Before diving into the music, I want to first explain a big difference in experience with this platform. STRIVA “streams” your music, meaning there will be a slight delay from your source. For example, any movement on my smartphone (play, pause, transport, next track) has about a 1.5 second delay from the CAP. This may be jarring to those who are used to other Bluetooth or RF headphones.
Listening to all genres of music was a treat on the Pro. These cans were able to handle most of the FLAC music files on my media player comfortably, with its rated 10Hz-20kHz response, however there seems to be an evident hiss depending on the volume. Because the Pro does not have direct device control via the CAP, there are two points of gain, on the device and on the Pro. So I needed to play around with both volume controls to hear the best fidelity. After futzing with both ends, the hiss was at least less noticeable, depending on genre. Anyway, the Pro has decent reproduction, catching the crisp highs and deep lows with little coloring.
KOSS includes two differently sized rubber bands to keep the CAP attached onto your media player, but it looks like they’re both built for iDevices. I was a little bummed that I could not transport through my tunes directly with the Pro’s controls, but only from the device itself. Judging by the complexity of this hardware, I think this could be a possible change in future firmware updates. The only hardware change they would need is a micro-USB to 3.5’’ TRRS (three rings) connector from CAP to the mobile device, similar to the one they have on the PortaPro KTC.
Flipping through music streams on myKOSS was exciting in concept, but at the end of the day, you’re listening to compressed streaming media. That being said, Mr. Koss pointed out that myKOSS is always looking for higher-quality streams to give the best experience possible. The music channel selection is huge, and navigating through my preset alternative, jazz, punk, house, and classic rock channels was a breeze. In the Favorites section, you can review tracks you liked or disliked, and even add tags of your favorite artists to help STRIVA understand what you like. You can also add custom Shoutcast and other radio streams to your account, although it would be nice if myKOSS could also explore your own music stored on a host computer. So the standard WiFi mode is enjoyable for most audiences, but still has room for expansion.
Despite its smaller size, with decent padding and fit, the Pro headphones are actually quite comfortable. The longest stretch of time I wore them was about two hours, and I had no complaints. The headband height is adjustable, and the ear cushions fit snugly onto my ears. I’m neutral about rotating ear cups, but if anything this design allows better curvature with the listener’s head, giving it a more natural fit. “Hello Dave”
Upon powering up the Pro, a voice greeted me with “Searching for WiFi”, followed by a submarine-like ping sound as it sniffs for a signal. The navigation also announces battery life, switching streams/channels, liking and disliking tracks, and when there are connectivity issues. Your music momentarily dips when the voice cuts in, and automatically reverts back. With so many prompts, I was almost expecting it to let me know I’ve “arrived at my destination”.
The 5-position navigation toggle controls power and switching between streams. Pushing and holding down the toggle button turns the Pro on, and can even switch the device to CAP mode. Flicking it to the right or left switches streams, and holding switches channels. Think of the up and down positions as “Like” and “Dislike” buttons - use them. The more you interact with myKOSS, the more it learns about your tastes, and can automatically skip songs that you are tired of hearing. Also, it’s a good way to build your “Favorites” list on your account, in case you want to look up the artist later.
The volume slider is a touch-capacitive bar that will, as you probably guessed, fade the volume on the headphones end. However, I found this bar to be very sensitive, sometimes finicky, and difficult to smoothly fade up and down. Several times, I experienced trying to slide my finger against the raised edge, all the way to the top, only to have the volume raised halfway. Then when I try starting midway, the volume immediately shot up to max, causing me to jump out of my chair. Like any other pair of headphones, be careful during your first use.
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