Review: Koss KSC75 Headphones: Cheap, Great Sound
11 months ago comradetao Comments Off on Review: Koss KSC75 Headphones: Cheap, Great Sound
Koss has been making headphones since before I was born. I’ve had a few pairs over the years, but there are two that really stand out. The Koss Portapro and KSC75 headphones. The former being an overhead connected design with a few extra comfort features and classic 80’s styling. The latter offers almost the same sound but with no headband or bells and whistles; just simple ear clips. Read on to find out how these stack up in the world of headphones.
The Koss KSC75
This is where the deal part comes in. The Koss Portapro’s are a little pricy at a $50 MSRP and the street price of closer to $35 is still pretty high for me. The KSC75 headphones give very similar sound, but raid your stronghold of a wallet for only about $13. At that price, they start to compete with all the dirt cheap headphones that used to come with 90’s cassette players and the mass-produced multicolored earbuds that crowd the shelves of your local BestBuy.
Cheap is good, but do they carry the value to make them work talking about in this blog?
We’re not yet past that public opinion bias about weight, metal and value in products. That’s just not true anymore. Sure, in a lot of cases a metal part will outlast a plastic one, but for most of the things we use on a daily basis, we just don’t need the durability of metal. That’s about where I stand with these headphones. Let me explain:
What you see from the outside is a dated looking plastic shell, a thin foam pad, a basic coated cable, and an ear clip. It might sound like I’m not impressed with the build quality. If it does sound like that, you would be right. There’s really nothing special about these headphones on the outside. There are quite a few good points though.
The foam ear pad is removable and replaceable. In fact, Koss sells replacements in six-packs for often less than five bucks. My headphones don’t get a ton of use, so in two years, I haven’t had to replace them yet.
The ear clip has a metal wire inside that helps it hold its shape. It clips on to the headphone body by way of a plastic ball joint. That joint isn’t terribly durable looking and I’ve had my ear clip come off in a bag several times when they were rolling around with some heavier objects.
The cables are nothing special either. They get the job done though. I haven’t experienced any durability issues with mine, but a family member owned the same pair and his were disconnected somewhere inside the headphone body in less than a year of use. More than likely a faulty solder joint caused that failure though. The nice part about the cables is the 3.5mm tip. It’s very slender and can get into most smart phone jacks even with a pretty thick case on them.
Comfort & Use
The headphones are light, but if you’re not used to something clipping on to your ear, they’ll probably irritate you a little. Some people have discovered mods that let you use old fashioned steel band headphone structures from dirt-cheap headphones with these instead of the ear clips, but that’s adding cost and we don’t like that here!
I also don’t recommend these for strenuous physical activity. The headphones are probably not going to stay on your ears well if you’re running or jumping around a lot. If you’re not doing a lot of sudden sharp motions (like office work, distance biking) these will probably stay on your head just fine.
Sound (Super Subjective!)
These sound great. People have been praising the Koss Portapro model headphones (a bit pricier) for years and these headphones offer nearly identical sound quality. I own both (don’t ask) and can tell you that I often grab the KSC75 over the Portapro because I’m getting similar performance in a much smaller package.
To my ears, the full range of sound is present. Bass is weak because the headphones are open-backed, but it’s there and sufficient for most types of music. Vocals sound great. Instruments like acoustic guitars have that a really clear sound to me.
I also prefer the open back as opposed to closed headphones (headphones with no breathing on the back end of the driver). It gives these headphones a much more airy feel. At low volumes, it almost feels like listening to music through a pair of good quality bookshelf speakers across the room. It doesn’t feel intrusive to my precious eardrums. That said, the open back also lets in most of the outside sound. Closed headphones usually isolate you from a good portion of ambient noise, but these almost don’t do that at all. It can be an advantage if you work in an office and need to hear what’s going on, but if you want to block out noise, these won’t help you much at all.
These are good cheap headphones. I can recommend these to anyone that wants nice clean balanced sound on the cheap. I think these do a lot better than many headphones at twice the price. You’ll just want to be careful carrying them around.
If you’re interested in buying a pair, please use my Amazon affiliate link below. If you have any questions about them, send me an email and I’ll be happy to try to answer for you.
Koss Replacement Ear Pads