Reviewed on Aug 31, 2018

Koss Porta Pro KTC HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
5.7
Mixed Usage
6.7
Neutral Listening
4.8
Commute/Travel
6.4
Sports/Fitness
5.3
Office
5.1
Wireless Gaming
6.9
Wired Gaming
5.5
Phone Call
Type : On-ear
Enclosure : Open-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Koss Porta Pro KTC are decent sounding and portable on-ear headphones for critical listening and mixed usage. They're lightweight, comfortable, and have a compact, retro design that will work for some. They also have a decently balanced and open sound for an on-ear device although they won't be the best sounding headphones for more serious critical listeners. Unfortunately, they also feel flimsy and cheap and don't block any noise so they will struggle a little in noisy conditions.

Test Results
Design 6.8
Isolation 2.4
Microphone 6.2
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.6
Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable design
  • Above-average audio reproduction.
Cons
  • No isolation from ambient noise, by design.
  • Weak and flimsy build quality.
  • Leaky at higher volumes, by design.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  2. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  3. Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  4. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

Blue Porta Pro KTC
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com
White Porta Pro
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com
6.8

Design

The Koss Porta Pro have a straightforward, retro design that will work for some but may look too cheap for others. They're lightweight, comfortable and don't exert too much clamping pressure for an on-ear model. The KTC version of the Porta Pros comes with a convenient but poorly built inline control module. Unfortunately, they're not very durable headphones. They're flimsy, have a lot of moving parts, and the audio cables are thin and non-detachable. On the upside, they have a pretty generous lifetime warranty.

Style

The Koss Porta Pro have a unique and retro appeal that's not for everyone. They have small plastic on-ear ear cups that are attached to a thin metal frame. That combined with the fragile-looking audio cables and overall flimsy build quality, makes them feel like cheap airline headphones.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.14 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.43 lbs

The Koss Porta Pro are extremely lightweight for on-ear headphones. The headband is flexible and easily adjustable, which makes them above-average comfortable. They're not too tight, however, they do have an adjustable tension slider on the ear cups. It doesn't change much to the fit but it's a nice addition to the design. Unfortunately, they're poorly padded so they don't provide any extra comfort apart from their lightweight fit.

6.6 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
iOS
Ease of use : Mediocre
Feedback : Subpar
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

The KTC version of the Koss Porta Pro comes with an inline control module that provides call/music, track skipping, and volume controls. This is a definite upgrade from the regular Porta Pros as it gives some control over your audio. However, the buttons on the module feel cheap and shallow. They don't provide a good tactile feedback and are a bit frustrating to use.

9.1 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.9 C

The Koss Porta Pro are one of the most breathable on-ear headphones we've tested. They have an open-back design and since they just rest on your ears and do not seal them like over-ears do, they barely cause any temperature difference even while running or working out. They may not be stable enough for sports but they are definitely breathable enough for even intense workout regiments.

7.3 Portability
L : 3.50 "
W : 3.31 "
H : 2.25 "
Volume : 26.1 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Koss Porta Pro KTC fold into a small, compact format that's easy to carry around and even fits in some pockets. They're on the smaller side for an on-ear model, which combined with the unique folding mechanism makes these headphones quite portable. They will easily fit into most bags and shouldn't be too much of hassle to carry on your person.

5.5 Case
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

These headphones come with a simple faux leather pouch that will protect the headphones from scratches and minor water exposure. However, it won't shield the headphones against falls or any physical damage.

5.5 Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones is subpar and feels cheap. The headband is a thin metal frame with no padding and an awkward sliding mechanism to adjust its size. The ear cups are not particularly dense, although their lightweight build makes hard falls less damaging. Unfortunately, they don't feel durable. They have a lot of moving parts that will wear over time. The audio cables are thin, frail and could snap relatively easily from regular use. On the upside, they come with a reliable lifetime warranty as long as you're able to send the headphones back to Koss.

6.5 Stability

These headphones have a moderately stable fit. The lightweight and relatively flat ear cup design make them not sway much when used while running. However, they're not the most stable headphones. The slight lack of tightness means they might fall off during high-intensity exercises and the audio cables are a little bothersome and non-detachable. They will yank the headphones off your head if hooked on something.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

They have a decent and consistent bass, a very good and even mid-range and an average treble. However, their bass lacks a bit of thump and sounds boomy, their mid-range is a bit cluttered and thick-sounding on vocals, and their treble is on the warm side. Additionally, due to their open-back design, they have a relatively open and spacious soundstage, but a mediocre distortion performance in the bass and treble ranges.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
5.9
Bass-Heavy
:
4.2
Warm
:
8.5
Bright
:
3.1
7.1 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.88 db
Dips
:
1.43 db
8.0 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.39 dB

The frequency response consistency is very good. In the bass range, we measured about 4dB of deviation in delivery across our human subjects. This is subtle and not very noticeable since the deviation happens mostly in the sub-bass region. The treble delivery also deviates by about 4dB across multiple re-seats, which is noticeable but within good limits.

8.1 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.26
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.04
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.79
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
9.4

The Koss Porta Pro have excellent imaging performance. Weighted group delay is at 0.26, which is very low. Also, the GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold. This results in a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase response, which results in an accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field.

4.6 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
3.21 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
0.04 dB
PRTF Distance
:
2.6 dB
Openness
:
9.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
5.4

The soundstage is sub-par. Due to their on-ear design, these headphones don't interact with or activate the resonances of the pinna. Therefore their soundstage will be perceived as small and located inside the listener's head. However, due to their open-back design, they will sound a bit more open compared to closed-back headphones.

7.9 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.148
WHD @ 100
:
0.147
2.4

Isolation

These headphones are not meant to isolate listeners from ambient noise. The open design means they let a lot of ambient noise seep into the ear cups to produce a more immersive listening experience. Unfortunately, this also means they won't be ideal for loud environments, like commuting via public transit. They also leak quite a bit and would not be suitable to use in quiet settings, as they might distract the people around you.

0.9 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-1.7 dB
Bass
:
-0.46 dB
Mid
:
0.53 dB
Treble
:
-4.96 dB

The Koss Porta Pro have poor isolation. Since they have an open-back, this is expected and part of their design. Therefore, they don't provide any isolation in the bass and mid ranges and provide only about 6dB of isolation in the treble range, which is barely noticeable.

5.3 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
48.28 dB

The isolation performance of the Koss Porta Pro is sub-par. This is expected and part of their design, since they are open-back headphones. The significant portion of their leakage is spread between 1KHz and 16KHz, which is a broad range. This indicates a leakage that is quite bright sounding. The overall level of their leakage is also rather loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 48dB SPL and peaks at 68dB SPL, which is noticeably louder than the noise floor of an average office.

6.2

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The Koss Porta Pro have a mediocre microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic sound noticeably thin and rather lacking in detail. However, it will have a decent amount of air and openness to it and will be decently intelligible. In noisy situations, they do an average job separating speech from background noise, but will struggle to do so in louder environments like a very busy street.

6.1 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
493.51 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
5.24 dB
HFE
:
9665.27 Hz
Weighted THD
:
1.785
Gain
:
23.1 dB

The in-line microphone of the Koss Porta Pro has a sub-par recording quality. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 494Hz indicates a recorded/transmitted speech that sounds noticeably thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 10KHz results in a speech that has a decent amount of air and openness to it. However, the 20dB dip around 6KHz negatively affects the detail and brightness of speech. It'll still be decently intelligible though, since speech comprehensibility is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4Khz range.

6.3 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
15.36 dB

The noise handling of the microphone is average-at-best. It achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 15dB SPL in our SpNR test, indicating they are best suited for quiet and moderate environments. In loud places, they will struggle to fully separate speech from ambient noise.

0

Active Features

The Koss PortaPro are passive and do not have any active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A

These headphones do not have any active component and therefore do not need a battery life like the Koss Porta Pro Wireless.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

The Koss Porta Pro do not come with any dedicated app of software support.

3.6

Connectivity

The Koss Porta Pro KTC are wired and passive so they only connect to other devices via their 1/8" TRRS audio cable. The iOS optimized cable comes with an in-line remote microphone that unfortunately is not compatible with the Xbox One but works with the PS4. 

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

These headphones are wired and do not have a Bluetooth connection. If you want a similar but wireless design then consider the Koss Porta Pro Wireless.

These headphones have negligible latency suitable for watching movies and gaming because they have a wired connection (see our recommendations for the best wired headphones).

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.0 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : No
Length : 4.11 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

The Porta Pro KTC have a 1/8"TRRS audio cable with an inline remote microphone that is compatible with the PS4 but not the Xbox One. This is most likely due to The iOS-specific audio cable.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

The Koss Porta Pro do not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

In the box

  • 'Koss Porta Pro' KTC Headphones
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

The Koss Porta Pro are a good option if you're looking for budget critical listening headphones. They're one of the best on-ear headphones we've tested in this price range. They're comfortable, lightweight and have a decent open sound that caters well to most tracks. They sound sufficiently good for casual and more critical listeners but have a fragile build quality and don't block any noise due to their open design, so they won't be the most suitable headphones for commuting especially when compared to some of the other on-ears below. See our recommendations for the best headphones under $50 and the best closed-back headphones.

Koss KSC75
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Koss Porta Pro are a slightly better headphone overall when compared to the Koss KSC75. The Porta Pro have a better-balanced sound and a more comfortable on-ear fit that you can wear for longer than the KSC75. The Porta Pro also have a better more durable design, although not by much. On the upside, the KSC75 are bit more portable and have a slightly more stable design if you plan to use them for sports.

Grado SR80e/SR80
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Koss Porta Pro are slightly better headphones than the Grado SR80e. The Grados have a better build quality and a more open sound for critical listening with a larger soundstage than the Porta Pros. The Porta Pros, on the other hand, have a more outdoor-friendly design despite being open thanks to their portable on-ear format and in-line remote if you get the KTC variant. They also deliver more bass than the Grados, which some listeners will prefer, and they are compact enough to carry around on your person without much hassle, unlike the SR80e.

Koss Porta Pro Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Koss Porta Pro Wireless are a wireless variant of the regular Koss Porta Pro with a similar performance overall. The wireless variant of the Porta Pro are a bit more practical for everyday use. They also have a bit more range so you can leave your device on a table and still listen to your audio. The wired Porta Pro, on the other hand, have zero latency when watching videos. They also do not have a battery since they are completely passive, so you will never be without music.

Audio-Technica ATH-M60x
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Audio Technica ATH-M60x are a much better critical listening on-ear than the Koss Porta Pro. The M60x have a better build quality, a better-balanced sound and look much more premium and durable than the Koss. They also have replaceable cables and a closed back design that isolate a little better in noise conditions. On the other hand, because the Koss Porta Pro are open, they deliver a larger soundstage than the M60x. They're also more portable and come with an in-line remote variant that you can use with your phone, unlike the M60s.

5.7 Mixed Usage

The Koss Porta Pro are not the most versatile headphones. They don't isolate much and leak due to their open design. They're also flimsy and lacking in features, however, they produce a well-balanced sound on par with much more expensive headphones. This makes them a good, budget recommendation for critical listening but they might not be well-suited for other use cases.

6.7 Neutral Listening

The Porta Pro have decent sound with a deep and rich bass, good instruments and vocals, and tapered highs that do not sound too sharp. The open design gives them a decent soundstage, and although they won't sound as clear or detailed as some expensive neutral listening headphones, their sound quality is more than sufficient for most listeners.

4.8 Commute/Travel

Not ideal for commuting. These headphones barely isolate listeners from ambient noise and won't perform well in loud environments.

6.4 Sports/Fitness

Average at best for sports. They're lightweight, compact and have a moderately decent control scheme. The open design also allows you to monitor your environment. However, they won't be stable enough for intense exercise, and they have a lot of moving parts that can get caught on your hair or clothing.

5.3 Office

Subpar for office use. They leak at higher volumes and don't prevent the chatter of a lively office from seeping into your audio.

5.1 Wireless Gaming

Average for gaming. They have a wired connection, so they have negligible latency which is suitable for gaming. They also have a decent microphone that's compatible with some consoles. Unfortunately, they lack a good app to customize their sound profile like most gaming headsets, and they're a bit too tight on the head to wear for really long gaming sessions.

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