Koss is well-known as the maker of Porta Pros, which they introduced in 1984. They have launched and re-released it from time to time, with limited editions and in various colorways. They’ve released the product in the 25th-anniversary silver edition with black and gold accents and black, the all-black drop edition as well as the red, beige, and more, but they all sound the same.
And later, in 2017, When Koss announced the release of the KPH30i, I thought it could be a different version of Koss Porta Pro. I even thought that Koss just slapped their logo on those headphones so they can keep the Brand recognition going.
I was wrong; they are capable of doing more than that.
And that’s why in today’s article, I will try to make a short comparison between the iconic flagship Koss Porta Pro and the Koss KPH30iK.
The Retro Kings At A Comparison Battle: Koss Porta Pro vs KPH30i
Design and Comfort
As soon as you spot the Porta Pros, you can tell that they are from the ’80s. While their timeless design, or say retro design, might bother many people, some like me who like retro/vintage things will love a build like that. In a way, its design has held up for decades without a single revision; that’s a testimony on its own.
As for KPH30i, I’m going to be transparent. The latter one is not quite the looker as its brother. It is made mainly out of plastic, but it is a higher quality plastic than the one you find on the Porta Pros. Yet, they still maintain the retro-inspired design just in an all-plastic form factor. To be honest, I am glad Koss decided to keep things as vintage as possible – that’s what makes them Koss.
Despite having a full plastic build, the KPH30i is billed as the most comfortable budget headphones, which is quite surprising, I’m not going to lie.
With that being said, Porta Pros doesn’t fall short on the comfort aspect either; they will also sit comfortably into your head to the point you even forget that you have them.
Both headphones are very lightweight, you can just toss them into your bag, and you won’t even notice that extra weight. Kosta Pros weigh only 60 grams while the KPH30i at 75 grams.
Don’t let that lie to you the build quality on those headphones still remains exceptional.
While the Kosta Pro has a better clamping force than the KPH30i, the latter feels a bit lose on the ears. In addition, the headband on the Kosta Pro doesn’t have any kind of padding and will always get caught in long hairs.
Koss took the words of their consumers to heart and changed that with the KPH30i. They put aside an adjustment mechanism that keeps the headband just ti the right size, and the rubber strap at the top of the headband is a nice touch that sits nicely without disturbing the headphone’s weight.
As for isolation, both headphones are open back, so the isolation is non-existent at low volumes. However, the music can easily overpower the background noise, especially with the Porta Pros.
This can be viewed as a double-edged knife; you can be aware of your surroundings better and not put yourself in risky situations when you are outside, or if you want to silent everything, you just crank up the volume. But, on the other hand, just be safe when you listen to your guilty-pleasure tracks since the headphones tend to leak sound outside due to the open-back design.
As for the packaging, don’t expect much from both headphones. Understandably, there will be nothing groundbreaking since they are a pair of headphones that cost around 30$. Both have an audio jack 3.5mm cable, but the cable on the KPH30i is round and thicker with a basic in-line microphone and appears to be more modern and robust than the Porta Pro cable.
Performance and How do they sound:
Porta Pros come at a frequency response range of an epic 15 Hz up to 25 Khz, the impedance sits at 60 ohms, and they are capable of peaking at 101 levels of dB (decibels)
While the same stats also goes for the younger brother the, KPH30i.
As for sound quality, It is clear that the two headphones share a lot of DNA. They both have the same soundstage and clarity. However, they are quite different in the sound profile. While The Porta Pro’s sound signature will be a bass head’s dream, the KPH30i is more mature with a balanced sound profile, giving greater versatility to the genres it is working with.
Koss is renowned for the distinctive bass tone that their traditional headphones provide. Let’s start with the Porta Pro.
The Porta Pro undoubtedly has an enhanced mid-bass range between 100 and 200 Hz, which generally sounds excellent but can occasionally be too much.
However, the KPH30i is advertised as having deep bass and a wide soundstage. The KPH30i’s midrange quality is the star of the show, taking a backseat to the bass dominance. Moreover, there’s impressive vocal presence, free of any harshness or hollowness.
The Porta Pro is no different. It won’t completely drown the mid-range, I would say, but it might appear a little unneeded and overly exaggerated. Sometimes it seems a little fuzzy or bloated, although the difference is really slight.
The KPH30i is reasonably articulate when it comes to high-frequency reproduction. They don’t go all the way up to the highest notes, so the treble is still gentle and non-fatiguing.
The trebles on the Koss Porta Pro, on the other hand, sound almost flawless, far superior to those on the KPH30i.
For bass enthusiasts, those headphones are essentially a dream because they sound fantastic and are quite reasonably priced.
If this is the signature sound you seek, they will undoubtedly reward you.
Compared to its older and more renowned sibling, the KPH30i is a notch above. Regarding construction quality, I’d consider it a draw between the two. If you’re planning to carry it around for a long time and often, then the Porta Pro’s design is better suited to that kind of usage.
Although, I’d recommend the KPH30i anytime, for better comfort because the sliders for adjustment on the PortaPro can snag every hair off of any head. The force that clamps the KPH30i is more evenly distributed than the Porta Pro’s, which is more focused on the temples.
Additionally, the pads appear to be slightly larger on the KPH30i, which gives them a slight advantage in overall use. I can confidently say that the comfort that the KPH30i offers is better for listening for long periods than those of the Porta Pro.
As for the sound quality, if you want the punchy and nice bass, you go for the Porta Pros, but if you want a balanced sound signature, you pick the KPH30i.
If you were to ask me, Which one would I pick?
I would confidently say the Porta Pro, is solely for the retro design. I really dig their design, in a way I find it really cool and timeless. Also, with genres like Rock or some EDM being my favorite ones, the bass lives rent-free in me.
With that being said, even though KPH30i is newer and exceeded in more fields, it’s all about preferences at the end of the day.
Since we have been mentioning headphones so many times in this article, read something more about the best headphones for hip hop and rap, and if you happen to have a Roku TV, check the best soundbar for Roku TV, or the best soundbars without a subwoofer.
I’m a Sound Artist creating immersive sonic experiences. I turn everyday objects into music, turning the mundane into something marvellous!