Koss History

Koss Corporation founder John Koss shares his behind-the-scenes story of inventing the  world's first SP/3 stereophone in 1958, and the emotional thrill of being "enclosed in the music" thanks to his innovation.

Koss Founder's Story
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Founded 1958

World's First SP/3 Stereophone

In 1958, John C. Koss teamed up with engineer Martin Lange, Jr. to develop a portable stereo phonograph player with side-wing speakers. The pair demonstrated their new stereo record player at a Wisconsin audio show. One of the product's unique features was a privacy switch, which allowed listeners to hear music by plugging in the world's first SP/3 stereophone. The stereophones were intended to be an accessory to demonstrate the high-fidelity stereo sound that the portable phonograph player delivered.

The revolutionary sound of the Koss SP/3 stereophone became the hit of the show.

1958

SP/3

The World's First Koss Stereophone

In 1958, John C. Koss invented personal listening with the world’s first SP/3 stereophone. Koss sought to replicate the excitement of a live musical performance. The original SP/3 stereophone allowed listeners to experience sound as they had never before, bringing them closer to the music they love.


1962

PRO/4


1960

SP/3X

  • 1962

    Tony Bennett

  • 1964

    Bobby Hackett

  • 1965

    Les Brown


1966

Frank Sinatra Jr.


1966

Bobby Hackett & Tony Bennett

1968

ESP/6

In 1968, Koss released the ESP/6, the world’s first self-energizing electrostatic headphone. To achieve its unprecedented sound profile, the ESP/6 employed the principle of a currentless, or electrostatic charge. The charge was applied to push-pull condenser plates, and caused movement of an ultra lightweight conductive diaphragm.


1969

Air Force One Outfitted With Koss Stereophones.

In 1969, passengers aboard Air Force One were treated to the Sound of Koss. The Presidential Plane’s state-of-the-art entertainment system featured Koss headphones at every seat - including the staff, press, and presidential quarters. About 50 Pro/4 units in total lined the aircraft.


1970

Pete Fountain


1969

ESP/7

Pro4AA

1970

Pro4/AA

In 1970, Koss set the standard for full size professional headphones with the iconic Pro/4AA. At the time of their introduction, the Pro/4AA were regarded as the first dynamic headphones to deliver true full frequency and high fidelity performance with impressive noise isolating capabilities.


1970

Koss World Headquarters moves to 4129 North Port Washington Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53212

  • 1971

    ESP/9

  • 1971

    K/2+2

  • 1971

    K/6

  • 1971

    K/6LC

  • 1971

    K/711 Red Devil

  • 1971

    KO/727B


1972

Koss enters the U.S. Smithsonian. John C. Koss is shown here with the original Koss SP/3.

  • 1972

    ESP/6A

  • 1972

    K/6LCQ

  • 1972

    PRO/5Q


1972

Ever Wonder Why He's Smiling


1974

Doc Severinsen

Doc Severinsen, personality director for Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show," signs as the official Koss spokesman.


1973

Mel Torme

1974

HV/1A

In 1974, Koss released the HV/1A. The first dynamic headphone capable of reproducing all 10 audible octaves, the HV/1A paved a new course in personal listening. The unmatched sound, and modern dynamic speaker elements found in Koss Headphones today are a direct evolution from the legendary HV/1A.

  • 1974

    ESP/9B

  • 1974

    HV/1LC

  • 1974

    Phase/2+2

  • 1974

    Phase 2

  • 1974

    Techician/VFR

1974

Give Your Neighbors the Silent Treatment

1974

Hear No Evil

1974

Not All Stereophones are Created Equal


1975

K/7


1975

Easy Listener

1975

Live and Let Live

1976

Pro/4AAA

In 1976, Koss introduced the Pro/4AAA. Building off the Pro/4AA’s iconic sound, the Pro/4AAA incorporated a number of new design features. The most notable of these features were the headphone’s Direct Contour Pneumalite ear cushions. The shape of the cushions mirrored an ear’s natural “D” shape. This advancement in design informed the very pronounced “D” Profile found in many Koss headphones today.

1977

King Koss

1977

Lettuce Entertain You

1978

Have You Had a Koss Encounter?

1978

Think Koss


1979

John C. Koss inducted into the Audio Hall of Fame.

1980

Fortunate Cookie

1980

Ski Koss Country


1981

John C. Koss tours the Koss Factory floor.


1982

Medical College of Wisconsin

Koss endows Medical College of Wisconsin to establish Koss Auditory Center for Research and Treatment.


1981

Neil Diamond


1982

Stereo to Go

  • 1982

    K/6LC

  • 1982

    P/19

  • 1983

    A-3 Music Box

  • 1984

    K/40LC

Porta Pro

1984

Porta Pro

In 1984, the acclaimed Koss Porta Pro set performance and comfort standards for portable personal listening - worldwide. Designed for those with refined ear for music, the Porta Pro continues to be one of the most popular headphones around the world.

  • 1985

    Pro/4X+

  • 1985

    Pro/4XAAA

  • 1986

    JCK/200

  • 1986

    KFF/100

  • 1986

    KFF/300

  • 1986

    KSC/50 SoundCell

1986

Santa Kossing

1987

Noah's Favorite Pair

1987

Phone Your Mother


1987

JCK/100


1987

HV/1A+


1988

Koss Billboard in 1988.

1989

JCK/300 Kordless Stereophone System

In 1989, the Koss JCK/300 cordless headphone set the standard for infrared wireless headphones. By developing a new transmitter that delivered four times more power than conventional infrared headphone systems, Koss cut the cord and changed personal listening forever.


1989

Wrap Music

  • 1989

    TD/60

  • 1990

    CD/3

  • 1990

    HV/Pro

  • 1990

    Pro/4XL

 ESP950

1990

ESP950

In 1990, Koss introduced the revolutionary ESP/950 electrostatic headphone. The ESP/950’s breakthrough design incorporated electrostatic transducers with ideal mechanical damping. The unit’s distortionless sound is attributed largely to its ultra-thin (1.5 micron) diaphragms. Each diaphragm moves uniformly thanks to an electron deposited proprietary semi-conductive coating.


1991

"Music Lover's of the World Unite." Advertisement.


1990

Founder John C. Koss with sons Michael J. Koss and John Koss Jr. From generation to generation, Koss continues to bring you closer to the music you love.

  • 1991

    MAC/5

  • 1991

    MAC/7

  • 1991

    TD/70

KSC35

1995

KSC35

Pro4XTC

1992

Pro4XTC


1995

Tchaikossky

  • Sporta Pro

    1999

    Sporta Pro

  • The Plug

    1999

    The Plug

  • UR20

    1999

    UR20

2000

Introduction into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame

In 1958, John C. Koss team up with engineer Martin Lange, Jr. to develop a portable stereo phonograph player with side-wing speakers. The pair demonstrated their new stereo record player at a Wisconsin audio show. One of the product's unique features was a privacy switch, which allowed listeners to hear music by plugging in the world's first Koss SP/3 stereophone. The stereo-phones were intended to be an accessory to demonstrate the high-fidelity stereo sound that the portable phonograph player delivered.

John C. Koss Sr. is inducted into the inaugural class of the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame. At the dawn of the transistor era, John Koss St. designed a set of commercial headphones using World War II military headphones. It was 1958 and the stereo business was taking off with the advent of rock'n'roll music. The headphones were called "private listening units".

This award is in recognition of John Koss Sr. contribution and pioneering spirit that have laid the foundation of consumer electronics.


2002

When Your True Love is Music

UR40

2002

UR40

KTXPro1

2002

KTXPro1

  • Pro3AAT

    2003

    Pro3AAT

  • Pro4AAT

    2003

    Pro4AAT

  • KSC75

    2004

    KSC75


2004

John C. Koss inducted into the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame.


2004

Party Favorites

2004

Head of the Class

2005

Rock of Ages

2005

The Pair to Beat a Full House

  • QZ900

    2005

    QZ900

  • KC25

    2008

    KC25

  • KDE250

    2009

    KDE250


2009

Koss Training

  • KDX100

    2009

    KDX100

  • KDX200

    2009

    KDX200

  • KDX300

    2009

    KDX300

Striva Tap

2012

Striva Tap

Striva Pro

2012

Striva Pro

  • IL200k KTC

    2012

    IL200

  • Porta Pro KTC

    2012

    Porta Pro KTC

  • ProDJ200

    2012

    ProDJ200

KSC32 FitClips

2013

KSC32 FitClips

KEB32 FitBuds

2013

KEB32 FitBuds


2013

Koss Stereophones became a recurring client of Sterling Cooper on the Emmy winning show "Mad Men".


2013

Koss teams up with Gold Medalist Dara Torres to introduce the World's first stereophone designed specifically for women.


2013

No Brainer

BT540i

2014

BT540i

In 2014, Koss once again cut the cord with the BT540i wireless Bluetooth® headphone. A technological powerhouse, the BT540i incorporated a state-of-the-art Bluetooth chip, NFC® one touch pairing, and near lossless sound with aptX® codec.

BTS1

2014

BTS1

Small enough to fit in a pocket and weighing just 0.36 lbs, the BTS1 Wireless Bluetooth® Speaker is designed specifically for portability and on-the-go use.

Pro4s

2014

Pro4s

Carrying on the legacy of the Pro/4 line, 2014’s Pro4S studio headphone was specifically crafted for audio professionals. Featuring the all-new SLX40 element, and iconic “D” Profile shape, the Pro4S delivers remarkably accurate sound.

SP Series

Introduced in 2014, the SP540 and SP330 both feature Koss’ iconic “D-profile” earcup design. The “D-profile” mimics the shape of the ear, creating an ideal seal for the most consistent sound reproduction, and an incredibly natural fit. Optimized PLX40 and PLX30 dynamic elements deliver an unmatched personal listening experience.

  • UR23i

    2015

    UR23i

  • KSC32i

    2015

    KSC32i

  • KEB25i

    2015

    KEB25i

The Original American Stereophone Company