm) isn't very high. Of course there is a resonance issue there so distortion will be higher but only as high as the plot below shows. Yes... elevated a bit. Also remember that when listening to music and 4kHz is actually reaching 94dB the average level is already much higher anyway.

index.php


Bass distortion is high though. The PP really isn't suited nor intended for loud levels and boosted bass.
 
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GTAXL

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@amirm Test some JVC Flat's model HAS160. Last letter just denotes the color. They apparently push well beyond their price point and measure flat in FR, hence their name.
 

DavidK442

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My first headphones purchased as a starving student in the ‘80’s. Simply sublime compared to the tinny throw-always that came with Walkmans, but close to intolerable now.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
 

mr.at

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One have to ask philosophical questions - is it moral to sell this kind of technologically obsolete driver for nearly 4 decades just because there is market demand? (I'm speaking of that 3-5kHz shortfall)
Then I look at FR of 1200$ LCD-X and I think yeah, whatever, philosophy overloads your brain... :)

OK, the look, comfort and durability may be "iconic", but than again, those who use(d) them know that headband ripping your hair is not at all comfy/ergonomic :rolleyes:
There's a very easy solution to that. I use a black vinyl on the black metal band to create friction where it's supposed to be, it doesn't automatically or quickly move back and reset pulling your hair.

I have the Yaxi pads - though comfortable, it changes the sound. Makes them less loud, and also reduces bass by may increase stage and tone down and balance out the mids and highs. Still, I find myself switching back to the stock pads for best sound.

These are absolute keepers for any audio enthusiast or any audiophile though.

I have two pairs - one is a backup. I welcome buying more pairs lol.

As many headphones as I have (planars, dynamics, Fostex, Focals, Hifimans, Sennheiser) - there's something about these as a backup pair or a walkaround pair. At $20 I think these just can't be beat. They still have thicc bass sound, imaging and staging that competes with cans much above their price. Then they're so light, that's a very good thing sometimes when your other cans are weighing down on you.

Needless to say, it's a necessity I think. One should have these just to know how crazy the performance can be at this price. These, or the Koss ksc75 or Koss kph30i - but one of these three is a must have keeper.
 

Beershaun

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I remember these fondly as my first pair of "nice" headphones. I really liked the sound and the comfort from the "melon protectors" taking the load off my ears. Then I tried a friends In Ear headphones and after hearing the massive increase in bass response I never went back to these.
 

GWolfman

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Is there a neat way to convert this into the format that Wavelet accepts?

Edit: they tell you to use AutoEQ, but per my understanding it's a tool that will calculate the compensation values based on an FR curve. Now I'd like to skip that step and just use @Maiky76's values.
User @sweetchaos will post it, he has his post as reserved at the moment. Check back in a day or two.

See post #3 (https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ro-review-on-ear-headphone.29137/post-1016924).
 
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Fregly

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I had these back in the day. Really guite enjoyable non crap. They are accurate enough where a lot of the music is. Far worse out there.
 

Count Arthur

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I had these back in the day. Really guite enjoyable non crap. They are accurate enough where a lot of the music is. Far worse out there.
I still have a pair. :)

The biggest issue I have with them is that they will occassionaly trap your hair where the two metal bands cross at the top of the headband - ouch! :oops:
 

mathman

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Thanks amirm for the review!
I first heard of them in the 2000s. Crazy that they are around since the 80s oO
 

AnalogSteph

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Just think about it: When PortaPros came out, portable cassette players were all the rage. People might have blasted Prince's Purple Rain, Metallica's Ride the Lightning or Alphaville's Forever Young on them at the time.

They are a good example of what makes a deserved classic: A good balance of performance, usability and price. That they would be holding up as well as they do is almost miraculous. This is the sort of product that is important, far more so than megabuck exotica that barely anyone at peak music listening age will be able to afford anyway.

You could buy far worse Walkman-style headphones even 15 years later... I am reminded of a pair of cheap Sonys (for 20 DM or something) that my dad got me, the biggest pile of hot garbage I have ever heard. These were a honky, distorted mess and deeply unpleasant even for shortwave listening, which has got to be some sort of achievement. I sincerely hope they got tossed when I moved on to bigger and better things, as I wouldn't have wanted to give them away to my worst enemy.
 

givemebeer

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I find that I enjoy the Parts Express headband more than the traditional PortaPro headband due to the reduced clamping force.
 

sweetchaos

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samwell7

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Thanks for the review @amirm!

I've been pretty quiet on this forum (well, every audio forum) for a while and these headphones are the reason why (plus the fact I had to go back into the office so I no longer have a home setup with a headphone amp).

As soon as I gave the portapros a good trial run I finally found all I really need from a headphone in my current situation: comfort, ease, portability and (again, my opinion) a pleasant sound.

I tried the portapros with the Yaxi pads but found the midbass too heavy with them, so I ended up putting the Yaxi pads onto a set of KSC75s.
The KSC75s with Yaxi pads and parts express headband is also a great, comfortable headphone.

Keep up the good work!
 

Timcognito

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This is so cool. I got these two weeks ago for $25 on Amazon for my son for Christmas and the Loxjie A30 amp. Thanks @amirm and ASR posters. You Rock
 

Moderate Dionysianism

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Yes, there is. See this thread.

Tks! Though I see it's still a 'round trip' with Wavelet (list of filters -> load into Peace -> capture the graph [I don't have a high-res monitor atm:(] -> digitize the graph -> produce the .csv -> import the .csv). It's baffling that there is no easier method of converting what appears to be a simple set of parameters (or a common file format FWIW). Thank you nonetheless, will give it a go!
 

julian_hughes

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These measurements correspond pretty well to my subjective impressions of the Porta-Pros.

I have an older pair of KSC-35 and I’ve always thought they’re more balanced in the bass, without the hump of the Porta-Pros. It’s strange because people online say they’re the same drivers (though Koss is cagey on this)… but it’s got to be more than just the ear coupling differences, no?
I think that's really all it is. If you take the Porta Pro drivers and put them in KSC ear clips you do lose a little of that mid bass muffle. You can also see that visually the detached Porta Pro drivers are identical to the KSC-35's, but a little different to those of the 75.
 

ROOSKIE

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A decent surprise!

These or the cheap Sony headphones @amirm loves? $10 was it?
I have used both.
I vastly prefered the Koss to the Sony.
To each their own but the Koss was more comfortable and better sounding for me.
The Sony pair never sounded good (though they deff seemed resonably for the price $10-25).
I see the measurements compete however I found the Sony sounded pretty much like good speakers with a thick drape pulled in front. Zero engagement.
The Koss set sounds good to me and I never found the highs lacking. I do seem to have very different tastes in headphones vs speakers which is interesting.
Anyway the Koss pairs I have do sound fairly open and the Sony sounded very claustrophobic to me - returned them.
 

riffmaker

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You barely feel it on your ear and that is it. It is extremely comfortable for me.
Interesting, my brother had these and I remember them as the most uncomfortable headphones ever. Maybe my head is funny
 
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