Ultra Portable Shootout: PX100, PX200, PortaPro, K404, V-Jays, Tracks, Oldskool, and HD238

When I first discovered IEMs, ultra-portable headphones such as the PX100 suddenly has lost its meaning and purpose. Over the years, however, I started to find a fun factor on portable headphones that I don’t quite get in IEMs. Perhaps it’s something with the ergonomic design that allows you to wear it easily without any pains in the ear canals. Perhaps the way it allows you to enjoy music and still interact with the outside world. Whatever it is, I’m still a loyal fan of ultra-portables. And even owning ultra high-end headphones and IEMs, I still find the ultra portables to fill a niche that none of the other design can. So, here it is, eight ultra-portable headphones compared!

  • The Establishment: Sennheiser PX100-II, PX200-II, Koss Portapro, AKG K404
  • The Newcomers: AIAIAI Tracks, Fischer Audio Oldskool, Jays V-Jays
  • The Supercharged Ultra Portable: Sennheiser HD238

As the auditioning period was done over several weeks, I have used many systems to evaluate the performance of these headphones. From direct to Ipods, with portable amps (mainly Ibasso PB1), to desktop systems (mainly Grace m902), and even using a desktop CDP source. Obviously the portables work fine straight from an Ipod. But many of the newer models are transparent enough that feeding them a better gear up the chain will yield a noticeable improvement. Of course I’m not suggesting you to pair the PX100 with a desktop CDP and a desktop amp, but just in case you wanted to know, yes they do make a difference when amped.

I also apologize for missing a lot of the other mainstream brands, such as Sony, Audio-Technica, and even Ultrasone. No discrimination against those brands, but simply a lack of resources and product availability.

Ultra Portable Shootout: PX100, PX200, PortaPro, K404, V-Jays, Tracks, Oldskool, and HD238
3.6 (72%) 5 votes



  • Reply July 3, 2015

    Mike Zacierka

    After trying a lots of HP of any size I have landed permamentaly on AKG k404 the set which at this moment suites me best. 120 DB allows you to enjoy music in the way you have never been allowed with another compact HP’s. My music of choice is Techno House and some bass packed mainstream. In 50-
    100 EURO range you can’t get any better than K404

  • Reply June 1, 2015


    Another great article here! I ve set my mind for ultra portables, coz im on the road all day. But when I read about AKG 404 and that they are good for pop like music, I feel like i should ask whick is the best headphones for rock music? (rock and roll, new wave, hard rock and stuffs like that mostly) I really liked the AIAIAI Tracks, but still I want to make the best choice here. I would be more than glad if you give me your opinion!

  • Reply October 18, 2014


    Hi, Mike.

    Great review, but i was confused between getting a HD 218 or a PX 100. Preference would be a wide range of music, barring metal and electronic though.

  • Reply September 15, 2014

    Tony Jones

    screw all headphones.none of them donnot have been around long enought.klipsch has been around longer than any of these new headphone/speaker companys.

  • Reply October 7, 2013


    Thanks for putting the effort into comparing all these headphones. This article is a few years old so would you still recommend the Jays V-Jays as your top portable headphone? How do these compare to the Alessandro MS1/MS1i in terms of sound?

    BTW, I never would have thought of buying the Jays V-Jays without this article.

    • Reply October 7, 2013


      Yes the V-Jays is still very good and I would still keep the ranking as it is today.

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