Koss may be known for its budget-minded offerings in the headphone space, but today it's announced something to shake things up a bit. Falling under the Striva moniker, Koss has created what it claims as being the first lineup of headphones to use "WiFi technology that receives music directly from the Internet without wires." To start, there's the over-ear Pro model, loaded with gesture controls for volume and channel adjustments, while an in-ear set, dubbed Tap, is also available for extra portability. Interestingly, the Taps don't use a connecting wire -- instead, "microprocessors" inside of of each earpiece consistently ensure that the stereo signal stays in sync. To elaborate, both models feature Koss' Core, which the company describes as battery-powered microprocessors coupled with WiFi components. Utilizing its new MyKoss server, you'll be able to pull content from a variety of free audio streams and customize your own listening experience with the included music management software. Lastly, if you don't have a WiFi connection -- in cases such as using your cellphone -- each unit comes with a "matchbook-sized" Content Access Point, which lets you create a WiFi hotspot to enable wireless listening wherever you are.
If these headphones have piqued your interest, get ready for the kicker: the Taps are priced at $500, while the Pros are set at a slightly cheaper $450. Both models are available from Koss today, and you'll find more info in the press release and video just after the break.
Koss Striva Pro and Tap headphones (press photos)
Koss Introduces STRIVA: World's First Wi-Fi Headphone System to
Receive Music Directly from the Internet
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin) April 25, 2012 – Koss Corporation (NASDAQ SYMBOL: KOSS), the U.S.- based creator of the world's first SP3 Stereophone in 1958, has unveiled STRIVA, a revolutionary new headphone and in-ear monitor system with Wi-Fi technology that receives music directly from the Internet without wires.
"54 years ago my father revolutionized personal listening with the first Koss SP3 stereophone," Michael J. Koss, President and CEO said. "Today, thanks to the Internet, the revolution is in the air. Now all of your favorite music can be streamed directly from the Internet to our new headphones and in-ear monitors without wires using Koss STRIVA technology."
Michael Koss explained that the STRIVA development project commenced nearly four years ago and yielded three significant technological breakthroughs. They are STRIVA Core, MyKOSS online server and STRIVA CAP.
First, the STRIVA Core is a miniature battery-powered computer that functions as a web server coupled with an assortment of Wi-Fi components powerful enough to make any device wireless. The STRIVA Core's Wi-Fi engine and microprocessor components are small enough to nest on the surface of a U.S. dime. The STRIVA Core is built into all STRIVA products, including the Koss STRIVA PRO headphones and in-ear Koss STRIVA TAPs being released today.
The second breakthrough is the MyKOSS server, designed to link wirelessly with STRIVA products and connect them to remote Internet broadcasting sites. The MyKOSS platform includes proprietary software designed to scan the Internet for thousands of free streams and radio stations that deliver music and audio content. The MyKOSS server acts as a switch to direct the STRIVA headphones to the proper stream based on "listener-customized" music channels. The STRIVA-enabled headphone receives these special address instructions from the MyKOSS server and links the headphone directly to music streams using available wireless access points.
Finally, all STRIVA products include the STRIVA CAP or Content Access Point. This matchbook- sized wireless access point converts music from a smartphone, music player or computer into a digital TCP/IP stack and transmits it directly to STRIVA-enabled headphones or in-ear monitors using Wi-Fi. The STRIVA CAP can be used in conjunction with a wireless router for digital connections throughout the Internet, or it can be used to create a direct local wireless connection whenever a Wi-Fi router or hot spot is unavailable.
"The Internet has been liberating music for over 10 years," Michael Koss continued. "Now our STRIVA Wi-Fi technology will liberate music lovers who can finally cut the cord and enjoy their favorite music anywhere, anytime, without wires."
STRIVA TAP in-ear monitors and STRIVA PRO full size headphones are the first STRIVA products being introduced by Koss.
STRIVA TAP is a tiny in-ear monitor measuring only 1.5 inches in length. Unlike other in-ear cordless solutions, each pair of stereo STRIVA TAPs does not require wires concealed in a headband to connect the left and right earpieces together. Instead, microprocessors in each earpiece continually synchronize the music to ensure quality stereo sound is recreated consistently in both ears.
STRIVA TAP allows users to control their listening experience using innovative capacitive touch controls on the face of the device. Its ultra-compact size and state-of-the-art design make it ideal for those on the go.
For those that prefer an over-the-ear headphone model, Koss has introduced STRIVA PRO, which combines superior sound quality with elegant design. STRIVA PRO features gesture-based controls on the ear cup, allowing listeners to manage both channel and volume preferences with the flick of a button or swipe of a finger. STRIVA PRO also folds flat for storage and portability.
Both STRIVA PRO and STRIVA TAP include a STRIVA CAP that plugs into any headphone jack. STRIVA CAP creates an additional local music channel for those who prefer listening to their own personal music libraries or music apps like Pandora or Spotify. The STRIVA CAP plugs into any smartphone, computer, radio or MP3 player with a headphone jack.
"We created the STRIVA system with a specific focus on personalization," Michael Koss said.
"We developed a platform that allows listeners to create their own music channels, based on their preferences, using MyKOSS options to filter music by genre, artist, or decade. Once the channel is set up, listeners can simply press a button or touch a sensor to send a thumbs up or thumbs down back to the MyKOSS server to remotely 'fine tune' the content delivered to their personalized channels. Both models feature a new capacitive touch control design that allows the listener to change volume, switch channels or jump streams with a simple swipe or tap."
All STRIVA products include access to the MyKOSS music management system rolling out in Beta form at the time of the product launch.
The MyKOSS site can be accessed with any standard Internet browser like Explorer, Chrome or Safari using any smartphone, tablet, or computer that has access to the Internet. Once an account is created, the STRIVA products are mated to the user account and sent special instructions on preferred wireless access points nearby when away from home or the office.
Custom channels are created based on the listener's preferences and continue to be updated
and improved every time the listener tunes in. Koss has also developed a menu of options for the headphone slide and button controls that the user can remotely modify on the product itself through the MyKOSS website. Revised firmware for the new settings is transmitted through Wi-Fi to the STRIVA products.
"There have been many claims about home systems and products that use the same radio signal band as Wi-Fi," Koss continued. "The Koss STRIVA system is the first wireless Wi-Fi system of its kind in the world. STRIVA-enabled headphones and in-ear monitors are the first products to make a direct connection to the Internet without dedicating a computer, smartphone, music player or tablet to the task of gathering and serving music to you. STRIVA Core is the first Wi-Fi enabled computer that you wear on your head, and the MyKOSS server software is the first controller system of its type to exist in the cloud. The system is not dependent on a customized bridge, transmitting device or pre-determined restricted special network. It runs on the existing Internet backbone. This means
you can take your Koss STRIVA headphones - all on their own - to any public Wi-Fi hotspot and stay connected to the music you love. No strings attached. The Revolution is in the air."
Koss STRIVA products are being produced at the Koss factory in the U.S. and are available
exclusively at www.koss.com.