Design Stories: Koss x Retrospekt P/21 Retro On-Ear Headphone

Design Stories: Koss x Retrospekt P/21 Retro On-Ear Headphone


Milwaukee based Retrospekt are self described addicts of the experience of vintage electronics. For them, It’s comforting. Comforting to take a break from the excess of consumption convenience has allowed. Comforting to step back and engage in a more tactile and deliberate experience, and we couldn't agree more.

Koss is no stranger to the deliberate experiences classic design can bring. Some of the most popular headphones still sold today, like the Porta Pro® and Pro4/AA were designed by Koss over 30 years ago; so when Retrospekt approached Koss to collaborate on designing an all-new on-ear headphone for them, the partnership was naturally serendipitous.

When Koss and Retrospekt sat down to design a new headphone, the goal was simple - to bring back the lightweight listening experience Koss invented in the 80's & 90's that is responsible for transforming portable, personal listening that we all enjoy today.

Designing, 3D Printing and fabricating dozens of prototypes was key to creating the perfect balance between durability, portability and visual aesthetic. Together, Koss and Retrospekt went through myriad mockups and concept variations, settling on a durable, yet lightweight stainless steel chassis with integrated size-adjustable headband yokes.

This design not only captured the classic look of headphones from the early 80's & 90's like the Porta Pro® and Koss Sound Partner, but also allowed for adjustability and the ability to fit any head shape.

Integrating the Sound of Koss was a key part of the P/21 Retro On-Ear Headphone's design. They not only had to look good, but sound great too.

The drivers for the P/21 Retro On-Ear Headphones would feature an open-back design attaching to the stainless steel chassis via a isolated ball and socket pivoting mechanism. This hear-through sound keeps listeners aware of their surroundings while also delivering an exceptional, expansive listening experience.

Large soft foam ear cushions would wrap the drivers in an orange colorway, calling back to headphones of the time and completing the overall vintage pop aesthetic.

Custom Retrospekt brand badging was also added, tying not only the entire headphone together, but the collaboration between Koss and Retrospekt as well.

From the lightweight adjustable stainless steel construction, to the open-air design, to the colorful orange foam ear cushions, the Koss x Retrospekt P/21 Retro On-Ear Headphone truly stands as a headphone with vintage soul and a modern mindset.

Not only does it sound amazing, but it will turn heads, while on your head.

The all-new Koss x Retrospekt P/21 Retro On-Ear Headphone is available now exclusively through Retrospekt here.

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