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Today we are doing a Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones review. Sennheiser is one of the most respected names in audio. They’ve been designing and manufacturing some of the best pair of headphones, microphones, wireless systems and other pro-audio gear since 1945. And they’re still going strong today.
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Overview
The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones are excellent for monitoring live sound or for studio work with an exceptional frequency response that’s perfect for both music production and post-production applications like video editing, film scoring or podcasting. The closed back design makes them ideal to use on stage while avoiding feedback problems often found in open back designs. And their rugged build ensures years of dependable use even under heavy usage conditions. So if you want a pair of high quality professional grade headphones, the Sennheiser HD 280 Pros are a great choice.
HD 280 Pro Comfort and Fit
The headphones have a very comfortable design with ear cups that swivel to add maximum portability. The headphones have an average size (285 gram), over the ear design with adjustable headband and closed-back earcups that offer excellent noise isolation for maximum comfort even during long sessions. They also feature a padded headband for added support.
The cable is single sided, coiled and Kevlar reinforced to prevent damage from accidental pulls or snags. The cable insert is a straight cable is on the left ear cup the cable is not removable. Although not removable we found the coiled cable design to be sturdy and I did not have any real concern of it breaking especially after taking it apart and seeing it was placed in a way to reduce stress on the solder. points.
Speaking of solder points, an easy mod for the headphones is to upgrade the cable and add some resisters to increase impedance. The only thing you need to do is connect a multi-meter to the stereo jack and determine which pin on the multi connector goes to which on the stereo jack, I’d also check for resistance on the cable; I’ve heard some people (who build their own cables) add resistors in order to increase the “impedance” of headphones so they can get more volume out of the HD 280 Pro portable headphones.
The HD 280 Pros have an circular earcup made from a durable plastic that’s designed to be really comfortable. The earcup is also angled so that sound goes into your ears more directly. It features memory foam ear pads that are covered with super-soft pleather. I did not find the earcups to be fatiguing but I did have some sweating from the pleather cups during extended sessions.
The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones are a quality budget friendly pair of closed-back headphones that offer good sound isolation and maximum comfort. They’re perfect for studio monitoring or on-stage use, thanks to their rugged design. in comparing to other headphones in the same price range, they easily made our best headphones under $200 list for the year.
Closed-Back Design for Aggressive Noise Isolation
For monitoring applications, the HD 280 Pro headphones have a closed-back design with excellent passive isolation. This makes them perfect for both studio monitoring or on-stage use when you’re looking to avoid feedback problems even in high volume situations where bleed into the microphones can be an issue. And since they offer such great sound clarity, they’re ideal for recording engineers who need to isolate their mixes perfectly.
Are the HD 280 Pro Studio Headphones Portable?
You are probably wondering if the HD 280 Pro headphones are portable. The HD 280 Pro features a swivel design that make them fold up to be easily transported. You are probably thinking, great so these will be perfect portable headphones with the collapsible design. I would say yes and no, it depends on what application you are looking to use the headphones for. When comparing the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x vs Sennheiser HD 280 PRO, you will find they are not as portable.
For consumer daily commute headphones, I would look into a different set of cans. Firstly, we found the cord heavy and the jack a little big for using it with our phone during a commute. Secondly, even though they are marketed as portable headphones they do not include a case. By the time you add a quality case you could probably upgrade the headphones to a better consumer set that comes with a case. Finally, even though I enjoy the neutral sound of these for podcasting or studio work, I like a bit more “fun” sound in my commuter headphones and for casual listening. We did find the passive noise isolation of the closed-back design did a good job blocking external ambient noise.
For a traveling professions such as an on location podcaster, monitoring at concerts or traveling to different studios, these are about as good as it gets for portable headphone in this price range. They check all the boxes, budget friendly, durable, comfortable and with the swivel cups portable.
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones Review Sound Quality
The frequency response of the headphones is fairly accurate. With the HD 280 Pro, you won’t hear any over-emphasized sounds, making it an ideal choice for a budget friendly headphone for monitoring recordings in a studio or podcasting. If you were expecting Sennheiser consumer headphones, you’ll be disappointed as these are not designed to be “fun” listening cans.
The main thing I loved about these headphones is they reminded me of my Yamaha NS10 speakers. On these headphones, make something sound good, and it’ll sound great on most other drivers as well. That is plenty of reason to consider purchasing a pair. If you are only doing audio work at home or a studio, you may also want to look into monitor speakers. See the link here for details on the benefits and drawbacks of speakers vs headphones.
The bass response is pretty close to what we expected for a neutral sounding headphone in this price range. Lots of clear, punchy bass while it sounds a bit lean in some of the sub-bass rumblings of movie soundtracks. Overall, one of the best bass frequencies we have seen in a set of cans at this price range where the bass is not overemphasized.
The HD 280 Pro has a frequency response of 8Hz-25kHz, according to Sennheiser, which may suggest it produces good bass; nevertheless, it is not a “basshead” headset. As you are probably aware, humans can not hear below 20Hz so any response below this does not need to be considered. When testing the HD 280 Pro’s we found a drop between 60 to 10HZ which may make some low frequency bass in movie soundtracks seem a bit underwhelming. You will notice the drop in bass especially when comparing to higher priced cans such as the HD 660 S.
We found the mids of these headphones to be ideal for accurate listening and enjoyment. They seem to have a sweet spot in the 160 – 700HZ range. We found most vocal performances to have lots of clarity and detail and really enjoyed listening to guitar heavy genres as the headphones clarity were able to capture the subtle harmonics of the instrument.
Although not terribly noticeable, we did find the upper frequencies to be a bit off with the headphones. Upper registry of voices sounded a tab thin and instruments such as cymbals sounded a bit “hollow” and the details would be lost. This is by no means saying they sounded bad, but comparing them to some of the best studio headphones we have used, they left something to be desired. Of course, the other headphones are several times more expensive.
If we looked at sticking to only studio headphones in this budget, we were hard pressed to find anything that produced a more accurate sound in the upper frequency range.
Other Cans to Consider in the Price Range
No review can be complete without looking at other headphones that are comparable. Our Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones Review is no different so we have lined up some other comparable headphones to checkout for a comparison.
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x – Good sound and removable cable
In our price range one of the strongest competitors is the ATH-M40x. It is another closed-back headphone with a similar neutral sound. The main differences we found are the ATH-M40x has a removable cord and less emphasis in the higher bass frequency. In addition, we found the ATH-M40x has a slight boost in the upper registry which may cause some inaccuracies in translating recordings.
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Professional Monitor Headphones
Sony makes an excellent closed-back studio can in the MDR7506. It has a lot of the advantages and disadvantages of the HD 280 Pro. For me, I found these not as comfortable during long sessions but recommend you check these out as everyone’s ideal comfort is a bit different.
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro – upgraded price level
Moving up into a new price range is the Beyerdynamic DT-770. These come in at a higher price unless you can catch them on sale. I find it usually good to checkout a headphone that falls into the next price category to see if it makes sense to save up a bit longer to go ahead with the upgrade. The DT 770 Pros are one of my go to tracking headphones and are very comfortable for long recording sessions. Note that with the DT 770s you will also need to budget for a headphone amp such as the Schiit Magni 3+ or Heresy.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones
The end result is a great sounding pair of closed-back headphones that offer excellent sound isolation and maximum comfort. With its rugged build, they’re perfect for both studio monitoring or on-stage use. Due to their neutral response and low price these make great on-location movie and podcaster headphones. Again, over and over we found the sound translation near perfect (i.e. if it sounds good on these we can trust it will sound good on other speakers and headphones.).
So if you’re in the market for a high quality pair of headphones, be sure to check out the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones.