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Koss Porta Pro Utility Review: The legend returns

Koss Porta Pro Utility Review
Koss Porta Pro Utility Review

There is hardly a person who is interested in portable audio and has never heard of the most popular overhead model of headphones Koss Porta Pro. Although Koss has existed for decades and the range of its products is quite wide, but the phrase headphones – “Koss”, at least for me, is immediately associated with the Porta Pro model. These headphones, produced since 1984, have long earned the title of legend, characterized by unchanging attributes and, nicely, affordability. I have also had the Koss Porta Pro model in my collection for many years and it is indispensable for some of my use scenarios.

Founder John C. Koss with the first Porta Pro

Founder John C. Koss with the first Porta Pro

And recently I saw a promotional photo, which depicted the alleged ordinary Porta Pro, but a little different design. The first thought was that Koss had released a limited series. At the same time, the advertisement mentioned a system of replaceable cables. And it all ended with a phrase – it’s a whole new way to experience the legendary sound of Koss. Was it possible to resist the temptation to get acquainted with such headphones? Well, in parallel, solve the question for yourself – what’s the difference with the classic Porta Pro? By the way, the new model was named  Koss Porta Pro Utility . Therefore, in addition to describing the features of Koss Porta Pro Utility, I will compare with all the familiar Koss Porta Pro.

Technical characteristics of Koss Porta Pro Utility:

  • · Type of construction: overhead, open;
  • · Driver type: dynamic;
  • · Resistance: 60 Ohms;
  • · Sensitivity: 101 dB;
  • · Frequency range: 15–25000 Hz;
  • · Total cable length: 1.2 m;
  • · The plug is straight, standard 3,5 mm

There are no differences between Koss Porta Pro and Porta Pro Utility in terms of basic technical characteristics.

Packing and complete set

The headphones come in a cardboard box, which, despite its small size, contains a lot of different information on each side. In addition to a photo of the headphones and the name of the model on the title, you can find brief historical information from the founder of Koss – John Koss, a list of specifications and accessories, as well as a description of the “philosophy” Utility (see “Features Koss Utility Series”).

The headphones are fixed in a black plastic form, closed with a transparent plastic cover. The plastic is thin, but given the cardboard box on top, the packaging looks solid. The accessories include a branded soft cover on the ropes, made of eco-leather. And a novelty of a set – a replaceable cable about 1 m long. The set has everything necessary for convenience of mobile use of earphones.

Design and ergonomics

The design of the Koss Porta Pro Utility is as close as possible to the classic Porta Pro, which remains one of the most recognizable headphones. Sliding metal headband, plastic bowls, foam earbuds and the ability to compactly fold the headphones – in Porta Pro Utility remained unchanged. At the same time, some design elements have changed. First of all, it is a multi-colored plastic on the bowls: right – red, left – blue. From the point of view of fast channel recognition, such an innovation seems to be convenient, given the changed appearance – who likes it. For example, I liked the classic design of Porta Pro bowls in a single blue color more. Now the new Porta Pro Utility looks brighter than the classic model. In addition to the multi-colored bowls, the Porta Pro Utility’s plastic around the bowls has become transparent and dark in color.

The changes also affected the cable, which in the Porta Pro Utility is flat and looks more reliable. The L-shaped Porta Pro plug has been replaced with a straight plug in the Porta Pro Utility.

The ergonomics of the Porta Pro Utility have not undergone any noticeable changes. One of the main shortcomings, according to some reviews – periodic tangling in long hair or pinching it – remained unresolved. Lightness, compactness, lack of noticeable overheating of the ears – the known advantages of these headphones.

Features of Koss Utility Series

When I first read the promotional information about the new series of Koss Porta Pro Utility headphones, which mentioned the interchangeable cable and 3.5 and 2.5 mm connectors, I was intrigued. At first I thought that the new Porta Pro Utility will have not only a removable cable, but also the ability to listen to the “balance” of 2.5 mm. It turned out that I was wrong in my assumptions.

The Koss Utility Series includes several models, including the Porta Pro Utility,  KPH40 Utility  , and the  KEB90 Utility . All of them are united by the possibility of replacing the cable for your needs. Actually, the cable itself consists of two parts – from the right and left earphones and to the splitter is the first part of the cable, which is terminated by a 2.5 mm connector. And it is in this connector that you can connect the second part of the cable (up to 1 m), which can end in either standard 3.5 mm (included), or   USB typeC  or   Lightning connectors (the last two options are optional). With a standard 3.5 mm plug, everything is clear. The other two options have a cable remote control for music and calls, as well as a built-in DAC (sampling frequency 24bit / 96kHz). More detailed information about the DAC is not provided on the official website.

Thus, the ability to change the cable allows you to connect headphones with a wide range of audio devices: players, laptops, Android-smartphones, Apple technology (iPhone, iPad). The compatibility of the Koss Porta Pro Utility with various portable audio makes this series of headphones versatile. It should be noted that separately replaceable Koss cables with USB type-C or Lightning connectors are actually like the Porta Pro Utility headphones themselves. Therefore, the need to expand the “functionality” of Utility Series headphones remains a personal matter of their owners.

koss porta pro utility

koss porta pro utility

Sound

“Koss Porta Pro Utility is a whole new way to experience the legendary sound of Koss.” This is how the manufacturer describes the sound of the new model. As for the new method, indeed, interchangeable cables allow you to vary the range of connections. But the legendary sound of Koss Porta Pro has not really changed. That is, you get the same, familiar sound that hasn’t changed in decades. How does Koss Porta Pro Utility sound? – For everyone in their own way. This is not an audiophile model, there are no indentations in analytics, microdetailing and other similar attributes, which does not make the model less attractive.

Regarding the sound

The open design of the headphones allows you to build a relatively wide stage. The low frequencies are well felt, although the bass lacks percussion and delineation. The middle range plays well, conveys the basic details of the sound well, although it is far from analytical. The upper range is greatly simplified, smoothed and clamped. This feed makes listening comfortable, without cutting high and high requirements for track quality. However, it should be borne in mind that the headphones were developed about 40 years ago, belong to the mass market and they do not have any encroachments on HiRes.

Conclusion

My overall assessment of the Koss Porta Pro Utility was as usual great. Yes, indeed, updated the design, made universal the ability to connect headphones to different connectors, but did not change anything in terms of sound. How satisfied will you be with the sound of Koss Porta Pro Utility today? – Decide individually for each.

Should you listen to Koss Porta Pro or Porta Pro Utility if you haven’t already? – Probably so, at least just to hear and appreciate the legendary sound that Koss claims. As mentioned above, I have the usual Koss Porta Pro in my collection and I am completely satisfied with them. In addition, both the classic Koss Porta Pro and the updated Porta Pro Utility are examples of the availability of the portable audio legend.

Check out official site for more information.

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