Koss UR21 Over-Ear Headphones

2/5 (1 Reviews) MSRP : $20.00


Product Description

With its high quality sound performance and enhanced bass, the UR21 is ideal for listeners seeking headphones with a big sound that wears comfortably and travels light.
  • High quality sound performance
  • Anisotropic ferrite magnets
  • Oxygen-free copper voice coils
  • Frequency Response: 40-20,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 32 ohms


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User Reviews

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Tokar a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2006

Bottom Line:   
I used to own a pair of Koss TD60's which I never used towards the end of their time since they had been become pretty beaten up over the near 10 years of their use. Instead I have been using the KSC50 and KSC75 ever since I stopped using the TD60's. However with the Koss Lifetime warranty I turned in the TD60's and was greeted with a brand new pair of UR21's, which is the replacement for the TD60's.

Based on the sound quality and the feel of the phone I can see why it is its replacement. The TD60's, while heavy, felt very light on your ears, and had great treble and horrible bass...well not horrible bass as Koss headphones wipes the floor with models from a lot of other manufacturers, but it is horrible in comparison to the KSC 35/50/75.

The UR21's are pretty much the new-age clones of the TD60's. They are pretty much what the KSC50 is to the KSC35.
They look great with Koss' new-age silver look, they feel exactly the same on my ears as the TD60's and their sound quality is quite comparable.

I really like their look. They look really neat. They look kind of like a pair of those headphones with a built in radio. The silver color really helps these headphones look great.
From a third person view, though, they might look odd but not because of their look, but because of the design of the headphones. The TD60s had its headphones lined in parallel with the headband, that is, when you had the headphones on your ears the headband would go straight up. What you will find with the UR21 is that when you perfectly align the phones on your ears the headband will be right above your forehead. Its not an issue as far as comfort goes, but it looks odd from a third person's point of view. I didn't think I looked bad in them in the mirror, but my brother had other opinions.
One glaring improvement from the TD60's was making the cable lead only into the left headphone, as opposed to both in the TD60. The TD60's were like your normal headphones, where the jack split off into both headphones. While the normal style as seen in the TD60 is not bad, I think leading the cable into only one phone is a better design.

Other design notes:
The build quality of this as a great improvement over the TD60's. After seeing the effects of heavy physical wear on the TD60's (the headphones pretty much split apart exposing the inner workings of the phone) I can confidently say that the UR21's will not suffer the same fate after continued use.
The TD60's, for comfort, lined the headband with a pad. The UR21 left this out. While leaving this out removes two mechanical parts (as the band in the TD60 was controlled by two mechanical parts) it makes for less comfort for those with no hair. I have hair, so I can tell no difference.
The TD60's had a very long cord measuring 8 feet!!! The UR21 only has a 4 foot cable. Yes it is longer than the 3 feet that the sportclip models give you, but as a pair of headphones designed for the home stereo system listener in mind one will probably have to look towards buying an extension cable.
The TD60's had headphones which were on hinge of some sort and would adjust when placed on your head. They were attached by yet another rather-mechanical part. The UR21's have fixed headphones. The positive is that there are less mechanical parts, but the negative is that you need the proper head for these headphones...heh. Im lucky to have one :).

Unlike the TD60's, though, the UR21's go on only one way. If you match your right ear with the left phone with the UR21 you will find that the phone will be off your ear, feeling like it will fall off, a great position for considerable sound loss to the environment. Sure, its always advantageous to align the headphones properly, but the TD60's didnt really force you to go one way or the other...they fit with either Left on Left or Left on Right.
When you put the UR21's on the proper way (Left on Left, Right on Right), though, you will find that they block exertnal sound quite well. They are by no means sound-cancelling, but they do a good job. I find the UR21's have a tighter lock on the ear than the TD60's.

I'm sorry to say the sound quality hasn't really changed all that much. Yes, the output sound is quite clear, however the UR21's strength is treble. The treble is very clear and very sharp. The bass, on the other hand, is another story. I tried the headphones with a few bassy songs...some Hans Zimmer stuff mainly. I could hear the bass alright, if you consider noticable buzz and crackling from the inability to handle the sound as "the bass". Its not a horrible buzz or crackling, but it is noteworthy. Let me put it to you this way: if I play WinAMP with Enhancer 0.17 on my KSC 50/75 work great, where as the UR21 buzzes/crackles. Without Enhancer 0.17 the KSC 50/75 still sound great, but you dont hear the UR21's buzz or crackle anymore, however Enhancer 0.17 really enhances the WinAMP output and makes it louder. Basically what that told me is that these headphones are great for the soft music listener and the classical music afficianado. Whether Koss had such groups of people in mind, I do not know, but they certainly are not designed for watching action DVD's on a computer/portable-DVD-player. They are fine for watching a dialogue-friendly movie like Hitch or whatever chick flick you can name, but certainly it will not suffice for an action movie like Star Wars or what have you. I dont even think its the bass that gives the UR21 problems, I think its just loud output in general. Based on my experience with the TD60's, prolonged use of the UR21's should eliminate the crackling, however the buzz will probably remain for bassy music as the drivers of the TD60 or the UR21 weren't designed for heavy bass.

At $20 the UR21's aren't overly expensive especially considering that I paid $45 for the TD60's back in 1997. I think $20 is a better deal for the UR21's, but for $20 if you don't mind sport clips I suggest buying the KSC75; they are clearer, produce louder output and have much better bass response.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   2005




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