Wireless music systems like Sonos and Apple's AirPlay technology are crazy liberating, but so far no one's managed to do the same thing with headphones -- at least not in a way that's both convenient and sounds good. Could this new system from Koss be the future?
The new Koss Striva comes in both in-ear (Stiva TAP) and over-ear (Striva-Pro) varieties. You can beam your music to the wireless headphones in two different ways. If you've got access to Wi-Fi, you can stream music directly to the headphones over the internet using Koss' MyKoss online portal, which offers customisable radio stations. Navigating through your different channels is controlled by a touch interface on the side of the headphones.
If you just want to listen to your own music, you connect using the Striva CAP (content access point). This is a tiny little transmitter that plugs via mini-jack into your smartphone, laptop or stereo and sends the music to the headphones. The wireless transmitter is included with the purchase of the headphones, and is actually tiny enough to fit to your pocket along with your phone. The headphones come with little straps for attaching the CAP to your cans.
While it's too bad that the headphones won't connect directly to your phone without using the CAP, this is still a really neat piece of technology aimed at making listening to music as seamless as connecting to the internet. While Bluetooth headphones and other wireless systems have been around for a while, we've yet to see a system that combines good quality sounds with convenience and reliability. Using networked Wi-Fi or ad hoc Wi-Fi connections works a lot for transmitting music than Bluetooth, and the tiny CAP won't bog you down like a larger wireless transmitter. Seems like a perfect combination! Sound quality, battery-life, and how simple the overall system are all major wild cards, but from what we can see here, Koss Striva is pretty darn exciting.
The Striva TAP system costs $US500 and the Striva PRO costs $US450. That's probably a little pricey for some people but not insane. Both are on sale now at Koss.com, but they won't ship outside the US, so you'd have to engage a shipping agent to get hold of a pair.