The Koss Tony Bennett Special Edition TBSE1 Headphone
Koss Tony Bennett Special Edition TBSE1 ($149)
Koss appears to be taking a similar route with their Tony Bennett headphone as AKG did in creating their Quincy Jones cans. Both companies are trying to tempt the Baby Boomers with older celebrities, and both have rebranded existing headphones. In Koss' case, it appears they did a little work spiffing up their DJ100 model.
The TBSE1 is a full-size, circumaural (around the ear), sealed headphone. The DJ100 from which it descends is a DJ headphone, and the Tony Bennett has some DJ-like features. There is a mono/stereo sliding switch on the bottom of the right earpiece so that both left and right channels can be heard when listening with one ear. The earpieces rotate 180 degrees and fold inward to the headband, and the headband has an unusually easy twisting flexibility in it. As a result, they can be contorted into numerous positions that seem well suited for DJ work. (see video)
This is a rather plain looking headphone. There may be some elegance in simplicity done in black and silver, but my eye finds these headphones pretty hum-drum looking. The outside of the earpiece housings are spun aluminum, and each has a large plastic body snap-fit within that provides the structural features to assemble the earpiece. The bails are two-piece plastic assemblies that are screwed together with the cable inside. The swivels are readily disassembled by unscrewing the knurled nut, and can be removed from the headband with a couple of screws. Likewise the headband endcaps are screwed together for assembly. Bottom line: this appears to be a fairly well made headphone that is easily repaired or modified.
The headband padding is velour covered foam, and is fairly ample. Unfortunately, the shape of the headband is such that the headband pad touches primarily on the top of your head, which can produce a point of discomfort after a while. Fortunately, the headphones are fairly light, so this problem is minimal. The earpads are foam covered with a very thin pleather. I would have liked them to be a bit more substantial; my ears did lightly touch the baffle plate, and after a while would be mildly uncomfortable. In reading the Head-Fi threads about the DJ100, many claim significantly improved comfort and sound by replacing the stock earpad with earpads from the Audio Technica ATH-M50. I would say the TBSE1 was about average in comfort.
The cable is detachable and connects to the left earpiece with an 1/8" mini-plug. The coiled cable is four feet long relaxed, and 8 feet long when stretched. The headphones fold flat for storage, and a nicely finished, but rather large hard-side, clam-shell case is included. Also included with your purchase is a code to download Tony Bennett's "Duets" album.
Let's have a listen ...