About a month ago, I ordered the Koss PortaPro headphones from Amazon. With $50, I wondered if I could buy anything that could sound substantially better than my Beats Solo HDs. After looking at reviews on CNET, PC Magazine, and the like, I decided to go with the Koss. The PortaPros in particular are known for their audiophile status in headphone circles because of their 80s design. According to Koss, not even the design has changed, which I don’t mind. They’re a rather unique looking pair, and no one is going to confuse them for anything else.
I can say for certain that they sound as well as every review says they are. The PortaPros do not have as much bass as the Solos, but to me, that’s a plus because it’s not masking the lows, the mids, or highs. I’ve listened to Beethoven’s Symphony 9 with both these and the Beats. There really is a difference, and I know now what CNET meant by the Beats’ “muddy sound.”
I don’t claim to be an expert. CNET’s review about the PortaPro’s sound quality is much better than my own analysis, and yet, how comfortable have they been in the month that I’ve had them? It’s takes a little time since the headphones adjust via a fully exposed collapsible steel band. They’re designed so that they fit exactly against the head.
The PortaPros can be adjusted the most spacious setting, which prevents them from collapsing before the user puts them from their head. I found this useful for placing them around the neck when I wasn’t listening to music because the metal band does bite into the neck if it’s not fit properly. However, I don’t find this cumbersome at all.
I’d recommend to not place the earpads directly on the ears when wearing these. Doing so will not affect the sound quality at all, and depending on the individual, this adjustment is anywhere from a millimeter to a centimeter or so. Sometimes, the earpads press too hard on the ear because of the pressure the metal band exerts, but this can be alleviated by the method above or by the comfortZone setting just below the band.
One month later, I can say that I definitely recommend these. They have a learning curve, but it should only take a day or two to get accustomed to its design. The biggest knock on the Koss PortaPros is not sound quality (not by a long shot) but comfort due to its design. Even so, I’d fine the comfort to be better than my $200 Beats Solo HDs. My rating for that is a 3 out of 5, and my overall rating is a 4.25. If you don’t mind the learning curve and the open design, buy these. You won’t regret it - especially since it has a lifetime warranty.