Are you looking to break the aural barrier of cheap headphones without breaking the bank? Sennheiser comes to your rescue with the HD-280 Pros: great sealed headphones for discerning listeners on a budget.
When I was in college, any free time I could muster up was spent recording music on my PC with programs like Reason 3.0 and ProTools. The problem was that my roommate had to rise and shine for a 6 A.M. class, and he just couldn’t sleep with two JBL monitors pumping out mega-awesome guitar until dawn. Quickly, we agreed that I needed a high quality pair of headphones on a student’s budget.
I did some research and bought factory refurbished Sennheiser EH-2200s, which cost all of $50.00. The headphones had a flat response designed for monitoring applications – that is, they let you hear recordings without any EQ bias – and were perfect for all my musical needs. After heavy use (6+ hours a day) for four straight years they finally gave out. I was so impressed with their performance that I stayed with the Sennheiser brand and recently purchased the HD-280 Pro model, which is fantastic for general use, and is reviewed here.
Dr. Fritz Sennheiser founded the company in Wedemark, Germany in 1945, just as World War II ended. His original team included seven engineers working in electroacoustics, and they began producing microphones in 1946. Over the years, Sennheiser expanded its product output to include more diverse audio equipment, and they presently offer headphones, wired and wireless mic systems, assistive listening devices for the hearing impaired, teleconference and presentation equipment, and an entire subsection of technology dedicated to aviation. After 60 years of refining their craft in audiophile and professional grade goods, I’d say these guys know their sound.
If you spend a lot of time at your PC in an environment where speakers just won’t work, choosing the right pair of headphones is as important as choosing the right keyboard or mouse. Headphones have got to be functional, durable, extremely comfortable, and above all – they’ve got to produce great audio in a multitude of applications.
HD-280 Professional: Circumaural, Closed HeadphonesThe HD280 Professional is Sennheiser’s most significant closed, circumaural headphone to be introduced in years. Designed to exceed the demands of the professional environment, the HD280Pro boasts extremely robust construction combined with extensive features that meet the requirements of today’s most demanding applications. The unique collapsible design combined with swiveling ear cups, offers maximum flexibility in any application.
Features & Benefits
· Closed, dynamic stereo headphones
· Accurate, linear sound reproduction for critical monitoring applications
· Optimum impedance ensures universal compatibility
· Space saving design features collapsible, rotating ear-cups
· Up to 32 dB of ambient noise attenuation
· Neodymium magnets for high maximum SPL
· Single-sided, coiled cable with 3.5 mm mini jack with locking 1/4″ adapter
|· Very comfortable, even if used for long periods of time|
|· Rugged construction with user-replaceable parts|
|· 2 year warranty|
Indeed, but what does it all mean?
But what’s up with the cord?
Sennheiser advertises the cord as being 1 meter long or approximately 3 feet. I agree with them. Certain online retailers would like to tell you that it’s 10 feet long, but this is a bit of a stretch (no pun intended). The cord is really only comfortable to around 4 or 5 feet because of its tightly coiled design. My old EH-2200s had a great two-sided non-coiled cord which was superior to the HD-280 Pro’s in every way, and I’ll bet you can see why:
The EH-2200s had a mini jack in the headphone where the two-sided cord connected – meaning if someone tripped over the wire, instead of ripping the wire from the can, the mini jack released one side of the cable from the headphone. Simple. This was a great feature for DJs and sound engineers working in crowded rooms, and it’s a shame the HD-280 Pro lacks it. It also means that if the EH-2200 cord does break, replacing it is as easy as plugging in a new one. If you break the cord on the HD-280s, you’re going to have to do some home surgery. Luckily it won’t require solder.
Although occasionally inconvenient, every single part of HD-280 Pro is replaceable, which is a good thing. The first component to die on my old Sennheisers was the fake leather on the ear-cups. They just kind of disintegrated after three years of heavy use, but I replaced them and squeezed another year out of the EH-2200s because they sounded so good. The ear-cup material on the HD-280s seems to have been improved; the leather is suppler and softer, more rip resistant, and more resilient to moisture. Sennheiser has added a strip of the same padded leather to the headband for extra cushioning, and this will help fill some empty space for users with smaller skulls.
|8 Hz – 25 kHz|
|113 dB (at 1kHz/1Vrms)|
Weight (without cable)
|Connection cable||1 meter single-sided coiled cable, OFC copper|
|Connection||3.5 mm stereo mini jack with screw-on 1/4″ adapter|
Earpieces & Generic Tones
+ Excellent midrange clarity
+ Punchy, accurate low end
+ Superior spatial re-creation
+ Comfortable ergonomics in extended use
+ Replaceable components
+ Locking ¼” adapter included
+ Durable, sturdy construction
+ <$100 USD
– Single-sided cord
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10 and the Bjorn3D Seal of Approval