The burned-in HD280 Pro Result...
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Magicthyse

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SOUND
The phone seems to actually have become brighter after burn-in. Not that it was particularly dull to begin with. This gives it a super-detailed 'cut-glass' feel which demands attention of the listener.

As mentioned by Head-Fiers, the bass has become actually quite punchy on the 280's after break-in. However don't depend on the 280s for truly earth-shaking bass - they start breaking up just after what could be called a decent performance. But for most music types, the balance of the bass reproduction against the other frequencies is now very good.

The character of the sound is now pretty near perfect for music students working on mixing or analysing music. These phones are really excellent in terms of detail. I'm thoroughly impressed at the level of sound they reveal. Classical listeners, I suspect, will find few better phones in this price bracket.


PORTABLE USE
(Device used: 10mw+10mw output, no 'megacrappobass' enhancement, no equalizer)
The 280 has excellent presentation, even with lower powered portable equipment. However, it's characterized once again by the 'listen to me or else', almost grating detail. Bass response is audible (when outside is quiet) and is still 'tight' - excellent to listen to in a quiet environment, but the controlled reproduction compromises the phones in an environment where external low-frequency noise is prevalent - trains, buses, etc - unbalancing the mix and making the music seem even more treble-heavy than the already over-bright presentation of the 280's. In this respect, the noise attenuation offered by the earpads is useless as lower frequency sounds are more felt than heard.

Ultimately in a portable situation - unless the music is being listened to exclusively in quiet areas - the 280's are not good. With an amp the situation becomes better - but what with carrying a PCDP/PMD and a amp with you plus a reasonably large pair of headphones - and that's before you get to your other discs - a trailer might be in order if you intend to make full use of these phones on the move...


FIT & COMFORT
They are still as uncomfortable as they were when I first got them, despite time spent in a vise around a form, slightly heated. About half a day after it left the vise, it just went back to what it was... The fit around the ears is perfect, and so is the pressure the cups apply, but the top band pressing down on the top of the head really makes it torture to wear for more than half an hour - so much so I concluded this test by wearing them upside down some of the time.


CONSTRUCTION
Well, nothing has fallen off - and I don't expect it to for a long time as it is well built and is obviously designed with a reasonably hard life in mind. It's just that with all-black ABS construction, these phones look very cheap. And the looks haven't grown on me either.

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

SO WHAT'S GOOD?
The overall detail of the sound. Very good indeed - I'd say that none of my other phones can match this level of sheer detail coming out of the cups. Up to a certain power level - certainly a reasonable 'power band', the HD280's are very, very composed. The presentation of the soundstage is excellent. As a home audiophile phone, these are excellent value for money. They also take up very little space when stowed.

SO WHAT'S BAD?
The real problem for 'just listening' people like me (most of the time) is actually the detail. The sound is too precise, and is slightly top-heavy. Casual listening is not really an option with these phones - you might find them a little wearing, as I did. The comfort level is atrocious, and if you are looking for a phone to pull double duty with a portable, you can dismiss these - despite the noise attnuation the phone is unable to overpower background noise without a powerful amp, and IMHO they look cheap, and rather silly.


So there you have it. I'm not a fan - either inside (the SR225 is much more my bag) or outside (the V700's still have a job). However, if I ever want to pick a guitar riff apart or wanted to check whether Perlman was suffering from gas when he played Paganini's 24 Caprices, these are the phones I would use!



EDIT - How I tested:
Inside1: Very quiet living room, Naim CD5+NAIT5+Headline.
Inside2: Noisy (with computer equipment) room, Sony CDP-XE570+TAF-E570.
Outside1: Commuter train (country), windows open, Sharp MD-MT821.
Outside2: Taxi (urban), windows open, Sony D-CJ01 (test results dismissed - unacceptable output. Damn these modern PCDPs!).
 
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fiddler

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Quote:

...or wanted to check whether Perlman was suffering from gas when he played Paganini's 24 Caprices...


Haha.. actually I think he WAS suffering from gastric problems when he played those.
Some parts are pretty darn out of tune....
 
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Gus B

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I think the 280 pros sound great without an amp & terrific with an amp, & I also think they're terrific in a noisy environment since they give superb isolation. I am not an experienced headphone user, however, & don't purport to be able to anaylze the phones with the expertise of Magicthyse. I write, however, to dispute his comments on comfort & appearance. I think they look like the well constructed product that they are, & I find them to be extremely comfortable, even when worn for long periods of time. Like all closed phones, they can get a bit hot after a time, but I don't even find that troubling. I would recommend the 280s to anyone looking for a quality closed phone at a very reasonable price for use with or without an amp (with, of course, better performance with an amp.) I'm sure happy with mine!
 
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starch

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I'm glad that the break in improved the sound - well, at least the bass response. Mine seemed to get a little more mellow in the high end as they broke in - they sounded much too bright at first. They seem to be a little less bright than my SR-80s now. I've thought of replacing them with beyer 250-80s, because sometimes I think I would like a little boost in the low end, but I just love the crisp highs, and I'm afraid I'd miss that detailed, almost grado like high end with the beyers. For portable, I think the 280s are just too big and bulky - the eggo D66 are a much better fit for portable - but they're brighter than the 280s.
 
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Magicthyse

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I'll add one just one note here that's off topic.

If you ever want a reason why some people like the V700DJs for some types of music, me included, play Leftfield's Phat Planet.

Don't use a portable for this test, but rather a decent headphone amp, or a decent amp with a headphone socket.

Plug in the (broken-in) HD280's first.

Turn up the volume so that the drivers on the HD280's are really shaking around a bit and you start getting that 'thump-brrrrm effect'. Incidentally this is just before the sound starts to break up on the 280 - so easy to judge.

Now, plug in the V700.

I dare you not to grin inanely.
 
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j-curve

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Great review! But geez, don't tell me these things get even brighter with burn-in. Just when I was about to start a thread along the lines of "Hey, wouldn't it be great if Sennheiser took the cups off HD280 Pro and fitted a sensible headband and cable...".

How about denser foam inserts, or even lightweight felt to take the edge off the top end?
 
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Magicthyse

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Dunno, it could be my imagination that they got brighter with break-in - but it is the very first headphone to hurt my ears with the sound of a Hammond!
 
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Hamsterball_Z

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The midrange improves with burn in too. Maybe it's the high mids that are making it sound brighter. They'll continue to smooth out with more use so that extra brightness will probably fade a bit.

Once again, burn-in proves itself. Does anyone know if the 280s are more extreme in the way they change than other phones? I don't think I've ever seen anyone describe such a drastic difference in sound before and after burn-in on other phones.

(HBZ)
 
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Magicthyse

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The difference is mainly in the bass - as many Head-Fiers have noted, the break-in extends the bass quite a lot - they no longer sound like castanets! The treble was always a bit shrill, and they've possibly become even more so - but that's debatable.
 
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fredpb

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I wish someone could review three cans in a good head to head shootout.

Sennheiser HD280's.
Sony V6's/7506's.
Beyer DT250-80.


Now that would be a good review.
 
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Magicthyse

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Mebbe one day. I've now got a headphone each for all my home systems so apart from the ATH-A9X I've got on order, I have no plans to acquire more cans.
 
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Toe

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Quote:

Originally posted by fredpb
I wish someone could review three cans in a good head to head shootout.

Sennheiser HD280's.
Sony V6's/7506's.
Beyer DT250-80.


Now that would be a good review.


I'd like to the the Beyer DT770s added to that list. They need an amp, but I suspect Magicthyse would enjoy their sound. (profound bass and quite smooth) And maybe the DT531s too.

BTW, Magicthyse, remember that Headroom gives you 30 days to decide whether or not you want to keep stuff. Just in case you feel like sampling some fine headphones.
 
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Eagle_Driver

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Quote:

Never likes carrying shrieky Sennheisers


Not only that, but many other closed headphones also sound shrieky - including the Sony MDR-V600 and the V900, which are even more shrieky than the Senn HD280. (And when I say shrieky, I mean harsh scratchy highs with little or no top-end detail.)

OTOH, open-air Sennheisers are much less likely to sound shrieky - but the models introduced in 1999 (HD400, HD470, HD490, HD500, HD570 and HD590) just don't sound right - they either sound overbright and shrill, or they sound boomy and murky.
 
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Gus B

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Quote:

Not only that, but many other closed headphones also sound shrieky - including the Sony MDR-V600 and the V900, which are even more shrieky than the Senn HD280.


Eagle--does that post mean you also find the 280's "shrieky"? I thought you were a fan of the 280s?
 
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Magicthyse

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The grumpy mod does it again...
 
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