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.

 

 

 

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  • Anonymous

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

    • Anonymous

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

      • 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.

  • Jeff

    How well would this pair with the Bottlehead Crack amplifier?

    • 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.

  • http://twitter.com/letsnotforget 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?

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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. 

  • 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

    • Chris

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

      • http://www.headfonia.com 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. 

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

      • 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.

        • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

        • Anonymous

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

  • Anonymous

    How do you weaken the clamping force?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

  • 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!

  • http://www.facebook.com/destroysall Chris Allen

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

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JJ6FUDPU2LLRWB6JC4N2T3OKN4 john

    Hi Mike,

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

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

    Thanks.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ 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 :)

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ 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 :)

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

    • 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.

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rogier-Schreurs/565592241 Rogier Schreurs

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

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692862021 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

            • 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.

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692862021 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.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JJ6FUDPU2LLRWB6JC4N2T3OKN4 john

    Hi Mike,

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

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

    Thanks.

  • 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.

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ikeGT 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?

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

      • Ricardo

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

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          It sounds bigger and fuller.

  • 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?

    • 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.

      • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1705466507 Jack Knight

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

          • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

            Sorry, no idea.

        • http://32ohmhardwear.blogspot.com/ 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.

          • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

            • http://32ohmhardwear.blogspot.com/ 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

              • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

                • http://32ohmhardwear.blogspot.com/ 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.

                  • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

                    • 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.

                    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

  • Pingback: For Sale : Audio Hardware HiFi-MAN Headphone HE-300 *Audiophile Stuff*

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1705466507 Jack Knight

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

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Yes, Jack. SHould be.

  • 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?

    • 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.

      • Renishi

        thanks~ i will most probably take the he300 too

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692862021 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

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

    • 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.

  • http://twitter.com/Sean_Annasarah Sean&Annasarah

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rogier-Schreurs/565592241 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?

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

      • Trent_D

        Are you saying it is a better HD650?

        • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692862021 Nick Tam

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

            • Trent_D

              I don’t notice it with the cMoy.

          • Trent_D

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

            • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

              • 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?

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rogier-Schreurs/565592241 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!

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rogier-Schreurs/565592241 Rogier Schreurs

                  Believe it was the L1 btw…

  • 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.

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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/

      • 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?

        • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

          • http://www.frogforum.net/ 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.

            • Jeff B

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

            • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

              Thanks, John.

      • 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?

        • 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.

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  • 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?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/lesegal 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

    • 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.

  • Frank Doggrell

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

  • 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.

  • George Lai

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

  • 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