Sennheiser HD 300
Sennheiser HD 300 Pro closed-back monitoring headphones
The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is up there as one of the more common headphones in the modern recording room. They’re cheap, but have enough Sennheiser quality to make them fit for purpose. I have a pair, but a couple of issues have always irritated me. For one, they grip your head with a vice-like firmness that’s great for isolation but terrible for comfort. Second, I found the closed-back design still bled a lot of sound that made its way into a recording.
The new Sennheiser HD 300 Pro bears a distinct resemblance to the HD 280s, yet is a better design and twice the price. It’s still a circumaural closed-back model with a stated frequency response of 6Hz-25kHz and an easily-driven impedance of 64Ω. Passive noise cancellation is up to 32dB (the same spec as the HD 280s); very usable when recording drums or loud amps. The lightweight plastic arms fold into a smaller package for easy transport.
Comparing the two, my first observation is that comfort level is a lot better with the HD 300 Pro. It maintains a secure fit with a good seal but doesn’t feel nearly as oppressive as the HD 280s. The cable is straight with a mini coiled segment near the earcup, as opposed to the majority coiled cable of the HD 280. It’s not quickly interchangeable, but is replaceable, which is great.
How does it sound? The HD 300 certainly comes across less hyped than the HD 280. What can be a grating 1-4kHz midrange is relatively suppressed and makes the HD 300 easier to listen to for a long time. Low end is far more present, too — not a tall order given how light on the HD 280s are in the bass department. Spatially the HD 300s sound a little wider with individual instruments appearing a little more distant.
As a pair of headphones, the HD 300 Pro represents a versatile all-rounder that you can carry between the tracking room and studio. I’m not sure it’s twice as good as the HD 280s at double the price. However, the superior comfort and sound makes me want a pair.