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Koss SP330 review: Koss gets back in the groove with the SP330 on-ear headphones

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The Good The Koss SP330s are super-lightweight with the added convenience of a detachable cable, while their neutral soundstage amplifies a warm tonal response and tight, punchy bass.

The Bad Some users may experience ear fatigue due to the minimal padding underneath the headband. Also, the headphones don't fold up, and the cable doesn't have a microphone or remote control built in.

The Bottom Line The Koss SP330 headphones are solid performers that will add a full signature to your music, but some audiophiles may find their design too basic for everyday use.

7.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Sound 8
  • Value 7

Koss is known for simple, inexpensive headphones with conservative designs that have withstood the test of time -- check out the Koss PortaPros for proof. We haven't seen any big changes to the lineup for awhile, but we received the Koss SP330 on-ear headphones in our office a month ago and couldn't wait to listen to them. These guys will set you back $130 in the US, £110 in the UK and AU$179 in Australia.

Design

Sarah Tew/CNET

In terms of design, the SP330s have a more modern aesthetic than the PortaPros, but they're still very plain compared to competing models from Bose and MEElectronics . The headband is standard fare made from a thin piece of silver metal with a strip of rubber down the center that allows you to adjust the earpieces to fit your head.

There's also a piece of perforated nylon plush underneath the headband that's supposed to ease the strain of long listening sessions. However, there's very little actual padding to protect your skull, so I found myself taking more breaks than usual to give my head a chance to breathe.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Instead of the usual circular padding we see on most on-ear headphones, the D-shaped ear pads are offset at an obtuse angle relative to the headband. I found that the angle put the headband farther back on my head, which actually felt a lot more comfortable than most 'phones I've tested.

Another reason they felt so comfortable might have something to do with the memory foam padding that adorns the ear cups. The cushy foam wrapped in soft leather sat lightly on my ears during testing, and although I did feel some of the aforementioned pressure on top of my head, my ears didn't experience the same fatigue.

As with all headphones we review here on CNET, we recommend that you head to your local brick-and-mortar electronics store to try them for yourself before buying to ensure a proper fit.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Another design advantage worth mentioning is the detachable cord that extends from an open port on the left ear cup. Headphones usually tend to break at common stress points like the headphone jack, so in the event that happens or if your dog chews up the cable, all you have to do is buy a new double-sided 3.5mm cord and you're all set.

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