Koss PortaPro 25th Anniversary Edition Headphones
Where were you when the first PortaPro was released in 1984? I was still listening to Van Halen on headphones that came with my gigantor Sony cassette walkman. Can headphones released 25 years ago still succeed today? Amazingly, yes! These 25th Anniversary Edition PortaPro’s offer fans a unique treat. And after 25 years, I finally own a pair of PortaPro’s of my own!
If you are looking at this special edition, then you are more than likely already familiar with the PortaPro’s, but I’ll briefly summarize the standard PortaPro. Most headphone connoisseurs agree that the PortaPro is the category leader in sound quality for the price. Frequency range is 15-25,000 Hz. They are very good at driving portables such as iPods and other personal media players due to it’s 60ohm impedance and 101dB sensitivity. It is an ideal travel can because they fold up for easy storage and are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, though perhaps not quite as comfortable as the Sennheiser PX100. They have excellent bass and good overall mids and highs. They also offer little to no sound isolation as they are open cans. The earpads are user removable and very inexpensive to replace. Some people have complained about durability and aesthetics but rarely have I heard complaints about performance, especially at the standard PortaPro’s, budget price. The only serious competition to the PortaPro is the Sennheiser PX100, which I also own.
25 years after the first PortaPro was introduced, Koss released the Anniversary Edition to commemorate John C. Koss, the founder. The difference between the Anniversary Edition and the standard edition is mostly in packaging and cosmetic, with one important distinction. The 4.5ft straight Y cable has been upgraded to a cloth covered cord. This might address some of those durability issues. The plug has also been changed to a straight plug from a right angle one. The cosmetic changes include a black headband instead of plain silver and the ring is now a polished silver instead of just brushed steel. The ring also says 25th Anniversary on them while the ComfortZone tab has been changed to black from that odd, blue-ish teal color. I REALLY like the new look and think all PortaPro’s should look like this. Although, then it would diminish the uniqueness of the Anniversary Edition (reportedly only 25,000 made).
The Anniversary Edition comes in a nice black box with foam cutouts, which you can use to store them in, as well as a leatherette pouch for travel, a commemorative coin, 1/4″ adapter, and a Koss history booklet. I found non-25th Anniversary Edition PortaPro’s at Best Buy that are identical in appearance except for the badging. If you’re looking for the new look and upgraded cloth cord, you can get it for less than the Anniversary Edition but is still quite a bit more than the standard PortaPro’s.
The standard PortaPro is a budget audio enthusiast’s dream. For the most part, durability complaints can be ignored because Koss offers an incredible lifetime warranty! The 25th Anniversary Edition obviously doesn’t quite fall under the same category anymore due to it’s much higher price tag (now it’s in the Grado SR60 price range). However, for collectors, fans and those fortunate enough to own the Anniversary Edition, I think you will nonetheless be very pleased. I am happy to finally be a proud PortaPro owner.