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 Koss DJ100 (left) and the Tony Bennett Special Edition (right) appear to be nearly identical.

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 ...

Koss Corporation
4129 North Port Washington Road
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212

tdockweiler's picture

Thanks for the nice review!

Looks like I'll need to give the DJ100 some more competition and compare them to the Aviator. Don't know if I'll ever find anything I like more under $100, but it's possible! I should try out the V600 sometime too.

Definitely try them out with the M50 pads if you ever get a chance.

So...did you like these more than the SRH-940 or SRH-840? Probably not. I upgraded my SRH-840 to the DJ100 and haven't bought the SRH-940 yet since I prefer the KRKs.

DJ100 just seems like a nice alternative to the MDR-7506, M50 and SRH-840 IMO.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
The Aviators are over $100, but try the Creative Aurvana Live! They're $60 and very good.
bfwiat's picture

It sounds like these cans are "Meh". . . not bad, but there's better for less or same dollars.

I love the link to the shopping network segment. ..
I found it disturbingly hypnotic and mind numbingly repetitive . .what with that rich bass sound and like OMG, the studio quality with the comfortable swivel . . .. . blah blah . . ha ...ha.

Looking forward to the review of the EXODUS house of Marley . . .you seem to suggest you are quite impressed.

Keep up the good work with the site (and the sense of humour too).

have you seen this :
sounds quite interesting, and apparently there is also an optional high quality lossless aptX bluetooth module option too.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Thanks for the DAC Magic Plus link, looks interesting.

The Exodus is reviewed here:

shstrang98's picture

Sorry but I could never buy headphones on the HSN.

tdockweiler's picture

Looks like Koss may have dropped the price on these! Don't know if it's just on sale or what.
At every store they're under $90. So for only $10 more over the price of the DJ100 you get a case, removable cable and possible download.

Tempted to get another one just for the straight cable. IMO they're a steal for $90 if you like the signature.

AncientWisdom's picture

Seems like a bargain?

McVin's picture

Hey Tyll, I know this review had been added quite some time ago, its very helpful but still I need some opinion from experienced listener like you.

Currently there are 3 headphones in my mind which I'm in a dilemma of picking them up.
1) Audio Technica M50
2) Koss TBSE1
3) Shure SRH-440

I'm an assistant engineer in a music production studio, which I find accuracy and flatness is very important as I have to monitor the tracks. Is TBSE1 suitable for my needs? Can it do what the M50 do?

And I'm a bass lover (but not excessive bass like the Solos), I listen to mostly hip-hop/R&B/Rock/Rap Rock/Pop and some minor club hits. Will this headphone do the job? Your opinion will be very helpful.

Thank you ! :)

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I prefer the Shures. Not quite as edgy as the M50, but the bass doesn't have quite the pop. I'd not consider the Koss as good as the other two.
sbuentello's picture

Hey Tyll,

  Read your review on the signature TB headphones by Koss. Although you said they were "average" on your weighted scale, would your opinion change if you were reviewing based on a 49.00 cost. Found them at Tuesday Morning store and couldnt pass them up. I thought for that price i couldnt go wrong. Like to know what you think?  thanks.

tedywilliams's picture

Hello! I'm from Brazil, do I have any chance of you answering my question in this topic? Can you help me with this doubt, will be the new Koss Pro DJ200 had some improvement over Koss Tony Bennett or Sennheiser HD 380 Pro is definitely superior, I'm Guitar Player building a home studio, sorry about my english and thank you very much!

Tyll Hertsens's picture

Haven't heard the DJ200, but the Senn HD 280 Pro sounds better to my ears than the HD 380 Pro.

tedywilliams's picture

Senn HD 280 Pro instead of Senn HD 380 Pro, I confess that let me at least intrigued, could You be more specific if not too much to ask and sorry about my poor english but it is very important to me. Thank You very much again!