Think before Stereo. Think Before Hi-Fi Headphones and earphones were out there. For radio operators mostly. The styling made Grado look modern.

The FIRST headphones I recall were little pink plastic round things with tiny twisted off white wires. If you had a good 7 TRANSISTOR radio, it might have a mono mini plug that would take these, so you didn’t need to hold the radio to your ear for private listening.

These also came with the kits for “crystal radios” that were given to grade school boys for science projects circa 1960. With no battery and 100 ft of antenna wire, I could listen to a few clear channel stations.


The first ones I remember were the Sony headphones everyone used with the original Walkman. They were on-ear with an orange foam earpad cover that always fell off.


These ones (Sansui SS-20)…

1 Like

This is what they looked like


The first real headphones I had and used like headphones - not an earphone - was this awful pair. The brand was VERITAS. I thought they were good - for a while.

Mmmmm plastic ear pads with foam inside. An equally bad pleather and foam head pad. Each side had a volume control (BAD IDEA), and there was a switch - I think it was mono/stereo .

I recall them having a lot of bass, but not too much else about the sound. I do recall that it wasn’t too long before the volume control pots got noisy. If you look closely at this pic I found of them, you will see a metal clip that holds the wire to the master can. Another ill conceived bit of hardware, as the clip eventually dug into the plastic of the wire causing a short.

So, I don’t know where these cans disappeared, or when, but it was a long time ago, and a long time since I listened to headphone induced static in my music.

1 Like

Such fun memories those were!

When I was 5 my parents gave me a book “Making a Transistor Radio” (I was an usually science-obsessed child and was always either building something or taking it apart and this was a good way to keep me quiet). One of the first things you did (and I did do) in that was to build a basic crystal set … and of course that meant you needed a crystal earpiece:


After getting that set working, and being fascinated by how it worked, I wound up building many more radios of my own, even doing them one on an oversized pencil.

Probably the next, real, memorable exposure was to the original Walkman headphones that @andrew mentioned above.

And then the first headphones I remember that I actually owned were the Sennheiser HD540 Reference II, which just happened to get included as part of a deal with a CD player I bought (a Mission DAD5).

I used those Sennheisers until they literally fell apart!


Me thinks. You and I are “ old birds “.

First real ones were teal over the ear Koss with a curly chord

Hey @Torq - did you go through the process of building an “All American 5” tube radio like I did?
I know that I built the postwar miniature tube version - as seasoned ante-deluvian nerds told me.

12BE6, 12BA6, 12AT6, 50C5, and 35W4

Crystal was fine at age 7, but superhet rocked when I reached double-digits.

I didn’t, unfortunately.

I did build a variety of radios, in a variety of forms, but never a tubed one.

My interest in electronics rapidly took a turn towards digital electronics and computing. After which it was years before I went back to building anything with an audio-focus.

Koss Pro/4x. Bought around 1985 and used them for 10 years. Pretty much just rotted away.