Reviewed on May 25, 2018

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
5.5
Mixed Usage
6.9
Neutral Listening
5.4
Commute/Travel
4.9
Sports/Fitness
5.6
Office
4.1
Wireless Gaming
5.9
Wired Gaming
2.0
Phone Call
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are above-average critical listening headphones, with a durable build quality but a somewhat uncomfortable fit. They have a good audio reproduction that packs a lot of bass, and although they are mostly made out of plastic, they feel durable enough to handle multiple drops without damage. Unfortunately, they are rather tight on the head and make your ears very warm after a couple of hours of listening. They also won't be the most versatile headphones to use outdoors.

Test Results
Design 5.6
Isolation 5.8
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.6
Pros
  • Decent build quality.
  • Moderately comfortable.
Cons
  • Poor isolation.
  • Mid-range heavy audio reproduction
  • Bulky, unstable design.
  • Bass delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  2. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  3. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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5.6

Design

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro have a bland studio design that's solid but also is a little bit bulky. The dense plastic used for their build can withstand a couple of drops without damage, and the large ear cups are moderately comfortable. Unfortunately, these headphones easily fall off your head during any physical activity and offer no control options for your audio. They're also uncomfortably tight which might not be for everyone, especially for listeners with larger heads.

Style

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro have an all-black, utilitarian aesthetic that may work for some but will look bland for most. They are a little bulky and have a studio appeal. They're thickly padded ear cups with a detachable headband padding. They look well made even with their all plastic build.

6.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.63 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.61 lbs

The HD 280 Pro are moderately comfortable. They have large, well-padded ear cups that easily fit around most ears. However, the detachable padding on the headband is relatively thin. The headband is also quite tight on the head. The pads do help to somewhat mitigate the clamping force, but they will be uncomfortable for some listeners, especially during long listening sessions.

0 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

These headphones do not have any controls.

4.8 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 9.5 C

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are one of the tightest headphones on the head. That combined with their earcups that create a good seal around your ears obstructs a lot of airflow, which makes your ears very warm even after a relatively short listening session. They will make you sweat more than average when compared to other closed back over-ears, and overall they are not suitable for physical activity or to use in hot environments unless you take multiple breaks.

5.9 Portability
L : 5.51 "
W : 7.09 "
H : 3.15 "
Volume : 123.07 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Sennheiser HD280 Pro are somewhat portable but a little bulky. They are on the larger side of over-ear headphones. Fortunately, they fold up into a more compact design, which makes them easier to carry around. They will fit comfortably in a backpack but are too cumbersome for pockets even larger jacket pockets.

0 Case
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

These heapdhones do not come with case or pouch.

7.0 Build Quality

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro feel sturdy and won't get damaged by a couple of drops. The headband and ear cups are made out of dense plastic and can handle a fair amount of physical stress. However, the ear cup joints are the weak points where these headphones are most likely to get damaged. The swivel hinges are also a little thin.

5.0 Stability

These headphones are not very stable. They easily slide off your ears, during high-intensity activities like running or jumping. They maintain a stable fit during casual use but will slightly move around if you tilt your head. They also do not have a detachable cable, which causes the headphones to be pulled off your head if something hooks the cord.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

They have a thumpy and deep bass, a very good and even mid-range, and a well-balanced treble. This makes them a pretty versatile pair of headphones, suitable for most genres, including bass-heavy music. However, the bass delivery is rather inconsistent and sensitive to seal and positioning, their mid-range sounds a bit muddy and cluttered especially on vocals, and their treble lacks a little bit of detail. Also, like most other headphones, they don't have a speaker-like soundstage.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
7.6
Bass-Heavy
:
5.8
Warm
:
8.0
Bright
:
4.2
7.1 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.84 db
Dips
:
1.47 db
6.2 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.84 dB

The frequency response consistency is below-average. In the bass range, the deviation across our five human subjects is relatively broad and deep, exceeding more than 6dB. This will be noticeable. The treble delivery, however, is much more consistent and less sensitive to positioning and seal.

7.6 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.31
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
2.14
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.57
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
5.13

The imaging is good. Weighted group delay is at 0.31, which is good. The GD graph also shows that the group delay response is almost entirely below the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in frequency and phase response, but we measured about 2dB of amplitude mismatch. This could skew the stereo image to one side a little bit.

However, it should be noted that this mismatch could be unique only to our test unit and they one you buy, may or may not have this mismatch.

5.8 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
1.79 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
3.52 dB
PRTF Distance
:
10.4 dB
Openness
:
4.8
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.4

They have a sub-par soundstage. The PRTF graph shows a decent amount of activation and accuracy in the response, however, there's not a 10KHz notch present. This, and the closed-back design, results in a soundstage that is perceived as relatively small and located inside the listener's head.

7.8 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.273
WHD @ 100
:
0.111
5.8

Isolation

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro only offer passive isolation. The ear cups' seal stops a little bit of high-frequency noise, but unfortunately, it's not enough for the loud environments involved in commuting. They are not ideal for use in noisy conditions like traveling by plane or train. On the upside, they don't leak much, since they create a fairly good seal around your ears, but they may be audible to the people around you at higher volumes.

5.2 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-12.36 dB
Bass
:
1.49 dB
Mid
:
-10.31 dB
Treble
:
-29.3 dB

The isolation performance of the HD 280 Pro is below-average. These headphones don't have active noise cancellation and don't achieve any isolation in the bass range. This means they will let in all the low-frequency noise and rumble of the airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they isolate by more than 11dB, which is decent. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they achieve 30dB of isolation, which is good.

7.0 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
39.43 dB

The HD 280 Pro have a decent leakage. The significant portion of their leakage is between 900Hz and 3KHz, which is a narrow range. The overall level of the leakage is not very loud either. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 39dB SPL and peaks at 53dB SPL, which is just above the noise floor of most offices.

0

Microphone

Integrated
:
N/A
In-line
:
N/A
Boom
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro do not come with a microphone. For a wired headphone with a good in-line microphone, check out the Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II, the QuietComfort 25 or the Apple EarPods.

0 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
N/A
LFE
:
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
:
N/A
HFE
:
N/A
Weighted THD
:
N/A
Gain
:
N/A

The HD 280 Pro do not have a microphone so the recording quality has not been tested.

0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a microphone so the noise handling has not been tested.

0

Active Features

These headphones are passive and do not require a battery. They also do not have any app support.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A

They do not have any active components and do not require a battery.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

The HD 280 Pro do not come with an app or software for added customization options.

3.6

Connectivity

The Sennheiser HD280 Pro have a simple 1/8"TRS audio cable with no in-line remote. They will only provide audio when connected to your console or PC and have practically no latency since they are wired. However, this also means that they will not have the range and convenience of wireless headphones.

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

These headphones are wired and do not have a Bluetooth connection. If you want a good-sounding wireless headset, then consider the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.

The wired connection of these headphones has negligible latency which is suitable for gaming and home-theater use.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.0 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : No
Length : 4.31 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

These headphones have a simple 1/8TRS audio cable with no in-line remote/microphone, so they will only provide audio when connected to your PS4, Xbox One or PC.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

They do not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

In the box

  • Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are decent studio headphones with a couple of flaws that disappoint. They sound above-average with most music genres and audio. They also have a durable design despite being mostly out of plastic. Unfortunately, they are very tight on the head and do not have a breathable design so they will get more uncomfortable during long listening compared to some of the other critical listening closed-back headphones below. See our recommendations for the best studio headphones, the best audiophile headphones, and the best closed-back headphones.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro in pretty much every category. They are better-built, noticeably more comfortable, and have better sound quality. The HD 280 Pro also get very hot and aren’t breathable. Overall, the ATH-M50x offer better value and are one of the best critical listening headphones we’ve reviewed so far.

5.5 Mixed Usage

Mediocre at best for mixed usage. The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro have a straightforward studio design and good audio reproduction that makes them a decent option for critical listening. Unfortunately, they are uncomfortably tight on the head and one of the least breathable headphones we've tested. This means they will not be the best option for extended listening sessions. They're not the most versatile headphones so you won't be able to use them outdoors or for sports and they only have one connection option; a 1/8"TRS non-detachable audio cable.

6.9 Neutral Listening

Good for neutral listening. They have a well-balanced sound with a good bass, mid and treble range. Instruments and vocals sounded sufficiently forward if a little lacking in detail and clarity compared to some other neutral listening models like the DT 770 and the ATH-M50x. Unfortunately, they have a poor soundstage that won't be ideal for more neutral listeners but overall their sound quality is good enough for most.

5.4 Commute/Travel

Not good for commuting. Their passive isolation is not enough for loud environments. A lot of noise will seep into your audio on a busy commute. They're also bulky, somewhat uncomfortable and have no control scheme to use with your mobile phone.

4.9 Sports/Fitness

Subpar for sports. These headphones are not stable enough to exercise or jog with. They also have a bulky design that will hinder your movements during more strenuous physical activity.

5.6 Office

Below-average for office use. The passive noise isolation will not block the chatter of a busy office. They do not leak as much as some of the other closed back over-ears but at higher volumes, you may distract your colleagues. Unfortunately, they are very tight on the head and not breathable, which is not ideal if you're looking for a good pair of headphones to wear during your entire shift.

4.1 Wireless Gaming

Sub-par for gaming. They have a good sound and a low latency wired connection but are not as convenient or as customizable as most wireless gaming headsets. Also, they don't have a microphone, but on the upside, if you do not need voice chat, then they could be a decent option for consoles and PCs since they will provide audio for both the PS4 and Xbox One.

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