Back in September, I reviewed Joe Rogan’s preferred pair of headphones: the excellent Sennheiser HD280 PRO. These are a classic pair of closed-back reference headphones, designed to deliver uncolored and neutral sound with the maximum resolution for studio engineers, club DJs and podcasters.
A few weeks after writing my review, I tuned into Rogan’s first video podcast following his move from California to Texas and was horrified to see he was no longer wearing the headphones. It turns out that Rogan wanted to jettison the use of headphones for his Spotify podcasts. However, despite the best efforts of Rogan’s tech engineers, he ended up going back to using the Sennheiser headphones for his podcasts and although the image isn’t completely clear, I think he may have upgraded to the Sennheiser HD300 PRO.
Unlike the HD280 PRO, these new studio headphones don’t have the curled telephone-style cable that can be a bit of a nuisance and heavy, especially as they are only on one earcup. In contrast, the Sennheiser HD300 PRO headphones are all the better for having a lighter cable with only a very small section that is coiled just below the left earcup.
Like most studio headphones, the Sennheiser HD300 PRO have just one cable that leaves the user free from the danger of getting tangled in a double cable design. Apart from the different cable design, the HD300 PRO are similar to the HD280 PRO but have slimmer earpads which can easily be replaced should they show signs of wear. The padded headband can also be removed easily and replaced when it gets worn.
The yoke connecting both earcups is similar to the HD280 PRO but looks just a little lighter, despite the headphones weighing 12g more, not including the cable. The yoke is foldable and that makes carrying and storing the headphones easy. There’s no carry case included with the headphones, something I imagine DJs might appreciate.
Although the HD300 PRO headphones have similar specifications to Rogan’s HD280 PRO, the frequency response drops slightly lower to just 6Hz instead of 8Hz. The sound has been modeled on Sennheiser’s legendary HD250 Linear beloved by so many sound professionals. The sound produced by the HD300 PRO is tonally close to perfect and very similar to the HD250 sound, which makes the HD300 PRO great value for money. The tone is perfectly balanced with a flat response and the frequency range reproduces everything from the deepest of bass to the very highest treble sounds.
The impedance of the HD300 PRO is fairly high at 64Ω and that makes for finer sound quality. It’s best to have a good quality audio source feeding the headphones as the higher impedance makes them a bit harder to drive using devices like smartphones. The HD300 PRO are primarily designed for use by broadcasters, podcasters and recording engineers because the passive noise canceling capability is very good at 32dB and the comfort levels are excellent, enabling the HD300 PRO to be worn for lengthy mixing sessions or extended podcast interviews.
There are also four other variations of the HD300 PRO design including the Sennheiser HD300 PROtect which features switchable ActiveGuard technology that can protect a wearer’s hearing by limiting the sound pressure levels to a maximum of 110dB. This might be handy in an age of litigation where employees could sue an employer for hearing loss because they had to wear headphones to carry out their job. Additionally, there are three headset versions incorporating a boom microphone, including one model with XLR terminations for ISDN or SIP codecs. Finally, there is a with a single-sided broadcast model with a boom microphone. The HMD 300 series headsets can be used for broadcasting or talkback for camera operators or recording engineers.
Verdict: The Sennheiser HD300 PRO over-the-ear monitoring headphones are ideal for studio use and can reproduce a wide variety of music with very little coloration. The fit of the headphones and the comfort levels when wearing them are excellent. The frequency response is as wide as you’ll find on any pair of headphones and they reproduce music with exceptional clarity. These headphones are also excellent for reproducing voice recordings and will convey the minute characteristics of a speaker’s voice with great resolution. The Sennheiser HD280 PRO headphones are good; Joe Rogan has been using them for years, often spending up to three hours interviewing one of his guests while wearing his headphones. However, the updated HD300 PRO headphones improve incrementally on the excellent HD280 PRO and they offer a lighter cable as well as a 3.5mm TRS plug and 6.35 adapter for use with larger headphone jacks found in many podcast and broadcast studios. I’d liken the sound to the superb Audio-Technica M50 but maybe the Sennheiser model has a slightly more open sound. If you are a sound engineer looking for a great pair of monitoring headphones, you can’t go far wrong with the Sennheiser HD300 PRO. Highly recommended.
Pricing: $199 / £179 / €199
More info: sennheiser.com
- Impedance: 64Ω
- Frequency response: 6Hz – 25kHz
- Max. sound pressure level: 123 dB SPL @ 1 kHz
- Contact pressure: 6.0 N ± 0.75 N
- Ear coupling: circumaural
- Power consumption: 500mW
- Distortion: ‹ 0.1 % @ 1 kHz, 100 dB SPL
- Sensitivity: 108 ±3 dB SPL / 1 V rms / 1 kHz
- Transducer: dynamic, closed
- Weight w/o cable: 297 g
- Noise cancellation: Max 32 dB (passive)