Hifiman HE-300: The Dynamic Driver

hifiman_he300_03

This is certainly one of the most interesting Hifiman headphones around, and definitely has more to it than just being the entry level model.

The full size dynamic driver category is a crowded place. Every brand has put their best efforts in the arena and yet I have yet to find one full size that can be a master-of-all genres, a true all-rounder headphone with good sound and musicality. And while the fairy young Hifiman brand is not going to eclipse the technology that we find in Beyerdynamic’s Tesla driver or Sennheiser’s Ring-shaped driver anytime soon, through careful tuning, they may have produced one of the best all rounder dynamic driver I’ve seen. Name all the best dynamic drivers you can think of, from the HD800, the T1, the W5000, the AD2000, the Edition 8/9/10, the Grados, the AKGs, and tell me if any of them has a good genre bandwith. Nope, none. They are all highly polarized headphones. It’s quite surprising therefore, to find a young brand such as Hifiman producing a superb all rounder while still managing to sound pretty high end.

A dynamic driver! While I suspect that one of the reason for the dynamic driver is cost, on the other hand the dynamic driver also does things that you don’t quite get in the planar, orthodynamic based models. Yes, the transients is the first thing that you’d notice to be different from the bigger Hifimans, even to the HE-4. But on the other hand, the dynamic driver in the Hifiman HE-300 is so superbly tuned that it gives me a more relaxed sound, and is easier on the ears than what I hear on the planar models.

GENERAL SOUND IMPRESSIONS

Let’s start with the tonal balance. This is definitely the warmest sounding Hifiman so far. Take the Hifiman HE-500 and bring up the warmth even more. Tone down the treble a little bit, keep almost the same smooth midrange that everyone seem to love with the HE-500, add a little more bass body. The end result sounds like what I would’ve liked Sennheiser do with the HD650: a less sleepy HD650 with more engaging sound without loosing its cool and relaxed presentation. Cleaner mids and lows, still weighty, and without the slow bass and the “veil”. Ultimately it still can’t replace HD650’s low end impact, but the HE-300’s faster and clearer bass will probably be better for a lot of people, me included. The pace is definitely faster than the HD650, though overall it’s still a fairly laid-back music listening device.

HE-300 vs HE-500

Same brand, two different driver technologies, tuned and created at about the same time and probably by the same engineers. How will the two differ? A-Bing between the HE-300 and the HE-500, first and foremost you’ll notice that the HE-500 has a significantly clearer sound. I also notice that the planar’s transients is quicker overall and that the dynamic’s is more laggy, yet the dynamic has a better sense of coherence from top to bottom frequencies — and that’s something that I regard very highly.

The planar driver clearly had what it takes to earn the higher model number (and price). While I do think that the HE-500 does excel in the clarity of the treble and bass region more than the HE-300, I actually feel that the overall impression of clarity may be largely due to the significantly more treble presence in the HE-500. The mids of the HE-500 has been known to be very special, but in that region I feel that the HE-300 was able to better it, though with a slightly different tone due to its dynamic drivers. The mids are slightly darker, and yet just as clear sounding and even more it has a deeper depth in the mids that I don’t hear from the HE-500’s midrange. The mids are definitely warmer in the HE-300, and the mids have a better dimension and flow to it than the HE-500’s does. Moving down to the bass, the HE-300 again sound weightier on the lows, warmer and more inviting, though with slower transients than the HE-500’s bass.

So, while in one hand the clearer sound, the more open soundstage, and the faster transients of the HE-500 clearly state that it deserves the higher price tag, on the other hand the HE-300 remains to have a unique voice by itself that I really don’t think it should be seen as inferior to the HE-500 (well, maybe a little bit). But compared to the HE-5 and the HE-4 models, I do think that the HE-300 is a far more likable headphone, purely based on the tonal balance.

If you look at it from a certain angle, you can sort of see the circular rings that mark the dynamic driver. Photograph intentionally defocused to show the effect.

Open the grille and you’ll find just a plain old dynamic driver, yet it sounds very very musical.

BUILD AND ERGONOMICS

The use of the dynamics driver also brings down the weight of the headphones considerably, and the HE-300 is really the most comfortable Hifiman headphone. I never really think much of the pads that Hifiman uses in their headphones, but without the weight of the planar magnets hanging down the headband, the pads now feels very comfortable, again similar to the comfort of HD650’s pads but without the Sennheiser death grip sensation.

Build quality is a bit on the lower side, like you can tell that this is a lower end model to the HE-500 or HE-6 that I happen to have around. Although from a distance the silver housing and black grill does make it look like the latest $5,000 Stax flagship model. In all seriousness though, I do think that the impression of a lower build quality is largely based on the quality of the paint finish on the housing, while the construction of the headphone remains just as solid as the higher end models.

END WORDS

There is no denying that Hifiman is getting better with each headphone they release, and that they are doing it at a very speedy pace. When the first Hifiman headphone was released, the HE-5 was very impressive and yet it was quite edgy and in the long run turned out to be a difficult headphone to live with. With each subsequent release, however, I think the voicing of the Hifiman headphones have become more and more matured. The HE-5LE to the HE-5, the HE-6 flagship, and even the release of the HE-500 though being a lower model to the HE-6, was overall a more mature headphone than the HE-6. And now Hifiman has done it again with the HE-300.

It’s no technical giant, and the HE-300 is pretty far from the league that the HD-800, T1, LCD-2 and HE-6/500 are playing at. Get over the technicalities, however, and I really think that the musicality aspect can go head to head with the big boys and even beat some of them (the HD800 would be a pretty easy one to beat). The price tag, of course, will make the Hifiman line up more affordable than ever, and if you ask me how it compares to the current line up of ~$300 open-backed headphones, I think the K701/DT880/HD650 trio is facing a very serious threat from the HE-300. The signature is closer to the HD650 than the AKG or the Beyer, but the lighter pace and the slightly more forward presentation makes it a better all rounder than the HD650 is. Pair it with anything from the Burson HA-160 to the ALO Continental, and the result has been nothing short of pure musicality.

 

 

 

Hifiman HE-300: The Dynamic Driver
3.89 (77.87%) 47 votes

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298 Comments

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    glac1er

    At last something in my price range 😀

    Sounds like a perfect $300 headphone, Mike 🙂 , dying to hear it.

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      The tonality is really, really nice.

      Not sure if you can live with the transients though, you Stax-man. 😉

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Abe

    Nice review Mike.. 🙂

    It’s beautiful in every way, both physically and sonically.. Can’t help but drool of these.. 
    AND it does look like the SR-009 ..

    I want it..!!! (well, both the HE300 n the SR-009 lol) 😛

    Anyways, just as always, quality stuff from my fave headphone reviewer..
    Keep up the good work Mike

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      I know.. the SR-009 look-a-like. They do really look similar from a distance.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Lieven V

    $300? Where?
    Nice review Mike!

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Donunus

    MIKE! EVIL! This sounds like something I want to buy! 

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      I know man… I know..

      Time for Senn to release a HD658 or something new.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Jeffrey

    Besides a high-end amp/dac, would an audinst hud-mx1 be suitable for the hifiman he300?

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think so. The HE-300 is not picky about amps or sources at all.

      In fact I’m listening to it straight from my Ipod’s headphone out at the moment.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Maaya

    Hello Mike,

    Which has bigger soundstage, the HD598 or  HE300.

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Maaya,
      The HD598 has a deeper soundstage and I think it’s more precise. The HE-300 has a wider soundstage.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Dookie182

    he mike,

    great review as always. 
    Tell us, how about the drivability? “Burson HA-160 to the ALO Continental” are not really the least powerfull amp out there. I guess the that post portable player ipod type are not powerfull enough to make them shine. Could a BB cemoy or other pa2V2 do the trick? ZO personnal subwoofer?
    kindest regards

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, I missed that out didn’t I.

      The HE-300 runs just fine from my Ipod’s headphone out, so I think amping requirement is very low.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Donunus

    Whats the impedance on these by the way? Curious if these would also work  with the bottlehead crack if I were to buy a kit.

    • Reply August 5, 2011

      Dookie182

      HeadphonesEfficiency: 90 +- 3 dBImpedance: 50 Ohm at 1 kHz50 mm Dynamic DriverFrequency response: 15 Hz – 22 kHz

      • Reply August 5, 2011

        Donunus

        Thanks!

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      50 Ohm.. not that current hungry though. I’m testing it with the JDSLabs Cmoy now.. sounds great.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    deanreed

    Another great review – thanks. How do you think the HE-300 would work with the Schiit Asgard and would it make a better match than HD650?

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks Dean,
      I think it would be a great match with the Asgard.

      As for the HD650, I don’t think this will replace the huge following that the HD650 has, but it’s a newer headphone and I think a more all rounder tonal balance.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    eugenius

    Mike:

    – the t1 has great genre bandwidth
    – compare it with the cheaper hd600
    – try it from a soundcard, a high end dac + amp
    – who makes the driver?

    I have a feeling HIFIMAN will eventually release the ortho hd650 just for you. 😉

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      1. It does, but once you start playing treble happy recordings, which are a lot these days — not so much.
      2. I think the driver resolution is still below the HD600/650 — as those two Senns are actually two of the best drivers around despite having the veil to some people. But the thing with the HE-300 is the tonal balance, I think the tonal balance is warmer and more likeable. It has more bottom end body than the HD600 and is warmer, while retaining a forward vocal and mids.
      3. It scales up pretty well, probably close to the scalability of the HD600.
      4. China. (lol)

      • Reply August 7, 2011

        eugenius

        1. Yes, but I use EQ. Just notch the beyer 8kHz treble spike 4-6dB down and bring  the 80Hz-400Hz 2-3dB down with a good parametric EQ and tell me what you think about the T1 then. IMO it becomes one of the top headpones ever this way, especially balanced. Or you can get the OTL amp of your choice for it. If your tastes swing more toward modern music than acoustic music, it’s even better than a properly EQ-ed HD800, even if the HD800 is overall better.

        2. Thanks, just looking at that driver didn’t feel me with confidence. This is Grado level of technical parameters, without the special voicing.

        3. That’s good, especially if it works unamped.

        • Reply August 8, 2011

          Anonymous

          Eugenius,
          Yes I suppose with EQ you can tune all headphones to perfection.

        • Reply August 8, 2011

          Anonymous

          Eugenius,
          Yes I suppose with EQ you can tune all headphones to perfection.

          • Reply August 9, 2011

            eugenius

            Not quite. Eq is only useful to correct glaring mistakes and make subtle changes.

            • Reply August 10, 2011

              Anonymous

              Yes, I suppose you’re right.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Dave

    i agree with eugenius, the T1 has a great genre bandwidth.  i also wasnt very happy with the feeling of the HE4. felt super cheap (i guess in relation, it is) and it looks like the HE300 is the same.  theyre just milking  this design and ppl keep biting.  what is that, 4 headphones all EXACTLY the same?  if sennheiser or beyer did this, there would be an uproar.  i respect the review, but i wont be biting on hifiman’s products anymore. 

    • Reply August 5, 2011

      eugenius

      You do realize that all full size beyers look the same, don’t you? There’s nothing wrong with that, it even creates brand identity.

      • Reply August 5, 2011

        Dave

        they are not exactly the same.  and theyre built with better materials.  the hifimans feel cheap.

        • Reply August 6, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes, I would still consider the Beyers better built.

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for chiming in, Dave.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Rome

    what you think better akg 242 or sennheiser 558? 
    or better?
    please recommend good headphoes for 200$

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    eugenius

    If I looked at the HE300 critically some bad things would stand out:

    – no angled drivers (thus great soundstage)

    – low level of technicalities – so the driver isn’t really world class.

    The HE300 would have to tick those two boxes for me to consider it, for 300$.

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Then your wallet is safe, man. 🙂

      Seriously though, we’ve seen with both the HD800 and T1 that it’s very hard to pull off a highly technical yet musical headphone.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Loevhagen

    eugenious World class driver for $300. You must be joking, right?
    —–Nice review, Mike. I´ve ordered the He-300 to see if they can replace inter alia the K702. I just love the HE-500 and is curious if my ears interpret the same differences / similarities as you have elaborated.Headfonia: General commet – Very nice site. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, I think eugenious is really joking when he said that. 😉

      Let me know how you find the HE-300 to sound when you got it, and thanks for the compliments. 🙂

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    eugenius

    I’m not joking. The beyer trio for example, have world class drivers (dtxx0).

    A Beyer dt990 is probably a better headphone if you take away the frequency response from the evaluation.

    A newcomer has to beat the benchmark on everything to have a chance. Especially an Asian newcomer.

    The he300 is probably hifinan’s attempt to generate some profit out of it’s ortho momentum.

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Well I think while the DT990 would qualify for a world class driver in the past, the recent surge in $1K headphones have upped the standard considerably.

      • Reply August 7, 2011

        Donunus

        That dt990 is so world class that is slices my eardrums with its sibilance with scalpel sharp precision

        • Reply August 7, 2011

          eugenius

          You don’t read, don’t you? 😀

          • Reply August 7, 2011

            Donunus

            You mean this? “A Beyer dt990 is probably a better headphone if you take away the frequency response from the evaluation.”

            I read that. So minus the frequency response, what else is there in the beyer dt990 hmm low power handling, not much midrange detail. hmm I don’t get it. I don’t hear anything else special about them.

            Anyways, Back to topic… If these he-300s can beat the hd600 and 650 while being a little cheaper than either of them plus add to that they are very simple to drive even out of a DAP, Is there even anything else out there in the league of these guys 🙂

            • Reply August 8, 2011

              Anonymous

              Okay back to topic..

              That’s what so amazing about the HE-300 I suppose. Though I’d still want to drive them from a decent desktop amp (say the Asgard) since you simply can’t get a good bass impact from an Ipod’s out.

            • Reply August 8, 2011

              Anonymous

              Okay back to topic..

              That’s what so amazing about the HE-300 I suppose. Though I’d still want to drive them from a decent desktop amp (say the Asgard) since you simply can’t get a good bass impact from an Ipod’s out.

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      eugenius

      I want a better driver than the sennheiser dual material driver, the akg varimotion driver …

      • Reply August 6, 2011

        Anonymous

        As far as I know the AKG Varimotion driver can never touch the resolution of Senn’s HD600-650, not even the HD558-598.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    P. J.

    Thanks for another enlightening review Mike but I gotta ask you is He-500 worth the higher price tag? I am seriously considering getting it (He-500 that is, after I hear the loaner) but the weight again is putting me off. He-300 if half the weight of He-500. How does it compare to He-4? From the review I understood it is quite different from it which is a + for me as I’m looking for different headphones for different occasions.

    I read some other He-300 review a couple days ago and from the photos posted there the headphones looked like HD-555. Your photos indeed make it look very much like an 009.

    From the sound characteristics it sounds very HD600 and I miss mine. I wan’t that “house” sound back but without the veil.

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think you’d agree that as with all things in audio, you pay a lot more for some improvements in price. Let’s see, the HE-300 is $299 and the HE-500 is $899. The 500 is definitely not three times better — but all audio gears are like that.

      With the HE-500 you definitely got a headphone that has what it takes to build a high end system on. Transients, clarity, articulation, bass texture are superior to the HE-300’s. The HE-300 sounds more like a very special $300 headphone, perhaps even upsetting some owners of $500 headphones and more. And if you happen to be a more HD650 person like me, then you’ll love the tonal balance on the HE-300 perhaps more than the HE-500 (I do). But that doesn’t take away the fact that the HE-300 can’t touch the technicalities of the HE-500.

      Compared to the HE-4, gotta be frank, the HE-300 would be the better headphone overall. There is still a gap in terms of transients and articulation, but the tonal balance of the HE-300 makes up for that by a large margin.

      If you want the HD600 sound without the veil, I think the HE-500 would be the safer choice. The HD600 was never veiled to me, hence my ears are into the darker and warmer sounding gears.

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Anonymous

    […] […]

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Katun

    Those are the most beautiful headphones I’ve ever seen.

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Mate Mayer

    Hmm, that is too bad.  I recently bought a Sennheiser HD650. Should have bought this one…

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    louiscipher

    less sleepy than hd650? oh my this is mine!
    do you think asgard will have a good synergy with this?

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      Asgard should pair well with this, yes.

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Rome

    Its better hd650?

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      The HD650 is actually better resolution wise, but overall the HE-300 has a better tonal balance.

      • Reply August 8, 2011

        guest

        So would it be better to take the tonal balance over the resolution for casual listening despite the HD650’s better scaling with amps?

        • Reply August 9, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes I think so.. not everybody’s going to notice the increased resolution of the HD650 but they will definitely notice the tonal balance difference. Plus it’s very expensive to fully exploit the HD650’s capability with expensive amps, and by then people would rather move up to a better headphone like the HD800.

        • Reply August 9, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes I think so.. not everybody’s going to notice the increased resolution of the HD650 but they will definitely notice the tonal balance difference. Plus it’s very expensive to fully exploit the HD650’s capability with expensive amps, and by then people would rather move up to a better headphone like the HD800.

  • Reply August 7, 2011

    CccC

    Hats off to Mike once again, to both the excellent review and the excellent handling of some of the replies on the boards. *cheekgirns*

  • Reply August 7, 2011

    Blarg

    Bringing out a new headphone every month is rather off putting. . . 

    Pass. 

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      It does, doesn’t it.

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      It does, doesn’t it.

  • Reply August 7, 2011

    Lieven V

    What did you make of the earpads? Is it worth the wait for the leather ones?

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      Are they planning to release leather pads? That would seriously skew the current tonal balance.. The sound is perfect as it is now, and if they release leather pads, they would have to compensate for the tonal balance shift through some other way.

      • Reply August 8, 2011

        Lieven V

        Yes, Fang mailed some Headfi member that the pads were being presented yesterday on a meet. To be be released soon after…
        I got your tweet, but I’m still tempted to buy this one to compare it to the HD650 😉

        • Reply August 8, 2011

          Anonymous

          Okay,
          I don’t know how they will deal with the tonal balance shift…

  • Reply August 8, 2011

    Bala

    Nice review :).

    btw, what do you think of the synergy between this and uber musizk dac? These two will go well together? 

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Bala,
      I think they would.

  • Reply August 8, 2011

    Christopher Puchta

    Nice review (as always :))!
    I’m wondering how open these are!? I’m looking to replace my office headphones…they just can’t be too open where they spill too much sound to the people around me and let me hear too much outside noise. My LCD-2’s are too open in that regard for example…how would you the rate the HE-300s?

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Christopher,
      They will definitely leak sound, so I’m afraid you can’t use it in the office. 🙁

  • Reply August 8, 2011

    idunnosoSTFU

    I thought the price for HE-500 would be around $500 or $600. A visit to Google showed me that it is MUCH more expensive than that. :((

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      LOL, yes it’s more expensive than that. Would’ve been nice if they were $500 or $600.

  • Reply August 8, 2011

    Transloader

    thanks mike for your hard work…

    dont get me wrong but i really dont trust reviews based on the gears  sent by makers.you should buy first and review it independently ,without the sender(seller!!!)  pressure(if any).

    i know without the help of makers of gears you couldnt do that much reviews but  it seems like that ,that is the fact(if true or not).again dont get me wrong all of your reviews might be the honest reviews ever but it seems like advertisement of gears  because of not owning  most gears.

  • Reply August 9, 2011

    Swbf2cheater

    Swbf2cheater from head fi here, just wanted to say I enjoy reading your work and i am a big fan.  I am told the Sennheiser HD598 and the HD-300 are comparable across the board.  Would you agree?  I absolutely loved the HD598, odds are great I would pick the HE-300 up if it is on par or exceeds it the hd598 in sound stage size ( height, width and depth )  -mike

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Mike,
      Thanks for the kind comments. HD598 to the HE-300, I suppose yes, you can treat them as roughly equal.. here’s how they differ:

      HE-300: Bigger soundstage, less precise, less depth, more balanced tonality especially in the lows.
      HD598: Narrower soundstage, more precise, mroe depth, more micro detail, less body in the lows.

  • Reply August 9, 2011

    tash

    Hi Mike,

    Insightful comments as ever!

    I have modded my HD650 (as per the Apuresound website) to remove the foam from inside the earcups and also from behind the drivers.  I found this really lifted the ‘veil’ (foam inside cups) and improved the speed and clarity of the bass response (foam from behind drivers) and make them a touch less laid back without adding any harshness to the sound.  I also drive them balanced which, IMHO, further enhances the bass control.

    Now I’m wondering how the the HE-300 would compare!?  I suspect some of the advantages you identify in your review about speed, etc might have already been at least partly negated by these mods?  I expect your comments on the tonal differences would remain relatively unaffected, albeit I think  the modded HD650 has reduced treble damping which makes the upper reaches easier to hear and therefore the overall sound is a touch less dark.

    For me, the greatest weakness of the HD650 remains the slightly claustrophobic sound stage, and it doesn’t sound as though the HE-300 is a great leap forward in this regard?

    • Reply August 9, 2011

      Danny

      Hi tash,

      Glad finally I find other ppl do the same mod like I did a couple of month ago 🙂

      I’m totally agree with your description about the “improvement” that you’ve stated above.
      What cable do you use right now for your HD650?

      Right now I’m using SilverDragon cable, which IMO is quite “synergetic” enough with HD650 and bring a lot more improvement about the “speed” and the “treble-response”

      To share my experience a lil bit, the first time I buy and try the HD650 I felt that HD650 is kinda dissapointing to me, slow “paced”, heavy “bottomed”, “muted” treble.
      But after doing some research and implemented the APS mod on my HD650, I found that the “speed” is not slow anymore and the “veil” is not there anymore.
      After that I called my buddy Questa and told him about what I’ve found, later that he suggest me to buy SilverDragon cable to bring more speed and to “open up” the treble a bit.
      After doing that, I feel quite satisfied with the HD650 and using it until now 😉

      • Reply August 9, 2011

        tash

        Hi Danny,

        I’ve been using the APureSound V3 in balanced configuration.

        Although the mods have, IMHO,  really improved the HD650 it is still inferior in some areas to my HE-6 (albeit MUCH easier to drive).  I therefore tend to use my HE-6 for well recorded music where sibilance is not an issue and my HD650 for more mainstream stuff where a more forgiving sound signature is needed.  For something like Beyonce for instance, the HD650 is fantastic, whereas I’d go for the HE-6 every time for Beethoven!

        • Reply August 10, 2011

          Anonymous

          Amazing, I actually feel that nothing beats the HD650 for Beethoven’s symphonies. Not even the current $1k-2k flagships.

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Tash,
      When driven from a high quality set up, the HD650 will scale up better than the HE-300 mainly due to the higher quality drivers. I think the HE-300 is intended to be a fairly affordable mid-fi set up that doesn’t demand too much in terms of amps and source to sound good.

      Balanced drive helps control the bass from the HD650, but on the other hand it since the HD650 still has a heavier bottom end, it will not be as light or as nimble as the HE-300. But again, you’re not going to get the HD650’s bass impact from the HE-300.

      The HD650’s soundstage varies depending on your set up. On a good amp, it has one of the best soundstage around, but on lesser set ups, the HE-300 is bound to give a more spacious soundstage.

      Again, I think the key is:
      HE-300: relatively easy, undemanding, mid-fi set up.
      HD650: very demanding of the set up, scales up very well to almost high end level.

      The HD650 was the headphone that people use to build up their high end systems, pairing it with thousand dollar amps, until the current flagship headphone arrives. So scalability is very high with the HD650.

      • Reply August 10, 2011

        Lieven V

         After reading this I am sure I’m not ordering the HE-300. Thanks Mike

        • Reply August 11, 2011

          Anonymous

          Sure thing, Lieven.

        • Reply August 11, 2011

          Anonymous

          You can now paypal me the funds you reserved for the HE-300.

          You’re welcome.

  • Reply August 9, 2011

    Madman

    For the weirdest reasons my posts don’t show up. This be annoying. 

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Maybe a fault in the system as I don’t think I’ve ever deleted anyone’s comments. . Please try reposting.

  • Reply August 9, 2011

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike,
         Which do you think would be the better buy overall a the new Hifiman 300 or the Beyer T70?

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi,
      That remains to be seen.. I haven’t had the chance to audition the T70.
      Thanks.

  • Reply August 9, 2011

    tazz

    Hi Mike,
    great review, congrats. I really love the design of these.

    Can you tell me how does the rock music sound on HE 300? How do they compare to similar priced sr325is?

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Tazz,
      What sort of Rock music? U2 sounds great on the HE-300. It’s less agressive than the SR325is but has a more balanced tonal, especially in the bass. For things like Linkin Park, I think you better be looking at the HD25-1.

      • Reply August 10, 2011

        Lieven V

        Come on Mike, U2 is not rock, that’s more Pop 😉

        • Reply August 11, 2011

          Anonymous

          It’s a blurry line man.

      • Reply August 10, 2011

        tazz

        Thanks for reply. Well I listen mostly to stuff like AC/DC, Metallica, Green Day. I’m looking for easy to drive, open-air headphones, which would sound very good, energetic, but not fatiguing in hard rock and decent in everything else. That’s why I’m looking at grado sr325is and HE 300.

        • Reply August 11, 2011

          Anonymous

          I think the SR325is has the faster pace to keep up with the stuff you listen to, better than the HE-300. Try the Beyerdynamic DT1350 perhaps? I think it would work well with AC/DC, Metallica, Green Day.

          • Reply August 11, 2011

            tazz

            I prefer full sized headphones, especially for home use, so I’ll pass on dt1350. For now I’m not decided. On one hand I’m scard of sr325 harshness, piercing trebles, on the other hand HE300 could be too calm and laid back for my music.

  • Reply August 10, 2011

    deanreed

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve got an Asgard and HD598. I like the setup but am interested in stepping up to the next level with the headphones and was thinking about the HD650 or the HE-300. I notice however that you find the HD598 and the HE-300 to be roughly comparable. So I wonder if you can tell me – do you think the HE-300 represents a clear enough upgrade to the HD598 to justify buying them? 
    If not, do you think the HD650 would be that next jump up, or can you recommend a headphone under $500 that would offer a clear improvement with a similar sound signature?

    Thanks so much. 

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Donunus

      get the hd600s while supplies last. You’ll thank me for that move 🙂

      • Reply August 10, 2011

        Lieven V

        I don’t fully agree . I sold my 600 after hearing the 650, it depends what sound you want. And as the he-300 resembles the HD650, he might not like the HD600

        • Reply August 10, 2011

          Donunus

          I know that its a matter of preference between these two. I just recommended them since they were closer to the 598 in the bass department than the 650 and if he did want to try them at all, there won’t be any other opportunity to get them after they were all gone since they are discontinued.

          Basically it ends up depending on how much bass he wants. 598 levels or more? Then if it is a more balanced presentation of upper mids or a smoother more euphonic feel to the sound 🙂 

          Then the rest of the equipment being used also plays a part in the headphone one should get too unless a whole new system is also purchased along with the new cans.

          • Reply August 10, 2011

            deanreed

            Thanks for the thoughts guys. I should add that I’ll be adding the MSII Dac to the system. I’m afraid I just am not able to articulate my precise preferences with regard to sound as of yet. I had Grado SR80i, but really appreciated the HD598 in comparison. I find the bass to be sufficient with the HD598 – I’m no bass head. So it simply seemed to me, after reading a lot of what Mike has had to say here (thanks again) and elsewhere, that the HE-300 and HD650 were sort of further up a similar category of sound, if that makes sense.

            We’ll see what Mike has to say re my question and whether the HD650 would work acceptably with the Asgard, despite his preference for the Lyr with the HD650.

        • Reply August 11, 2011

          Anonymous

          This is what I’m talking about.. I can only make recommendations, but at the end nothing beats personally listening to both headphones.

      • Reply August 11, 2011

        Anonymous

        Dear Sennheiser, please do not discontinue the HD600. You don’t have anything else in your line up that can replace the HD600.

        • Reply August 11, 2011

          Lieven V

          HD600 is still for sale here and Sennheiser as far as I know still still hasn’t confirmed they were stopping production. These rumours have been going on for years now…

          • Reply August 12, 2011

            Anonymous

            Just in case..

    • Reply August 11, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Dean,

      • Reply August 11, 2011

        Anonymous

        Hi Mike, it looks like your answer got cut off could you reanswer?

        • Reply August 11, 2011

          Anonymous

          Wow, wonder what happened there. Luckily I have a copy of the post. 

      • Reply August 11, 2011

        deanreed

        Thanks very much for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully. Your reviews have been a sort of education for me in the short time since I’ve taken interest in the world of headphone audio. In the absence of any place to actually try this equipment out, it seems like the best you can do is read up before you buy something you’ve never used/heard. Your reviews and responses are truly appreciated.

        • Reply August 12, 2011

          Anonymous

          You’re welcome, Dean.

  • Reply August 10, 2011

    Mate Mayer

    Hi Mike,
    Can you drive the HE-300 with a portable player like an iPod or Cowon J3?
    Thanks,
    Mate

    • Reply August 11, 2011

      Anonymous

      You can, but I think adding a small amp would help get a better impact on the bass.

      • Reply August 11, 2011

        Mate Mayer

        I see. That is what I thought also. Do you think the HE-300 is a better headphones than the HD650? Should I sell my HD650 and get the HE-300?
        Mate

        • Reply August 11, 2011

          Anonymous

          If you want to build a high end system, you need to stick to the HD650 as it’ll scale up better.

          The HE-300 is more appropriate for people with mid-fi budget wanting to have a great sounding system.

          • Reply August 11, 2011

            Mate Mayer

            Hi Mike,
            Thanks for your advice. I do want to build a high end system. I was looking at the peak/volcano combo. Since I live in the US, I could get that easily. Looking forward to your full review of that combo. What DAC would be a good match for that combo?
            Thanks,
            Mate

            • Reply August 12, 2011

              Anonymous

              Hi Mate,
              I really enjoyed the Peak/Volcano with the Audio-Gd Ref7.1. I also enjoyed it with the Bryston BDA-1 very much.

              The full review has been sort of delayed since I’m waiting for the standard power supply to arrive, hence we can see the difference between running the Peak off of the standard PSU and the Volcano PSU.

  • Reply August 15, 2011

    Katun

    (I’m trying to remember if I posted here…)

    Great review! I’ve gotta admit you and your photography skills sure know how to make something as generic as a headphone, look godly. And with that first picture of these you have up there… Drool. These are stunning to look at! (Your picture especially)

    So, I’m contemplating on buying the Asgard or the E9 for these. I’m guessing the Asgard, but just wanted to get your opinion. I’m not sure if the Asgard is overkill or not.

    I’m liking how you say these have more bass body than the HE-500. I absolutely loved their bass, and thought it extended amazingly deep. But, anything with a bit more body is sure to categorize it into my highest rankings for quality bass. HE-500 is a member of that club, I hope to see if the HE-300 is the new president.

    • Reply August 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Katun,
      I think you have posted here before 😉

      Asgard for these? No I don’t think that’ll be overkill.

      As for the bass section, I’m sure you know that the bass quality of the HE-300 will be less than the HE-500’s.

      • Reply August 16, 2011

        Katun

        Well, here on the site of course =D

        With how “Mid-Fi” they are, I almost want to get the E7/E9 combo. Currently, I need a better DAC than the one built into my P650, so I’d think the E7 would do well. Other than that, I’m not looking for a super amp, just something pretty basic, that will help the sound a bit.

        Yeah, I was suspecting that. If it’s a bit more bodied though, I don’t think I’ll mind.

        • Reply August 16, 2011

          Katun

          Never mind on that E7/E9 combo.

          (I’m currently looking more into the MSII + Asgard)

          • Reply August 17, 2011

            Anonymous

            The MS2 + Asgard is a good set up.

        • Reply August 17, 2011

          Anonymous

          Nice. Looks like you’re set then.

          BTW, what is the P650?

          • Reply August 17, 2011

            Katun

            Ah, it’s a desktop CD player by Teac. It’s pretty much the only “source” I know where can use the line outs to connect to an amp. In other words, I’m one of the only few that doesn’t use a laptop as my source 🙁

            Knowing that, I found out I cannot get the MSII, as it’s USB. I’m having all sorts of trouble trying to build a decent system, so I may just use the HE-300 off my P650 and all it a day. Or maybe, I’ll just go back to stock buds 😉

            • Reply August 18, 2011

              Anonymous

              Hi Katun,
              I think the TEAC CD player would be a good source for now.

  • Reply August 15, 2011

    Anonymous

    If I’m gonna use a Matrix M-stage + Matrix Mini-i combo, which would be better? HE-300 or HD650?

    • Reply August 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      HE-300.

  • Reply August 15, 2011

    P. J.

    Mike don’t resent me if I have asked this before but I have asked this question at least 3 times already on Head-fi and would like your opinion as well: I’m really curious which headphone (HE-300 or HE-500) is more different from HE-4. I would like to have two cans with different sound signature.

    • Reply August 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Well either the HE-300 or the 500 are different enough from the HE-4. But if you need to chose one, probably going to be the HE-300 due to the dynamic driver vs planar.

      Or may as well get a Beats or a Bose. I’m pretty sure the signature will be different. 😉

  • Reply August 16, 2011

    Austin M.

    Let’s say I had a choice to go buy either the Asgard or the Valhalla in a few days, would there be any significant difference in sound (increased treble and details maybe) between the two? Which is one is best for both the HE-300 and the HE-500. Since I am not getting the HE-500 for a few weeks, I’ll have to stick with the HE-300, even though I am not a huge fan of the warmth (after hearing the HD800, it’s what I judge everything on). Is there any amp that will increase treble response hopefully?

    • Reply August 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      Just so you know, the Valhalla is an OTL design and is not the best choice for Orthodynamics.

      If you’re just looking for an amp that increases treble details, yes the Valhalla would be it. If you are going to be using the amp with other headphones in the future (since you do reviews and such), then the Asgard would be a more versatile all-rounder.

  • Reply August 22, 2011

    P. J.

    I just took the plunge and ordered them.

    • Reply August 23, 2011

      Anonymous

      Alright, let me know how you like them.

      • Reply August 23, 2011

        P. J.

        will do Mike. I just got another HE-6 today which is slightly thicker than the original HE-6 cable with heatshrink around the connectors (this one has connectors moulded onto the cable) and I will evaluate them with this cable.

        • Reply August 24, 2011

          Anonymous

          Oh, they made a new cable for the HE-6? Didn’t know that.

  • Reply August 23, 2011

    Lieven V

    I blame Mike and this raving review for this headphone being extremely popular on Headfi 😀

    • Reply August 23, 2011

      NorCa

      I was so set on HD650 till this review and one of his comments, something like If you are planning on a big setup later on get HD650 otherwise get HE300.

      • Reply August 24, 2011

        Lieven V

         I do have to believe Mike on that. HD650>HE-300

    • Reply August 24, 2011

      Anonymous

      You’re welcome, Lieven. 😉

  • Reply August 25, 2011

    Vibco

    Mike, which one has better coherency? or i probably should say which one will let me get into the music, better this one or he-500? and will the 300 or 500 pair well the fostex hp-a3?

    • Reply August 27, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think both have good coherency, although the HE-300 slightly more so.

  • Reply September 5, 2011

    Barun432

    Can the FIIO E7 drive these HE 300 headphones?

    • Reply September 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      Better go with the E11.

  • Reply September 7, 2011

    Kzjle Lee

    Hey Mike, currently I have a SR80 woodie paired with a cmoyBB specifically modified to fit the Grados. I’m just wondering if I were to get the HE-300s, will my cmoyBB be able to drive it well? Also, am I looking at a significant upgrade from the SR80s?

    • Reply September 7, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think the upgrade from the SR80s are quite certain (although different sound signatures, the Grados are more forward, more aggressive, the Hifiman is warmer, more balanced, more bass body)., as for the cmoyBB, I think you can give it a try, but I can’t guarantee.

  • Reply September 7, 2011

    Hariz Razali

    Hello Mike.

    Where can I get this model? Can’t find it anywhere in Amazon. Also how does it stand against DT880? Can the HE-300 keep up with DT880 details (I don’t know how to word it)?

  • Reply September 9, 2011

    flp

    Hey Mike.I’m looking for top tier headphones, but I’m pretty far from any store to check them out. You recomended the HE-500 for rock-pop, indie, and the popular music culture (thinking of Pitchfork, NME and the like) if I understood correctly. But how about with those HE-300? Some details on your review made me wonder.For me, It is much more easy to buy a T1 or a HD800 rather than a LCD2 or a HifiMan, due distances and taxes. But I am open. So, which is the very best you know to cover that wide and trendy “kind of music”?  (BTW, I’m using a MF M1-HPA as a desktop computer companion, if it changes something)Thank you.(Sorry about my English)

    • Reply September 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi FLP,
      What headphone do you currently own, and which one has work well for your music?

      I listened to Pitchfork and NME briefly and I’d immediately rule out the HE-300 (too slow for that music), the HD800, and the HE-500. The LCD-2 and the T1 would be good for those two bands, as well as rock-pop-indie.
      High end headphones can be very polarizing and so it’s important to choose one that matches your music well.

      • Reply September 17, 2011

        flp

        I own a few entry-levels, but no-one really fits what I’m looking for. So I’ll try hints with some of the most populars.

        Earbuds, I like the Senn MX900’s positioning and headstage (and even that cold lush on some semi-electronic music), but their highs are too aggressive sometimes. 

        On the go, The HD 25-1 sounds too thin to my ears now, so I’m using IEMs most of the time. I like some acoustic reverb and, certantly, I need my bass, so I find myself using bass heavy ones more than others (I like the intimacy on the Radius DDM and, most of the time, their textured bass, not too tight nor too boomy). On the other hand,  I still enjoy highs on the HifiMan RE-0.

        Full side, I choosed the Senn HD600, cause I think they have more to say over the pass of time (scale up) than others I heard from AKG, Ultrasone or Beyer on the same level. But they are too laid-back for my music, frankly.

        Oh, I meant Pitchfork.com and New Musical Express (NME.com). They are two of the more influential indie-music webs around the world. I don’t really read them, but I know they are focused on the same kind of pop music I like.

        I think that indie music tends to be treble heavy, so better to smooth highs and low-treble humps. But what it really needs is good mids that create intimacy for those love and rupture lyrics and a good articulation there to capture the melodies made by, principally, guitars and piano/keyboards.

        I do thank you for your answers and time.

        • Reply September 19, 2011

          flp

          I mean MX980 🙂

        • Reply September 20, 2011

          Anonymous

          Very informative post there flp. From reading your comments I think you should go with the LCD-2. Treble won’t be too much for you, bass will be plenty, pace would be good, and you certainly won’t find it to sound thin.

          Your comments on not wanting humps on the low treble, I think you’ll be better off with the revision 1 of the LCD-2. 

          • Reply September 26, 2011

            flp

            😀

            I’ll try to find a rev. 1 with leather headband, then.

            Thank you, I really appreciate your efforts and service.

            • Reply September 26, 2011

              Anonymous

              You’re welcome, flp.

  • Reply September 13, 2011

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike,
    How if it is compare to Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro/250 ohm?? Is it worthwhile to have one more dynamic type or  I have to go to planar typemodel??? I like to hear classical music. Thanks.

    • Reply September 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      If you listent to entirely classical, then I think the DT770 Pro may be the better choice, compared to the HE-300.

      • Reply September 13, 2011

        Anonymous

        Thanks a lot Mike for your endorsement DT770 Pro, sound great!!! So I dont have to buy another freaks.

        • Reply September 14, 2011

          Anonymous

          Anytime, Jebat.. 🙂

  • Reply September 15, 2011

    Eskimoo

    some people said this HE300 had grado like characteristic, much like HD598 ‘grado wannabe’.
    what is your conclusion between these two same price tag?
    what differences between two brand characteristics?
    how ‘easy to drive’ these two cans (eg. minimum amp requirement or direct ipod can be done?) ,  ksc75&portapro got 60 ohm at the specs.

    • Reply September 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Well… I can see that perhaps they are similar in the way that a HE-300/HD598 is more like a Grado rather than say a Beyerdynamic or a Denon or an AKG. But other than that, I think there is quite a substantial difference.

      As for amping, the requirement for the HE-300 and the HD598 is not that heavy, but I would still recommend having an amplifier in the chain because an Ipod is still too weak for them. Any of the sub $100 amps should do for either of the two.

      • Reply September 16, 2011

        Eskimoo

        the similarity might be to give grado-like presentation (forward mids). but what about the differences between two. Sennheiser I believe still got Senn-sound: smooth, relaxed, warm.
        But what about HE300 you said ‘mimicking the sennheiser-sound’? 
        never try any Hifiman before only knew the brand associated with ultra detail-sound, any input will be good.

        so sub 100$ already can reveal potential of both cans?
        what are the best combination of synergies for both cans you can recommend?

        thank you

        • Reply September 16, 2011

          Anonymous

          Have you ever listened to the HD650?

          • Reply September 16, 2011

            Eskimoo

            yes . but not for long-listening session. Only for 2-3 tracks. 

          • Reply September 16, 2011

            Anonymous

            Sorry can you rephrase your question again? I didn’t get the last one.

          • Reply September 18, 2011

            Eskimoo

            my question for about 300$ price tag, what will make quality gap between “all arounder” HE300 and HD598? both offering “grado like” characteristics.

            what kind of sub 100$ amp will make good synergy with this cans?

            as for highly polarized brand, can we still concluded they have their expertise like AKG with their accoustics& instrumental excellence, beyerdynamic with classical& orchestral excellence.
            are you sure HE300 can make them ‘out of the bucks’?

  • Reply September 19, 2011

    Eskimoo

    my question for about 300$ price tag, what will make quality gap between “all arounder” HE300 and HD598? both offering “grado like” characteristics.what kind of sub 100$ amp will make good synergy with this cans?as for highly polarized brand, can we still concluded they have their expertise like AKG with their accoustics& instrumental excellence, beyerdynamic with classical& orchestral excellence.are you sure HE300 can make them ‘out of the bucks’?

    • Reply September 19, 2011

      Anonymous

      I can only say that the HD598 is a tiny bit more refined, but other than that, it’s just a matter of different sound signature.
      Sub $100? Not so sure as I normally use them with bigger desktop amps. I think you should look at other cans that are easier to drive if your budget is only $100.
      I have no idea what you mean by that last question.

      • Reply September 19, 2011

        Eskimoo

        i read your articles that you ‘trying to compare with big boys’ who priced way beyond hifiman’s dynamic cans , at least for complete setups. 
        do HE300 can compete with big boys?

        or
        do ‘at same price tag ‘ HE300 outclassed HD598? 
        what kind of portable amp (minimum setup) to make HE300 shines?

        *sorry for bad english 

        • Reply September 20, 2011

          Anonymous

          With all respect I seriously have had a lot of difficulty trying to get your point on the last few comments you posted.
          You really should try to be more direct with the question. Tell me what is it you’re trying to accomplish, rather than post confusing questions one after the next.

  • Reply September 20, 2011

    Eskimoo

    sorry for that confusion.

    make it simple, 
    for same price which you recommend between he300 and hd598?
    which genres will shine and won’t shine on he300 ?

    • Reply September 20, 2011

      Anonymous

      Okay, genres.

      The HE-300 is definitely the better all rounder there is no doubt. The HD598 is good with vocals, jazz, some indie, acoustic. And yet, on those genres where the HD598 is good for, the HE-300 is also good at, and the HE-300 can cover more stuff than the HD598 can.
      I think the HD598 will start to pull ahead from the HE-300 when you use high end amplifiers with it. The drivers just scale up better. But people very rarely pair the HD598 with high end amplifiers, and even when they do, the HD598 still remains to be pretty limited in genre bandwith.

      • Reply September 20, 2011

        Eskimoo

        i’ve read additional input from two other web i found, that mentioned the need of less powerful DAC/amp such as SoundMagic A10, FiiO E11, ibasso.
        http://tinyurl.com/3tc8vau
        http://tinyurl.com/3epreau

        very interesting product this is, isn’t it?
        nice sounding ;
        replaceable cables -> built to be modified, perhaps? ;
        easy to drive -> practical & cheaper to purchase as a system

        i guess it must be fun pairing it with new release DAC+AMP FiiO E10

  • Reply September 21, 2011

    P. J.

    I have these for about two weeks now and I can hardly believe how these have changed during this time. Always when I get new headphones I listen with them and leave other headphones dusting. The only ones that didn’t impress me when I got them were HD800. I know sounds odd but that’s how it was. Anyway when I heard the HE-300 I said to myself these probably aren’t for me as I got used to brighter sound signatures but I wanted something different, something closer to HD600 and from the past experiences I knew headphones need time to start working as they should and for my ears to get accustomed to their sound signature.
    I tried different amps, DACs and settled on the sightly brighter Opus dac. I am using a speaker amp’s headphone outputs. I know, you must be asking what am I doing with a speaker amp if there are dedicated headphone amps (which I also own btw) which are designed to headphone’s specifications and theoretically should sound better. Well this speaker amp (Azur 350A) gives me a much fuller and overall more pleasing sound than my dedicated solid state headphone amplifier. HE-300 sound really nice with it.
    The headphones when I got them and also the first 30 hours sounded really muffled, like some cheap headphones which sounds like they completely forgot about treble. Coming from HD800 and HE-4 the lack of treble was even more apparent.
    I kept saying to myself I need to give them more time, if nothing changes they could replace HD555 which I use for gaming and movies as they are both very comfortable.
    Bass actually reminded me of HD555, while everything else reminded me of HD600.
    Bass is still not as tight as the HE-4 bass but treble has really opened noticeably and they are now much more appealing than HD600 were to me.
    Everything is well balanced only, as I said before, bass is not tight and extended as I would like it to be but at least there are enough quantities of it so I’m not that bothered.
    I must point out that I have never tried these with the stick cable which is still wrapped and stored inside the box that everything came with. I am using the HE-6 cable (V1) which is much lighter. The finish quality of the headphones is a bit below HE-4 finish, most noticeably is the area around connectors on the cups. Velour pads are much softer and better made than the ones on HE-4, now the are at least the same thickness all around. The plastic ring that is keeping velour pads in place is skewed and consequently there is a gap between the pad and ear cup.
    I don’t notice any affection to the sound regarding this matter.
    Most welcome change is the clamping force thanks to a less stiff headband. At first I thought these might fall off my head because I am doing so many stuff while listening with headphones but they are not loose and I was worrying for nothing. In fact after HD555 and then HD800 these are now my most comfortable headphones due to perfect clamping force, soft velour cushions and light weight.
    The price is exactly the same as the one I paid for HD600. I do not own HD600 any more but those really were my reference headphones. I cannot forget its sound signature.
    Comparing the two quickly I prefer HD600’s tighter bass and even more intimate sound signature. HE-300 has more bass quantity, more open treble and fantastic mids. If I had to chose one over the other I would choose HE-300.
    When I was ordering this headphone I only hoped it would be different enough from HE-4, which I enjoy very much, so I could have two different sound signatures for different mods; HE-4 for aggressiveness, HE-300 for relaxation but at the same time I wanted an enjoying headphone, not something I would keep just I could say I have more headphones than the next guy. And now I can happily say I got what I wanted. Two very different headphones with two different sound presentations and approaches to music and both very enjoyable.

    • Reply September 21, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for the long and detailed post there, P.J. 

      I have a feeling you will like the Graham Slee amps when you get them. 

      • Reply September 21, 2011

        P. J.

        That is if I do get one to try Mike. Hoping for the best. 😀

        • Reply September 21, 2011

          Anonymous

          Lol, yes.

          I will email Graham hopefully he’ll send you one.

          • Reply September 21, 2011

            P. J.

            Wow that’s too kind from you. Eternally grateful!

  • Reply September 25, 2011

    mike

    Hi Mike,

    Great review as always! I was wondering if you feel as if the HE-4 or HD650s would be a significant upgrade from the HE-300, particularly for vocals and pop music.

    I’m currently using an Audio-GD dac/amp combo unit, but will probably invest in upgraded amplification in the future.

    • Reply September 26, 2011

      Anonymous

      I have a feeling you’ll be better off going straight to the HE-500 or the LCD-2 if you want a significant upgrade.

    • Reply September 26, 2011

      P. J.

      My opinion, when it comes to HE-4 and HE-300, is that one is not better than the other, their signatures are just very different.

      • Reply September 27, 2011

        Anonymous

        I agree with PJ on this one.

    • Reply September 27, 2011

      mike

      sorry for being unclear, but i was trying to decide between the three phones. i only wish my budget had room for an he-500 or lcd-2 😉

  • Reply September 26, 2011

    Lg89

    Thanks for the review! I was wondering how the HE-300s compare to the HD-650s in terms of detail and transparency?

  • Reply September 26, 2011

    Lg89

    Especially when run through a portable amp like the D6*

    • Reply September 26, 2011

      Anonymous

      The HD650 can scale up better, but if you’re using an entry level or mid level amp, you’ll be better off with the HE-300.

  • Reply September 29, 2011

    Eskimoo

    do you have information when will this unit available in indonesia?

    • Reply September 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      Can you check with Don’tblameyourears?

      • Reply September 30, 2011

        Anonymous

        not yet. will ask.
        thanks

        • Reply September 30, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yea that’d be best. Sorry I’m not too aware of where to get products locally. 

          • Reply October 3, 2011

            Anonymous

            it’s okay.
            perhaps local seller will make them available.

  • Reply October 1, 2011

    Shane Revis

    Mike,
     
    Do you think that the HE-300 is a better headphone that the HD600?

    If so, in what aspects?

  • Reply October 4, 2011

    melandree

    hi mike,
     do you think HE-300 will have a good synergy with yulong u100? usually i heard rock & pop

    • Reply October 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      I remember that the Yulong was a good pairing with the HD650 and so it should work well with the HE-300 as well.

  • Reply October 15, 2011

    Aaron1006

    So based on previous comments and the post itself, it sounds like you would suggest the HE-300 > HD650, and that the HE-300 sounds better with budget amps than the HD650 does. Which leads me to ask how well would the HE-300 pair with the Fiio E10, and if the answer is not so great, what would you suggest around a similar price point?

    • Reply October 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      The E10 should be able to drive the HE-300 just right but to me it’s probably going to sound too warm. I think the D-Zero would make a better pairing for the HE-300.

  • Reply October 24, 2011

    Pyrofates

    Hi Mike.

    I had a Denon AH D1100 and I like its clarity. However, the vocals are too soft and not as engaging or bright as other headphones such as audio technica esw9(I would like more  soundstage for this). The bass and mids for the he300 is fantastic but the vocals is not exciting enough for me. Is there a DAC and amplifier that can pair up with this to bring up the vocals? My budget is around US$400 for both DAC and amp.

    • Reply October 26, 2011

      Pyrofates

      Hav to change budget. $150 for amp or DAC. Tight wallet :<

  • Reply November 5, 2011

    bighead

    would these be a good can for like rock or metal… How is the bass on these  compared to the dt770s bass? I know they’re quite different to one another and dt770 is closed, but I just want to know the comparison.

    thanks,

    • Reply November 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Bighead,
      The issue is not the bass. The issue is speed. The HE-300’s pace is not fast enough for rock or metal. The DT770 (250 Ohm PRO) on the other hand has a good pace for rock and metal. But again the tonality and the treble may not be the best for rock and metal recordings.

      • Reply November 5, 2011

        bighead

        have you ever tried the AKG K412p portable headphone? if you have how would you compare the speed on both?

        or if you havent, what headphones that you think resembles the speed and bass character of these he300 so I can get a clearer image of the HE300s sound?  sorry if I ask too much Mike/Lieven 😉

        • Reply November 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          I think the pace is maybe a bit slower than the K412 though still faster than the HD650.
          The closest thing you can imagine the HE-300 to be is on the HD600/HD650 headphones.

        • Reply November 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          I think the pace is maybe a bit slower than the K412 though still faster than the HD650.
          The closest thing you can imagine the HE-300 to be is on the HD600/HD650 headphones.

  • Reply November 5, 2011

    Anonymous

    How do they sound out of a budget receiver? Namely, the Onkyo TX-SR308.

    • Reply November 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      I’ve never tried it with a budget receiver, but it should be okay, the HE-300 is not that difficult to drive.

      • Reply November 5, 2011

        Anonymous

        What $200-$300 Amp/DAC box would you recommend? Personally I’d like to keep it below $240 but if it offers much more performance, I’m willing to pay $300.

  • Reply November 21, 2011

    Jeff

    How well would this pair with the Bottlehead Crack amplifier?

    • Reply November 21, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Jeff,
      The Crack is supposed to be good for high impedance dynamic headphones. The HE-300 is fairly low impedance, so I wouldn’t recommend it especially as I’ve never tried the Crack with the HE-300.
      Try something solid state? The Asgard from Schiit should do pretty good with the HE-300.

  • Reply November 22, 2011

    Morphing thru time

    Do you think HE-300 would be much of an improvement over Ultrasone hfi 780 which i currently own? I’ll be using Xonar essence to drive them and will be listening to rock, metal, electronica and some classical, also do they beat AKG 701 in these genres?

    • Reply November 29, 2011

      Mike

      Hi, 
      Sorry for the late reply. Just saw your post here. 

      I think the sound signature is different. I personally like the HE-300 better than the HFI-780s, but I can see some stuff like metal and classical playing better on the Ultrasone than the HE-300. 

      The K701 and the DT880 have always been more of a monitoring cans first, music cans second for me, and so I’m not really a big fan of them for music. 

      Soundstage, the HE-300 will be more spacious than the HFI-780, but the HFI is more precise. 

  • Reply November 27, 2011

    Chris

    Hey Mike,

    How would the HE-300 do with metal and rock, as well as acoustical music, jazz, classical, and at times electronica (Daft Punk, etc.).  Also, how is the sound signature?

    Thanks and much appreciated,

    Chris

    • Reply November 27, 2011

      Chris

      Oh and is it a better buy than the HD 6xx series?

      • Reply November 29, 2011

        Mike

        Hi Chris, 
        They’re a bit different. I’ve made a brief comparison to the HD650 on the article. If you still have any questions feel free to post them here. 

    • Reply November 28, 2011

      Mike

      Chris,
      You need something that is less laid back than the HE-300 for your metal and Daft Punk stuff.
      The He-300 is warm and has a moderate pace. It would do very well with classic Rock, Jazz, Acoustic, Classical, Pop, RnB. But Metal and Daft Punk, I would try to find a headphone with better “attack” and a sharper, a faster pace.

      • Reply November 28, 2011

        Chris

        What would you recommend personally?  I thought about going for a Grado, but comfort is something that is the next thing important to sound.  Are Grados comfortable? 

        I own the HD280 Pro and I love those headphones, but the comfort level isn’t so great as they can get quite fatiguing.  The other con for them is that there is no mid bass and the vocals and instrumentals could be a tad bit more forward than they are.

        • Reply November 28, 2011

          Mike

          Comfort is difficult Chris, since the comfortable headphones are usually the big full size, and their sound signature usually is the more mellow, laid back kind. So I can’t promise you can get both comfort and the sound that you like.
          I think you should try the HD25-1. It’ll give you the midbass and the forward vocals and instruments. It’s quite different from the HD280 Pro.

        • Reply November 28, 2011

          Anonymous

          The Grado SR325i(s) with Sennheiser HD414 pads are comfortable for me.

  • Reply December 4, 2011

    Anonymous

    How do you weaken the clamping force?

    • Reply December 5, 2011

      Mike

      Well you can bend the headband out to be a little more loose.

  • Reply December 14, 2011

    Nick

    Hi Mike,

    Love your reviews, props for the great work. Anyway, I have a few questions about the HE-300 if you don’t mind answering.

    I’ve mainly been using portable headphones (HD-25, EWS9, Triple.Fi 10) and was thinking about venturing into full-sized cans for a go. I was trying to decide between the usual suspects (Beyer DT880, AKG K701, Senn HD600/650, HE-300) for my first full-sized headphone and wasn’t sure which one to go for and if it would even be a worthwhile step up from what I have now. I listen to mainly indie/alt rock with slower paced classic rock (Beatles, Rolling Stones, U2). I’ll also probably use a Leckerton UHA-4 for an amp, so power matters, with the possibility of scaling up to a Shiit Asgard later on. Thanks for the help!

  • Reply February 28, 2012

    Chris Allen

    How would the HE-300 do for Rock/Pop and Jazz?  Artists like Shakira, Miles Davis, Maroon 5, and the like?

    • Reply February 29, 2012

      Mike

      I think overall it’ll be a good headphone for those music, Chris.

  • Reply April 1, 2012

    john

    Hi Mike,

    Wondered if you had any comments about the very negative review at Headroom?

    http://www.headphone.com/rightbetweenyourears/?p=2270 

    Thanks.

    • Reply April 1, 2012

      L.

       I’m not going to comment on a colleague’s review. I’d say: read ours and make up your mind. It’s Headfonia vs Headphone Samurai, the choice is yours 😉

      Maybe Mike feels different 🙂

    • Reply April 1, 2012

      L.

       I’m not going to comment on a colleague’s review. I’d say: read ours and make up your mind. It’s Headfonia vs Headphone Samurai, the choice is yours 😉

      Maybe Mike feels different 🙂

    • Reply April 2, 2012

      Mike

      I haven’t read their review, but I don’t understand why they can be so negative about such a wonderful headphone.

    • Reply April 7, 2012

      Trent_D

       They also raved to no end about the hd518, which technically might be a good match, but wasn’t nearly as fun or as likable or as musical as the he-300.  I wish I had more good jazz recordings on hand when I was auditioning the 300, because boy did the jazz I have come alive.  It wasn’t quite the knockout for classical I was hoping it would be, but my source was a e10, so that couldn’t have helped either.

      • Reply April 7, 2012

        Mike

        Yes the HE-300 is very nice for Jazz, but for Classical I’d still go for the HD650.

        • Reply November 1, 2012

          Rogier Schreurs

          That’s interesting, what’s the difference in prerequisites for headphones between the two genres? Soundstage perhaps?

          • Reply November 1, 2012

            Nick Tam

            Classical, definitely soundstage. The HE-300 works slightly better for Jazz due to its faster pace and brighter and forward sound. I would feel like falling asleep listening to virtually any Jazz I play through the HD650

            • Reply November 1, 2012

              Trent_D

              I can speak for this. It is a wonderful headphone for jazz, and I just noticed that I did speak for this as it is an old comment of mine we are posting about haha. I am surprised that you don’t think the 650 works for jazz at all.

              • Reply November 1, 2012

                Nick Tam

                No no, it works well with Jazz. Just that with slower, smoother Jazz, I seem to fall asleep. It works too well in other words.

  • Reply April 1, 2012

    john

    Hi Mike,

    Wondered if you had any comments about the very negative review at Headroom?

    http://www.headphone.com/rightbetweenyourears/?p=2270 

    Thanks.

  • Reply June 16, 2012

    Ben

    I have two questions:
    1) I’m thinking about getting the HE-300’s as a dedicated home headphone. How different will it sound from a pair of Sennheiser HD25’s?
    2) How well do you think it would sound with the JDS Labs C421 amp (AD8620 omap) and a Headstage USB DAC? I don’t have a whole lot of money to spend for a higher end DAC and I already own the amp for my portable setup.

    • Reply June 16, 2012

      Mike

      Ben,
      The sound of the HE-300 is very different than the HD25-1. It’s bigger, more laid back, warmer, more like Senn’s HD650. I think you should be fine with that set up you have now.

  • Reply July 17, 2012

    Ekawit Jaithiang

    How about comparing to MS-1i?
    I’m thinking about changing to this one and i already owned D-Zero.
    Is it worth to change?

    • Reply July 18, 2012

      Mike

      For sure the HE-300 has a much bigger sound than the MS1i. It’s a much better headphone in a lot of aspects.

      • Reply November 28, 2013

        Ricardo

        Could you tell which aspects the he-300 is better than the MS1i?

        • Reply November 28, 2013

          Mike

          It sounds bigger and fuller.

  • Reply July 26, 2012

    Unreformed

    Mike I already have the HE-400…. but have a bit of cash to invest in my set up. About $500 USD. I was going to add the HE300 and a $250.00 desktop amp. If I’ve already got the HE400 is the HE300 worth buying as an allrounder?

    • Reply July 26, 2012

      Unreformed

      BTW As far as amps go. I have the FiiO E10 and I fricking love the bass boost switch on that thing…. Is there a $250.00 or so amp that’ll give me that type of hard hitting low end…. maybe an amp/ dac box.

      • Reply July 26, 2012

        Mike

        The ALO National is $299, I believe, and has one of the best low end under the $300 mark.
        Disclaimer: ALO is our sponsor.

        • Reply July 26, 2012

          Jack Knight

          mike, do you know where to buy HE-300 in indonesia?

        • Reply July 26, 2012

          Jacoby Scott

          Whoa Mike you tweaked my noggin a little with that recommendation! I was thinking a desktop solution and was settling comfortably into the notion of either the Matrix M Stage (with the factory biased Burr Brown chip) or the Schiit Asgard (although I’ve never liked the idea of buying a high quality component callled “Schiit”…. The National…. Interesting…. I know you are getting bombarded with questions these days and we’re on opposite sides of the Pacific so you won’t see this till tonight, but would a portable amp like the National be a viable laptop amp? compared to say the Asgard or Matrix M-Stage… I like the idea of USB plug in…. I don’t mean to pile on as it seems like you’re getting hammered by questions but there as so many frickin choices out there these days (good thing) but it hard to sort through them all, especially when in the states we don’t have any where to test drive anything…. Thanks for all that you do… this place is a fantastic resource.

          • Reply July 27, 2012

            Mike

            Jacoby,
            I think the only issue you’ll have with the National is that the battery power is going to be limited, as opposed to the desktop options. But you can keep the battery charger plugged in, though that probably won’t be good for the battery.

            The Asgard, M-stage and the National all don’t come with a USB plug-in. You need to add in a DAC.

            • Reply July 27, 2012

              Jacoby Scott

              Yeah I looked at all three and the national specs out pretty strong and seems pretty highly regarded by anyone who has listened…. I’ve always seen amps as just boosting a signal, not affecting their tone… In this micro speaker realm its a different ballgame I guess… based on measurements all three have wildy different frequency ranges… National is 10hz to 100,000hz (which is actually a pretty strong standard by my experience) The Schiit states it goes 2hz to 200,000hz which is more worrisome to me than good…. 200,000 hz which seems way too high dare I say ear piercing with the wrong headphone and inefficient as all hell to capture and boost such a wide bandwidth… 2hz!. Wouldn’t boosting some inaudible low end create spacial muddiness? The Schiit also seems to measure high on distortion and has a sharp decay at its frequency ends (although who could tell when their are that far out of the range of human hearing)…. Reading the specs (which is far from bullet proof) the National seems to be sitting in a really strong sweet spot…. I wanted to be able to plug into a laptop with AC power but I guess with a 12 to 15 hour battery…. it’s not a really big deal if I can play it while it’s charging….. I’m not clear on the whole mechanics of lithium ion. Seems like Ken and company have a pretty customer oriented return policy… I’ll sleep on it and see how I feel in the morning…. based on how I feel right now, I think you sold another unit for your sponsor 🙂 but I can’t blame you for having top notch sponsors….its a good thing ….. Thanks for the input on that one… And thank you for taking the time…. Seems like you’ve got a ton of people asking the same questions everyday. I wasn’t thinking about portables or Alo but I think you are right…. we shall see. My Best – Jake

              • Reply July 28, 2012

                Mike

                I enjoyed reading that long post of yours, Jake. 🙂

                On the frequency range numbers, you should just ignore them. They tell you nothing about how the amplifier sound.

                • Reply July 28, 2012

                  Jacoby Scott

                  Pardon me Mike I am a bit of a novice when it comes to headphone configurations especially since you can’t pop open the can and rewire the drivers in a different configuration or rewire the amp in a bridged mode but in car audio and home audio installs that i’ve done, the driving factors to ending up with sound signature that is good, stable and free of distortion is (A) your bandwidth that you are boosting (by way of the manufacturer blocking it in) which gives you your frequency range…. and the ohm impedance of the amplifier matching up or interfacing with the ohm impedance of the drivers…. I get that its a much more intimate setting and more micro… but if I were reading the Schiit spec on a home install I would worry that its a hissy amp that could prove unstable… and I’d have to be careful about which drivers we connected to it and what wiring configuration we used… cuz it has the propensity to blow out a system… that’s all…. The guys at Alo seemed like they took the time to block in their signal…. the guys at Schiit didn’t. And even though its nominal…. you’ll never see a tube amp with a 10hz low end… it’s always 30 or 40 or 50… which leads me to believe they are not good amps to run Monster Beats through….. And maybe I should stop sipping whiskey before bed and making such a big deal out which amp I’m gonna buy I suppose…. Sorry, about my ramblings…. this decision is getting WWAAAYYY to convoluted…. I like the boutique companies in this industry but there is something to be said for having 5 big timers to choose from to…. at least decisions are easier…. Ah Well… Its all good.

                  • Reply July 28, 2012

                    Mike

                    I don’t know what to say, but I think you should just give one a try and go from there. 🙂

                    • July 29, 2012

                      Jacob Scott

                      yeah i suppose i should…. sorry about my ramblings this headphone is horribly confusing. normally your looking at output impedance, driver impedance and making sure an amp has enough “power”… all this talk of color, warmth, soundstage, transients etc… is baffling… fyi i bought the national… i guess its starting point.

                    • July 30, 2012

                      Mike

                      No problem, Jacob. Let me know if there is anything else you want to ask.

    • Reply July 26, 2012

      Mike

      The HE-300’s sound is different than the HE-400. I think if you feel like it, yes it would be a good headphone to complement the HE-400.

  • […] *Audiophile Stuff* Guys , grab it! Its like having a HD650 at almost half the price. As per heaphonia review :- * I think the K701/DT880/HD650 trio is facing a very serious threat from the HE-300. The […]

  • Reply August 1, 2012

    Jack Knight

    hi mike, do you think he-300 and ALO national is a good pair?

    • Reply August 2, 2012

      Mike

      Yes, Jack. SHould be.

  • Reply October 11, 2012

    Renishi

    Hi Mike,
    I previously own a ms1i but I decided to change it as it is to fatiguing for long usage. I then went to jaben and audition a few of the open cans in the region of $200 to 300. I like ms2i the most but is still as forward as the ms1i. I just assume forward cans can be fatiguing for long usage. Then I came to the he300 and hd598. Both of them were good but the he300 has not burn in yet as it is still new. Is he300 as good as ms2i once it is burn in? Should I take an plunge into it instead of ms2i?

    • Reply October 11, 2012

      Trent_D

      I can speak for the HE-300 and say that it is very non-fatiguing, even over long use. It is a good headphone.

      • Reply October 11, 2012

        Renishi

        thanks~ i will most probably take the he300 too

    • Reply October 11, 2012

      Nick Tam

      I believe Mike has mentioned that the HE-300 has a HD650 like sound but with higher PRaT so it still has a overall dark sound signature but yet far more musical and easy to appreciate due to it’s ease of drive

    • Reply October 11, 2012

      Mike

      The HE300 is warmer, would probably be a better choice than the MS2i.

    • Reply October 11, 2012

      Mike

      The HE-300 is warmer and less bright, would probably make for a better choice than the MS2i (since you want a less fatiguing sound).

      The HD598 is also good and I like the comfort better than the HE-300, but I don’t think it has enough bass body to be an all rounder headphone. Midrange is also more forward on the HD598.

      You should also try the HE-400. Planar sound, relatively dark and unfatiguing.

    • Reply October 11, 2012

      Renishi

      Thanks for replying mike and everyone.It seems like he300/400 is the way to go then 🙂
      I wanted to audition the he400 at jaben but they dont have any at that time.

  • Reply October 12, 2012

    Sean&Annasarah

    Any one try the alo headphone cables on the hd 300.

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Rogier Schreurs

    One of these popped up second hand, anybody know whether they’ll supplement my DT990 well? I’m on the constant lookout for something more of a Sennheiser, but without the veil and if need be, I’ve got a little spare change lying around with which to finance this unit. I’ve got this gnarling feeling I’m slowly becoming the ‘DT990-guy’, since it’s all I ever talk about haha 😉 BTW is it true that there are multiple versions of these?

    • Reply November 1, 2012

      Mike

      Rogier,
      I’m listening to the Philips Fidelio X1 and it’s a Sennheiser HD650 with less veil, and more open and spacious like the Beyers.

      • Reply November 1, 2012

        Trent_D

        Are you saying it is a better HD650?

        • Reply November 2, 2012

          Mike

          It’s easier to enjoy than the 650, but overall technicalities and scalability still the 650. I think I said something like that on the review as well.

          • Reply November 2, 2012

            Nick Tam

            The Sennheiser veil is practically non-existent with good amping to begin with

            • Reply November 9, 2012

              Trent_D

              I don’t notice it with the cMoy.

          • Reply November 2, 2012

            Trent_D

            I was actually refering to the Fidelio X1 being better then the HD650.

            • Reply November 2, 2012

              Mike

              Right… sorry there.

              Actually with the X1 is sort of the same thing. I think it’s easier to enjoy than the HD650, but not quite the HD650’s scalability.

              • Reply November 2, 2012

                Trent_D

                Well, I just got the dacport lx and I am loving it. Although I don’t have the MS2+ any more toa/b, I am liking the LX more, although, even on the cMoy, some of my older recordings’ flaws are more upfront than they were before. The HD650 should be hear next week. Now, I just have the amp to figure out. On that note, what amp are you using for the X1?

              • Reply November 9, 2012

                Rogier Schreurs

                Can’t recall which fidelio i tried on in a local store some time ago, but I hated every bit coming out of it. It was quite expensive too like dt990 money or something. Anyways I think I’m just gonna scope the second hand market for a HE-500, that one seems pretty juicy to me. Would really like a set of cans with a smooth midrange to enjoy certain sounds more. Sorry btw, don’t know why I can’t get my ears to agree more with you Mike, but you’re doing a great job with the site and all (really enjoy it) so keep it up!

  • Reply December 13, 2012

    Jeff B

    I am late to the party, but might aswell ask. I am torn between the DT 880 PRO and HE-300. I listen to Electronic (Hybrid, Fauxliage, Delerium, Thievery Corporation) and rarely rock/metal (Guano Apes, Kylesa, Katatonia) and was wondering if the HE-300 would be the best overall choice. With the Electronic I have, there’s a lot of female vocals.

    I currently have a Xonar STX and HD-558 and really love my 558 for everything I listen to, I’m not really a person to understand what “dark, bright” “slow, fast” means, but I’m just looking for an upgrade.

    • Reply December 13, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Jeff,

      I think the HE-400 would be more appropriate for you. Also check out the Beyerdynamic DT770 Anniversary Edition.

      http://www.headfonia.com/tag/hifiman/

      and

      http://www.headfonia.com/tag/beyerdynamic/

      • Reply December 13, 2012

        Jeff B

        I’d love a pair of HE-400s, but unfortunately $400 is a bit steep for me
        (atleast, for headphones.) I hear that the DT770 is a more bassy
        headphone, and that is really not a concern for me (some say the HD-558
        is light on bass, but not once have I thought it needed more, it’s more
        or less perfect for me.)
        Are the DT770s really that good for female vocals and electronic (an equalish amount of bass to the 558 would be fine.)?

        Are there any other recommendations you could give in the $250 range?

        • Reply December 13, 2012

          Mike

          We’ve recommended the DT770 to a few people and they’ve been very pleased. I suggest you look into it. The bass amount would be more or less equal to the 558, vocals I think better than the 558. If you dig through the DT770 AE comments section, some people posted links where you can get it for a good price.

          • Reply December 13, 2012

            John Clare

            I’ve had the DT-770 AE for a couple of days now and my other headphones are the modded 558. I’m going to stick my neck out and say that the AE is a closed version of a modded 558. They are very similar. The Sennheiser is grainier, and not quite as clear. The AE has stronger bass impact, but I wouldn’t say it is boomier. The main difference I notice is that since the AE is closed, you feel the sound pressure from the bass more acutely, so it’s not quite as easy to listen to for hours as the 558. I don’t like the stock 558 (sorry Mike). The whole sound is inferior to the modded version with the foam strips removed.

            Edit: forgot to say I mainly listen to electronic like you Jeff.

            • Reply December 14, 2012

              Jeff B

              Both of you were helpful, and I’ve decided to wait; I’ll go for Mike’s original recommendation, the HE-400.

            • Reply December 14, 2012

              Mike

              Thanks, John.

      • Reply April 16, 2014

        Tom

        Hey Mike,

        Sorry to reply to a year old post like this but you seem to be quite knowledgeable regarding these headphones. I am in a similar boat as jeff was here, in that i listen to a lot of electronic stuff(french house, trance, synthpop, idm, chillwave) as well as hip hop and some progressive/death metal. I have been looking around and the he-300s look VERY tempting, but are the 400s really worth the extra price for that genre without a DAC/Amp? or would i be better getting the 300s and something like a Fiio E17? Ive heard the HE-400s can sound a bit hissy in the midrange and lack color in the bas-mid range compared to the 300s, Is this true?

        • Reply April 16, 2014

          Dave Ulrich

          For course, I have used it with the e9k and Dacport LX among other things, but I would definitely go with the HE-400 for that music. The he-400 is being discontinued so it is discounted at $299.

  • Reply December 23, 2012

    fsgb80v7cbwe

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  • Reply December 23, 2012

    lida

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  • Reply December 25, 2012

    Trent_D

    With the dacport lx as the source, which do you feel would work better this the he-300? The C421 or the National?

    • Reply December 25, 2012

      Mike

      Either one should be good. The National is darker and has a weightier low.

  • Reply December 28, 2012

    Eli Segal

    Hi Mike,

    I’m looking for a pair of open cans for listening at home, I listen to rock/pop/indie mostly. I already listened to SR80 (Nice for guitars but too bright), hd598(nice but it’s too cold and a bit too smooth for rock), momentum(very nice but closed and I want open cans), hd600(very nice but not comfertable enough to walk around the house with).
    Also, I already have hd25 and DT770/250.
    Would you say that the HE300 would fit the bill?
    I’m also thinking about sr60 which should be less bright than the sr80

    If you have more suggestions I’ll be happy to here’em

    Thanks
    Eli

    • Reply December 29, 2012

      Trent_D

      I don’t think the sr60 will be any less harsh in the treble. That just seems to be a Grado thing. Well, the he300 will be warmer than the hd598 and it will have more bass. It is on the mellow headphone and a fair all -a-rounder it would work well for rock/pop/indie provided that you don’t listen to anything too fast.

  • Reply May 9, 2013

    Frank Doggrell

    how does the he-300 compare to the beyer dt860 and the sony mdr ma900 ? thanks .

  • Reply October 12, 2013

    George Lai

    Having just had the HE-400, I’m a bit surprised that the HE-300 doesn’t get more love especially at its US$249 price point.

  • Reply November 25, 2013

    George Lai

    And it’s going to be only US$149 this Black Friday.

  • Reply January 23, 2014

    MrTechAgent

    I have the REV 3 ….metal construction with treble accentuation and sub bass roll off (makes the driver rattle) sometimes , apart from all those issues its one heck of a headphone for the price

  • Reply November 4, 2015

    szoze

    Nice review. I have one question. Isn’t the consrucion of the housing of HE-300 basically the same as HE-500 and HE-6?

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