these €30 retro cheap headphones sound better

In a world of AirPods, wireless headphones and HiFi, we usually turn our noses up at cheap wired headphones. But the Koss Porta Pro proves that we don’t have to. And that for €30!

Read on after the ad.

cheap headphones

At first glance, the Koss Portra Pro fits right into the ‘cheap headphones’ category. A plastic body and a simple metal headband? check. Ear pads with a thin layer of foam? Double check. An old-fashioned cable with an angled 3.5 mm connection? Triple check.

The design is striking to say the least in 2022 – it looks straight out of the eighties. In fact, this is not just about looks: the Porta Pro is originally from 1984, and the design is largely unchanged. You just have to lie: subtle is different. Bee iPhoned we’re fans anyway.

Practically retro

Did someone say Running Up That Hill?

If you pick up the Porta Pro, you’ll immediately notice how light it is. And that’s an advantage, because the lighter a headset is, the longer you can wear it without it becoming uncomfortable. The ear pads tilt slightly so they always sit snug against your ear, and the ‘comfortZone’ switch adjusts how stiff the headphones are against your head. Also nice: There is a small space for the stem of your glasses so that they are not pressed against your head. You can easily wear the Porta Pro for hours without noticing.

Adjusting the headband is a bit tricky: as soon as you take it off, it automatically returns to the smallest position. This is mainly so that you can easily fold it up for transport, but it means that you always have to set it up when you put it on – even if it only takes a few seconds.

Koss Porta Pro headphones: spacious, deep, cheap

An old-fashioned cable hangs from Koss – possibly with a remote control. Finally, you will find a 3.5 mm mini-jack connection, although there is also a variant with a Lightning or USB-c connection (Porta Pro Utility). We test the model with the ‘normal’ mini jack, in combination with Apple’s Lightning to mini jack adapter to connect it to the iPhone. This is usually the cheapest option.

Porta Pro iPhone

The sound is good. Very good. Unbelievably good when you consider that the Porta Pro only costs €30. Any cost savings on the design seem to have gone into the speakers. The result is a full, clear and spacious sound, with a very deep bass and a treble that does not overwhelm.

The Porta Pro is kind of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, in a positive way, and it’s a lot more fun to listen to than your average wireless headphones or earphones – including Apple’s AirPods. Please note that songs with very deep bass sounds, such as electronic music or modern pop, can sometimes become a bit overwhelming. More subtle music adorns the Porta Pro more.

open speakers

The spacious and clear sound matches the design of the speakers, which are so-called ‘open back’. Because they are open at the back, the speakers have more room to move air. It also means that you continue to hear your surroundings well when you wear Porta Pro, and that people in your environment can (softly) hear your music. This makes it suitable for home and outdoor use, but less suitable for the library or on the train.

If you are looking for cheap headphones that allow you to get more out of your music, the Porta Pro is an insanely good offer. As with more expensive Hi-Fi headphones, you’ll hear more detail in your music, especially when you combine it with Apple Music’s high-quality lossless audio. And it looks super hip too – because let’s face it, the 80s are back.

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