TDK ST-PR300 headphones

TDK's 'studio' headphones have decent sound quality, but feel cheaply constructed

TDK ST-PR300
  • TDK ST-PR300
  • TDK ST-PR300
  • TDK ST-PR300
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Reasonable clarity, decent mid-bass

Cons

  • Cheap construction, poor fit and low clamping force, open design leaks sound and reduces ambient noise reduction, distortion at higher volumes

Bottom Line

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.

Would you buy this?

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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