Koss KSC35 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Koss Model KSC35
Headphone Type Clipons Headband Type None
Weight (g) 20 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Plastic Isolation (dB) 0
Impedance (ohms) 60 Cable Length (cm) 140
Frequency Response (Hz) 15 - 25000  
Connector 3.5mm with 6.5mm adaptor Street Price US$30
Buy from Amazon.com  
Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 4.3 Bass Impact 5.3
Bass Quality 5.0 Mids Quality 5.3
Highs Quality 5.3 Soundstage 5.0
Detail 5.3 Portability 7.7
Isolation 0.7 Comfort 5.7
Durability 3.7 Improvement With Amplification 4.3
Value for Money 9.3    
Overall Score 5.0 Total Reviews 3

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member audiomagnate on 17 Jan 07  10:28
Individual review
Bass Extension3
Bass Impact4
Bass Quality4
Mids Quality4
Highs Quality4

People might think my ratings are a little low for these great little cans, but I tried to rate them without concern for how ridiculously cheap they are (I bought three pair for $30 total!). Anyway, I'll just explain my ratings.

Bass extension 3-Below Below Average. I swept them with Audacity and found they pretty much die off below 40, and worse, both pairs that I still own rattled when I swept them down to below 40Hz at a moderate volume.

Bass Impact 4-Below average. I've never been blown away by the "slam" capability of these phones.

Bass quality 4 Below average. They have a hump in the upper bass/lower midrange that I'm sure many people would enjoy. I find it adds resonance to male vocals.

Mids quality 4 Below average. Not bad really, but that lower mid hump I find objectionable.

Highs Quality 4 Below average. Not bad again, and the peakiness helps out lots of low quality sources, like portable FM players.

Soundstage 5 Average I think they do a pretty good job at presenting a wide, believable soundstage.

Detail 5 Average

Portability 6 Above Average I really like the little soft case these came with (and the 75s don't).

Isolation 2 Poor While they hardly isolate at all, and this brings the score down, this is huge plus in my opinion. I use them when walking the dog, riding my bike and when I have to be able to communicate with people.

Comfort 4 Below average The clips start to hurt my outer ears after about 45 minutes.

Durability 2 Poor My clips are always popping off, and one pair developed a buzz after about a year, but Koss's lifetime warranty got me a pair of 75s for six bucks!

Improvement with amplification. 4 Below average Again, even though I rated them low in this department, I'm amazed at how these phones can make a crappy source sound better than it does with high end phones.

Value for the money 9 Excellent What else could I give a phone that cost me $10 and has given me hundreds of hours of musical enjoyment.

While most of my ratings are on the low side, I'm just following the rules. Except for the value rating - excellent - I'm rating without regard to cost. I recommend these to anyone with a portable player, and have given away a few pairs to friends. Highly recommended.

Review by Senior Member Iron_Dreamer on 08 Jun 06  11:32
Individual review
Bass Extension4
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality4
Mids Quality5
Highs Quality5

These little guys are well-known among headphone junkies as one of the best buys around, provided you don't need any isolation.

The sound is much better than one would expect from their size and price: well-balanced across the spectrum, good bass punch without being too loose or boomy, an engaging midrange, and highs that aren't too sharp or harsh. That said, there is much better sound to be had, but it'll cost ya. Their biggest weaknesses soundwise are a small soundstage (to be expected from clip-ons), and slight lack of detail; however both are minor quibbles at this price/performance level. The better amplified they are, the better integrated the sound is, and the better the bass is, compared to a weak portable source at least.

Their form-factor makes them the most portable of non in-ear types, however it is a mixed bag otherwise. The clips can be a bit quirky fitting, which makes finding a comfortable fit adventureous at times. Also, long-term listening can make the ears a bit sore, so comfort is only average at best, though I suppose this will vary depending on the user. The clips are also somewhat fragile, not terribly so, but enough to be somewhat careful. Build quality is decent, especially considering the price. The lifetime warranty at least somewhat helps negate the relevance of that point.

If you find the form-factor and lack of isolation agreeable, the KSC35 is a definite good buy. Their balanced, generally inoffensive, yet-non boring sound makes them more enjoyable to listen to than some more expensive quality headphones, coughsonymdrv6cough. ;)

My ratings:
Bass Extension: 4
Bass Impact: 5
Bass Quality: 4
Mids Quality: 5
Highs Quality: 5
Soundstage: 3
Detail: 4
Portability: 8
Isolation: 0
Comfort: 5
Durability: 4
Improvement with Amplification: 4
Value for the Money: 9

Review by Senior Member JB. on 06 May 05  11:19
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7

I first have to admit that I am an unshakeable fanatic of Koss KSC-35’s. I have seen more people converted to quality audio products from these phones that from any other. They are my “Gold Standard” of value and performance at their price level and ideal for people looking for headphones to replace the stock phones that come with portable music players.
Koss has produced a number of headphones in the KSC line, with the KSC-50/55 and the KSC-75 being the two closest contenders for the KSC crown. The 75 is the latest, but regrettably the weakest of the three. Though sturdier and a bit more comfortable for some, the KSC-75 doesn’t provide the thrill that the 35 does. The bass is overly boomy and somewhat muddy. The mids and highs are too recessed and do not have the definition of their ancestor. Closer in sound to the 35 is the KSC-50, but it still fails to reach the seemingly insurmountable level of quality for the price of the 35.
KSC-35’s suffer few of the weaknesses of the 75. The bass is remarkably rich without being overpowering. The mids and highs are natural and clear with enough brightness to keep the listener involved but without inducing fatigue.
Aside from the sound, the 35’s do exhibit some design problems. The plastic is rather inflexible and the fit of the phones onto the ears can be awkward for some people. Fortunately, Koss offers a lifetime guarantee on its headphones; one simply mails them to Koss along with $5 to cover shipping and handling.
Overall, the 35’s are a fun and engaging set of phones. Considering the cost, they are at this time (2005) without equal in their realm.