I first heard of the PortaPro over a decade ago when I was looking for my first headphone. Yes, there was a time when I was headphone-less. I had just switched jobs and now had to commute 2 hours a day. I had never heard of Headfi and Headfonia didn’t even exist yet. Indeed. That long ago.
I’ve always been quite the internet review seeker for anything that I buy and after a few weeks of searching I ended up with three possible headphones. The original Sennheiser PX100, the AKG K26P and the Koss PortaPro. Both the AKG and the Koss share the same kind of sliding headband while the Sennheiser has the foldable kind. I ended up with ordering the AKG and I’ve always been very happy with it. Looking back now I should have gone with the PortaPro or the PX100 but I have no regrets. Well I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. From then on I listened to the PortaPro whenever I had the chance to listen to it but I never owned one. Till now. And that’s way too late for that matter.
The PortPro is a small, ultra-portable, on ear headphone. To get featured in our “Back To The Future” Series, a unit has to be at least five years old and it still has to be spoken about as much as on day one. The PortaPro, if I’m not mistaken, was made in 1981 and got on the market in 1984. The Walkman was just coming out and people needed headphones for on the go. 1984! Can you believe that? 30 years later I am still listening to the exact headphone. Oh yes, the PortaPro is a real classic.
I’m pretty sure a lot of people worldwide have cursed at the headband system used, I know I have. Besides that the PortaPro is fairly comfortable. The pressure on your ears is adjustable, it’s extremely light and the tiny microphonic free cable never gets in the way. After a few hours of use you won’t find it that comfortable anymore but that goes for almost all on-ear headphones. It’s well-built even if it doesn’t always look that way. That being said, it’s fairly basic and I wouldn’t just throw it in my bag as this thing will break. Fortunately that’s where the Lifetime! Warranty comes in. Unbelievable.
Once you’ve listened to the PortaPro you will remember it for the rest of your life. That doesn’t mean this is the best sounding headphone ever but take in to account its age and its size and you will be amazed at how this thing sounds. It’s over 30 years old and still thousands of people still love the typical PortaPro sound, it’s that good.
In general the sound is more in front and between your head but it has a fairly good sound stage. Its sound is balanced and it basically sounds good with all kinds of music. The PortaPro has a heavier low end but that doesn’t mean it’s a bass-head headphone. The mids are smooth the way I like it and they have great body to it. Treble could be better. It isn’t the most extended or detailed but for portable use I doubt it will bother a lot of users. The PortaPro has good detail retrieval from bas to highs but it doesn’t isolate at all.
The PortaPro is incredibly fun and easy to listen. A full bodied and inoffensive sound that you really wouldn’t expect it from a headphone this size.
It’s awesome. It’s a must have. It’s the Koss PortaPro
Technology nowadays is much more advanced and yet a whole lot of more expensive new headphones don’t come close to the sound quality of the PortaPro. Koss made a budget headphone with great sound quality. It’s almost unbelievable for a headphone of this age. A true Classic and a Budget King.
Headphones you see on the street here are mostly Beats or cheap Pioneer, Sennheiser and Sony headphones. You do see a PortaPro in the wild here now and then and it always makes me smile, there is still hope. In the end the PortaPro is here to stay. If you never owned or listened to the PortaPro you owe it to yourself to get one right away. They’re going for $39.35 on Amazon right now but you can also buy them directly from Koss for $49,99.
Thank you Koss for making this classic. I love it.