A recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission suggests that audio equipment maker Koss is working on a Bluetooth version of its long-popular Porta Pro headphones.
The documentation, identified as “L76-PORTA-PRO-BT,” was submitted to the FCC and made available on December 20, so it looks like it has been out in the open for a few months. But the filing includes a number of exterior and interior photos of a device that greatly resembles the existing Porta Pro headphone. A user manual included in the filing refers to the device as the “Koss Porta Pro Wireless,” suggesting that will be the headphone’s official name.
The existing Porta Pro is one of the most enduring and popular headphones in the world. It has been on sale since 1984, but over the years it has gained a sort of cult status for providing rich sound quality at a low price. While its foam ear pads and thin metal headband still look like something out of the ’80s, it continues to be recommended among headphone enthusiasts as a good starter pair for would-be audiophiles.
The application here is registered by the Koss Corporation and appears on the FCC’s website next to records for various other Koss products that later became reality. Documents within the PORTA-PRO-BT exhibits list say the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company tested the headphones with “Shenzhen LCS Compliance Testing Laboratory Ltd.,” which looks like it performed compliance testing for several other tech firms before. Another Koss FCC application from last December, identified as “L76-BT190I,” lists the company as working with Shenzhen LCS on a product that appears to have become the recently released Koss BT190i exercise headphones. All this is to say that, while any FCC filing needs to be viewed with skepticism, there are signs to suggest this one is legitimate.
That said, the filing’s existence doesn’t guarantee that the headphone will be released, more that it has been worked on and considered for a release at some point. Koss did not reply to multiple requests for comment from Ars.
The headphone detailed in the filing doesn’t appear to deviate significantly from the original Porta Pro. It keeps the same retro design as before but adds a small cable that wraps around the back of the neck and holds the Bluetooth radio, rechargeable battery, and playback controls in two separate modules. The device listed has a 220mAh battery and uses Bluetooth 4.1. The submitted user manual says the device will have a one-year limited warranty; today’s Porta Pro has a limited lifetime warranty in which Koss will repair a damaged pair at any time for a small fee.
Koss’ FCC application was noted by Reddit users earlier in the year. A separate thread on the “r/headphones” subreddit pointed to a listing for a “Koss Porta Pro Wireless” on Norwegian e-commerce site Komplett.
It’s unclear how much the Porta Pro Wireless will cost if it does hit the market. Currently, the Porta Pro goes for $40 on Amazon, with a 4.5 rating after more than 3,400 user reviews.
Koss has gotten plenty of mileage out of the Porta Pro over the years, releasing a 25th anniversary edition of the headphone in 2010, a revised model with iOS and Android controls in 2012, and new colorways in 2016, among other updates.
But with more and more smartphones ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack and pushing Bluetooth as the new normal, Koss appears ready to adapt its most iconic headphone for a wireless world.