Sennheiser HD 280 Headphones

General Information

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.

Latest reviews


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Cheap, balanced, detailed, durable
Cons: Sub-bass rolloff, headband of death, antiquated design
These are not headphones per se, more like a medieval head torture chamber than plays sound. Unusually, it's not the clamping force on the sides that causes issues, but on top. The headband is not shaped to fit human heads, but rather one of the square flat heads that the sentient humanoid robots that make Sennheiser products have, I guess.
The sound... how would I describe it...
Lethargic? It's not neutral, if that's what you're thinking. Rather clinical sounding headphones. The mids have strange prioritizations and the bass leaves something to be desired.
Sub-bass: Decent amount of extension
Upper bass: a crater exists on the frequency curve where this would normally be in a headphone.
Low Mids: This is my biggest issue with these. The low mids are very shy on these.
Upper Mids: Overemphasized. Good detail, and smooth, but they get too much priority for my taste.
Highs: reasonably detailed,  not sibilant. Agreeable.
The nice thing about the older models of Sennheiser is you can probably find an insane deal on a used one somewhere.
I wouldn't bother though. This Sennheiser design is ancient, and it lacks many creature comforts that you can get even for $90 now. The giant curly cable is non-removable for starters, so it's not a good portable headphone, despite the great isolation it gets.

Nero The Hero

New Head-Fier
Pros: Well built, durable, and flat freq. response, great for editing and monitoring.
Cons: Crazy clamping force! Flat response might not be for everyone.
While some may think Sennheiser headphones are "ugly" or "dull", cosmetics are nowhere even close to being on my list of have-to-have's. Even if it was on my list, I quite like the look of the HD280 Pro. It's a no nonsense design that brings about a feeling of confidence in it's durability. The HD280 Pro was designed with function in mind, not fashion. If you're looking for something pretty or shiny, this a'int it (by the way...a'int a'int a word).
The audio cable...oh the audio's pretty much what I had expected with my last purchase. While it's technically not "removable" it's much more substantial, not longer than necessary , and it's coiled so it's much easier to stow away.

When I say technically not removable, I mean you can't simply pull the audio cable out of the unit like the HD380 Pro. Instead, if you do damage your audio cable, you have to open the ear cup and do some light wiring to replace the audio cable. In fact there is a guide in the manual that shows you how to do so. To some this is unacceptable, however I'm just fine with a thicker, more durable cable that is more resistant to breakage in the first place.

I'm not going to lie to you, these headphones have a crazy amount of clamping force! So unless you have a small-ish head...oh who am I kidding, even if you DO have a small-ish head, you're going to want to break these in. I've read that some place them onto a basketball or volley ball to break them in and reduce that clamping force a bit. Otherwise, you'll find it difficult to use them for extended periods of time. As durable as these are however, be cautious when breaking this in, as the construction is mostly plastic which has it's limitations as far as how much flex it can handle. Before they were completely broken in, I've had to take breaks from several editing sessions because of a pressure headache caused by the death grip these things have on my head. The reason for this clamping force is in order to aid in noise cancellation or attenuation. According to the specs, they provide 32 decibels (dB) of attenuation.
They are pretty good at blocking out noise. While they won't block out my dishwasher which is about 10 ft from my desk, they do block out a considerable about of noise, such as people talking, the TV (as long as the volume isn't cranked too high) and general ambient noise. So far these have been great for when I'm video editing, or just want to chill and listen to music or watch YouTube video with less distractions. My darling fiancee will often have to physically signal me with a wave to get my attention, or come distract me with smooches...which I'm really OK with actually.
I tested these headphones with various types of music, hip-hop, rock, acoustic, metal, and even some EDM. I did notice that the HD280 Pro provides a good bass response, when good bass is present. It doesn't do any fancy bass boosting or anything like that, which is good because it allows me to get a more accurate perception of my source audio. The HD429 seemed to give a slight (albeit smooth) boost to music tracks, which is no way was a bad thing, just different. The HD429's slightly elevated bass response is better suited for casual listening, whereas the HD280 Pro is intended for monitoring. For that reason, I'm using the HD280 Pro as my main headphones for the home office, they help me monitor my audio levels in my video editing, which is something I'm becoming a stickler for.

I'll wrap this up by saying I am not an audiophile by any means, nor claim to be! Also, everyone's ears are different, and therefore each pair of headphones will sound different for each individual. The best way to see if a pair of headphones are for you, is to have your ears decide, don't let anyone tell you which product is right for you.

Sonic Defender
Sonic Defender
I can't imagine anybody enduring this kind of clamping force to get a sound quality experience available elsewhere with much less pain. Sounds like an epic fail where comfort which equals usability is concerned. Too bad.

preferred user

New Head-Fier
Pros: Good bass decent highs and mids (if you like the Senns sound ) they have good vocal and percussion pop .I like them much better than my KRK KNS 8400
Cons: None for the $99.00 or a little more here .
 I'm not an experienced headphone enthusiast so there could be better product for similar $$ but I would think any difference would be spiting hairs sound wise or preferences  I like the Senns sound anyway .
After trying a few  sub $200.00 phones in the stores on  crappy sources I decided these HD 280's were pretty good sound and construction for the  $$$ . The one caveat being they clamped a little tight for a good  while but have settled in now and you can wear these all day they are pretty comfortable and very light with superb closed back isolation ......I don't need heavy stainless or wood bling it ain't my thing I can't see them when I'm wearing them anyway and I don't have or want a big headphone collection on display .
I've had these about 3 yrs now and they are durable and still look and work as new except a lot better than out of the box . Normally I think a lot of audiophile break in stuff is snob audiophile  nonsense (especially electronics and cables ) but not on these phones or some speakers I've owned it's plausible and definitely improved these phones in a big way but it took a good while well over 40 hrs  maybe a few hundred ? .
I just received my entry level Schiit Magni amp from Amazon Prime today and it's a significant upgrade over my Xonar DGX PCIe d/sound card headphone amp in this room . These play nice with the new Schitt and the HD 280's can get real loud on the new amp
 All the things like treble ,midrange  extensions  ,resolution,instrument separation perceived soundstage depth etc.  are a lot better then the DGX d/sound card  and it ads a  little extra "pop" for vocals and percussion the the only caveat here is the low bass and impact bass are  lower on the Magni 2 than the Xonar DGX but not a deal breaker at all  so far.
Definitely play these HD 280's at least on an entry level Schiit Magni amp or something like that . HD 280's can use the extra mW and headroom for dynamic peaks ,clarity and impact you can't get out of onboard PC audio or most PDP's and d/Soundcards.
The Schitt Magni output power is rated at ~ double the Maximum for the HD 280's 64 ohms so it's a good pairing  IMO 
and it compares well with the uber clean studio interfaces here in the another room up to a fairly loud point where it starts distorting but it can go louder also ...a lotta bang for the $. 
I'm thinking of the matching Modi 2 or Modi 2 Uber  USB DAC  to turn The Magni 2 into a modest Schiit stack * ONLY if the Modi or Modi 2 uber are worthwhile additions sound wise from what I have now which on paper at least is open to discussion at least aside from the DAC ASIC (and it's implementation ) anyway  IMO but I'm also inclined to use a clean studio interface I'll be trying this amp on one of those here in another room here and on some other phones in there .
...for example by professional design my THX pm3 Certified reference 2.1 audio system power  amp we chose is rated at 850 Wpc RMS to feed my THX pm3 certified professional large midfield  12" 3 way JBL's that probably can use half of that tops or much less usually but that combo  can make a snob audiophile cry in a good room especially with the two powered reference subs in there but it was many $$$$  thousands with all the studio gear,Midi controllers a stout  PC and d/GPU and production software and VST's  and aside from the gear the dedicated construction for all that  where it lives here will buy a  nice 3 bd house in some parts of the country . I'm a  believer in amplifier headroom having been an expert enthusiast prosumer for over 40 yrs. 
I'm still using the Xonar DGX outside of the DGX headphone amp for a source for lossless 16 and 24 bit music from my HDD or Tidal Hi Fi 16/44  until I'm convinced a separate DAC like the Schiit Modi or Modi Uber  is a worthwhile upgrade from what I have now but I'm also inclined to use a studio interface.
I'll be trying this Magni 2  amp and HD HD280's  on one of those pro interfaces here in another room  and on some other phones in there .
.............More on that subject  : 
 I would look at these for an entry level product into the Senns sound ....................
I'm not immune to serial upgrading any of my pursuits like homes ,  PC's ,vehicles and 2.1 audio in a dedicated acoustically treated PC Game/Music studio to THX PM3 Certified reference levels currently ,3 TV's in this room  in 4 yrs up to a new 2015 Sony XBR 4K WCG  HDR TV set now ( it's da bomb) and an arguably very decent  64f8500 Samsung Plasma out frt and years of being a motorcycle /vehicle and salt water powerboat gear head ( and professional gear head ) and amatuer audio enthusiast for over 40 yrs .........Obviously I'm just starting on phones here so outside of phones I know the upgrade drill and the law of diminishing returns all too well ☻


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