Behringer is an originally Swiss audio company that produces a large variety of audio equipment, musical instruments, and some on/over ear headphones that are very inexpensive. I’m always willing to give any cheap product a shot, especially from a brand I’ve never listened to before, because you never know… sometimes you might just find a diamond in the inexpensive rough. Enter the HPS3000s, with “studio” in quotes because no one is going to reasonably expect to pay less than $20 for studio grade headphones, but whatever, overuse of descriptors is modern day audio marketing 101, on we go.
Packaging is pretty minimal which is usually the case with cheaper audio products. As long as its reasonably safe from damage while shipping that’s fine with me. The box is flimsy plastic with two similarly plastic packing pieces that fit the headphones, seems decent enough. A simple contact sheet with a web link to the warranty, a warning sheet, and a detachable 6.35mm jack adapter are what come included. These don’t come with a carrying case.
This was too funny not to include – the card says to not bang the headphones together and to literally smack the outside back if they falter, complete with a pictorial diagram. Truly budget troubleshooting for some budget headphones.
The headphones are big, clunky, and tacky, and if you don’t care then whatever. They pivot up and down but can’t move laterally. They’re a little horizontally narrow, but they fit over my ears and and on my head pretty well. The pad is pretty cheap feeling foam covered with super thin, wrinkly faux leather. Not the greatest feeling but again, comfortable enough with no hot spots. Also soft enough that I can keep my glasses on without issues.
The headband is convex and very wide at the center, like almost two inches or so. More cheap foam and thin wrinkly faux leather. I don’t know how these would hold up to extensive use, but this is the kind of stuff that tends to start peeling off and leave those annoying black flakes. The inside band is just plastic, adjustable on both sides, and does actually have indicator lines and numbers. The band is reasonably firm, but not vice grip tight, which is how I personally like it.
All in all these headphones are big and made of cheap feeling plastic. If you don’t mind them looking like a prop from an 80s future movie, they feel comfortable enough.
The cord a standard 3.5mm jack that’s about six feet long and permanently fixed into the right headphone, so it can’t be replaced if it breaks. A larger 6.35mm adapter jack comes included that can screw on/off, so you can use these in that larger input as well which is kind of nice. You can actually see the wire run through the band to the other side:
Pretty bare minimum protection, and feels prone to breaks, something to be aware of.
Spec/Performance Discussion, Initial Listening Impressions, Other Related Observations
The sound quality is noticeably worse than $50-$100 headphones I’ve previously reviewed, but is surprisingly consistent and even. There weren’t any glaring flaws or seemingly missing parts of the range – it all sounded fine and perfectly passable, but just… less good than better headphones.
The quoted response range is 20 – 20k Hz which is pretty good for how cheap these are, and it sounds like the response curve is decently flat. The bass is definitely a bit recessed, and a few low drops lost tone/pitch, but it still sounded decently tight, not at all muddy.
I definitely had to crank the volume up on my device relatively high to get these to decent listening volume. The impedance is 64 ohms which is actually kind of high, so cheaper devices might struggle to these enough power to get decently loud enough.
They overall had that kind of thin, airy, far away sound that’s generally characteristic of cheaper audio products, kind of like you’re on a radio station that isn’t quite getting the best signal. That’s the best way I can describe it.
Despite the cans being so big and clunky they offer basically no noise isolation, so if you’re looking for something to help block out external noise these probably aren’t the best choice.
Random specific listening notes:
- Daft Punk; Random Access Memories Songs – kind of airy overall, guitar sounds cheap
- An Endless Sporadic; Impulse II – instruments cluttered, noticeable lack of clarity, a bit chaotic, hissy percussions
- Steely Dan; various songs – just generally inferior, guitar seemed to fall away
- Lil Wayne; A Milli – bass drop was definitely recessed but still sounded surprisingly decent, not loose at all
- Modern songs generally seemed to sound a bit better than older songs
If you register Behringer headphones within 90 days they offer a three year extended warranty in many select countries, which is actually pretty outstanding coverage for a pair of headphones as cheap as the HPS3000s are. So if slapping them per their troubleshooting instructions doesn’t fix them? At least you’re covered for three years.
Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
The HPS3000s sound noticeably worse than nicer, more expensive headphones, but are surprisingly even and consistent and have no obvious specific flaws, at least that I could notice. Pretty darn good actually for the mere price point of around $20. They’re pretty cheap and clunky looking and feeling, but are comfortable enough. The three year warranty (with registration) is also really good for something as cheap as these are.
If you’re looking for an over ear headphone that’s as cheap as possible while sounding, I guess I’ll say, good enough? The HPS3000 is definitely a viable choice. It’s just kind of an awkward price point because, for not that much more money you can get stuff that sounds significantly better and isn’t so cheap looking/feeling.