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Koss STRIVA Pro Wi-Fi Headphones Introduction

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Koss StrivaKoss wants to revolutionize how we all listen to headphones with its new STRIVA line of wi-fi headphones. STRIVA comes in two styles, the ultra-portable Tap in-ear phones that aren’t much bigger than earbuds without wires and the full sized Pro headphones. Both sets use the same STRIVA technology to connect directly to the Internet through your wi-fi router. It can also connect wirelessly to any playback device with an analog output using the portable Content Access Point (CAP) device.

You may be saying to yourself: Wi-fi! Don’t you mean Bluetooth or RF wireless headphones?

True, most wireless headphones connect directly to Bluetooth devices, to a Bluetooth dongle or RF docking station that connects your headphones to a music source.

But the new STRIVA system from Koss is different.

For purposes of this review I am only using the STRIVA Pro, that's the full-sized headphones and not the Tap in-ear model. The Pro headphones are built for slightly more full-range sound and later I’ll evaluate their sound against my traditional favorite headphones.

There are two ways to use your STRIVA headphones without wires: Wi-fi or CAP.

  1. CAP: Sync the headphones to the CAP, the tiny streaming device that connects directly to your source via 3.5mm headphone jack. The CAP is similar in principle to Bluetooth or RF wireless but it has greater range and is backed up by a high quality analog-to-digital conversion engine rated at 10Hz-20kHz.
  2. Wi-fi Router: The STRIVA Core contains a tiny wi-fi chip that allows the headphones to connect directly to the IP address of any of the 25,000 free music streams available on the Internet.

As the user, you get to setup channels through the web interface called MyKoss. It’s free to make an account on MyKoss that lets users manage your wi-fi streams. The website does not re-stream the Internet music broadcasts to your headphones. MyKoss is just the Internet switch, while you’re listening to music it’s sniffing through the meta-data of thousands of stations for the highest-quality streams and your preset musical preference.

STRIVA Core

Of course you can forego wireless and directly connect your STRIVA Pro headphones using a provided USB-to-3.5mm cable. But why? There is a lot of technology on your earcups including a built-in digital amplifier, the STRIVA Core that connects to the Internet and rechargeable batteries and a toggle switch over the right hear to run everything.

Koss wanted users to control their headphones independent of a web-interface. You’re free to use the headphones free of wires and free apps, and browser sessions. To accomplish this Koss had to create a lean interface.  STRIVA accomplishes app-independence with a combination of toggle-switch and voice prompts that let you know your headphone’s status. It’s easy to adapt to the system once learned, you’ll be surfing through your musical preferences in no time.

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

Wayde Robson posts on July 12, 2012 07:07
corey, post: 893453
Re: your statement “Overall I applaud Koss on this step in the right direction for headphone technology.”

I don't see this as the “right” direction for headphone technology, as cheep local storage makes having a massive amount of high bit rate music in your pocket very affordable. 16 GB micro SDHC cards are under $10.

The best thing about the STRIVA system is surfing Internet radio. The randomness, you get a thin layer of choice in genre but then you're surfing through thousands of stations. It's that randomness that has an fun and addictive quality. You want to check out more stations, you want to hear what's next after hearing a song you hadn't heard in a long time or discovered a brand new song.

As for comparing it to storage…

There are two vehicles for mobile infotainment - brought in or beamed in. This is a beamed in solution. You may prefer brought in, but it's just a different vehicle. It's like… a pickup truck isn't a good option when what you want is a motorcycle.
corey posts on July 05, 2012 04:25
Re: your statement “Overall I applaud Koss on this step in the right direction for headphone technology.”

I don't see this as the “right” direction for headphone technology, as cheep local storage makes having a massive amount of high bit rate music in your pocket very affordable. 16 GB micro SDHC cards are under $10.
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