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Comfortable, Portable

There’s not a ton to protect the speaker element, but there typically isn’t with headphones at this price point. To the uninitiated, the backs of the Koss Porta Pros look downright bizarre, but they have their own sort of 80’s charm to them, complete with near-useless switches and an odd chrome angular design. Not only is the metal band collapsible, but it is also ultra light and foldable to enhance its portability. Connecting all this to your device is a 3.93 feet long, thin cable.

A super light set of headphones that softly cradle your head. It’s very easy to forget you’re wearing them.

The reason most budget headphones have light, plasticine foam is because it’s soft to the touch, and lighter cans can get away with it because it helps them to be very comfortable. That’s what you get with the Koss Porta Pros: a super light set of headphones that softly cradle your head. It’s very easy to forget you’re wearing them.

Considering the price point, not too bad

Most audiophiles will stick their noses up at the 's audio quality. Towards the upper mid and high end of the sound spectrum these headphones stray outside of our ideal limits. However, it produces the majority of sounds with an even hand. At under $50, it's hard to not say that these cans are cost-effective.

The Koss Porta Pros don’t attenuate much noise at all.

That's not to say that the doesn't have its fatal flaws. Possibly the largest is its inability to attenuate sound. Despite their billing as cans made for going outdoors, the Koss Porta Pros don’t attenuate much noise at all. You should be able to hear everything that goes on around you virtually unimpeded: cars will be loud, coworkers will continue to be annoying, and crying babies will make your ears bleed. On-ear headphones typically leak a bunch of noise, and the Koss Porta Pros take this to a whole new level of annoying if you listen to your tunes loudly, as well.

You'll be able to listen to your tunes quite loudly, should you wish it. Be reassured that the Koss Porta Pros can hang with the best of them up until about 115.73dB before reaching a 3% level of distortion, which is more than your typical iPod can output.

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Great audio for the price.

Considering their price point, it’s really hard to ask much more of the Koss Porta Pros. Not only are they extremely portable, but they’re comfortable, and have good audio for about $50, and that is one heck of a bargain if you’re looking for entry-level headphones.

There are tradeoffs, however, especially if you use your smartphone to listen to music. There is no remote or microphone, they aren’t that durable, and they don’t attenuate basically any noise. Still though, they do fit their intended role as affordable, portable audio quality, and that alone is laudable.

If you’re hurting for cash, or you just don’t want to spend a lot to get a lot, the Koss Porta Pros are a good way to get decent headphones for a low price, as long as you’re okay with their known limitations. If you’re in the market for comfort, portability, and entry-level price, the Koss Porta Pros fit the bill famously.

The offer good performance for the price.

Half the price for two-thirds of the performance

Frequency response is the measurement of what parts of the sound spectrum that a pair of headphones produce. The produced weaker sound for the upper-mid and higher ends of what human ears can sense, and additionally, there is a really weird ~30dB cut-out at about 2-3kHz, which will be distracting to some, as those notes will sound about 1/8th as loud as the rest of your tunes.

For most people, they won't be able to hear any real problems with their podcasts and music. Still, audiophiles will be quick to point out that the response in the highs is not something that they would like, and that’s fine: this is a pair of sub $50 headphones. They’re not supposed to be a high-end set of cans.

They can hear you, you can hear them.

Though designed for being outdoors, the aren't really good at blocking out noise or keeping it in; while out and about, you'll be able to hear things going on around you. Perhaps that's not a bad thing, since you'll be able to hear cars whipping around corners and the cries of your children. However, should you want to block out all these noises you'll have to blast your music. Good for you, bad for everyone around you. If you enjoy listening to loud music it will invade the public sphere.

Distortion, Tracking

Overall there isn’t much to report in terms of distortion, save for a tiny, sub-1% peak in the mids. You won’t hear it unless you’re a finely tuned robot, so don’t worry too much since it usually takes a peak over 3% to be noticed.

While there is a general 2dB channel preference to the right speaker, it’s an error that will not be prominently audible, and is actually not all that bad, especially considering how even the line is.

Meet the tester

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging


A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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