Selecting a pair of studio headphones for monitoring or tracking is not an easy task. There is a glut of options available. Many of them are not worth your time or money. In this review, we check out the Sennheiser HD 300 Pro. A solid pair of monitoring headphones worth considering.
Sennheiser HD 300 Pro
The Sennheiser HD 300 Pro aims to deliver maximum passive isolation while retaining great sound quality. Does it succeed? Below are the highlights before we take a closer look.
The Sennheiser HD 300 Pro has a lot going for it. But it isn’t without some issues. Let’s dive into the details to see where they shine and where there is room for improvement.
The Sennheiser HD 300 Pro does offer great sound quality. But depending on your needs they may not be the right choice for you.
Straight away the most noticeable element of the HD 300 Pro is the rather meaty bass response. These headphones pack a serious punch. Plenty of richness in bass tonality and enough kick to satisfy EDM fans.
The HD 300 Pro offers a good but slightly bass-heavy sound profile.
The mid-tones are very accurate. Rich, detailed, and defined. A good choice for tracking midrange in the studio. Likewise, the highs are crystal clear with plenty of polish. Ear fatigue is low over longer sessions which is another tick in my book.
But this increased low-end response does unbalance the overall sound profile. While satisfying they are not as neutral as some people may want or need. For serious analytical work, these come up a little short.
Monitoring and tracking are where these headphones excel. They are also capable enough for recording sessions due to the high isolation levels.
The high sound pressure level of up to 123dB also grants you ample headroom. These can get loud. A good choice if you work in a noisy environment or want to crank up the volume on the odd occasion. As always exercise caution. You don’t want to be listening to music at high levels for extended periods. Your hearing will suffer in the long run.
The sound stage is obviously a little cramped due to the closed-back design. When coupled with the tight seal bass frequencies build up quite quickly as well. But this is common across all closed-back headphones.
If you like a meatier bass response you’ll love these. But if you desire supreme accuracy there are better alternatives out there. Despite these small nitpicks these headphones are a huge step above many other offerings out there.
This is one area that will be heavily impacted by your head shape.
The Sennheiser HD 300 Pro does have a very tight fit. The clamping force ensures a tight seal for passive isolation but can lead to discomfort over longer sessions. This becomes even more apparent if you have a larger than average head.
The headband itself offers a good amount of padding. And that padding is high-quality. The padding also does a good job of adapting to your head. But that clamping force is present and does apply some pressure.
The HD 300 Pro features good-quality padding.
The Viscoelastic ear padding is equally high-quality. The force is once again present but they offer a good level of squish to sit around your ears. Though people with glasses may find these a little uncomfortable.
The closed circumaural design offers plenty of space for your ears. It is unlikely you’ll have your ears touch the padding or internal driver. But the tight seal will result in heat build-up. A common trait of closed-back headphones but even more evident with this set of cans.
Once again a lot of this is subjective based on your head size and shape. Many people have found these to be more than adequate for longer sessions. I’ll admit I have a larger head than normal so the impacts are more pronounced to me. Your mileage may vary.
Aesthetically these are quite restrained. But that isn’t a bad thing. These are tracking and monitoring headphones. They don’t need bold bright colors. Nor do they need silver accents or in your face branding.
These are a little bulky and they are on the heavier side. But not a huge step away from other options out there.
For travel purposes, these do fold down into a more discreet package. But you’ll need to buy a separate pouch as these headphones don’t come with one. A slight disappointment considering cheaper headphones do include a pouch.
You can’t use other cables with the HD 300 Pro.
Another highlight is the high level of passive isolation. Up to 32dB. It’s a substantial amount making these great for blocking out exterior noise.
They are also easy to power with an impedance of 64 ohms. You won’t need an amp but as always it doesn’t hurt to use one if you have it available. On the go listening with your smartphone also isn’t an issue.
The detachable cable is both awesome and also disappointing. I always look out for detachable cables. It makes changing cables easy and also minimizes the potential for early failure from any unwanted yanking on the cord.
This straight cable also features a short coiled section to prevent unwanted cable noise. A nice touch that I wish was more common among straight cables. At 4.9 ft. (1.5 m) it is also on the shorter side. Whether this is a benefit or a drawback will depend on how you intend to use these headphones.
But where I have some reservations is the proprietary nature of the cable. You can’t just plug any random cable you have laying around into these. If you want a replacement you’ll need to stick with the Sennheiser offering. While not overly expensive it may be difficult to source.
The cable also features a unique locking mechanism compared to other headphones. Instead of the more common twist-lock style, it has a couple of screws. It does result in a secure lock if you use it but I prefer not having to have additional tools around to secure my cable.
Despite a few head-scratching decisions the focus and design behind these are great. They look and sound professional and offer enough features to make them an appealing choice.
In this area, the Sennheiser HD 300 Pro does quite well. But once again not without a couple of small nitpicks.
The clean black plastic is quite thick and dependable. The shift to plastic frames over the years has come with many failures. But these feel robust and reliable. The hinges in particular offer excellent execution.
The HD 300 Pro features high-quality hinges which allow you to fold the headphones.
The padding is equally reliable. Firm yet with enough squish to ensure they adapt accordingly. The seam at the top of the headband however doesn’t inspire the most confidence. There are some reports of this splitting over time.
Despite this small issue, it is a quality product. Sennheiser has a reputation for well-constructed gear and that is visible here. Good construction and high-quality components. Plus Sennheiser is remarkably consistent.
As always durability can be reliant on a range of factors. How well you treat them and environmental factors always come into play. But for most situations, these will be more than capable and should last.
In the value department, the Sennheiser HD 300 Pro’s do straddle a fine line. On one hand, these are cheaper than other closed-back monitoring headphones. But likewise, there are cheaper options that still perform well.
There are no further accessories in the box. No spare cables. No replacement ear pads. And no pouch or hardshell case. It’s not a dealbreaker but many of these inclusions have become commonplace.
While these do lack some of the bells and whistles they are still solid performers. A reasonable choice but by no means an ultra value buy.
The reviews for the Sennheiser HD 300 Pro headphones are overwhelmingly positive. A bunch of 4 and 5-star reviews highlight that these are capable headphones. Critics’ reviews also skew positive making these a popular choice for many applications.
Key Features Of Monitoring Headphones
Monitoring allows you to hear your recording in real-time. This allows for on-the-fly adjustments and time-saving. Below are the top features to look out for when selecting monitoring headphones.
Good monitoring headphones will provide a neutral response. This allows you to make accurate assessments. Highs should be crisp and clear. Mid-tones accurate. And bass tonality to not be overly hyped.
Accurate monitoring headphones are required for detailed audio work.
Long sessions in the studio demand high comfort levels. For shorter sessions, you can get away with headphones that may not be the most comfortable. But if you spend hours in the studio you’ll want a good fit and comfortable padding.
Isolation is important in a couple of key ways. Firstly when recording you don’t want any sound from your headphones bleeding into the recording. Secondly, when monitoring you don’t want distractions and exterior noise making its way in. This allows you to focus and also make accurate mixing decisions.
If you are looking for solid monitoring headphones you’ll be spoilt for choice. Below are some alternatives to the Sennheiser HD 300 Pro that are worth considering.
Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X Review
The DT 700 Pro X from Beyerdynamic is among the very best closed-back headphones available today. Excellent performance and impressive build quality.
- Exceptionally neutral headphones that are accurate. Good choice for serious studio work.
- Ultra-comfortable fit and super plush ear padding. Perfect for long sessions.
- These are more expensive than the HD 300 Pro. Not for budget buyers.
Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X
AKG K371 Review
These are a good option if you are looking for headphones that are a bit cheaper than the HD 300 Pro. A dependable set of headphones with some good features.
- Clear and precise mid-range delivery that is better than you’d expect at this price point.
- Relaxed fit that doesn’t apply a lot of pressure. But that does result in average isolation.
- The top-end leans a little bright. Not overly harsh but noticeable over longer sessions.
Shure SRH1540 Review
For those that have a lot more to spend the Shure SRH1540 is an enticing option. Premium quality and spectacular performance.
- Rich and detailed sound profile that maintains neutrality. Spacious and satisfying.
- A full suite of excellent accessories. Extra earpads, cables, and a hardshell case.
- The neutral delivery does results in a more restrained bass response.
Should You Buy?
The Sennheiser HD 300 Pro ticks a lot of the right boxes for certain applications. It isn’t perfect and there are some nitpicks I’ve highlighted. But that is what they are. Just nitpicks. For the price point these punch way above their range.
The solid sound profile will please bass enthusiasts. But enough neutrality to make them a dependable choice for tracking and monitoring. The excellent passive noise isolation will also prove to be a big draw for some.
Despite a few minor missteps the Sennheiser HD 300 Pro is still among the best closed-back headphones you can buy today.
Sennheiser HD 300 Pro