[12 December 2008]
These headphones are not new. Koss created the PortraPro Stereophones in the mid-1980s, and from an aesthetic standpoint they are distinctly of their time. (They look like rejected Tron props.) But those who can stomach (or even embrace?) the unique look will discover why the PortaPros continue to sell: they’re comfortable, sound great, and—here’s the kicker—they’re cheap, too. There simply are no other cans in the under-$50 market that deliver sound like this: crisp, rich, detailed. A friend contends that they lean a little on the bass, but I think he’s just being nitpicky. And Koss offers a lifetime no-questions-asked warranty, so if you happen to trod on them on a late-night bathroom run (as I did), you can get them replaced for only the cost of shipping. Bottom line: If you’re looking for a gift for the discriminating listener, but don’t feel like stretching your wallet, you can’t go wrong with these.