Home Closed Back Headphone Reviews Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Review: The Audio Blunder You Can’t Ignore

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Review: The Audio Blunder You Can’t Ignore

The HD280 Pro has been hyped by everyone and their grandma over the years, but is it actually any good?

by Stuart Charles Black
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Greetings mate and Welcome aboard. Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…

Prepare to embark on a journey into the realm of audio excellence as we delve into the iconic Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones.

These headphones have earned their place in the pantheon of audio equipment, celebrated for their quality and reliability.

However, as we explore the HD280 Pro in this review, we’ll also shed light on some potential issues that may challenge their revered status.

While they’ve long been held in high regard, it’s essential to scrutinize their performance and features to determine whether they actually live up to the hype or if there are any hidden shortcomings.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a passionate audiophile, join us in unraveling the secrets of this renowned product, including a closer look at any potential drawbacks that may have eluded the spotlight.

Let’s get started!

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay!

In The Box

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Circumaural Closed-Back Monitor Headphones

1/4″ Adapter

Limited 2-Year Manufacturer Warranty

Specifications

  • Type: Closed Back.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Impedance: 64 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Frequency Response: 8 – 25,000 Hz.
  • Maximum Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 113dB
  • Maximum Power Handling: 500mW
  • Noise Attenuation: Up to 32dB (Passive)
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): 0.1%
  • Material: Plastic, Faux Leather.
  • Active Noise Cancellation: No
  • Audio Connector: 1/8″ / 3.5mm TRS
  • Connector Plating: Gold
  • Included Adapter: 1/4″ TRS
  • Cable Design: Single-Sided, Coiled
  • Audio Connector to Earpiece: Hard-Wired
  • Cable Length: 4.3′ / 1.3m
  • Earpiece Swivel: 90°
  • Color: Black/Deep Grey.

Sound Quality

Well, it’s been quite a while since the HD280 was a twinkle in my eye.

Back in 2015, I had next to no experience with headphones outside of the MDR-7506 and Audio Technica ATH-M50.

That is to say that the HD280 was around my third set of “good” headphones, but looking back, they were a bit of a disappointment for a few reasons.

I remember being fairly underwhelmed by them when listening to music, as they sounded kind of dull to me.

It wasn’t until years later that I found out why.

One look at a graph of these tells you all you need to know.

Credit: Ratings

Is that really something you’d want to mix or even listen casually with?

Scooping out literally the most important part of the sound signature is pretty much the last thing you’d ever want to do when constructing a headphone for mixing and mastering.

The mid-range is by far the most crucial thing to get right in a mix, and here we have the presence regions basically out to lunch.

The dullness I mention?

Well, it’s due to this same issue which makes complete sense. The mid-bass? Also scooped out.

This is what I actually said in 2015:

“The low end is lacking a bit, however. Even for neutral cans, I feel like there could have been a slightly beefier bass presentation. At times the music feels a little hollow.”

Actually, I was wrong. It’s a lot hollow. LOL.

I have no idea what Sennheiser was thinking when they made these, but they are definitely not something I’d ever recommend for mixing.

The worst part is that they’re actually marketed that way, which has almost become a meme at this point.

One look around the internet and you’ll find pretty much everyone and their Grandma shilling these as if they’re God’s gift to humanity.

They’re not.

Nearly every company that sells semi-to fairly well-known headphones somehow always tacks on that stupid “reference” moniker to products that have no business being labeled as such.

I suppose it entices new people to buy things without thinking much about it.

Take it from a guy (me) who’s mixed countless tracks over the years – the HD280 is just not something that you’d ever want to use for such a purpose.

For casual listening, they are “okay” I guess, but the sound signature is pretty lacking to put it nicely.

Unless you want to fall asleep from pure boredom and are okay with jarring cuts and dips in the frequency response, I’d stay away from these.

Build

The build quality of these headphones has garnered both praise and criticism.

They’re primarily constructed from a robust plastic material, which, at first glance, appears sturdy and durable.

However, one can’t help but notice that the plastic used is not just rugged but also noticeably thick and somewhat bulky.

While the bulkiness may contribute to their overall durability, some users have noted that the thick plastic casing can have its drawbacks.

In other words, the HD280 Pro has been known to crack under pressure like Henry Hill in Goodfellas.

One notable aspect of these headphones is their versatility in design.

They can be easily folded and rotated, making them a convenient choice for users on the go.

This feature adds to their overall functionality and portability, allowing for easy storage and a comfortable fit in various situations.

Comfort

Comfort here is about average, maybe slightly below due to them clamping rather tight on your melon.

The faux leather cup material also sweats a bit and you’ll be making semi-frequent adjustments over long listening sessions.

I don’t know if the cup material breaks down over time as the M50 and 7506 do, but leave a comment below if you have any insight into this.

Mobility

If what you’re looking for is mobility, then look elsewhere. Again, they are big and bulky and actually look kind of ridiculous in the mirror.

Check out Alex Rowe’s hilarious Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Review (Old Model) on Medium!

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro looks a fair bit like an old telephone receiver on your head. (Telephones are things we used to use to talk vocally with each other). It doesn’t matter though, because everything else about these headphones is completely perfect.<span class="su-quote-cite"><a href="https://medium.com/@Xander51/sennheiser-hd-280-pro-review-chunky-design-perfect-headphones-1805e7dadf5c" target="_blank">Alex Rowe, medium.com</a></span>

Lmao.

I may have considered taking them out, if not for the coiled cord.

It becomes a huge inconvenience, and to be quite honest I haven’t ever worn this outside of my home, though you may.

If you do, be prepared for people to look at you like you got a flower pot head, kid. Lol, that was taken directly from a Wu-Tang intro.

Pros

  • Built pretty well.
  • Good isolation.

Cons

  • Scooped out mid-range.
  • Scooped out mid-bass.
  • Dull, boring sound.
  • Bulky, and not great for portable use.

Video Review

Credit to Jonathan Morrison.

Amp/DAC requirements

At 64 Ohm impedance, you will not need an amp to drive these puppies and they’re pretty efficient at around 113dB/mW.

Who benefits?

  • People who want to get bullied.

Consensus/Conclusion

The Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones are widely acknowledged as falling below the industry standard in terms of sound quality.

Users and experts alike have often expressed disappointment with their audio performance, citing various sonic shortcomings.

However, the redeeming quality of these headphones lies in their robust and durable build, which is frequently praised for its sturdiness and resilience.

This build quality has earned the HD280 Pro headphones a place as a reliable and long-lasting audio accessory, even though their sound quality may not meet the expectations of discerning audiophiles.

Closing Thoughts

The Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones certainly have their fair share of drawbacks, particularly when it comes to sound.

While they excel in terms of durability and build, their audio performance may leave audiophiles wanting more.

For those seeking superior options in the realm of headphones for mixing, mastering, and music production, be sure to check out my dedicated article on the subject.

There, you’ll find a comprehensive guide to some of the top choices available, helping you make an informed decision for your professional audio needs.

Learn More:

 

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you enjoyed my Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Review!

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

What do you think about these? Are they as bad as I made them out to be? What are your favorite headphones? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

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Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

3.15

Build

4.3/5

Comfort

3.0/5

Sound

2.3/5

Pros

  • Good Isolation
  • Good Build

Cons

  • Scooped out mid-range
  • Scooped out mid-bass
  • Dull, boring sound
  • Comfort isn't great

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6 comments

Jesse March 13, 2019 - 9:27 pm

Hey Stu,
Long time no see. Every now and then, I’ll come across the article summarizing your review and thoughts on the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, which is a well thought out and articulate review by the way. Although I have more reverence and general usage regarding the Sony MDR V6/7506, the 280 pro have not gone by the wayside personally speaking.

I’ve both previously and currently own a pair of the 280’s. They are a very competent headphone though it’s somewhat funny seeing a rather uncolored sounding headphone sell for less compared to say an M50x or DT770. From my experience, the Sennheiser’s stack up interesting with either the V6 and 7506. While I like how the bass on the 280’s are not muddy in addition to being neutral, there are times where it’s somewhat lacking. On a sliding scale between these and the V6/7506, these may be more realistic though the V6 hits the sweet spot between being pretty neutral and not really lacking either.

The 7506’s bass is very clean though slightly hyped vs the V6 and 280. The mid-range on the Sennheiser’s is quite flat and balanced. Though, I felt there was slight clutter to vocals and instruments vs either of the Sonys. That being said, the overall body of the mids remained more preferable to the 7506 for instance. Treble on the 280’s are intriguing. They sound more realistic and extended when stacked up to the V6 and 7506. Though, there is a relative lack of excitement regarding sound signature compared to either pair of Sonys. From my perspective, the Sennheiser’s are smoother and less fatiguing than the 7506 certainly. While very precise, the 280’s don’t sound quite as knife-edge like vs the 7506 or V6. This can be both good or bad depending on perspective and application. Lastly, it would be interesting to see a comparison review between the 280’s and/0r V6/7506. Anyway, keep up the good work as always Stu.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black March 27, 2019 - 12:11 am

Hey Jesse!

Sorry for the late reply. A lot going on lately!

Thank you so much for the kind words. I agree with all of your sentiment on these headphones. Your impressions line up with mine and thought it was an excellent write up.

You’re right about the 280; it can be rather dull sounding at times and I think for me it boils down to 2 things. One is the treble like you mentioned. It’s not bad. It’s actually good and comes across in a very organic and natural way. But it sometimes lacks a bit of zest and energy. The second is the mid-bass. Looking at Ty’lls graph of the 280 makes perfect sense when I think back on my time with these headphones. I owned them at one point and gave them away. I just got super bored with them but we should also keep in mind I had them in 2015 or thereabouts when I was still kind of a bass head. I think now I’d appreciate them a lot more since I value mid-range clarity more than bass slam. I wish I had NOT gave them away because I’d have more headphones in my collection now to demo and do videos on. A couple of others I gave away were the HD201 and HD202.

You’re right about the V6 and 7506’s treble. For me it’s mostly good; I enjoy that extra sparkle although at times it can get a bit hot. Still, the V6 is probably the best overall headphone I’ve ever heard for the money or otherwise. Like you said, it strikes that perfect balance between being great for reference but also as a casual listener as well. My friend Brennan Parker from YT always thanks me for that recommendation because he says the same thing: It’s a great headphone just to kick back with even though some other people online might tell you otherwise. He swears by it in fact, that to this day he’s heard a lot of headphones but nothing really makes him want to upgrade from the tried and true V6.

I’d have to agree.

Out of all of my current crop, the V6 is one that’s staying. I would love to get my hands on a 280 again. I think it would be a great candidate for some Shootout/Comparison videos. Have you subbed my YT? I have some good stuff on there you may like as well!

Anyways, thanks for stopping by man! Hit me back up soon.

-Stu

Reply
Etsu October 31, 2022 - 6:11 pm

Hi.

I have heard that the new version of these headphones sound highly different from the original ones. I assume your review is based on your old pair?

Cheers.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black November 1, 2022 - 2:04 pm

Hey there.

Yeah, I owned the older model so this review is based on that. Do you have a graph of the newer model to compare with RTINGS’ old one? That’s pretty much exactly how they sounded (i.e. terrible lol)

Reply
Igor November 21, 2022 - 10:50 pm

Hi Stu,

Yes it seems the frequency graph on the older ones corresponds with your graph. Found this for the older ones: https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/param6.php?idhp=290&idmain=290&ls=1#gsc.tab=0

And this for MKII the newer ones:
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/sennheiser-hd-280-pro.php#gsc.tab=0

The newer graph looks much flatter without those dips in mid bass etc.
Maybe you should give the newer ones a try.
I actually have had AKG K240 for awhile. Now I got myself the AKG K702, HD280 pro and KOSS KPH30i. Didn’t try mixing yet with any of the three but for listening to music (mostly rock, blues and hard rock) I definitely prefer the HD280 pros by miles.

Cheers
Igor

Reply
Stuart Charles Black November 23, 2022 - 2:47 pm

Igor,

That does look a lot better. Perhaps I will! Thank you for your comment 🙂

I still have a K240M 600 Ohm and I’ve thought about selling it but can’t lol. I’m actually listening to the K702 right now!!

Reply

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