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Headphones

Koss Porta Pro headphone refresh is better than ever for just $60

For size, performance, longevity and low price, the new Koss Porta Pro Limited Edition headphone is unbeatable.

Regular Audiophiliac readers know I write about a lot of insanely great audio, but I also cover affordable stuff, too. Today I'm going to say a lot of very nice things about the Koss Porta Pro, which has been around since 1984, and since the company recently released the Porta Pro Limited Edition it was a good excuse to get acquainted all over again. I reviewed the Limited Edition Black Gold, but there's also a Limited Edition Rhythm Beige -- they're $60 each, sold direct by Koss.

The Koss Porta Pro Limited Edition Black Gold headphone


Steve Guttenberg/CNET

Impedance is rated at 60 ohms, and just like the original Porta Pro, the Limited Edition's 4-foot cable isn't user-replaceable. That said, the headphone is covered under Koss' Lifetime Warranty, so if the Limited Edition breaks Koss will repair or replace it, again and again, for the original owner. The Limited Edition models come with an inline mic and remote, and two cases; a soft pouch and a zippered hard case. The headphones fold into a compact bundle for easy storage.

The Porta Pro Limited Edition sounds more or less the same as my old Porta Pro, which is to say, really nice! Starting at the bottom, bass is full, and definition is up to snuff; midrange has body and good clarity; and the treble is gently rolled off but never dull. The Porta Pro Limited Edition didn't like to be pushed hard -- it sounds best at soft to medium volume. Played loud the Porta Pro Limited Edition's sound can turn harsh. All of my listening tests were done with the Pros plugged directly into my iPhone 6S.

Like most on-ears, the Porta Pro Limited Edition doesn't hush external noise, but the upside to that is you can safely wear this headphone when walking or bicycling. So while a lot of on-ear headphones can sound claustrophobic, this one's sound never felt stuck inside my noggin. I know more than a couple of finicky audiophiles with really nice systems at home who use Porta Pros on the go. Koss' little headphone is a real charmer; it's hard not to like.

The still-available original Porta Pro sells for $50, $10 less than the Limited Edition models, but the standard model lacks the inline remote.