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Initial Impressions: Sennheiser HD380 Pro

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. There have not been many reviews here on the Sennheiser HD 380 Pros and thought that I should post my initial impressions:

Build/Durability: The build quality on these headphones is quite good. They are very firm and sturdy, but not very flexible. I can't stretch them a whole lot without feeling that they might break. However, this sturdy build and inflexibility plays an important role on isolation, which I find to be quite stellar. One thing I absolutely hated about these headphones is the coiled cable. Out of the box, they provide a 3m coiled cable that is just too heavy and annoying to carry around. The way I fixed this was by using the cable winder that came with my HD202s. I uncoiled part of the coiled cable and winded it with the cable winder, so that the coiled cable is much shorter and not as heavy as it was out of the box. By doing so, I have no problem clipping the cable winder on my shirt or just leaving it hanging, and its much more lighter and portable. I highly recommend getting a cable winder and uncoiling the coiled cable for anyone who owns an HD380 pro.

Noise Isolation: The noise isolation on these headphones is very good. I have worn these outside and they blocked out most sound, but it's nothing close to the noise isolation you'd get on an IEM. But for a closed headphone, these are one of the best for noise isolation, and although I do not own the HD280 pros, I hear that there is less clamping than the HD280s, making them much more comfortable. For the most part, I am unable to hear any outside noise, but then again I play my music quite loud.

Comfort: At first, I found these headphones quite uncomfortable because I haven't worn a closed headphone with this much clamping force. However, after a day of wearing them, I got used to them, and suddenly found them not only necessary but also a bit comfortable. I would describe the clamping as not being too tight around the head, but just enough to isolate very well. The pads are great for blocking out noise and not leaking sound. If there is too much clamping force, once can switch out the stock pads with velour pads(they fit HD5x5 velour pads). The velour pads open up the soundstage quite a bit and make the mids and highs sound much better, while sacrificing a bit of the bass. Also, you lose the sound isolation with the velour pads. I prefer the stock pads, but if comfort is a problem, switching to velour pads is a quick and easy solution.

Sound Quality: Out of the box they sound very much like the HD555s and HD595s in a closed form. They are very detailed, precise, and balanced. I have heard that there is an improvement on the bass from the HD280 pros. Though I'm not a basshead, I find the bass to be quite sufficient in its amount. What I find quite good on these headphones is the mids and highs, which are very detailed, making an overall analytical sound from the HD380 pros. I listen to mostly classical, jazz, hip-hop, and a little bit of rock. Also, my source is a Sony X1051 amped with a T3 portable amp. I have only tested it with an amp. I will give impressions of these unamped if anyone is interested.

Comparison with HD595, HD448, IE7, and IE8: In comparison with other Sennheiser models, I find the HD380 Pros to be sounding mostly like the HD 595s, followed by the HD 448s, then the IE7s, then the IE8s. They are very close to the HD595s because of it's similarity in the mids and highs, with a decent amount of bass. The HD448s focus mostly on its powerful mids, but they differ from the HD380 pros by the amount of bass, which is lacking in the HD448s. The HD380 Pros are quite similar to the IE7s in that both are neutral and balanced, but I find the IE7s to be more focused on the upper bass/lower mids. They are least like the IE8s in that I find the IE8s to be overpowering in bass, which produces a veil over the treble. The HD380 pros have an outstanding treble, and an overall neutral sound.

I will continue using the HD380 pros and test them with other sources. In the mean time, I'll answer any questions that anyone might have. Cheers!
post #2 of 15
Thanks for the review. I have the HD280s. Always liked them.. these sound wonderful if they are as good as the HD595s and closed.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
The HD380 pro and IE7s are my favorites as of now. I do like the HD595 a lot but can't use it right now since I share a room with 3 other roommates and don't want to disturb them. Being closed, the HD380 pros are great at not leaking out much sound. Can you tell me how the HD280 pros sound? Are you looking to upgrade?
post #4 of 15
Not really looking to upgrade. I live alone and my office has a door, so I can use open cans most of the time. The HD280s are slightly bass heavy, and don't have quite the details that you can get with higher end cans. I am not really an audiophile, but I got my HD600s and they destroy the HD280s. The HD600s sound better (bass, warmth, detail) than the 595s but not worlds better.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Interesting. I've heard many great things about the HD600 and hope to hear them sometime.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsegan View Post
Not really looking to upgrade. I live alone and my office has a door, so I can use open cans most of the time. The HD280s are slightly bass heavy, and don't have quite the details that you can get with higher end cans. I am not really an audiophile, but I got my HD600s and they destroy the HD280s. The HD600s sound better (bass, warmth, detail) than the 595s but not worlds better.
Just curious how you stand HD600's bass if you find the bass in HD280 to be slightly bass heavy
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
It's been about 50 hours with the HD380 Pros, and they just keep sounding better and better. I'm not one to believe in burn-in, but I do believe in psychologically liking headphones more, which is happening to me with the HD380 Pros. It has such a tight bass and great treble clarity. A lot of people have been saying they're not very detailed, but I really question what source they were using. When using these with a decent amp, the detail and clarity of these headphones are really brought out.

I've also found that I love the way the drivers are angled towards the ears. With the hd280 Pros, I hear that the driver was touching the ear, but with the HD380 pros, this is not the case. However, the driver is literally right next to it, angled directly through the ear canal, allowing for such a detailed sound. Maybe those who have said they're not detailed were wearing them incorrectly somehow.
post #8 of 15
a bit off topic, but are the HD 595s open or closed headphones?
post #9 of 15
HD555/HD595 are open
post #10 of 15
Thanks for the review. Just got a pair of HD380 Pros. This is my first quality set of headphones, so my expectations are high. First impressions: music sounds clear, precise and distinct with deliberate tonality at all ranges, but at the same time overall sound is distant and cold. However, 10 hours in, I'm enjoying them tremendously. More to come...
post #11 of 15
just wanted to add that they in fact DO NOT sound anything like the HD 595 lol...
post #12 of 15

Thanks for a quite interesting review. As a HD380 user I think this thread is the one for me to put my own 2c. On contrary to what chriss2 says I tend to hate my Senns more and more every day. First let's shed a bit more light on how and what I listen to. My humble (literary) rig consist of Sansa Clip+ and home brew CMoy (before you bash me for a low amp quality - I am an electronic engineer and know how to design circuits on PCBs and such. I also didn't save on components used).

 

I bought these about a year ago, burned in since for sure. At first I liked these much - partially because they are my first "real" headphones, you know what I mean... Anyhoo I listen a lot of radio, classical music, metal/rock, sometimes (when rhythm hungry) I switch to hip-hop. Well I am really sad - Jack Johnson will do as well. Each CD I have is converted to .flac - i just prefer quality over quantity on my DAP. So after few months of using 380s I extended my gear by a relatively cheap and supposedly inferior Koss PortaPros to have something to take on a street with me. And what a shock! Not only music became more lively - I can finally enjoy seating in front of a stage not close to the percussion. Maybe it means I am not an audiophile? Well for sure not but IMO listening to music is about having fun right?

So since I have my Portas I can not really go back to 380s due to their tendency to create some kind of reverb or cave like effects. Interestingly this depends on CD thus I believe these cans are really good to find out how poorly/well an album was produced. But on a musical side I can not have fun anymore. I'm sure my point of view stands against hundreds of five star opinions these have on various forums but I can not lie to myself! I utterly hate what they do to my music.

Some examples (again remember my "hi-fi" rig is worth no more than 150euro so maybe I am not worthy 380s at all):

- Orion by Metallica: there is a particular base effect in this song, some kind of percussion like attack on the strings. I can hear that but this is way too much overshadowed by the wall of 2 guitars. The wall not guitar + another guitar. It is like Cliff Burton was moved on the other side on the stage.

- Bach violin concertos: one wall of violin section, spiced up a bit with cellos - quite boring now.

- The album New Adventures in Hi-Fi (sic!) by R.E.M. - Stipe's voice comes from a tunnel (ok existential tunnel but still a tunnel)

- Jack Johnson - not so happy anymore

- Ten by Pearl Jam: Jeez why Eddie is so far from the microphone?

 

Don't get me wrong - I like the bass their produce and I don't need more but I feel the highs are often too obstructive. And this cave sometimes.

 

Btw, great forum and hope we can discuss more about 380s quilites here.

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by swbf2cheater View Post

just wanted to add that they in fact DO NOT sound anything like the HD 595 lol...



I disagree. I owned both at the same time for a while and could barely tell them apart. Iended up returning the 595s bacause I preferred to have some isolation.

The 380s are amazing headphones, and have revealed previously unsuspected depths in even my most familiar recordings.

 

post #14 of 15

 I wanted to change my HD 380 Pro headphones, because they were not sounding quite right. After reading various reviews, which made me think otherwise, I decided to look at what was making them sound awful. It turned out, that the Dolby effects in my PC were the culprits. After disabling the Dolby effects, the headphones changed character immediately. There was no colouring in the sound. The bass was perfect, and so were the instruments and vocals. I rip CD's at 345 kbps, and I seriously don't find any difference in the sound quality, with regular stereo,  unless I use Dolby, which makes the sound awful.

 What strikes me, when listening to 'Driven To Tears', by Sting, is the excitement I feel. It's like being in the recording studio, live. I don't need another pair of headphones.

post #15 of 15

I had a similar initial experience. I was initially disappointed when listening to them through a receiver with surround effects turned on. The minute I heard them through the headphone jack on my CD changer (no equalization or processing of any kind), they immediately became my favorite headphones of all time.

Listening to the remastered Beatles CDs through these is almost spooky, because it is almost like hearing ghosts. I feel like I am actually in Abbey Road sitting right next to George Martin at the mixing board!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdityaMookerjee View Post

 I wanted to change my HD 380 Pro headphones, because they were not sounding quite right. After reading various reviews, which made me think otherwise, I decided to look at what was making them sound awful. It turned out, that the Dolby effects in my PC were the culprits. After disabling the Dolby effects, the headphones changed character immediately. There was no colouring in the sound. The bass was perfect, and so were the instruments and vocals. I rip CD's at 345 kbps, and I seriously don't find any difference in the sound quality, with regular stereo,  unless I use Dolby, which makes the sound awful.

 What strikes me, when listening to 'Driven To Tears', by Sting, is the excitement I feel. It's like being in the recording studio, live. I don't need another pair of headphones.



 

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