RIP John Koss

This may be old news to some, but I just learned recently of the death in December of John Koss, the founder of the suburban Milwaukee headphone company that bore his name. I don’t know if the company’s claim that he “created” the first headphone is true, but he certainly was the first to produce and market them on a large scale, at least in the US.

I’ve owned more headphones than I can shake a stick at, beginning with a cheap Superex set when I was in high school. Shortly after getting my first component stereo the summer after my college freshman year, I managed to scrape together the princely sum of, I want to say, $35 for a pair of the venerable Pro/4AA 'phones, the hottest and heaviest cans I think I’ve ever put on my head before or since. Nevertheless, I still recall them fondly. I understand back in their heyday they were standard issue on Air Force 1.

Rest in peace, Mr. Koss.


PortPros remain one of the greatest audiophile bargains. My twenty-something kid laughed at mine until he listened to them…aaaand then stole them from me.


For me it wasn’t so much the weight as the vise-like grip. It went hand-in-hand with the piercing treble.