John C. Koss Reflects on the Adoption of Headphone Jacks

John C. Koss Reflects on the Adoption of Headphone Jacks

As Koss introduced the world to stereo headphones there was one problem- no consumer electronics were being made with headphone jacks. For a time, Koss included an adaptor which could be wired into the speaker outputs of a hi-fi system. But, John C. Koss knew consumers didn't want an adaptor, they wanted to plug in. Below Mr. Koss reflects on the role he played in convincing leading hi-fi manufactures to adopt standardized headphone jacks into their products:

"None of the amplifiers were being made with jacks. We tried with Fisher. We talked to the engineers, you know meeting around, and all they said was, 'it costs money to put it on’ and it was the same with Scott. I couldn't get anywhere.

So, we were going to a show in Milan, and I got lost in a taxicab with Herman Scott. I was sharing a cab with him. And I said "you know, its a real difficult thing- I talk with a lot of your engineers and I'm not getting too far, Herman, I don't understand why they don't want to put a jack on any of your units. It’s the coming thing, and I bet Avery's going to do it" (Avery Fisher). So I said "maybe its something you want to look into, to be competitive.

"I thought he was going to spin right out of the roof of the car. But it worked pretty well. Pretty soon they all did it, and the Japanese came in- they made theirs with two jacks, his and hers. One-upmanship, which was just great. I guess I shouldn't have done that but it certainly worked out well, didn't hurt anybody- in fact it helped everybody."

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