Koss Porta Pro headphones – that was the combined result of a quest for sonic satisfaction, a pair of rather shallow pockets, and the lack of my own room to play loud music in. These headphones are usually described as both inexpensive and far exceeding the value of the rectangular sheets of paper they’re often exchanged for. Unfortunately, Singapore’s habitual marking up of electronic goods all but struck off inexpensive from the description, and the realisation that I prefer room-filling speakers as opposed to head-filling earphones made me refrain from buying them when I first heard of them a few years ago.
Surprised delight was the order of the night that I discovered that the Porta Pros were at a 50% discount on Amazon. Trouble is, there’s no Amazon in Singapore (I have no clue why; there’s no Flipkart-like alternative here either), though they recently did start shipping internationally to this little island. I would’ve bought them on the spot had it not been for Baze’s pithy “dude, all online purchases after 2 a.m. turn into regrets” remark shot from across the room.
This made sense: I had never heard the cans for myself, and there was also the small matter of what would happen when they reached customs (as it subsequently transpired, nothing – though if the price of the goods you’re buying is above S$400, GST will apply). Hearing them in real life became my new mission. I found that Jaben has a pair (incidentally, that’s a great store to visit if you want to listen to assorted headphones) and duly directed my feet to The Adelphi (which is the mall in Singapore for those on a quest for aural bliss and/or LP records). The headphones were green-flagged for online purchase, not least because they cost close to S$90 at the store, versus the S$45 I was getting them from Amazon (including shipping, might I add).
I finally consigned forty five electronic digits to Amazon’s coffers, and was assured of approximately twenty one thumb-twiddling days in mine. To my surprise, it took only four days for the package to leave the US and reach Singapore. After five more days, I was informed that the customs clearance process had been initiated. Not expecting anything for at least a week, I was pleasantly excited by the appearance of a pink note under my room door after four days, announcing the arrival of a package at the hall office. The headphones were no longer just a series of images on the world wide web!
PS: Incidentally, it took the shipping company (i-parcel) another two weeks to actually update the Amazon tracking page with the fact that the package had been delivered.
PPS: For those wondering about how good the headphones are, all my inexpert ears can tell you is that I hear things I never noticed before, and that I find it rather difficult to stand my old Sony earphones now. Ah well.
PPPS: The Koss Porta Pros seem to be especially popular in Scandinavia (or at least, Norway and Sweden) if empirical evidence is of any significance. Ten points to whoever can tell me why!