*PRODUCT REVIEW* Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones

For me, headphones and radio communications go hand-in-hand!

Nothing beats slipping on a pair of headphones, or “cans” as they’re colloquially known in Australia, to ‘turn the outside world off’ and escape into the world of DX.

XYLs might say it’s intentional isolation — and, if truth be told, a top pair of headphones in the shack will actually give that sense of seclusion we sometimes crave; of being fully immersed in a frequency and disattached from outside noise.

But there are other qualities I’d like to share when reaching for a pair of headphones on the retail shelf for ham radio apps…

The demise of my Sennheiser HD-280 headphones (Seen pictured above) through old-age + wear and tear, and some upcoming Dxpeditions in late 2022, necessitated the purchase of a new set back in August last year.

In addition to being a valuable shack DX-cessory for more than a decade, nursing me through many a pile-up, the current HD-280 studio model had accompanied me all through the Pacific and south-east Asia, on countless dx adventures.

Whilst I was sad to see her go, I was excited at the prospect of picking up some new ‘cans’, a little less weighty and more comfortable around the noggin for prolonged periods behind the mic.

A visit to the local JB High-Fi store allowed me test out a range of over-ear headphones suitable for ham radio listening environments, from brands ranging from Sennheiser, Bose, Sony, JBL and Skullcrusher.

From the options before me, though, the Sennheiser HD-300 headphones were by far the most attractive, in terms of sound quality, weightlessness and price, so I shelled out the coin and took them home.

If truth be told, I also had a sense of loyalty in sticking with a brand which had served me so well in the past, so the decision to run with Sennheiser was much easier to make.


Costing $109 AUD, roughly a third of the cost of the old HD-280s, these closed-back around-ear headphones successfully reduce unwanted background noise for listening comfort.

Barking dogs, whining XYLs, noisy kids and more — completely nullified by my new shack toy.

The Sennheiser HD-300s also look good—sleek black in colour, perfectly matching the dark shack hues of my transceivers and matching DXcessories.

Synonymous with high quality audio gear, the Sennheiser logo, too, adorns both sides of the headband, giving assurances that the headphones meet the quality-assurance standards of a reputable company!

Minus the Bluetooth capability and technical bells and whistles of most other new phone creations, the Sennheiser HD-300s are certainly uncomplicated and have, what I’d describe as, a minimalist appearance.

These entry level headphones are non-bulky, extremely lightweight, and foldable for easy on-the-go storage when travelling.

When flying to Vanuatu for 197DA/DX, and more recently to Wallis Island for 210DA0, for instance, they fit easily into my carry-on backpack and doubled-up as a listening device for my laptop and phone during the flights.

As you can see in the pictures above and below, the black ear cups on the HD-300s are suspended from a narrow, foldable headband with equally narrow silicone padding with an internal track system.

This can be adjusted to suit head size through ten locking points.

The ear cups are attached to the headband using a hinge that gives them enough room to adjust.

Compared to the HD-280s which provided extended coverage with enormous soft ear pads, the removable leatherette ear pads of the 300s are relatively small, in my opinion, for an over-ear headphone set.

In fact, if my ears were any bigger the pads would rest on my ears, rather than enclose them.

This—coupled with the short headband and thin earpiece padding—could be a problem for larger heads so I’d definitely be ‘trying before buying’ to make sure they offer the correct fit.

The pads are, however, very soft and luxurious on the ear.

The Sennheiser HD-300s connect to a transciever via cable in the classic way and possess a mini-jack and a thin cable approximately 135 cm in length.

I find that this allows ample room to move around the shack and reach for things such as pens, cups of coffee, your cold beer, etc. without removing the headphones.

Refreshingly, unlike the more expensive HD-280s which had a linked cable which was constantly twisted or knotted around shack furniture and DX-cessories, the cable of the HD-300s is straight and does not tangle.

Honestly, it’s a refreshing change not having to unwind a birds nest each time I need to deploy the ‘cans’!

A feature not to my liking, however, is the 90-degree angle of the mini-jack plug (See right and below).

Firstly, the tension it creates when the cable is fully extended could have an adverse effect on both the jack socket of the transciever, as well as on the cable itself—particularly if it’s pulled in a direction against the grain.

Secondly, the right angled jack is an ‘awkward look’ as it doesn’t extend neatly from the rig.

Obviously, I understand that Fritz Sennheiser and the German company probably didn’t have ham rigs in mind when they designed them but, for me, the right angle mini-plug jack on most phones these days is irritating.

Regarding sound production now and, for this price, it would be crazy to expect incredible studio quality audio.

What you do get though is a totally balanced set-up that essentially nails the application.

I suggest that the bass range of the HD-300s has no vivacious hype, but is solid and surprisingly precise.

This gives my RX audio a warm foundation, which works well across a range of high-end incoming signals.

The mid-range develops deftly on this, albeit slightly passively, which eliminates some of the audio sharpness.

Over a long period of operating time, as ears become more sensitive, this is not a bad thing.

Combined with the treble (i.e. the highest range of sound), which isn’t too distinguished, and the result is fatigue-free listening—even over several hours of high adrenalin DX work.


I’ve long said that the right pair of headphones will not only prolong your time in the shack (i.e. TITS) but also make it far more enjoyable!

Overall, my assessment is that the minimalist design, weight and the ability to fold the Sennheiser HD-300s into a smaller package makes them an understated pair of headphones for ham radio application.

During the last 8 months, I’ve used these featherweight headphones during long periods of dxpedition work—up to 12 hours at a time—and at home in the shack during contests—and not once did I suffer any semblance of listener fatigue.

Gone are the occasional pressure-induced headaches which eventuated with the old HD-280s, which is a pretty fair trade-off for insignificant reductions in sound quality and immediate comfort if you ask me.

With these benefits in mind, the Sennheiser HD-300s, then, have been the ideal purchase.

I highly recommended them for any guy who undertakes dx adventure—where luggage space is at a premium—and/or who spends long periods of time beneath a headphone listening for DX.

I’ll go on to say that you’ll forget they’re even on your head!

Check out the Sennheiser website for more details on this model or others, or try eBay or one of your local electronics stores.

I hope you found this review useful.

73 de Darren, 43DA001