|Koss SB-45 Communications Headset (click to expand)|
Earlier, I posted a review of the IRIVER IGH-L20 headset for Ham radio use -- a good performing bargain headset. A number of people expressed their sadness that IRIVER headset is only for sale in Asia, and has to be imported to other countries. Wouldn't it be better to post a review of a headset that is both inexpensive and easy to find in countries like the USA?
Here's one for your consideration: The Koss SB-45.
|View into the earcup|
I will say that the Koss SB-45 appears to be a good ham value, for the price.
1. Very comfortable headset, even with long-term use.
2. Generally very nice build quality (thin cord an exception)
4. Adjustable microphone
5. Very clear audio for DX sound
6. Perfect weight
7. No problems wearing with glasses
8. Excellent outside noise blocking, but not overly so
1. Thin cable
2. Had same earpad material on my Sony headphones, and it began flaking severely within 2 years. Radiosport material socks can fit over to extend life.
3. Microphone lacks much bass. My Icom 7300 settings are Bass +5, Treble 0.
4. Receive sound is a bit bright, but very clear
5. Need to remove wind screen and add a few layers of electrical tape to back of mic to remove room noise. This is a :30 second fix, and highly recommended.
When I first purchased the Koss SB-45, I have to say I was a bit disappointed. I felt they were far too bright on RX, and accentuated background HISS too much. I am happy to say that I have since found a sweet-spot for listening, with the SB-45's. These are some very sensitive headphones! After a few weeks of use, I learned that I simply needed to adjust my ICOM 7300's bandwidth filtering a little to trim the highs, and to turn the AF GAIN/volume down (not a bad thing, given how headphones often damage hearing over time). I live at a very noisy QTH, the noise can get to me. Radios tend to attenuate the hiss/highs a bit, with the volume down, and I find these headphones still allow the voices to come through clearly, after that AF Gain is lowered. In the end, I'm pretty happy with the purchase.
|8-Pin MIC/Headset Adapter HS-01C for ICOM|
|Sony earcups after 2 years|
As for the build quality of the Koss SB-45, it is generally excellent. The only negatives here are the quite thin, and looong cabling, and the material used for the ear cups. The material is comfortable, but it's that very paper-thin fake leather stuff often found on cheaper headsets. I know from experience with my $20 Sony headphones, it will flake off within two years, and begin sticking to the sides of your face. I do not know if replacement ear pads are available from Koss, but Radiosport headphone earpad socks work.
I have added an over-the-air recording of the Koss SB-45's, taken from my friend, HL1ZII's cell phone. It will give you a good idea of how these headphones sound on-air. As mentioned in the Pros/Cons, the microphone is very clear, but a bit lacking in bass -- what you hear is NOT with +5 Bass (it was +2). I have since had to make some EQ adjustments to get it closer to where I prefer it (+5 Bass, and 0 Treble). I would say this headset lends itself well toward contesting and DX work, if you prefer audio that cuts well, or local chat, if you add the Bass.
Enjoy, and give the Koss SB-45 a good look.
Below is the audio, and please FF to :49 seconds to hear what true live sound with the Koss SB-45's is like (the first 30 seconds are recorded CQ'ing). I must mention, if you hear me cut out during the contact, and say, "I had a short," the problem was actually that I mistakenly pulled-out my PTT switch attachment -- operator error, not the headset's fault!: