When it comes to choosing personal audio equipment, there are a ton of options in the market. There are different PMPs, phones and of late, many earphones, headphone amplifiers and portable DACs available. Koss has been known around the world for some of their headphones and we’ve looked at a few of those in the past, but they have all been priced lower in the price segment. The KDE250 is the top of the line product in the clip-on earphones range and has been priced several times higher than the rest of the models. The last product we reviewed from this range was the KSC75.
Design and build quality
The Koss KDE250 are completely different clip-on earphones. While most earphones have a flat driver that sits on your ears, this one has smaller drivers that plug into your ear horizontally. When we tried it on, they were pretty difficult to wear.
Extra ear clips, that can be adjusted to your liking
There are different sized clips that are designed to fit different-sized ears. These screw-on clips are made of metal and the earphones component itself has small rotating screws that can be used to fix these clips in place. The earphones, too are stylish and extremely sturdy as well.
The carry pad to keep cables neatly packed
There are three pairs of clips bundled with the earphones, each of a different size to fit varied ear sizes. The earphones, themselves are really sturdy, and fairly stylish. They’re very unique in design and at first, rather odd to use. The cables on these earphones are very thin and fragile. For earphones priced up the order, we expected better quality cables.
The Koss KDE250 aren’t proper earphones but more like in-ear, clip-on headphones. The 13mm and 20mm elements are capable of generating frequencies between 40 and 20,000Hz. The earphones have been rated for an impedance of 16 Ohms, therefore simple to drive on pretty much any audio source - be it a netbook, phone, PMP or a PC. Koss bundles a nice little pouch that has small compartments to place the earphones in and also the extra metals clips. There’s also a small pad that can be used to wrap the earphones cables around and put into the bundled pouch.
Slightly unconventional design
As far as comfort goes, one absolutely needs to use the correct sized ear clips for them to be comfortable. As there are no felt covers for the earphones, they can be a little uncomfortable over a period of time.
The KDE250 earphones are loud and although they don’t completely seal your ears, there’s little to no leakage in sound between the gaps. The sound staging on the KDE250 is a little awkward - it sounds very narrow. There isn’t much, in terms of bass in the ear. There’s lack of compression, so the bass doesn’t sound very powerful, either. The earphones are very powerful on the mid-frequency range. The level of detail is pretty good as well.
Carry pouch for the earphones
There seems to be some colouration, in the way the earphones sound, which might have to do with the way the earphones are placed on your ear. The highs are prominent, but not overpowering - they are muted to just the right level. Rock and metal tracks sound good. Trance and Dubstep genres sound very off, because of the lack of the deep bass. These earphones are also good for classical. There isn’t much fatigue after listening to these earphones after a good 30 minutes, or so.
The Koss KDE250 comes across as a decent performer in quality. They’re loud, detailed, somewhat neutral, but not very comfortable to wear. You couldn’t wear these while going to a gym or even while travelling. It’s hard to keep them in place when you’re moving your head around. The other major issue is its pricing.
Large screws to adjust the height of the clips
The KDE250 earphones are being sold for a massive Rs. 25,000 price tag, something that’s not very affordable and very hard to recommend. Of course, it’s one of the best sounding clip-on earphones, but very expensive for its performance to justify the price. For this kind of money, one could buy a full-fledged circum-aural pair of headphones with an additional dock and amplifier.
Updated 25 May, 2013, 6:56 pm IST
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