Sunday, 9 March 2014

ATH-S300 review - budget winner? Not quite

     The ATH-S300 is a budget "street monitoring" headphone from Audio Technica. Audio Technica is one of the world's most foremost audio brands, so can they please with this paitpair of budget headphones for the daily commuter?

Pros: Good sound for money, folds flat, one side cable

Cons: quite bloated midbass, recessed mids, slightly recesd treble, looks like an inverted satellite dish on my d fatigueing presentation of sound.

The ATH-S300 come in 5 different colours

The packaging looks really good

     The ATH-S300 is very light weight and comfortable on my ears, with hardly    any clamping on my head. Now, you may suspect this leads to bad sound isolation, but the fine fit earpads provide extremely good noise isolation with really good comfort. However, if there was just a thin pad on the headband, comfort would be even better. The little surface area of the headband on top of your head creates a hot pressure point after a while.

     The design of these pair of headphones look really cool and may look bulky but they are actually quite compact and the earcups also swivel to fold flat for compact storage. I found a random drawstring pouch at home so I wastogether,  use it to sis, re my headphones in my bag.

     The sound quality did not sound really good when first out of the box, but they improved a little over just the next few minutes of usage. The mids and highs were brought and the bass also improved. However, the sound quality is still not impressive for the price, S$58,  as there are other competitiors such as  the Sony MDR-ZX300 which is retailing at S$55, which is better with a more neutral and even sound, better and crisper vocals and a less fatigueing and hard sound. The ATH-S300 has very recessed mids which is coupled with quite a bit of mid-bass bloat. While listening to classical music, the mids were so recessed it was quite terrible, especially during piano sonatas or orchestral pieces. Instrumental separation also was quite bad. Treble is also slightly metallic, listening to higher strings such as violins. These pair of headphones are meant more for listening to modern, bass-heavy songs. Slightly aggressive treble does lead to a fatigueing listen after a while. The treble is also, surprisingly, a bit recessed so some songs have a dull, dark sound. I am not too sure how aggresive treble and recessed treble can be produced. The 2 just do not seem to go together, yet here it is. For budget  cans with better, smoother overall sound and sweeter bass, you should go for cans from Sennheiser or Sony.

     Overall, I would say that these are the go to headphones if you are on a budget and want extreme bassy sound, comfort and noise isolation. These pair of headphones did well in all these aspects and even managed to surpass expectations of headphones at this price range, though they do lose to almost all the Sennheiser and Sony budget range.