Koss The Plug Stereo Headphones

The Plug Stereo

User Reviews (20)

Showing 1-10 of 20  
naw03khs   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 15, 2005]
Strength:

Easily modded. Powerful bass Price

Weakness:

Lacking treble. I wish it had a little longer cord

This is a review for The Plug, not the Sparkplug replacement. Out of the package these leave a little to be desired. The foam needs to be shaped for effecive noise cancelling, and treble is very lacking. There is certainly a lot of bass since it is a canal style earbud. The bass is not boomy mind you, just a little muddy. With a few adjustments to the equilizer they become much better. To improve the quality of these headphones is very easy. The first thing everyone should do is buy some plain earplugs and replace the standard ones with them. The noise reduction is leaps and bounds better afterwards. The next thing I did was cover the vent holes in the back of them with a small patch of tape. This really helped to clear up the muddyness of the bass and clarify the highs a little. I still have some mods I want to try on them, but as for now I am pleased. The best part about these is the fact that it is very easy to taylor the sound to exactly what you want. Just do a little research on the internet to find some of the mods that people have done. Overall, without modification, they are a 4 maybe, but with the possibility for changes, they earn a 5 in my book. Zero fatigue while listening. I almost prefer listening to these over my NC-11's... almost.

Similar Products Used: Many other cheap earbuds. Sony MDR-j20, etc.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
RPMS   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 20, 2005]
Strength:

Incredble bass!

Weakness:

Treble sounds like you're listening through a pillow unless you aggressively equalize. Can be relatively uncomfortable. Wires are very skinny, and don't inspire confidence.

I bought these to go under my helmet and provide music for long motorcycle rides. They work well, if you allow for their idiosyncracies. They work best with portables which have a graphic equalizer. Just using "pop" or "rock" settings isn't enough - to get halfway decent sound you need to pump up the treble all the way and reduce the midbass as much as possible. You can get a pretty good sound this way with good isolation and incredible bass response. If your portable doesn't have at least five bands of equalization, I wouldn't expect to be too happy with these earphones. I compared them with my $70 Shure EC2's, and although the midrange and treble are nowhere near as good, the bass is much bouncier in the Koss phones.

Similar Products Used: Shure EC2
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
kermitfrog   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 23, 2004]
Strength:

None

Weakness:

Piece that goes into ear was sharp and cut my ineer ear. Foam pieces do not stay compressed which makes it near impossible to insert properly.

Complete JUNK!! These are the worst exscuse for a product ever. The foam does not compress properly which makes it virtually impossible to insert the buds. The sound is awful when you insert it. The slightest movement will cause the buds to fall out. The plastic piece that fits inside of the foam was sharp and cut my inner ear while trying to insert. DO NOT BUY!!!!

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Dick   Audio Enthusiast [May 16, 2004]
Strength:

Good bass response. High efficiency. Good materials used. No influence of ambient sounds. Everything can handle some abuse without problem e.g. the leads to the earplug. Extra earcushions. You can (must) shape them to fit your ears as good as possible.

Weakness:

Takes some time to put them in your ear. After long time unavoidable irritating in your ear, as is the case with other earplugs as well.

I bought "ThePlug" from KOSS in 2001 and use them with Minidisks and portable CD- players from Sony and Sharp. My measurements proved that Sony minidisks (I measured several) has much less max. output compared to Sharp or, in that matter, some other portable, battery powered equipment. In addition to that, when being outside in the noise of the environment, you need some more volume. That is one reason why I bought the KOSS.Their impedance is lower than the usual earplugs (16 ohm versus 32 or higher). This causes equipment to be able to (potentially) push more audio power into the headphones (depends on the internal output impedance). The 2nd reason is that Koss has a high efficiency (112 dB SPL/1mW) which helps the volume as well. One of the main drawbacks of "in ear" plugs is the absolute lack of the lower frequencies (compare it to some regular headphones of reasonable quality as a test). That is why practically all portable players have a "bass boost" switch somewhere.The long earbud design which places the end of the KOSS deeper into your ear channel helps a lot in theory. But in practice it fails completely if the rest of your earchannel is not "sealed off" of the rest of the world. Therephore they deliver the special earcushion material you also put in your ear. Problem solved. But only if you shape them to your ear ! So take some time to do this. Koss includes some extra pairs of these earcushion. That's thinking ahead ! I had some Sony earplugs which also had some way of leading the sound deeper into your ear by means of an extention of the earplug, just as KOSS. But they were made of rubber which doesn't seal off your ear. Result: they don't fit as tight (they tend to fall out from at least from my ears from time to time) and loss of bass response. Concerning the quality of the sound: Great, low distorsion, really wide frequency response. No influence of surrounding environment (of course). They can't beat normal headphones (my Sennheiser Reference)sound quality or comfort when wearing them but they are better then most other types and obviously you wouldn't like to be on the road walking and jogging with some big normal headphones. The materials used are also of high quality. Gold plated jackplug, light, but sturdy cord. I am very content with them.

Similar Products Used: Several earplugs of Sony, Sharp and some unknown brand, and some regular headphones.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
KC10Chief   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 30, 2003]
Strength:

Bass, comfort, price, easy to insert, great for athletes.

Weakness:

None

Despite what the other reviewers have said, I really like The Plug. For $13, the sound quality is really good. I think my ears are funny shaped. I can't use any earphones that you insert in your ears of I'll be in pain in a matter of minutes. The plug fits in nicely and is comfortable. I race mountain bikes and I plug these things into my Panasonic Shockwave CD player. I was listening to some Zepplin when I hit a stump and faceplanted on a rock. The CD player never skipped and the Plugs stayed in my ears and still sound great. Overall, I think these things are an excellent value. I'm sure a $300 pair of ear phones would sound better, but for those of us who aren't nutty enough to spend $300 on headphones, these things are great!

Similar Products Used: Panasonic and Sony ear torture devices.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Andy Hynes   AudioPhile [Feb 13, 2002]
Strength:

BASS pumped directly into your ear, cheap (9.99 at Buy.com), small, isolates well

Weakness:

Weak highs, needs a pile of power to truly perform, NEEDS to be put in perfectly; though comfortable when in correctly.

When I first bought these headphones, I was very VERY disappointed. My old Sony ED268''s had kicked the bucket and I was using a pair of 5 dollar sony earbuds from the local CVS. For the first week, I found The Plug to be very muffled, lacking bass, and generally low volume. About 2 weeks later, I bumped the phones with a hat and a whole new world opened up to me. Suddenly the sound was clear, the bass incredible, and the volume painfully loud. After fooling around with the other ear, I realize that this "unique plug design" just meant that the unobstructed sound tube had to be aimed squarely at my eardrum for any sound to be heard. That said, The Plug is an excellent purchase for the money if you like bass. The mids are there, but not pronounced and the highs are just weak in general, but the bass is trully something incredible. For the first time I was finally hearing the detailed bass rolls on CDs that I had heard spun live on a 40,000 watt megasystem. The detail, texture, and depth of the bass is truly astounding for such low cost ear buds and I''ve found that even on the subway the isolation did it''s job. The only other problem I noticed is that my portably CD player and radio didn''t have the power necessary to truly drive the speakers but my reciever certainly did. In all, The Plug is an excellent buy if you''re looking for an in-ear phone that will deliver bass like no other and don''t mind a somewhat pale high register.

Similar Products Used: Sony MDR-ED268LP, Sony Discman "Street Style", Koss TD-80
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Fred   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 26, 2000]
Strength:

NONE

Weakness:

Sound. Ear cushions

I got the Radio Shack models. I identical to the Koss Plug.
I cannot get any kind of decent air seal, so I get no bass at all. What mids and highs that are there are horrible.
These things are pure junk. Don't get suckered.

Similar Products Used: None
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Neel   Casual Listener [Dec 31, 2000]
Strength:

Price; deep, deep bass

Weakness:

Difficult to insert

I am a casual listener, but have the desire to soon be an audio enthusiast... now to get to the point, The Plugs.

I read a review of these headphones on Cnet.com and was fairly impressed since the review mentioned that they provide "deep thumpy bass." This is what I love, and since I was in need of some new headphones (to replace some Sony lightweight in ears) I decided to check them out.
I paid about $20 for them, but ive seen them for as little as $14 at Buy.com and other places (just search on Yahoo and you'll find plenty of hits)

Anyway, there is indeed a lot of bass. These headphones are not for audiophiles, that is for sure. However, I am NO audiophile. I like R&B, Dance, HipHop, etc.. mostly with a lot of bass. I do also like Opera, classical, and jazz, but would likely not listen to such music with these phones since they add a lot of bass and therefore distort the overall clarity you might expect from a piano sonata. Also, from what i've heard, the high end is not too defined. I can't say that I myself can really tell since my ear is not that discerning, but its difficult to tell when im really only looking for bass. Essentially, Ive had them for a week and use them on the subway on the way to work. The sound deadening is not 100%, but it is definitely more than any other headphones (ear bud or otherwise) that i have ever used. Its good enough that i often but the in line mute button to good use.
I have used in ear and earbud headphones on air planes, and usually have difficulty hearing anything of what im listening to unless at the max volume setting. The Plugs on the other hand im sure will fair much much better, given my experience in the subway.


I highly reccommend modifying some standard foam earplugs instead of using the provide ones. the foam expands very quickly, and i find the provided ones difficult to insert into my ear. I haven't done the modification myself, but its cheap and ease (read more at: http://headwize.com/projects/cmoy4_prj.htm)

Bottome line: if you like bass, and don't have $300 to spend on other noise deading headphones, these are a great choice.

Similar Products Used: Sony earplugs
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
marko fong   Audiophile [Apr 06, 2000]
Strength:

size, actual bass from an in ear phone, comfort (ymmv), price

Weakness:

It's tricky to get a good seal. not sure about the mids

I actually have the Radio Shack version of the same product. I'm reasonably certain that it's identical (Koss is imprinted on the jack and all other details are the same)
These appear to be knockoffs of the etymotic er4, a very expensive canal phone that has received several audiophile raves. I travel a fair amount and full-sized headphones get banged up and are hard to pack, ear buds generally have no bass at all and don't play very loud, and even sealed phones on planes leave me listening at settings that probably cause Tinnitus.
I like the Plugs. They don't seal out sound as effectively as the Etymotics, but then they are under $20 instead of $300. The quality of the sound is highly variable depending on how well you insert the plug (this definitely may not be everyone's cup of tea)
For me it ranges from thin to very full and surprisingly detailed. Being crazy, I hooked these up to a Little Headroom amp with a regulated power supply, I was very impressed. The bass was very deep and accurate, there was terrific treble detail, voice harmonies were very rich and beguiling. On my portable CD player alone, the Plugs were less impressive,though still pretty good and far better overall than any ear-buds I've fooled with. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say they're a bit like Grado-80's and have a fairly high damping factor and less than great sensitivity. As a result, they are better matched with a little bit higher output source like the Headroom or perhaps a CD player with a stronger internal amp than my Kenwood. The sound isolation is helpful in busses and planes, but it's not extreme. I can hear the hum of the motor and raised voices (this may not be a good thing, but it's not necessarily a bad thing compared to phones where you basically hear nothing and run the risk of missing major announcements, phones ringing, the person next to you vomiting all over you, etc.).
The hard call to make with these is that the sound quality may be very user dependent. If it doesn't fit your ear, it's not going to sound good, it's going to be uncomfortable, etc. If it does then I'd be pretty hard-pressed to find a better alternative "headphone" of any type at this price. I thought these were better than the Optimus-25 ( a popular inexpensive headphone, also made by Koss) At under 20 bucks, it's probably worth a try. They're also a great choice if you do books on tape.

Similar Products Used: grado 80, optimus 25, various air buds
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Erik Stiegler   Casual Listener [Apr 13, 2000]
Strength:

Comfort, isolation.

Weakness:

Abysmal sound quality

What did I expect for five bucks, Etymotics? Having heard these referred to as the "poor man's Etymotics", I guess so. That's like calling Thunderbird the "Poor Man's Chateau Lafite Rothschild". It may be true in the loosest possible interpretation, but that doesn't mean you'll want to drink it.

The isolation is great. They're also much more comfortable than the Sony earbuds I've used. Where they fall flat is in the sound quality, which is what's most important. They deliver bass, but way too much of it. Gobs of bass. Gobs of muddy, indistinct mid-bass, as well. The highs are non-existant. No amount of fiddling, re-instering, or adjusting the fit in my ears produced any real improvement. Although they do a terrific job of blocking outside sound, that sound is proabably more pleasant than what the Plugs are doing to your music. The Plugs are a complete waste of time and money.

Similar Products Used: Sony earbuds
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Showing 1-10 of 20  

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