This is Part II of the Koss Mini-Series and Also Budget King #1!!
- 2/25/21. Article posted.
- 5/20/21. Made KPH30i the #1 Budget King.
Is the Koss KPH30i a perfect headphone? What about it stands out? Who is it for?
All of these answers and more, comin’ up in this Koss KPH30i Review!
Greetings bass head, and Welcome aboard… Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music, all over again, so…
This is part of the Budget Kings Series, which takes a look at some of the best options for under $100.
- Budget King #1: This review
- Budget King #2: The open back Philips SHP9500 Review!
- Budget King #3: The closed back Sony MDR-7506 Review!
- Budget King #4: The closed back Creative Aurvana Live! Review
- Budget King #5: The semi-open AKG K240 Studio Review!
- Budget King #6: The closed back Status Audio CB-1 Review!
Is the KPH30i a perfect headphone?
At A Glance
In The Box
Koss KPH30i headphones
Limited Lifetime Warranty Card
Shoutout to Samma3a for the graph!
- Price: Check Amazon!
- Type: Semi-Open back, Dynamic
- Fit: Supra-Aural (On-Ear)
- Frequency response: 15Hz – 25kHz.
- Impedance: 60 Ohms. What is Headphone Impedance?
- Sensitivity: 101dB/mW.
- Material: Plastic, Foam.
- Color: Beige, White/Blue, Grey/Black.
- Cable: Non-Detachable 3.5mm.
- Weight: 12.5 Oz. (75g)
Check out what he had to say, a sentiment I happen to agree with:
I also do not perceive that dip. Seems a bit strange and not indicative of how the headphones actually sound. Outside of that, the graph is very good.
Let’s get into the review.
Soundwise, yes; they are perfect. What makes this even more astounding is when you consider the fact that I heard these after hearing 100+ other headphones. That’s right, you heard me correctly.
The semi-open-backed KPH30i for $20-30 sounds better than the majority of them, and that’s not an exaggeration. Call me crazy, but I’d consider this a budget Utopia. The keyword being budget. Read: Focal Utopia Review: Best In The World?
It is really flimsy and feels rather cheap, but guess what, it is cheap. This is to be expected, but it’s still incredibly economical and efficient; a no-frills, utilitarian, somewhat retro design. We’re listening to music, not making a fashion statement, yeah mate?
Comfort is pretty average. It sits pretty well at first, but the On-Ear design will start to dig into your ears after a while. Get some Yaxi Pads or something. Whatever. I paid $20 for it. The people who complain about these headphones are probably the same ones complaining about getting only a slightly above-average Blow J.
WAHH it’s not good enough! I paid $20 whole dollars which is my life savings!
I EXPECT BETTER wahh!
GET A GRIP!!
The good news is that it doesn’t dig into the top of your head much, and the thin piece of rubber is to thank for that. A strange design surely, but very effective.
What about it stands out?
Putting one on your head is a revelation of sorts. There’s nothing about it that sounds out of place, over-emphasized, weird, or wrong. This is what makes it stand out. It’s simply a perfect-sounding headphone. I can’t really point out a single flaw with it. This is outrageous considering its price. All of the hype surrounding the 30i is completely and absolutely warranted without question.
It’s the one thing that most audiophiles agree on unless you’re this goofball:
“The 30i sounds cloudy!”
Actually, I thought it was mostly sunny with a chance of awesome!
It’s one of those things that can only be appreciated in retrospect. After hearing a lot of good headphones, some mediocre, some amazing, and some terrible, the 30i is most certainly a breath of fresh air.
The mid-bass thumps without sounding bloated like a 40x, the treble is detailed and crisp without sounding neither too veiled nor too bright, and the mid-range is just sublime. Vocals and instruments stand out, but in a way that isn’t too shouty or in your face. If there was ever a “perfect” sound signature, I think the 30i would be as close as it gets. For an On-Ear headphone, the Soundstage here is quite good. What is Soundstage? [Detailed Explanation] It’s not a K702, but what is. It’s definitely above average and has no business sounding this open and spacious, especially for its price. Instruments are spaced out nicely and the music is given ample room to breathe and express itself.
I fully recommend for most people to bypass everything you may have heard about, and just go straight for the 30i as your intro to the hobby.
If you’re looking for something more durable and comfortable, the 9500 is it. Its sound is a close second. Almost perfect, with that treble caveat. Still, paired with the hip-dac, Q1, or K5 Pro helps a bit.
The 7506 comes in third because of the earcup issues, annoying non-detachable coiled cable, and sometimes overly bright treble. Still, it’s a solid option and I think everyone should have one in their headphone cabinet.
Both the 9500 and 7506 have some treble issues but by and large, are still products I recommend because of how amazing they both sound. They currently reside in the #1 and 2 spots in my Budget Kings series, but the 30i will most certainly take the top spot after this review.
This is also significant because the 9500 has held the crown since I started the series back in 2018. Many headphones have come and gone, but the 9500 always occupied the top spot.
As of now, everything drops a spot and the 60e is gone.
You won’t need an amp for the 30i, but I’ve found it to work quite well with anything I may have lying around. How to Choose a Headphone Amp [Definitive Guide]
I think a great pair would be something like a BTR3K. You can listen at home wired or on the go via Bluetooth. It’s incredibly convenient because the 30i’s cable is short and compact, and the headphone is highly transportable. You can wear this bad boy on your neck without looking like you just walked out of a Head-Fi meet with a duffel bag full of overpriced DACS.
If The 7506 is pure sound, and the 9500 is pure-er, the 30i is definitely the pure-est. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget and a headphone that personally changed my life and made me re-evaluate music all over again.
So buy one today. It’s $20. Chump change. You really have nothing to lose, and most certainly everything to gain. This is a headphone you’ll cherish for a long time, perhaps even forever.
Ready for the next article in the series?
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Koss KPH30i Review and Discussion, and came away with some valuable insight.
If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
What do YOU think about the 30i? Is it a perfect headphone? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,
Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!
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