TDK ST-PR300 headphones
TDK's 'studio' headphones have decent sound quality, but feel cheaply constructed
- Reasonable clarity, decent mid-bass
- Cheap construction, poor fit and low clamping force, open design leaks sound and reduces ambient noise reduction, distortion at higher volumes
As one of the cheapest pairs of full-size headphones available, TDK's ST-PR300 has surprisingly competent sound reproduction at moderate volumes. For a street price of a little more than $20, these headphones offer decent treble clarity and reasonable mid-range response. It's not all good news, though -- build quality is poor and the headphones leak sound badly.
Price$ 39.95 (AUD)
TDK's ST-PR300 full-size headphones are one of the cheapest pairs on the market. At moderate volume levels there is decent detail evident in treble and mid-range frequencies, but the headphones' low price is evident in their high volume performance and the mediocre build quality and fit.
We connected the TDK ST-PR300 headphones to a PC to see how they functioned when streaming low-quality music and playing games, and also gave them a run with an Apple iPhone 3GS. At low and moderate volume levels the TDK ST-PR300 headphones performed better than we expected. A small amount of fine detail is audible in the treble of audio, and most high-frequency sounds are crisp and clear. Mid-range is also well accounted for thanks to competent 40mm drivers. There is little mid-bass to be heard, but overall the sound is reasonably balanced.
At higher volume levels, the TDK ST-PR300 headphones start to struggle. Treble becomes noticeably harsher when the headphones are powered at full volume, and mid-range becomes ragged and loses much of its warmth. While we don't believe this volume level would often be used in a quiet listening environment, we've heard more competent headphones that only cost slightly more.
The clamping force of the TDK ST-PR300 headphones is low, so significant adjustment of the headband is required to get an optimum fit. The open ear-cup design fails to block any outside noise, requiring higher volume levels to drown out ambient sounds. The TDK ST-PR300 headphones also leak sound significantly, so you may annoy those around you if listening at high volumes.
The build quality of the TDK ST-PR300 is mediocre at best, with cheap plastics used for the headband and ear-cups. A rubberised padded headband is comfortable for short periods of wear but we would have preferred the soft suede that the ear-cups are coated with. An in-line volume control along the 2.7m cable allows manual adjustment of audio volume, but it doesn't have a clip for securing it to your shirt or bag strap.
We were interested to see that a 6.5mm (or 1/4in, if you're an imperial sympathiser) mini-jack is included with the TDK ST-PR300 headphones. This allows you to connect the headphones to a whole range of devices such as an audio mixer or professional audio recorder, but we can't think of a scenario where this would actually come in handy — if you have good quality audio equipment then you’ve probably already got good headphones.
TDK's ST-PR300 headphones sound reasonably good for their $39.95 price tag. Their build quality and fit aren’t great but you get what you pay for.
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