Koss UR 29 headphones provide good sound and great comfort for their price.
May 15, 2004 (Updated May 15, 2004)
Review by jvandegr
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Inexpensive, good sound quality, can take some abuse, collapsible, lightweight.
Cons:None really, for the price. Silver coating on ear pieces scratches a little too easily.
The Bottom Line: Recommended as quality headphones for those on a budget - very comfortable, good sound, good durability.
My Sony S2 portable CD player came with the typical ultra-lightweight earphones that come with most sports CD players. Great for when you're jogging, but terrible for when you just want to listen to some good tunes on the bus. So, the first thing I did was set out to find a quality pair of headphones for a reasonable price. I tried Sony's MDR V150 headphones and was very disappointed. I've always liked Koss headphones, so I decided to give these a shot. After over a year of use, I have yet to be disappointed.
Recommend this product?
- High fidelity stereophone utilizes an anisotropic magnet and 1.4 mil mylar element for deep bass and treble clarity.
- Closed leatherette ear cushion for maximum isolation and deep bass.
- Built for maximum durability for DJ and recording use.
- Collapsible design for protective storage and maximum portability when listening on the go.
- Straight, single entry 8 foot cord.
- Frequency Response: 18-20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 100 ohms
- Weight: 12 ounces
- Sensitivity: 101 db / 1mW
- Distortion: less than 0.2%
- Plug: 6.4mm / 3.5mm
Comfort and Adjustment:
These are the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn in the less than $50 price range. Everything about their ergonomics is very well designed. My AKG studio monitors might be slightly more comfortable, but they also cost over $100 more. The ear cushions are supple yet firm, ideal for extended listening. After a couple CDs, my ears are usually ready for a break and some air, but this is true with any set of headphones that I've ever used. My large ears fit nicely inside the ear cups. The weight of the UR 29's is 12 oz, not light, but definitely not heavy. I've never noticed the weight of these headphones regardless of how long they've been on my head. Part of this may be thanks to the soft padding on the interior of the headband, which is made from the same material as the ear cups. I've never had any problems with ear cup creep - once these headphones are adjusted, they stay put. This is especially nice for those extended listening periods. Speaking of adjustability, it's a breeze. On or off your head, just pull down or push up gently on the plastic ear cup bracket and it easily slides into a lower or higher position and lightly clicks into place. Very nice design.
When not in use, the ear cups fold inward and upward toward the head band. This reduces size and provides a bit more protection, both of which are nice when transporting the headphones in a backpack, suitcase, etc. This is also great for DJ work, and the UR 29s could work great as an inexpensive beater headphone. I've noticed the silver finish on the outside of the cups has become scratched after over a year of use, but this is to be somewhat expected considering the backpack abuse they've taken, and their low cost.
Using a Dave Matthews album, I compared these headphones to two other model of different brands in the same price range. The UR 29's consistently had the best sound throughout their range. They certainly blow away the Sony MDR V150's. These headphones also do a particularly nice job of canceling outside noise. They won't block it entirely, but they really do reduce it significantly, which allows you to hear more of your music (especially on a noisy bus).
Compared to a medium- to high-end studio monitor headphone, sound quality is good but not great. High's are a little soft for me, but nothing terrible - I've heard worse. For those of you who can't stand bright tweeters, there's nothing to worry about here. Mid's have a nice presence and are usually very well reproduced. There is plenty of bass, but it can definitely be too boomy for me at times - I prefer tighter bass. Still it's not terrible. Separation is reasonably good, but again, not the best I've heard. Of course, a lot of this sound quality assessment is dependent on the quality of the amplifier you're plugging into. I get consistently better sound when I plug these into my Harmon Kardon receiver than when they're plugged into my Sony portable CD player. Part of this is due to the limited sound adjustment controls of the CD player.
For those times when you need it (noisy bus), these headphones can take the power nicely without distortion. The only time I've heard distortion is when the amp on the CD player was maxed out and the volume slider was down to low - my bad.
The cord has substantial shielding to prevent damage and interference. A volume slider is built into the cord about 18 inches down from the ear cups. I've found this very accessible and easy to use, and I now use it more than the volume control on my CD player. Koss includes a 1/4 inch adapter, so these headphones can be used on just about any amp or receiver available.
Although the sound quality is not the best I've heard, it is the best I've heard for the price. That fact, combined with their comfort and durability, means that Koss definitely has a winning pair of headphones here. If you want better sound quality, you're simply going to have to spend more money.
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