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Sennheiser HD 280 Headphones

82% Positive Reviews
Rated #62 in Over-Ear

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Posted

Pros: Great sound isolation, deep head vibrating BASS, nice treble, mids are slightly recessed but sound OK, great price to performance ratio

Cons: lacks much of a soundstage, can get somewhat uncomfortable after a few hours

I've owned these cans over 2 years and I've watched them mature like fine wine sitting in the barrel. When I first bought them I was surprisingly disappointed. I was expecting a lot more but found their sound to be tinny and weak. After many many many hours of burn in these cans really warmed up and showed coloration in a nice way. I like to compare these headphones to my DT880 600ohm cans for reference of sound. These cans are much more LIVELY while my DT800's are more ANALYTICAL and neutral. I would say the HD280s are much more suited to electronic/hip hop/ dubstep and any sort of bass heavy music that doesn't require a soundstage. I found my DT880s much better for rock/jazz/some electronic(progressive house) and a few other genres that require a large soundstage such as live performances and movies.

 

Overall, the HD280s take a long long time to burn in. I suggest burning them in for atleast 200 hours to see the full potential of them. These cans are an amazing steal and have incredible bass response for their price tag. My source right now is an HT Omega Claro 24-bit/192khz DAC to a Schiit Magni amp which sounds absolutely amazing. I prefer my HD280s for reggae and hip hop over my DT880s but would pick the DT880s for just about every other genre of music.

 

Here's the bottom line: let these cans mature and then they will put a WOW on  your face. I have compared the bass of these cans(500 hours burned in) to the Ultrasone Pro 900s my friend owns and I must say these can hold sub-bass frequencies surprisingly well while sitting next to the bass king Ultrasones which still reigned supreme over the HD280s.

 

For $99, I purchased them at discounted price for $78 I must say they are a complete STEAL. BUY THEM! NOW! If you have money to splurge I suggest you get the Ultrasone Pro 900s as they will crave your desire for BASS

Posted

Cons: Uncomfortable, tonally unbalanced

I always see people recommending the HD280 like it's some amazing price vs. quality gem in the headphone world or something, and when I borrowed a pair to compare to my HD555 a few years ago, I was surprised by how bad the HD280 sounded and how uncomfortable it was. The bass was anemic, the soundstage was congested, and the way it clamped on the head was uncomfortable. For sub-$100 headphones, you'll be much better off with the Equation RP-21. But if you could spend a little bit more, you'll get into a far better range of headphones like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 (for sealed cans) or Sennheiser HD555 (for open cans)--headphones that absolutely destroy the HD280 in every way possible.

Posted

Pros: decent build quality, isolation, coiled cable

Cons: cable noise, poor sound, poor comfort

The Sennheiser HD280 that I'm reviewing do not belong to me, they're presumably a couple years old (I didn't ask) and in good condition aside from a couple scratches on the earcups. I was curious to how they sounded, especially in comparison to the HA-RX900/700, ATH-M35 and M-Audio Q40 (all of which I don't presently have but definitely remember quite well). I do have Sony XB90EX, Fostex T50rp II (modded to be flat aside from a spike at around 8 - 10 khz) and MDR MA900. All very different headphones, but yeah on to the review.

 

Build Quality: 4/5

These are solid feeling headphones, the cable seems nice but I suspect it's on the cheaper side due to the fact these insensitive headphones have an audible whining similar to the Q40's stock cable, which I know for a fact is awfully cheap. I like the way the earcups swivel, all the moveable parts seem durable. (the 4/5 is because the cable quality, most certainly).

Comfort: 3/5
These are light headphones with poor weight distribution and strong clamp. I get a mild headache-like feeling from wearing them for about a minute, and I'm used to ridiculous clamps (hint hint, Q40). The earpads are deep, however they're not well padded and don't feel that great with the strong clamp, but I'm not very sensitive to this kind of thing so it's fine for me. I know a lot of people would find these dreadful to wear, but I suspect the clamp helps with the isolation which is decent. At a lesser price, both the RX700/900 and M35 are much more comfortable, though the RX700/900 has a somewhat awkward fit and the M35 has weird pressure points, neither are as uncomfortable as the HD280.

Price-to-Performance Soundwise:
The HD280 is a mixed bag of nuts, for sure. I've been listening to them for a few hours and have adjusted to their signature pretty well (all my headphones have pretty different signatures, so this is no problem for me). Plugged into my Sansa clip+ these sound almost exactly like an RX300/500. (15$ headphones with very mediocre sounds, but acceptable at their price). The cable noise isn't at all present with the Clip+, but the headphones sound thin and slightly less refined in the lower frequencies with an oddly out of place and thumpy subbass which seems to come from nowhere. I think it's more accurate to say they're an inbetween of the RX500 and 700, leaning closer towards the 500.

My source and amp is the Schiit stack Magni/Modi, and with it the 280 sounds a tad better, but the cable creates a background hiss which is quite annoying. For a proclaimed 'monitor' headphone, the subbass is a bit too pronounced and a tad uncontrolled, but not as bad as you'd expect.The bass lacks texture big time, but it gives the headphone an illusion of a fuller sound. The treble is rolled off quite a bit after 10khz but before that there's a noticeable peak that makes it sound bright/harsh. The upper midrange is very recessed too, making vocals sound muffled and murky in comparison to the lowest midrange and upper bass. The soundstage is oddly wide, but it sounds almost as though it's artificial, like encased by a plasticky sounding barrier. Soundstage lacks depth and height, being purely left to right and wide. Pleasant lack of midbass hump, which the M35 have but not extremely so --- however the subbass emphasis is more distracting in a way. The overall clarity and imaging of this headphone is mediocre, even if the soundstage is big I have trouble picking out details. The M35 has a smaller soundstage, but it outdoes the HD280 easily with detail delivery and imaging. Comparison to my MA900 isn't necessary, as the difference in quality is just that large. While the HD280 doesn't sound awful, it should NOT be used in any kind of studio. It's not flat by any means, recessed upper mids, big treble-roll off and some subbass emphasis make it a poorly coloured and undetailed headphone. Both the M35 and RX700/900 sound better, objectively and subjectively. RX700 is actually the superior of all three, even though it's priced at a mere 30 - 40$ about half the price of the HD280 and the M35.

Direct comparison with my T50rp II (modded) (a large amount of fiberglass, a little cotton and clay loaded baffle plate with 3mm ports on the vents. Also, I use Alpha Pads with it and I've covered the 'reflex dot' or whatever it's called (pardon me if I'm wrong)). Ten songs:

Bassotronics: Bass, I Love You
HD280: Bass is audible, doesn't go very deep. 
T50rp II: Bass is more subtle, can't really tell how deep it goes because it's hard to hear over the rest of the song.
 

Bonobo: Jets
HD280: I kind of like the way it reproduces the female vocales in this, but the imaging gets a little blurry when the background instruments play alongside it. It's hard to hear the details in the background, and the harp sounds a little dull. The synths sound pretty good, though --- the subbass has a bit of authority behind them that doesn't blurr with their midrange frequencies, probably due to lack of midbass emphasis.

T50rp II: A little bright sounding in comparison, bass isn't too different but it lacks a sense of bloat. The synths in this sound similar to the HD280, but lack the subbass boost and sound a lot cleaner as a result. Details are very easily picked out, though the soundstage isn't that big (it's at least bigger than the 280's) everything is there and easily defined albeit a bit on the bright side.



The Dirty Heads: Stand Tall
HD280: The overall sound is a bit dull, but wide. Guitars have a rounded quality, almost as if they're a beginner guitar you got at a pawnstore for a 20$. Imaging isn't that bad in this song, but the background singers can sound really blurry. Treble sounds etchy, almost like the song is of a really low bitrate (such as an 240p youtube version) and the drums sound off in this song. Vocals sound alright though.
T50rp II: Immediately I noticed the huge difference with the bass guitar, much more texture and it blurs a lot less. Vocals sound good, less thick than the HD280 and a bit more realistic. Drums are excellent, sharp and natural sounding -- I can almost hear the acoustics of the room it was recorded in in the way the drums sound. Background singers don't blend in with the other instruments, so that's good. 


Excision: 8 Bit Superhero (Eptic remix)
HD280: I can't say the HD280s belong here. Soundstage is really small and the general sound is very bland, the only thing the HD280 does right here is the subbass. Everything sounds muffled.
T50rp II: Switching to the T50rp II I immediately notice all the sounds that sort of blended together. You can hear the electronic sound and all it's texture with the T50rp II, but it sounds a little thin. The bass is less quantiful but extension is better and it also transitions to the midrange a lot less strangely than the 280.


Flux Pavilion: Hold Me Close

HD280: I like the way the HD280 sounds here. Soundstage is about right, good sense of wideness without much blurring into the middle like it usually does with other songs. The subbass quantity goes well with this song, but it sounds kind of funky considering the hollowness of the rest of the spectrum. I notice that the HD280 seems to have pretty bad decay, this song makes it easy to tell.

T50rp II: At first the sound is a tad on the brightside, but the midrange sounds excellent with the synths here. Vocal samples are really smooth and realistic, well as realistic as they can be in this kind of song. Bass is good as always, a little shy in quantity but good nonetheless. Overall clarity is top-notch, but the treble sounds a little too smooth, but it's probably just the way the song is.


Jack Johnson: Crying Shame
HD280: The 280 trashes the vocals here. This kind of sound just makes me feel like I'm listening to 20$ headphones, and not very good ones. Treble is a bit grainy, also is kind of similar to sifting sand. The drums sound really dull, like someone covered the heads with cloth or something. Bass guitar sounds relatively good, has plenty of authority and sounded and sounded well controlled, still not much texture though.
T50rp II: Wow, just wow. This isn't the same song, ist it? Vocals are super smooth, though you can easily pick out the artificial reverb-ish effect added to it. Drums are tad bright, but they have a nice clean sound with good impact. The bass guitar is a lot less pronounced, but it's got excellent tonality.

La Roux: Tigerlily
HD280: The vocals sound alright, but everything else seems to lack dynamics and sounds really flat. The various sounds kind of blend together and overall this song is muffled sounding. The bass has a nice impact and visceral quality in this song.
T50rp II: The vocals sound really close to being thin, but it's more like they're very neutral sounding. They sound a tad further back then the HD280s, which seemed to place them really close to you. The song itself has an interesting crispness, bass is a lot subtler and lacks impact but when it hits it makes you feel like it's really low. 

Pink Floyd: When the Tigers Broke Free

HD280: The 280 portrays the large sound of Pink Floyd quite well in this song. Vocals sound somewhat raspy/nasally(?), but don't sound muffled. The subbass emphasis makes the drums sound huge and powerful in this, but the sense of space is ruined by the higher drums sounding so unnatural. Things get a tad congested towards the end of the song, but not horribly so.
T50rp II: You can hear the quieter details more easily here, the main vocals are a touch too bright for my likings. The big drum in the background doesn't sound as big as it does on the 280 but you can hear the springiness it has after impact, the background singers are also more easily heard and you can almost pick out different voices. I also noticed a couple instruments in the background than I did with the 280, and the sense of space here is huge for a closed headphone.

Kanako Itou: Space Engineers / 宇宙エンジニア(uchuu engineers) (orchestral version)

HD280: Kanakou Itou's voice sounds a bit muffled here, as well as the instruments but not as bad. Compared to other songs, the soundstage and dynamics are really squashed sounding. I could try, but I don't think I could ever enjoy this song through these headphones.
T50rp II: Instruments sound a tad tinny but the sense of space is huge and the stringed instruments have a crazy amount of texture. Kanako Itou's voice is rendered really well, not as realistically as the MA900 (woops, didn't mean to throw that in but it is my standard for naturalness) can portray it but good nonetheless. The instruments in this have a really nice attack and the dynamics are compared very well in comparison to the HD280. This song is hard to get to sound right, neither headphone sounded natural here.

Michael Jackson: Leave Me Alone

HD280: The 280s lack of treble is pretty clear on this song, it sounds a lot like an old car stereo here. There's a decent sense of space, not much detail blurring. Bass is probably the best the 280 does in this song, probably because there's not a notable amount of subbass and the 280 is pretty modest with it's midbass. At this point, I can't really say much that hasn't already said about the 280 in all the other songs. 
T50rp II: I expected the T50rp II to be really bright here, but surprisingly it was only a little bright. Michael's voice seems about right, the soundstage in this song is pretty small so it sounds a little closed in. Something about the T50rp II bass has a subtle impact and speed which makes this song oddly engaging. Like the 280, not much else to say at this point.

Summary of HD280 vs T50rp II (modded) comparison:
My T50rp II is a good bit brigther than the 280 and lacks the severe rolloff the 280 has, making is a little harder on the ears. The 280 is extremely unresolving in comparison, and despite not being bright and a little bass oriented it still sounds like a very dull and lacking headphone, especially at the price of 80$. A modded T20rp II would be a much, much better value than an HD280. I honestly don't think I could ever seriously recommend the HD280 to anyone, it's most positively feature is it's build and that can only get you so far.. the JVC HA-RX700 is a far better alternative at a far lower price, for those who're concerned. For those deciding between the HD280, the M35 and the V6/7506 I'd very seriously recommend either of the two latter, even without hearing the V6 I know it's at least slightly more detailed than the M35 which ultimately makes it very clear in comparison the the HD280. I'm sorry owners of the HD280 who enjoy it, it's a very poor headphone at it's pricepoint and I wouldn't pay even 30$ for it. I didn't really mention the XB90EX much, but despite it's elevated sub, mid and upper bass (by 6 decibels) it still manages to deliver more clarity than the HD280, costing only 20$ more and being a bass oriented IEM I think that's just ridiculous. ---- disclaimer, I don't believe in physical burn-in much, but mental burn-in is a big factor so I made sure to give the HD280 a good few hours of listening time before deciding to review it. At first listen I literally thought it was identical sounding the the RX300, with added subbass. After a few hours it got closer to the RX700, but that's a generous thing to say. I'm dissappointed, this is the 2nd sennheiser product I've tried and I don't think I can appreciate a company that places no value in it's lower priced products and don't think I'm interesting in buying any of their other headphones, --- which generally have a reputation for being overpriced anyway.







 

Posted

Pros: Isolation, Grip, Build Quality, Cord (some extent; w/e connector)

Cons: Sound

I like these headphones when I know that I'm going somewhere where I wouldn't dare to take one of my more delicate headphones (e.g. Sr225is's). The primary reason being that they have never once fallen off of my head. Honestly, that's nearly all they've got going for them (aside from the OK base that comes from the excellent seal between your head and the cans when used with an OK amplifier).

 

The sound is otherwise lacking in low end, and the mid end is dry and somewhat overwhelming.

 

 

Other than the OK sound-stage an the bass (it plays hide-and-seek), there's not much worth mentioning.

 

Listened to:

- Pink Floyd - Money : The guitar line at the beginning was clear with resolute drums, but as components were progressively introduced, things began to get messy

- Gentle Giant - Just the Same : Things began to get muddy (There's a lot of texture in this track)

- Butthole Surfers - Human Canonball : Guitar was tepid

- Anne Bisson - September in Montreal : Bass was somewhat hidden, vocals were clear, but lacking overall satisfaction

- Bela Fleck (& Flecktones) - Blu-Bop (From Flight...) : Piano was somewhat hidden by the guitar

- PTX - Aha! : Low-end vocals were not easily discernible. Mid-end took the stage. Only voice with discernible timbre was mid-end.

- Mike Doughty - Monster Man : Bass was too present this time. 

- Mike Doughty - Super Bon Bon : Vocals were clear, the whole mix sounds OK, with the exception of the guitar samples (especially alongside vocals).

- (Pierre Moerlen's) Gong! - Time Is The Key : Finer details were hard to make out.

Posted

Pros: Good build quality, solid sound.

Cons: The headband...

 

The first of these that I have are going on 5 years old, I am also listening to them while I type this review. I am basing my opinion on this pair. I received a NIB pair about a month ago but have not listened to them yet. I really like everything about this headphone. I am a big fan of the Sennheiser sound signature though; they always seem to suite my musical tastes. I have a preference for closed cans, and this is a solid one for an entry level of better sound. My one complaint is that I have a large head and have to extend the headband all the way out on both sides. This is where my complaint comes into play, with them in full extension and on my head, the band sticks out weirdly from my head. It is an almost comical the way it looks. Other than that I cannot fault these cans.   

Posted

Pros: good sound, isolation, comfort

Cons: plastic construction, fixed cable

I'm a pro-sumer, not an audiophile, so I will not discuss the sound, really. These were purchased new, are still stock, not modded.

I have owned these cans for 2 years, so burn-in is complete. Full head of hair, no glasses, no TMJ.

 

Pros:

  • completely circumaural, even for my large-ish ears leads to great noise isolation. I keep the volume below 20% and can hear the music fine and no cube-mate phone calls.
  • Nice padding on cups and headband. I wear these for hours at a time at work and neither the clamping force nor the weight of these bother me.
  • Both cups rotate and swivel. You can wear them comfortably around your neck or off the ear of choice easily. They also lay flat and fold into the familiar headband ball.
  • The sound is pretty good for the price.
  • Single-sided cable entry (left side) with nice, thick coiled cabling.

 

Neutral (good and bad even out):

  • Plastic construction throughout. Seem a bit flimsy, but this also makes them light. I have had no problems with cracking or creaking

 

Con:

  • Fixed cable. I would use these for the bus commute but the cable is way too long and heavy. (In my opinion this is the only thing that keeps these from being viable portable headphones.)

 

If you buy your gear new, these are going to be a pretty good purchase, especially if you wait for a Black Friday sale. If you are willing to try used these may not be your best option as you can find the Sennheiser HD 380 used for about $20 more than these used. The HD 380 headphones sound much better, have metal components, and a removable cable, and possibly come with the stock carrying case. A much better deal.

Posted

Pros: Very flat frequency response, nice isolation, accurate, detailed.

Cons: Can get uncomfortable after a while, not a very exciting sound, lack of decent soundstage.

First, let me start by saying I am a total noob. These were my first and still are my only pair of real headphones. Now that I look back, I probably should have bought the ATH-M50S considering what people have said about it. These cost somewhere around $120 when I bought them. I have had them for a few months and just got an amp (Pyle PHA-40) today (great amp, by the way). An amp is HIGHLY recommended. It got rid of any harsh, screechy highs typical of my computer's headphone jack. The bass also sounded pretty undefined and in general, missing. The amp fixed that right up. Now bass is well balanced and has incredible extension like I have never heard before! These also respond well to EQ.

 

Second, these are well constructed, well balanced, isolating monitor cans: nothing more, nothing less. Do not expect some kind of great musical performance from these headphones. They sound good to me, but I have noticed some problems. Among the most prominent issues is the claustrophobic soundstage. The instrument separation is good, however. Traveling with these headphones worked for me, both on a plane, and in a car. After about 2 hours I have to take these off due to the clamping force.

 

All in all, these are well thought out monitor headphones. They allowed me to rediscover my music collection. If you have not heard good audio before being able to hear drums flex, and acoustic guitars resonate, the experience will be magical. If you plan on buying these get an amp. If you don't need isolation get the HD-558 or HD-598.

Posted

Pros: I guess you could call them confident at reproduction

Cons: Soulless zombie phones

These are...ok. I expected great things from these, and if they were my first pair of real headphones, I guess I would like them, but compared to many others, including the similar Amperior, they're simply missing something. The bass is there, the treble goes nearly high enough, they're clear and the instruments separate, yet they just don't excite. They really are professional monitor headphones, and nothing more and nothing less.

 

I kept these things for their high isolation so I can watch movies at night, but really I should trade them for some Sony 7506, which is what I would recommend over these.

 

Objectively, as a studio headphone, these are a good product. Subjectively they are kind of meh, though.

Posted

Pros: Value, Sound, Travel Well, Isolation

Cons: Tight Fit, Bulky

I originally got these headphones because I was looking for headphones to use both for late night listening (in an apartment complex with thin walls) and travel.  So for me isolation was one of the first things I was looking for, and these headphones deliver that in spades.  Unfortunately, it comes at the cost of a fairly tight fit around the head.  Not enough to really be uncomfortable (I've used these headphones for hours on end), but enough to be noticeable.  The headphones are fairly bulky in size, but fold for travel, and I've found them to be much more durable than I was expecting given the reviews -- after several years and numerous airplane trips, the headphones have suffered no visible damage. 

 

I listen mostly to classical music, and I found the sound to be quite good -- everything comes through clear and clean, and I have no problems with any particular range in the spectrum.  Given my needs (high isolation with decent sound), these headphones were exactly what I was looking for. 

Posted

Pros: Lightweight, Transparent sound, Budget Price

Cons: Not very musical, Little bass, Fatiguing Highs

These were my first pair of cans and since no one else has yet to submit a review for them I thought I would go ahead and write one.

First Glance:
These were made primarily for studio use and the have a very classic look to them. Nothing fancy. They come with a coiled cable that terminates with a 3.5mm jack with threads for the supplied ¼in adapter.

Build Quality:
The headband is made of kind of plastic along with the rest of the headphones. They have a leather-like pad on the headband and around the ear cups. There have been reports of the plastic headband cracking but my pair has seen no such damage. Overall the build quality is acceptable for a pair of headphones in this price range.

Comfort:
They are not particularly uncomfortable headphones but after an hour or so of listening they might begin to become uncomfortable. They are quite light feeling on your head compared to my AKG 271MKII's and feel almost like a pair of Grado’s expect a little heavier. They don’t have a really strong clamp on your head so that is not uncomfortable either. Overall they are pretty comfortable but there are more comfortable cans out there.

Sound:
Now for the important part: How do they sound? I have probably put around 50 hours into these headphones and this review is based upon that experience in addition to the specific testing that I did. Here is my signal chain: Sony DVP-NC80V -> Gary’s PA2V2 -> Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. To me they seem to have an kind of neutral sound probably due the fact that they were meant to be used in the studio which makes me feel that are not great for enjoying music as they have an almost cold sound and at times the high frequencies can get fatiguing. The low end is present but it not very punchy, it is just neutral. Acoustic guitars and cymbals cut right through and stand out but at times are a too sharp and require you to turn down the volume. Since they are sort of cold they are also quite transparent and individual instruments usually stand out. The mids seemed to be recessed and vocals never really seem to jump out at you. Overall this causes a less than satisfactory listening experience because they never really bring the music to life. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good headphones. They are great in the studio for someone looking for budget mixing/mastering headphones because, like I said, they are transparent. They are great for monitoring due to their isolation which is quite good even when no music is playing.

Conclusion:
These headphones are a great backup in the studio or for giving to performing musicians or just for the home recordist on a tight budget. Although I would not recommend them to a fellow Head-Fier who wants to use them to listen to music collection. In the $99 price range there are better headphones for enjoying music, maybe something like the Grado 60i’s. I hope this review is helpful.

Sennheiser HD 280 Headphones
Description:

The HD280 Professional is Sennheiser's most significant closed, circumaural headphone to be introduced in years. Designed to exceed the demands of the professional environment, the HD280 boasts extremely robust construction combined with extensive features that meet the requirements of today's most demanding applications. The unique collapsible design combined with swiveling ear cups, offers maximum flexibility in any application.

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandSennheiser
EAN4012418049744
Feature2 year warranty
Height0.39 inches
Length0.39 inches
Weight0.63 pounds
Width0.39 inches
LabelSennheiser
List Price$149.95
ManufacturerSennheiser
Model4974
MPN4974
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
PublisherSennheiser
StudioSennheiser
TitleSennheiser HD 280 - Headphones ( ear-cup ) - black
UPC615104053274
Batteries Included0
Is Autographed0
Is Memorabilia0
Legal DisclaimerWarranty does not cover misuse of product.
Warranty2 years warranty
Number Of Items1
Special Featuresnv: Transducer Principle^Dynamic | Frequency Response^8 Hz - 25 kHz | Nominal Impedance^64 Ohms | Characteristic Spl^102 dB, at 1 kHz1Vrms | Ear Coupling^Circumaural, Closed | Distortion^0.1 | Connector^3.5 mm mini-stereo with 14 adapter | Weight Wo Cable^285 grams
Product Type Subcategory2300799
Is Fragile0
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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