Today, we’ll be reviewing the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones. These are a controversial pair of headphones for many, so let’s take a deeper look to see why.
Our verdict on the HD 280 Pro
They’re not the most accurate headphones, and they surely aren’t the most comfortable, but the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro have earned their place as an industry standard regardless.
When it comes to midrange clarity and noise cancellation for tracking, the Sennheisers are a phenomenal option, and for $100 who can complain.Available at: SweetwaterAmazon
Power and frequency response
The HD 280 Pros have an impressive frequency response of 8 Hz – 25 kHz. However, despite its extended low end, the bass isn’t as prominent as one might expect.
There is a -5 dB cutoff from around 50 – 100 Hz, so while you’ll still be able to hear the harmonics of the bass and kick, the full body of the low end will be subdued by quite a large margin.
The sweet spot of the HD 280 Pros lies at around 180 Hz – 700 Hz, making alto singers and strings sound phenomenally clear.
The high end is fraught with inconsistencies, however. Seeing that there is a slight dip around 2 kHz – 8 kHz, instruments occupying this portion of the upper register will bleed together.
This is somewhat expected from a pair of headphones in this price range, and to be frank, the midrange is the more important aspect of the mix to nail.
So, while these aren’t perfect headphones by any standards, they’re good enough for most scenarios.
The Sennheisers are made out of a dense plastic, making them quite sturdy and resistant to the wear and tear of accidental droppings and miscellaneous physical stress.
One major flaw these headphones have is the lack of a detachable cable. Nowadays, headphones having replaceable cables has become the standard, seeing that the wires are usually the first things to go sour with any new purchase.
While this isn’t necessarily the worst thing, we warn you to be careful of how you treat them in order for the headphones to last.
These headphones are adequate in terms of comfortability. The earcups are large enough, but we found the padding to be rather slim.
Also, the headband is rather tight. Some may prefer a fit with a bit more clamp to it, but we could easily see somebody becoming aggravated with it – especially for longer sessions.
They slide off the head fairly easily and aren’t recommended for working out or other intense physical activities.
They’re stable enough for working in the studio, but with one small issue. Again, the non-detachable cable can be a bit of a nuisance if the cord ever gets hooked on to some gear.
Noise cancellation and isolation
Noise cancellation is one of the HD 280 Pro’s strong suits. There is no active cancellation occurring in the low end, so passing cars and trains will most likely overpower whatever you’re listening to.
However, in the midrange, they can isolate by a bit more than 11 dB while for the high end nearly 30 dB.
In other words, these headphones are phenomenal for tracking.
There aren’t many accessories to mention here. Upon your purchase of the HD 280 Pros you’ll receive the headphones, an 1/8″ – 1/4″ adapter, and the manual.
Not that these things are incredibly important but it would’ve been nice to see a carrying pouch (and a replacement cable).
Compared to other studio headphones
While the Sennheiser HD 280 Pros may be the perfect headphones for you, here are some other options to consider as an alternative.
HD 280 Pro vs. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
To our understanding, the M40x are slightly more accurate than the Sennheisers, but not by much. The Audio-Technicas are surely more comfortable, and have a lot more bass. They do have a lot of bleed, so be wary of using them for tracking.
HD 280 Pro vs. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
The ATH-M50x is the superior pair of headphones as far as we’re concerned. They’re far more accurate and pleasing where it counts.
You can use them for either critical or casual listening, whereas you can’t do either as reliably on the Sennheisers.
HD 280 Pro vs. Sony MDR-7506
While the MDR-7506 have held their place as an industry standard for some time, they aren’t without their flaws. The 7506 are generally better for mixing, but the HD 280 Pro outshines them in terms of clarity.
The trade-off here is of course comfortability, in which case the Sonys are the clear winner.
HD 280 Pro vs. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
These are far more comfortable and far better for mixing and mastering purposes in our opinion. If you can, get the DT 770 Pro.
Who are the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro best suited for?
Due to their low price and good midrange clarity, the HD 280 Pro headphones are a good choice for beginner producers on a budget.