Parts-Express Mini Headphones Review

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Brief: I’ve had these laying around for months after giving up on using their headband with my KSC75 drivers, so one day I asked myself the fatal question: “how bad could they be?”

MSRP: $19.99 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $2+shipping from parts-express.com$8 from amazon.com

Build Quality (2/10): The Parts-Express mini headphones look like your typical in-flight headphones. As you might expect from a disposable set of headphones, the build quality is less than brilliant. The headband is thin and pliable, the plastic is hard and cheap-feeling, and the fit and finish is best not mentioned. On the upside, the plastic bits that clip onto the earcups are made of the same hard plastic as the rest of the assembly and don’t release the earcups as easily as those on the Koss KSC75s. I actually had trouble getting the headband to let go of the stock cups the first time around.

Comfort (4/10): Nothing stellar here either. They are very light and do their job of staying on your head, but will not cope with any headbanging. The KSC75 cups are even worse as they are just too heavy for the weak headband. Bending the headband helps but only as a short-term remedy. The foam pads are quite rough and irritate my ears after a while, but work great as donor foam for various mods (such as the JVC marshmallows Kramer mod).

Isolation (2/10): The cups don’t actually cover my ears and isolation is non-existent. The ambient noise that leaks in is not necessarily a bad thing considering how they sound.

Sound (0/10): I have never, ever heard anything that sounds worse. I very much prefer both the stock Sandisk Sansa buds (even the thin-stem ones that came with the older players) and the so-called ‘speakers’ on my netbook to these. They manage to be bassy, flat, veiled, distant, and muddy all at the same time. I put quite a few hours on them and not a single moment was enjoyable. I sincerely recommend not trying them even if you already have a pair lying around.

Value (2/10). The only value these possess is as a headband donor for the KSC75/35 or Yuin G2A/G1A (albeit not a very good one). Also, to my great surprise, these actually came with some accessories – spare foam pads and a cheap 1/8” -> 1/4″ adapter. If you are curious to try the KSC75s on a headband and want to have some foam, an adapter, and a pair of the worst drivers in the world left over, then by all means give these a shot. Otherwise I suggest sticking to stock earbuds.


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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