My 280 impressions
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BenG

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11 days & many hours of burning.

Strengths:

Good Build Quality and potential Durability - not as thick of a plastic construction as the V6s but good. The ear pads and head pad are replaceable.

Good Sensitivity - these cans can be driven to healthy, loud levels (quality aside) by anything I could find in my house. They can't handle extreme volume levels imo as well as the V6, though.

Isolation - these cans can block out a good amount of noise, which was one of my requirements for the cans. In this regard, they do better than the V6. But I'm still puzzled where they get the max. 32db spec, as there is no specific range given. The ER-4S/P/B is still the champ of isolation for me.

Frequency Balance -

The bass extension is incredible. (Things like deep bass drum sounds and the lower notes of a piano have a punch like I've never heard from a headphone)

The mids are better balanced than on the V6s. Even though the lower-mids are a little lacking, the upper-mids into the lower treble are without the 'spikeyness' of the V6s.

The highs, cymbals, horn overtones, are better balanced and less recessed as with the V6s.

Weaknesses (more into the embarrassing realm of subjective esoterics):

As good as the bass extension is, I find the bass to be a little 'puffy' and 'soft' even if it is relatively controlled. In addition, I think this is where some of the complaints of bass arise - the upper-bass is slightly lacking in balance and dosen't have solid punch compared to even the ER-4S!

This leads me into my biggest complaint of these phones compared to the V6. It's still very easy to pick out smaller, individual transient attacks of particular instruments, but the overall sound lacks in macro punch(excluding deep bass) and is therefore not as exciting as the V6.

Secondarily, the highs do sound a little hard with a slight plastic overtone. (even though they are well detailed and balanced) And this really shows up on recordings that have alot of harsh distortion in the highs. If I listen to better recordings, then the highs don't bother me nearly as much.

-----------------------------------------

At this point, I don't think I'm going to keep them and I will probably return them. They certainly have strengths for a closed can...If any headfiers want to make me a reasonable offer, give me a PM.
 
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NotoriousBIG_PJ

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Nice review! I like to use the analogy that the 280's are like beyer 250's on a diet, nice sounding but they leave you hungry for bass impact (wheres the beef?).


Biggie.
 
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bifcake

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How do they compare to other Sennheiser offerings such as the 600's or 497's?
 
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elnero

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Nice Review BenG! I've had my 280's for a week now. Putting in quite a bit time on them as well. I've been holding off doing a proper review because I've been tracking down problems with my sound card at work.

Overall I agree with your impressions. The overall balance I find quite good with the highs just a bit on the hard side. The bass is awesome, I didn't know you could get bass like that out of a headphone, detailed and extended. The mids are quite good but there may be a dip somewhere, I haven't quite tracked it down but some details seem a bit hazy. I find this odd because the overall balance and detail are quite good.

I really didn't notice the macro dynamics till you pointed it out but I would agree that there could be a bit more punch, not alot mind you, but a bit. I can think of a few tracks, like track 2 of Dadawa's Sister Drum, that didn't quite have the kick I'm used to with my Swans. But then there were others, like the last track, that blew me away. I wonder if maybe it's a bit of a bass issue? I know with the Swans you really have to have some beef behind them before the big drum has real impact in track 2. Are you using an amp with the 280's? I've heard it said that as good as the bass is on them an amp improves it noticably. That may take away the "puffy" and "soft" quality .

One thing I've really noticed with the 280's is they can show the weakness of your source. I was listening to some stuff at work, some mp3's at first, and found the same problems with highs. I came home and listened to the CD's on my wifes Sony D-EJ621 and things were fine. The next day I took a couple of CD's and ran into the same problem. I tried a few different media players with Sonique helping the most but not enough. Again I came home and tried the same CD's without any problems. This leads me to believe that my soundblaster card at work has a severe case of digitalitis. This was a problem I ran into back in the 80's and early 90's with early generation CD I'm quite familar with it and in the end spent alot of money to get rid of it so let me tell you I'm none too happy to be dealing with it again. DAMN YOU SOUNDBLASTER!!!

For myself I'm planning on buying a SlimX and probably get JMT to build me a portable Meta42. This solution I'm hoping will lead to eternal bliss, at least until I can afford the W100's.


I second Bifcake, anyone have comparisons with the 600's?

Phil
 
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HighwayStar

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Great review BenG ! What source (/amp if any) were you using ?

elnero,

I should have my META42 by the end of this coming week. I'll let you know what I think of the SlimX/META42/280 Pro combo.
 
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Magicthyse

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I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but the superb depth of the bass, which is so apparent when listening at home, mysteriously disappears if you're using the phones outside where other low-bass sounds are prevalent. Odd.

Perhaps it's something to do with the way that the bass is so controlled that the attack/decay length is no longer suficient to power through ambient constantly present rumbling and so forth?
 
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elnero

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Hey Highwaystar,

That would be awesome cause that's the exact combo. It would be great to get an idea of what I'm in for.
I may have ordered everything by then though, money's burning a hole in my pocket. OUCH! OUCH! I'm in the process of talking to JMT about the Meta and I found a pretty good deal on the SlimX in Canada.

By the way what have your impressions been of the 280's?

Phil
 
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HighwayStar

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elnero,

I wish I could tell you. For the life of me I can't seem to find a place for them. I originally purchased them for commuting but it just got too damn hot in the NYC subways to wear them. (ER-4P's came to the rescue !). I tried them in the office, and while the very good isolation kept out noise, (which my Grado's don't) I couldn't hear phones ringing. But I have given them a good burn-in and they should be ready for primetime. (I was pretty pleased with my initial check of them). My META42 is coming from JMT who possess's both patience and a sense of humor. (He needed both to survive my quite lengthy interrogation...
) As I knew little concerning amp electronics I grilled him quite thoroughly. Arrived at a unit that's pretty much maxed out as portable size and power will allow. When I get the combo together I'll let you know how it sounds.
 
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elnero

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Highwaystar,

Now we'll see if JMT survives my questioning.


I didn't realize you already had the SlimX, how do you find it? I'll mainly be playing CD's but have some mp3's I would like to be able to listen to as well.

Phil
 
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HighwayStar

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Quote:

Originally posted by elnero
Highwaystar,

Now we'll see if JMT survives my questioning.


I didn't realize you already had the SlimX, how do you find it? I'll mainly be playing CD's but have some mp3's I would like to be able to listen to as well.

Phil


He's got the patience of a saint...

Overall it's a great unit. I like the flexibility it offers. I mainly use MP3's and it plays whatever I feed it. VBR's and 320 mostly. It's funny but I bought it so I wouldn't have to carry around and be bothered with changing CD's. Even at 320 you can fit 4 or 5 albums on a rewriteable. (drag & drop, can't beat it). It's got a pretty good remote too. The SlimX & my TAH is tucked away in my bag and I can browse & play and control everything from the remote.

That being said, I am totally seduced by the new 20 gig iPod...
 
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