Headphone Review: Koss STRIVA Pro

[IMG]

Wireless is the new trend that is spreading like wild-fire. In today’s world, something that isn’t wireless just seems inferior and outdated. One thing, however, hasn’t made this transition fully though. Headphones are still haven’t fully entered the wireless era. Partially it’s due to the loss of quality over wireless. Koss aims to fix this problem with their new STRIVA series headphones. The Pro model is the cheaper of the two. Although it’s not a solution for the wireless era, it proves to be a big step forward.  Read on for the full review:

Specifications

  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 20 kHz

In the Box

  • Koss STRIVA Pro Headphones
  • Koss STRIVA CAP
  • USB to 3.5 mm headphone jack cables (One short for CAP, one long for headphones)
  • Mini USB Type B cables (One short for CAP, one long for Headphones)
  • Large Synthetic Carrying Case for Headphones
  • Smaller Leather Carrying Case for CAP
  • Two-Pronged USB Charger
[IMG]
Koss includes just about every cable under the sun in just about every price with the STRIVA.

Design

Koss really kept the design to the point and professional with the Pros. There are some intricacies here and there, but most things are straight forward. The housings have a professional look to them keeping a matted finish with a glossy red ring that circles around each cup. The Koss branding is drawn out on each earpiece.

[IMG]
The overall design of things is really professional.

On the right earpiece, the controls lie. There is a joy stick which powers on the STRIVA and controls song selection while the lower-back edge of the red plastic holds the volume controls. These controls are nicely placed and are touch sensitive. Sensitivity can seem chaotic at times though and need some improvements.

The CAP is Koss’ solution to wireless music. Instead of using Bluetooth like conventional wireless headphones, Koss decided to take the route of using the 802.11 standard of WiFi. This allows for faster data transfer which results in less quality loss. The problem arises with the one and a half second delay in sound.

[IMG]
The CAP is Koss’ solution to wireless music.

Design: ★★★★½

Audio

Although there is a slight drop in sound level when using the Pros wirelessly, the actual drop in audio is small, but noticeable. Since these were made to be wireless, all audio impressions will be made using these wirelessly with the CAP.

The sound of the Pros is really well balanced with a slight focus on the higher end. This focus seems to be slightly too well done at times. The lows are delicate and tight with good impact while the mids, although energetic, come off as too sibilant. Continuing on with the sibilance, the highs hold a number of their own problems as well. Detailing is ample through the highs and the mids, but there is lots of room for improvement with the Pros.

Bass

The low end on the Pros is well balanced with the rest of the spectrum. Koss offers some of the tightest bass that I’ve had to experience. It offers a great punch with an impact that is felt. The bass as a whole has a very small body despite having great texture. Delicate sequences are rendered beautifully overall. I do wish the bass would dig a little deeper every now and then though.

Bass: ★★★★½

Mids

The midrange is very clean and offers a handful of energy without becoming sweet. Detailing is really good from the low mids all the way up to the higher ones. Clarity is a different story though as the higher mids can seem veiled at times by the treble. Overall, the mids are clean and nicely tuned.

Mids: ★★★★½

Treble

The treble holds energy and shimmer to them with plenty of crispness. They can be a little too crispy at times though. Separation among the high end is nicely rendered. Smearing is kept to a minimum. Detailing, like in the midrange, is really good, but can use a slight improvement here and there. Overall, the highs offer energy, and can be come sibilant as well.

Treble: ★★★★

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

The build quality of the Koss STRIVA is something that can use some major improvements all around. To start off on a positive note, they do come coupled with a few cases, one for the headphones, and one for the CAP itself. The case is large and protective. It is able to carry everything that came with the STRIVA which is nice. There is a pouch in the back for additional storage.

[IMG]
Koss included two cases with the STRIVA, one for the CAP, and one for the Pro.

The Pros themselves are not the best built headphone. The housings are made of plastic. They definitely are durable and will last to protect the housings. However, the forks that hold the housings, as well as many of the joints and hinges, all use the same plastic too. Plastic is definitely not the best material to use for these parts.

The headband is strong however. Despite the fact that the Pros have plastic extenders, the headband has a nice thin layer of metal in them right above the thick padding. This part of the headphones seems solid enough to last. I don’t feel they would withstand too many warpings though.

[IMG]
The headband probably has the best build on the headphones.

Cables are kept to a minimum in terms of quality; these are wireless headphones. The cable is thin, rubbery, and feels brittle. They fortunately are not tangle prone though, so that is a positive. The headphone jack is straight and has a small strain relief, if you want to call it one. The cable quality can use some work, but these are wireless headphones.

[IMG]
Despite being wireless, a more durable cable would have been better.

Build: ★★★★

Comfort

Despite the larger size of the headphones, they remain quite light due to the plastic used. The padding is thick and comfortable around the headband. So the headband will never pose a problem. The padding for your ears is really soft as well and create zero discomfort. I can literally wear these for hours without any problems. Clamping force is kept to a minimum as well.

[IMG]
The comfort that the Pros offer is really unsurpassed.

Comfort: ★★★★★

Value

Coming in at 450 big dollars, it’s no doubt that these headphones are quite expensive. They offer many features though, that are unique to the STRIVA themselves. MyKoss is one of these. Since the Pros can connect to a wireless network, they can quickly grab wireless streams right off the web. This is a huge plus for the STRIVA which can generate huge value. However, the available streams aren’t the highest of quality. Lack of connection to popular streams like Pandora or even something like Spotify can also be a turn off. Maybe these can come in a future update. The wireless capabilities are plagued with a one and a half second delay due to the WiFi infrastructure which causes problems as well.

[IMG]
MyKoss is a really nice addition to STRIVA, but it still isn’t perfect.

The sound that these produce is below what I’d expect from a pair of 450 dollar headphones as well, even when listening through hard-wire. The one thing that does stand out is the comfort. The comfort that Koss put into these is really unbeatable in my eyes; it’s probably as good as it gets. Despite its obvious problems, the features are large in number, and can always be updated in the future. The idea as a whole is a great one.

Value: ★★★

Final Thoughts

Koss sought out to create a pair of headphones that could be wireless but not sacrifice audio quality. They did meet that goal for the most part. There are still some things that can be hammered out, but it is definitely a big step forward in terms of technological advancements. Quality loss is at a minimum, but the cost is in time. Overall, the Pros are a good demo product, but really nothing more in my eyes.

I’d like to thank Koss for the product sample.

Overall Score

[IMG]

Koss STRIVA Pro

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Koss for the product sample.
Post a response / What do you think?