CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Koss KTX Pro 1 headphones offer spectacular sound for as little as $10

Koss' budget-friendly on-ear headphone doesn't look special, but the sound floored the Audiophiliac!

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read
The Koss KTX Pro 1 headphones Koss

When I first set eyes on the Koss KTX Pro 1 headphones I wasn't expecting much. The silver plastic on-ear has an all-too-generic look, but as soon as I started listening the sound had my full attention; they were very decent! Most cheap on-ears sound claustrophobic and pinched, but the KTX Pro 1's sound was big and spacious. The 60-ohm design is exceptionally comfortable, and the foam ear pads exert minimal pressure, so you can wear these things for hours without fatigue setting in. Like all budget headphones the KTX Pro 1's cable lacks an inline mic or phone controls, but you do get an in-line volume control. The KTX Pro 1 comes with Koss' lifetime warranty, so when it breaks Koss will fix or replace it, forever. The KTX Pro 1 has a $29.95 MSRP, but Amazon's selling it for $10! That sale price will end before the end of the year. The KTX Pro 1 has earned nearly 500 Amazon four- and five-star reviews.

It sounds sweet, with a fairly smooth bass-midrange balance, but the treble is soft. I liked what I was hearing, so the question was raised: how would the KTX Pro 1 compare with Koss' even more popular PortaPro on ear, that one goes for $38 on Amazon. The PortaPros are even more comfortable; they sound clearer and more immediate, and make a little more bass, but they don't have the KTX Pro 1's wide-open soundstage. The PortaPro is better overall, but right now it's nearly four times as expensive as the KTX Pro 1.

So I next tried something closer in price to the KTX Pro 1, the $23 Monoprice 8323, full-size, over-the-ear headphones. The 8323 is pretty incredible for the money, and it sounds clearer than either Koss, but it's significantly less comfortable than those two. Returning to the KTX Pro 1, the sound wasn't a letdown, and I enjoyed its more laid-back presentation. Taken on its own merits the KTX Pro 1 is highly recommendable, and that lifetime warranty might clinch the deal for a lot of budget buyers who regularly break their headphones. To make a warranty claim you'll need to ship the headphones back, and pay $9 for return shipping and handling costs (remember the regular KTX Pro 1 MSRP is $30).