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Sennheiser HD-280 PRO Headphones



The classic Sennheiser HD-280 PRO headphones are impressive right off the bat, even though they’re the same as they were back in 2003, when they were first released. They’re lightweight, their ear cups collapse for compact storage, the pads are soft to the touch and remarkably airtight, and the shape is both practical and attractive.The size, the design and the sonic capabilities of this headset mean that it’s more appropriate for studio use than personal listening, but that’s not necessarily bad news for regular folk. While it was created specifically for professional monitoring applications and studio use, with flat response for isolated, unblemished output, it’s still more than capable of handling media content cranked up to reasonable levels in the comfort of your own home.

Build Quality & Design

Sennheiser HD-280 PRO are an over-ear style of headphones. While the ooze style and comfort, they’re more towards the ‘no-frills’ end of the spectrum when it comes to build. It’s a high-quality headset with robust features, but it doesn’t set out to impress with its looks as much as it does with its sound output. The Sennheiser HD-280 PRO is a modern classic.They cover the entire ear with soft, padded ear pads. These pads swivel to secure onto your head, and they give you plenty of leeway to move your head freely, which is more than necessary if you’re known for twisting and turning your head like an owl looking for those buttons. The easily adjustable headband is another tight-fitting element that doesn’t interfere with head movement and general comfort, rounding off the package splendidly. These studio headphones were built with comfort in mind, which is why they are a must for fatigue-free recording sessions.

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Sound Quality

With a 64 Ohm impedance, they can be used without an amp, with laptops, phones and MP3s to generate a sound that’s powerful enough to be immersive. A frequency range of 8 Hz to 25 KHz ensures the optimum balance of lows, mids and highs. The fact that its spectrum starts at sub-bass levels with 8 Hz means that the Sennheiser HD-280 PRO is unlike many headphones because it takes bass with a full-on approach, it doesn’t avoid it. Neodymium magnets inside the Magnesium frame under the ear pads increase the sound pressure level, and the 32 dB of ambient noise reduction keeps the boom for your ears only. Thanks to the snug, circumaural fit, they’re far less likely to bleed sound like an over-ear pair, although the odd sound leak can still be expected while recording very close to the mic.

Whatever its faults, and there aren’t many of those, the Sennheiser HD-280 PRO will provide a crisp, sharp audio performance that will make recording sessions infinitely more enjoyable. Just because it’s a ‘flat response’ headset doesn’t mean it’s lacking in terms of bass, quite to the contrary. Even though the low frequency response is rich, all other frequency levels are articulate and clear. The sound doesn’t distort until you crank the volume up to ear-bleed mode, and even then it’s more of a crackle noise than buzzing. The total harmonic distortion is at 0.1%, according to Sennheiser.

Because it doesn’t enhance the sound for the sake of entertainment, this headset is one you can rely on when you’re trying to achieve a well-rounded sound at work, because you can be sure that if a tune sounds good on these headphones, it will sound spectacular on common personal headphones.One aspect that prospective buyers should bear in mind is the fact that they’re not intended for wear alongside a pair of glasses. Even though they won’t feel uncomfortable around the earpieces of the glasses, they will lose a noticeable amount of sound.

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A downside to the HD 280 Pro is the fact that it lacks a detachable cable, unlike most closed headsets. Even though the fact that it does not feature replaceable cabling is a serious impediment for those who travel or use multiple devices simultaneously, we should keep in mind that there are newer Sennheiser models that feature this element, among which the HD 800. The main advantage of a removable cable is the fact that it extends the lifespan of the headphones, and it’s much easier and more affordable to have replaced than the entire headset. Still, given that this is a durable and inexpensive model, this shouldn’t be much of a problem, if handled with care.

The single-sided coiled cable jack is 3.5 mm in diameter and there’s an accessory for larger headphone jacks, extending the cable termination to 6.3 mm. Unfortunately, there’s no carrying pouch with the headset, only the box it came in.With the cable, the headset weighs 220 grams, so it’s light enough for travelling, though that’s not really the purpose. It’s light solely because it absolutely needs to keep you hooked on the music for hours on end, so that you eventually forget you even have them on. And this is something it does remarkably well.

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For the price, this studio headset is unbeatable. The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro has proven itself to be the epitome of studio hardware on a budget. Though some of the features may be deemed slightly outdated, others are in line with current sonic trends, so the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro still very much deserves to be the iconic mastering engineer headset.

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Color black
Frequency response 8 – 25000 Hz
Sound pressure level (SPL) 102 dB (IEC 268-7)
THD total harmonic distortion 0.1 %
Contact pressure 6 N
Ear coupling circumaural
Jack plug 3.5 / 6.3 mm stereo
Connection cable Coiled cable (min. 1m / max. 3m)
Transducer principle dynamic / closed
Weight w/o cable 220 g
Nominal impedance 64 Ω
Load rating 500 mW


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