Friday, June 28, 2013

Koss KSC75 Headphones - Better than Sennheiser HD202. A Cheap Way To Make Your iPod Or Other MP3 Player Sound Better

I have had a lot of headphones over the years. I have used them with all kinds of iPods, MP3 players and home gear. I have had the Sennheiser HD202, Sennheiser HD428 and others (mostly for home use) and I had the Koss KSC75 for use with my iPod.

About Koss KSC75

The Koss KSC75 is a headphone that fits over your ear and has braces that fit around the ear and hold them in place. The braces are made of metal enclosed in plastic. The headphones themselves are rather large and cover the entire ear. The KSC75 sell for about $15 (I got mine for $13). They feature a 4-foot Y-style cord, 3.5mm gold-coated plug for portable devices.

The headphones have nominal impedance of 60 Ohm and advertised to produce 15-25,000 Hz frequency response. The marketing materials cite neodymium iron boron magnets offer deep bass performance and titanium-coated high-polymer drivers deliver accurate sound reproduction.

My headphones are made of gray plastic with felt pads and fit my ears well. They also seem to be durable. I pulled on one of the wires by accident once really hard and the brace that holds the headphone in place fell of, but I just snapped it back and that was it.

The 4-feet Y-type cable terminates with a compact 3.5-mm headphone plug that works well with portable devices (in fact it may be too long for some uses).


The headphones take some time to put on because you have to thread your ear into the gap between the headphone itself and the brace attached to it. But the KSC75 are rather light and do not create much pressure on my ears or the areas around my ears. The padded areas over the drivers are soft enough.

I use the headphones with my receiver as well as with my iPod, mostly outdoors or on the train.

Sound Quality

The most important quality of the headphones is the sound quality. The KSC75 produce excellent sound (for the price) with well-defined bass, smooth frequency response and good treble. The instrument separation and placement is excellent and the overall sound quality is amazing at this price. They do not seem to reach as deep in bass area as the Sennheiser HD202 or other larger and more expensive headphones. But they sound very good for the price and are more "lively" and pleasing to the ear than the HD202 and most other inexpensive Sennheisers.

They sound pretty “warm” as well. And I definitely get the feeling of being able to hear instruments that I have not heard with the lesser headphones, e.g. stock iPod headphones or, worse yet, the stock headphones of the Philips HDD077 MP3 player that I had before.

The headphones did require some break-in time to sound their best. Not everyone believes in speaker/headphone break-in. What it is: you have to play music through the headphones at moderate volume for certain amount of hours before they start performing their best. I do believe that the sound of the KSC75 improved after about 20 hours of break-in.

The KSC75 can play pretty loud with portable gear like iPod Nano. But with some portable players that do not produce much volume and are designed for sensitive headphones (e.g. Philips HDD077), the volume might be insufficient for some songs and/or environments.

In case you are thinking about buying replacement headphones for your portable, make sure that your player can produce loud sound with your stock headphones first and expect that the volume can drop a little with the KSC75. But not as much as with most larger headphones.

Sound Insulation

Also, the sound insulation is not as good as you would get with enclosed headphones. The amount of sound that comes out is not high and should not concern your fellow passengers in public transport if you do not play your music too loud. And the amount of outside noise that enters the headphones is not too high either.


The KSC75 have impedance of 60 Ohms, which should suit most portable as well as home gear (provided you use the adaptor to fit larger jacks of home receivers).

I have used these headphones for over 4 years and the KSC75 were still in excellent working condition, aside from having to replace the earpads that wore out.


For use at home or if you want enclosed, larger cans with better sound and insulation, check out the following:

Creative Aurvana Live! - the best sounds and comfort of all of my headphones so far.
Sennheiser HD428 - very accurate, comfortable and sturdy.
Panasonic RP-HTF600 - a bargain with engaging, excellent sound and good build quality.
Panasonic RP-HTX7 - an inexpensive headphone with old-school styling and intriguing sound.

Low price, excellent build quality, sound and comfort.
Cons: Cumbersome to put on.

Bottom Line

The Koss KSC75 is a good inexpensive way to get better sound from your portable music player (be it MP3 or CD) and even get good sound from your PC or home gear without disturbing your family members or neighbors. And at about $15, it is inexpensive too.

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