Competing against the likes of the Sennheiser PX200-II and Soundmagic P20, the DTX 300 p is Beyer's new mid-range closed ultraportable. There is no doubt that Beyer can make a great-sounding headphone but the new 300 p is Beyer's cheapest ever over-the-head set. What does one of head-fi's most respected headphone makers offer for $60? Beyerdynamic USA was nice enough to let me find out.
The construction of the DTX 300 p is a lightweight affair of metal and plastic. The brushed stainless steel headband feels robust and the hinges click precisely into place. The plastics are sturdier than they look but the possibility of cracking always exists if these are dropped. The rotating hinges at the bottom of the headband, which allow the cups to be folded upward, are very reminiscent of the cheaper Soundmagic portables. The cups themselves have a glossy plastic finish accented by a matte metal ring around the outside. The cable, complete with a well-relieved y-split and L-plug, is reminiscent of those found on the Beyer IEMs and similar in thickness to the Sennheiser PX-series cords. Like the Soundmagic headphone with the same folding mechanism, the cups do not feature any real strain relief as it would get in the way when the headphones are collapsed. A canvas travel carrying case offering some protection is included.
The DTX 300 p is extremely lightweight and generally remains as comfortable as any of the other small supraaurals for prolonged listening. The headband is not padded but two rubber bits are glued on the underside to prevent it sliding off, a-la Sennheiser PX90. The cups don’t have any freedom of motion about the horizontal axis, which could be an issue for some.
While fully closed, the DTX 300 p is too small to provide serious isolation. Leakage is expectedly low, however, and they are definitely usable out in public - just don’t expect to enjoy them on a plane.
Frequency Response: 25-18,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ω
Sensitivity: 104 dB SPL/1mW
Cord: 3.94ft (1.2m); Angled Plug
I’ve previously reviewed the Beyerdynamic DT235 – a somber-looking and slightly unwieldy semi-portable circumaural that remains one of my favorite $60 sets on the market when it comes to sound quality. The new DTX 300 p, however, is targeting the closed ultraportable segment, thus far dominated by pricier entries from Sennheiser and AKG. Truth be told, the sound quality of the DTX 300 p is quite competitive in the context of its slightly mid-centric signature. The bass is punchy and controlled but a bit soft in nature, making notes come out slightly ‘rounded’ compared to the DT235. It rolls off gently (as does the top end) but still has decent enough depth for most tracks. All in all, the DTX 300 p is not a bottom-heavy headphone, lagging just behind the MEElec HT-21 in bass quantity, but does relay the information present on the track quite accurately.
The midrange is where the little Beyers are most impressive – clear, focused, and quite enjoyable. For a slightly mid-centric headphone, the mids are appropriately detailed and surprise with their clarity and tone. Though not as bright or crisp as MEElec’s HT-21, the DTX 300 p is still slightly brighter than neutral and makes sets such as Sennheiser’s HD428 and Pioneer’s SE-MJ71 sound dark in comparison, just as the HT-21 does. Smoothness is very good and the headphones are never overly aggressive. At the same time, the midrange can hardly be called lush or full-bodied. Those who prefer a thicker, weightier note may be disappointed but I find the clarity to be a worthy tradeoff. The treble transition is smooth and the top end is very slightly laid-back compared to the midrange.
Treble presentation is polite and refined, with no harshness or sibilance to be found. Compared to the Sennheiser PX200-II, the DTX 300 p is smoother and slightly less sparkly. The PX200-II also fares a bit better when it comes to top-end extension, though the DTX 300 p is no slouch. Like the low end, the treble rolls off gently instead of fading out immediately but direct comparisons with the (far pricier) Senn HD25 make the dip fairly obvious. The presentation of the little Beyerdynamics is quite typical of a bright-sounding portable headphone – airy and spacious, but not particularly enveloping. Soundstage depth and height, expectedly, lag behind the width. Layering and separation are quite good but the soundstage is not three-dimensional enough to provide imaging more convincing than that of the average entry-level portable. Business as usual on the whole, then - not even Beyer can break out of the form factor's constraints.
Value (MSRP: $59.00)
Beyerdynamic’s answer to higher-priced ultraportables from AKG and Sennheiser, the DTX 300 p is a competent performer with a surprisingly reasonable price tag. Endowed with impressive clarity and a polite, slightly mid-centric sound signature, the DTX 300 p makes for an all-around pleasant listen. It really is amazing how clear the mids are next to a bass-biased set such as the Sony MDR-770LP or Pioneer SE-MJ71. Bass lovers need not apply and those with larger heads may not appreciate the supraaural fit but for everyone else in search of a highly portable set with respectable sound, the DTX 300 p may just be worth the asking price.