10 Earphones Under $100

Koss UR 40: Comfort For Your Ears

A large set of headphones has advantages, though they are inconvenient for portable use. With the UR40, Koss offers a circum-aural design, meaning that the earpieces are large, but foldable and light so that the phones are comfortable to use on-the-go. Large phones are comfortable for your ears. On the other hand, despite what Koss says, the UR40 is an open-back phone, so you shouldn't expect acoustic isolation.

Technical Characteristics

  • Type: open circum-aural
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz - 22 kHz
  • Nominal impedance: 60 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW
  • Cable length: 4 ft. (1.2 m)
  • Plug type: angled 3.5 mm miniplug /6.35 mm (1/4 in.) phone plug
  • Weight: 210 g (7.41 oz)

Good Lows, Not So Great Mids And Highs

The response curve shows very linear lows, but with a gradual attenuation in the low bass. The upper part of the spectrum is a little less present, and also shows fairly significant irregularities in the midrange.

The response curve won't set any records, but it does show good overall balance and especially fine linearity over most of the low end.

The UR40 is not as efficient as the other sets reviewed, but it's still quite compatible with small players. Just don't expect very high volume levels. If you want that, you'll need a little more muscle in the output.

Efficiency: approximately 96 dB/V

Listening Test

The Koss UR40 is a large set of headphones that enclose your ear, but are still usable on-the-go since they're completely foldable. They'll suit users who want a full-size model they can take everywhere - provided that discretion and acoustic isolation aren't important. Overall, the quality of reproduction was good. As you'd expect from the response curve, the midrange was perceptibly less present. The hole in the response adds to the problem. How perceptible it'll be depends on the voices and the music you're listening to. Bass response was broad, open, and ample enough to satisfy anyone. It's true that the extreme low bass was slightly off, but in general the set delivered the generous bass you expect from circum-aural phones.


The Good

  • full-size headphones you can use on the go

The Not So Good

  • sound was sometimes a little hollow-sounding
  • Uncomfortable? These are the most comfortable headphones I ever used (among Koss, AKG, Beyer and other Senn models).
  • JT Kahle
    ive had a pair last 6 years, falling asleep with them on almost every night.