Inventor of the stereo headphone, 91

Inventor of the stereo headphone, 91


norman lebrecht

January 09, 2022

The death is reported in Milwaukee of John C. Koss, creator of the stereophone which changed the world’s listening habits.

Koss, who was 91, founded the Koss Corporation in 1953 to rent television sets to hospital patients. 

One thing led to another. Koss were the first to produce a hi-fi quality headphone.


  • Larry says:

    In the early ’70s I had the old Koss Pro 4 A headphones. They were huge by today’s standards and weighed a ton. But the sound was great and they were used a lot in recording studios. They were later replaced by the slightly slimmer Pro 4 AA.

    • opus30 says:

      Those models did sound good back in the day but I could not stand to wear them more than a few minutes due to the vice-like grip on my ears.

  • CRWang says:

    RIP. My still miss my miss pair of Koss purchased in high school. I highly recommend a quality headphones with a DAC instead of an expensive snake-oil hi-fi system for serious listening. Save your family some grief and your spouse some money for other household expenses.

    • Allen says:

      It isn’t necessary to resort to overpriced, snake oil ‘audiophile’ products. Just stick to sensible, engineering-based equipment, and the results will be fine.

      I think it was Thomas Heinitz of the ‘Music in the Home’ HiFi shop in Bayswater, London, who said ‘listen to the music, not the money’.

      Having said that, headphones can indeed produce outstanding results at reasonable prices.

  • J Barcelo says:

    What a legend! I had no idea he was even still alive. My first great headphones were Koss Pro 4AA. Koss made some fine CDs years ago, mostly to demonstrate the quality of their cans. RIP.

  • Sherlock says:

    Thank you R.I.P.

  • Paul R. says:

    I am reminded of a stay as a child in hospital in the late 1950s where one had to feed quarters into a device attached to a TV in order to watch it. Now I wonder if I was funding the Koss headphone empire!