Koss KSC75 Ear-Hook Headphones - Black/Gray Reviews
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Koss KSC75 Ear-Hook Headphones - Black/Gray

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Best cheap headphones I've tried!

Jun 27, 2006 (Updated Jul 8, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great, clear sound, light/comfortable, very sturdy, cheap.

Cons:Decent cord length (4ft), may be too short for some, lower bass.

The Bottom Line: Best cheap phones I've ever tried, perfect for ipod, work, travel, everything! On par with $50-75 headphones.


I used behind the ear $15-20 phones for a while, and recently received a pair of nicer $60 Sennheiser HD497's. Those are awesome, and they made me realize how much of my music I was missing (my favorite music sounds so much different, there's a lot more there).

I read a lot about the reputation of the Koss portapro's, supposedly the same driver that the use in these KSC75's (titanium driver). I had heard a few reports that there isn't as much bass due to the ear clip design.

I'm incredibly happy with these headphones. The sound is amazing, and on par with the HD497's. Either one is leaps and bounds better than the cheaper behind-the-ear phones that come with a lot of players. Much better than the ipod earbuds and a lot of the phones and buds they try to sell to ipod users.

Sound:
Very open sounding, as if the sound is centered in my head instead of coming from two little buds in my ears. It's well balanced, not bass-heavy. The best part is the high end, the cymbals and high vocals are much better than most cheap phones. You wont feel bass kick like in some bass-enhanced over-the-head phones, so if you're into that you should probably find something else. I love the way music sounds, and try to these for work and travel (and my HD497's for home).

Update: After using these for a couple of months, I started comparing them directly to my HD497's. The KSC75's are still great, but don't have nearly the clarity of bass than the 497's have. The 497's are especially good at reproducing bass with clarity, not just boom. Basically, can you hear the tone of the bass guitar? If it doesn't growl when it should, then it's little muddy. The HD497's do this accurately (that is to say, I never knew the bass sounded like that!) and the KSC75's are adequate but not nearly as detailed. Also, the bass in the KSC75's aren't very high since they're clip-on's and not pressed against the head. I'd say that the KSC75's have very good highs compared to most cheap headphones, good mids, and adequate but not boomy bass. Overall the KSC75's are still the best cheap phone. Basically, I can't imagine anything better in the $20 range, maybe even more. If you've got $50, you can start looking at better ones like the HD497, Grado SR-60's, etc. I still love the clear sound of the KSC75's overall, especially for its class.

Comfort:
At first I was put off by the ear clip design. It's hinged on the side opposite to your ear and wraps around the earphone, and then down the side of your ear. I personally prefer ones that swing open to fit on your ear and then snap closed (I had a pair of ill-fated AudioTechnica's that did that... sigh... ) and these took a bit of getting used to. The clip is covered in silicone, so it takes some time to put on but stays secure. I found a trick for my ear; hold the phone above your ear, rotate it 90 degrees towards the front of your head. Sit it on the top of your ear (so your ear is just between the phone and the clip) and then rotate it back and forward just slightly. This lets it wrap around your ear and sit comfortably. Otherwise my ears get caught on the silicone/rubber and it's hard to put on (fat ears?). Other important points: I wear glasses, these don't interfere at all (the clips just miss the "legs" of the glasses). They don't move while on my head, very good clip. I can wear these for very long periods of time and they feel literally weightless. When I'm listening to certain music, it feels like I don't have anything on my ears and the music is just... there. Even my around-the-ear HD497's and my behind-the-ear Sony's don't come close to this for wear comfort (my ears tend to hurt after 4 hours or so with any phones).

Build:
I was impressed when first opening the package, and continue to be. With portable/small headphones like these, they'll see a whole lot of packing, traveling in small pockets, and general abuse. But these look up to the task. The earphone is a good size, covers the ear, and is made from typical silver plastic. The clip itself is a giant metal paperclip wrapped in firm silicone/rubber, very solid. The only weak spot is where the clip hinges on the earphone, and that just pops off (has once) and pops back on. I don't anticipate this ever breaking, and I've had a lot of things break on me. If I'm not mistaken, Koss has a lifetime warranty also, so if they stop working in one ear (like my old phones) I'll definitely send them in and get them replaced. A lot of times I'm disappointed that manufacturer's find more ways to save money, but only by making their products flimsier (I've seen newer versions of products that are nothing like the older ones). Thankfully, it seems like Koss cares about making a really decent pair of headphones regardless of price.

Misc:
My HD497's have a 15 foot cord or something ridiculous. These have 4 feet, just enough for an ipod and close computer plugs, but might be a reach for some other plugs. The cord is a decent size, not heavy, doesn't cause cord-noise (brushing noise when it moves). To wrap these up, I put both phones together, interlock the clips just a bit, and then wrap the cable around them lightly. Then I secure it lightly with a thin rubber band. It sounds a little cheesy, but it works and it's very small and solid in that state, easy to throw in a bag or pocket and not worry about something snagging and snapping off. I really wish I had an equally small plastic case, but I can't imagine one that would be easy to use and not make it all bigger, so I'll probably stick with this method.

All in all, my favorite headphones I've ever used. My HD497's are probably a little bit clearer, but these small ones just really make me want to listen to music more. They're very sturdy, incredible sound (with the best of them), very comfortable, and look decent. And they're cheap (amazon, $12... amazing). I'm going to order another 2 pairs, in case I want another and also to give to friends. I'm a believer.


Recommend this product? Yes


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