Picture of the Koss KEB30K Noise Isolating Earbuds, package front view.

Koss KEB30K Earbud Headphones Headset Review

The Koss earbud headphones KEB30K noise isolating earphones play the mid range too loudly. They sacrifice decent bass and treble in the process.  Good for novice listeners though, who don’t really care about such things.

The drivers reproduce vocal sounds quite well. But the lows, due to the very small size of these buds, do indeed suffer. What you gain in small size, you lose in richness of sound. The high sounds also seem to roll off too abruptly in the audio response.

We write this while hearing Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine,” country waltz song. Through these stereo phones, the kick drums sound like a kid tapping a pencil on a desk. But through a better set of phones, they are much louder and deeper.  We have our iPad Mini 2 equalizer on flat. On flat, the lack of high end takes us back to the AM radio listening days.  Back then, the high frequencies above 5 KHz were all the way cut out.

But on a positive note, these earbuds accept boosted bass and treble from an equalizer. They take it at fifty percent volume levels, without much distorting. So you can restore the reduced low and high ends of the audio if your device has an equalizer.

Also, the noise isolation cuts surrounding noise as you listen to pop, rock, and country music.  But the KEB30K earphones are still not well suited for the quiet passages of classical and a Capella pieces.  For the casual mainstream music listener though, they work pretty well.

Picture of the Koss KEB30K Noise Isolating Earbuds, unpacked view, showing the earphones, ear tips, instructions, storage case, and instructions.
The Koss KEB30K noise isolating earbuds, unpacked view, showing the earphones, ear tips, instructions, storage case, and instructions.

Koss Earbud Headphones KEB30K Benefits, Pros, Features, and Advantages  

Convenient Storage Case Provided

The included stow-away, leather-looking case features a self-closing, spring-loaded opening, that prevents these stereophones from escaping.

Included Warranty and Disposal Instructions

Instructions tell of how to safely dispose of spent earbuds.  Nothing though about the chance of hearing loss if you play these too loudly over time. There is a diagram that shows how to insert them on the back of the carton.

These Koss KEB30K Earbud Headphones Fit Small Ears

A pair of small-diameter replaceable ear tips is included for those with smaller ear canals.  Apply these if your ears have smaller openings.

Built In Volume Control on the Koss KEB30K Earbud Headphones

A slider volume control is provided.  Note however that this differs from other headsets that feature UP and DOWN volume setting buttons.  Those units rely on sending command signals to the hosting mobile device, which in turn adjusts its volume output.  In these earbuds though, your device volume stays unchanged.  But its the volume slider that sets the volume.  No commands are sent to the device.  In fact, the cord here lacks that fourth command conductor.

True, you may still control the volume via your device. But you would be unable to change the device volume setting via this control on the KEB30K.  So if you’re going to use the device to set volume levels, set the control here to max.  Or, if you want to use this control to set the volume, then adjust the device volume to maximum.

Strain Relief on Some Joints

Flexible and effective strain relief on the 3.5 mm male gold-plated plug (that inserts into your audio device). Each earpiece also features rigid strain relief as well. However, the built in volume control has none.

In Ear Wearing

The KEB30K drivers insert deep into the ear.  In fact, they touch the eardrum.  This gives better sound and isolation from outside noise.

The Koss KEB30K Earbud Headphones Have Ported Design

There’s a small hole at the rear of each earphone, that affects the sound somewhat when blocked.  Apparently, these buds require this port as part of their acoustical system, to produce its specified frequency response curve.

Okay Fidelity, Decent Sound

Plays the low-mid, mid range, and the lowest-high audio frequencies well. Not too much sound coloration or harshness thus. But as noted, the low bass and high treble are low when playing on flat. So this exaggerates the mid range sounds.

LEFT and RIGHT Channel Labels

The left and right silver and black earbuds have easy-to-see L and R letters.  Find these on the inside side of each cord stem.

Symmetrical Driver Design

Hard to confuse LEFT and RIGHT speakers. The KEB30K have a symmetrical ear bud design.  In that, the LEFT bud fits best in the left ear. The RIGHT bud fits best into the RIGHT ear. Put the buds into the right ears for best sound.

The Koss KEB30K Earbud Headphones Have Good Sensitivity

They play plenty loud with even the lowest power media players.

Long Audio Cable

You get over three feet of flexible audio cable from the bottom of the Y vertex to the plug.  There’s also twelve inches of cord from the top of the Y to the drivers.  So total cord length from buds to the jack is just over four feet.

Gold Plated Connector

A stereo gold-plated 3.5mm male plug (three conductor) promotes longer-lasting, reliable connections.  You get less static and audio cut outs as the plug becomes dirty or corroded.  The connections stay  true for the life of the earbuds.

Low Magnetic Leakage

You can make the drivers in other earphones repel each other if you position them close to each other. And they’d even stick to some surfaces. However no discernible magnetism leaks out of these pearl-like driver assemblies.

Three Ear Cushion Tip Pairs

Koss supplies three pairs (small, medium, and large) silicone ear tips.

The Koss KEB30K Earbud Headphones are Affordable

At between $8 and $18 per pair, the KEB30K  earphones cost quite a bit less than Apple’s Earpods model ($29.99). But you do get what you pay for. These buds sacrifice about as much sound quality as well. If you’re at all sensitive to how well your earbuds sound with your music, then raise the stakes. Skip over these buds and buy the Earpods instead. Believe us.  Once you get used to hearing truly high fidelity music, you won’t be sorry you spent a bit more up front.

Limited Lifetime Warranty

Picture of the Koss KEB30K Noise Isolating Earbuds, package back view, showing specifications and ear tips.
The Koss KEB30K Noise Isolating Earbuds, package back view, showing specifications and ear tips. Koss earbud headphones KEB30K review.

Disadvantages, Problems, Cons, Limitations, and Concerns about  the Koss Earbud Headphones KEB30K 

No Cord Slider

This would allow setting of how big the Y cable joint is. A slider lets you set where the left and right ear driver cables come together into one. Such a feature adds to comfort. Plus, it reduces catching and snagging on clothes buttons and zippers.  Indeed as cheap as a slider would be, all earbuds should have one.

In Ear Design Means Less Sharable

They’re more apt to become soiled with ear wax.  So, you may wish to avoid swapping your buds with friends.

Volume Control on the Koss KEB30K Earbud Headphones is Subject to Failure

Since the volume level setter here is a variable resister, it can become dirty and  “staticy”.  Controls like this fail after a much shorter time than the more advanced push button controls.

Easy to Hurt Ears

Be careful though. Do not blast them too loudly.  Why? because they can play with enough volume to mask out sounds around you.  E.g. Like trucks coming. So avoid playing these while walking along and across busy roads. While they still allow in much sound, they still may keep you from hearing cars coming.

Also, these buds produced somewhat higher levels of notably distorted audio than the original iPod stock buds.  Note that these buds sound significantly harsher and “cheaper” than Apple’s current stock earbud offerings.

Reduce Outside Noises

May be wrong for some places. E.g. Where the user wants to hear well the outside noise. Since these buds “stop up” the ear canal, they cut noises around you while listening. So you may not here sounds like baby crying or husband calling.

Could Annoy Travelers Near You

On the other hand, the sound isolation works to the same degree to keep program sound in too. So please note that the KEB30K does not keep the music inside the ear very well. Some music does escape to the outside via the rear ports.  So you may disturb those nearby on trains and planes if you listen too loudly.

The Koss KEB30K Earbud Headphones are Likely Not Fixable

We have very small audio cables and plug here.  So these earphones likely cannot be fixed. E.g. The wires inside are hair-thin. So once they break, they’re done. No biggie for el cheapo earbuds like these though. Yet we still wish our earbuds be repairable should they fail.

Specifications of the Koss KEB30K Earbud Headphones 

  • Frequency response: 15 – 20,000 Hz.
  • Sound pressure level: 109 DB.
  • Impedance: 16 ohms.
  • Cord: 1.2M, 47.25 inches, type Y.

Our Rating for the Koss KEB30K Earbud Headphones

We rate the Koss KEB30K Noise Isolating Earbuds at 75 out of 100. Very far from the best earbuds, they’re among the lowest priced. Their sound quality equals their low cost.  They can fall out of ears too often and require frequent adjustments to keep them properly positioned. While they’re great for kids and beginner listeners, you’d certainly grow tired of them quickly. So we decline recommending them to any audiophiles or refined music listeners, to another. *grin*

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References for Koss Earbud Headphones KEB30K 

  1. Earbuds, Earphones, and Headphones on Wikipedia
  2. Where to buy the Koss Noise Isolating Earbuds KEB30K

Revision History

  • 2019-06-04: Tuned the targeting for ‘Koss Earbud Headphones KEB30K’ and added more links and tags.
  • 2019-02-19: Added key phrase targeting, more tags and subheadings, and fixed some typos.
  • 2017-02-27: Revised the tags list.  Added the Related Posts section.
  • 2015-10-15: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-09-29: Originally published.