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Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Updated May 25, 2018 at 02:00 pm
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Picture
5.1
Mixed Usage
7.2
Neutral Sound
4.6
Commute/Travel
4.7
Sports/Fitness
5.1
Office
4.0
Wireless Gaming
6.0
Wired Gaming
2.0
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are decent critical listening headphones, with durable build quality but a somewhat uncomfortable fit. They have a good audio reproduction that packs a lot of bass, and although they're mostly made out of plastic, they feel durable enough to handle multiple drops without damage. Unfortunately, they're 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.

Our Verdict

5.1 Mixed Usage

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are inadequate at best for mixed usage. They have a straightforward studio design and good audio reproduction that makes them a decent option for critical listening. Unfortunately, they're 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 either, 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.

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.
7.2 Neutral Sound

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are decent 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.

4.6 Commute/Travel

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are poor 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.

4.7 Sports/Fitness

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are poor 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.

5.1 Office

The headphones are below-average for office use. The passive noise isolation will not block the chatter of a busy office. They don't leak as much as some of the other closed-back over-ears, but you may distract your colleagues at higher volumes. Unfortunately, they're 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.

4.0 Wireless Gaming

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are not suitable for wireless gaming.

6.0 Wired Gaming

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are decent 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 don't 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.

2.0 Phone Calls

These headphones aren't suitable for phone calls.

  • 5.1 Mixed Usage
  • 7.2 Neutral Sound
  • 4.6 Commute/Travel
  • 4.7 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.1 Office
  • 4.0 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.0 Wired Gaming
  • 2.0 Phone Calls
  1. Update 2/20/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  4. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  5. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  6. Update 3/1/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro have an all-black, utilitarian aesthetic that may work for some but will look bland for most. They're 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
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.63 lbs
Clamping Force
1.61 lbs

The Sennheiser 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
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

These headphones don't have any controls.

4.7
Design
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're not suitable for physical activity or to use in hot environments unless you take multiple breaks.

5.9
Design
Portability
L 5.51 "
W 7.09 "
H 3.15 "
Volume 123.07 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

The Sennheiser HD280 Pro are somewhat portable but a little bulky. They're 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
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These heapdhones don't come with case or pouch.

7.0
Design
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
Design
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 don't have a detachable cable, which causes the headphones to be pulled off your head if something hooks the cord.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

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

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-0.23 db
Treble Amount
-3.09 db
6.2
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.84 dB

The frequency response consistency is below-average for these headphones. 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.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.4
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.19 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
14.77 Hz
Low-Bass
-0.26 dB
Mid-Bass
-2.41 dB
High-Bass
-2.87 dB

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro have a very good bass. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble common to bass-heavy music is hyped by almost 3dB. Fans of bass-heavy music may like the extra thump. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and punch of the kick drums is within 0.5dB of our neutral target. However, high-bass, responsible for warmth, is lacking by almost 2dB.

Also, their bass delivery varies noticeably across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

9.1
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.25 dB
Low-Mid
1.27 dB
Mid-Mid
0.05 dB
High-Mid
-1.04 dB

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro have a very good mid-range. The response throughout the range is quite even and flat. However, it's consistently over our neutral target. Low-mid is overemphasized by more than 3dB, and mid-mid is over our target by more than 2dB. This tends to thicken the vocals and lead instruments and makes the overall sound a bit cluttered and mid-rangy.

6.4
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.74 dB
Low-Treble
-4.84 dB
Mid-Treble
-1.95 dB
High-Treble
-12.0 dB

The treble performance for these headphones is great. The overall response is even and well-balanced. However, low-treble is lacking by about 2dB, which will have a small but negative effect on the detail of vocals and lead instruments. The narrow 5dB peak around 9KHz could also make these headphones a tad sharp on S and T sounds, but it will be quite subtle.

7.3
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.74 db
Dips
1.25 db
7.6
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.31
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
2.14
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.57
Weighted Phase Mismatch
5.13

The imaging with the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 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 the one you buy, may or may not have this mismatch.

5.5
Sound
Passive 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

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 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.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.273
WHD @ 100
0.111
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone
Isolation
5.2
Isolation
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 Sennheiser 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
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
39.43 dB

The Sennheiser 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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
0
Microphone
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 Sennheiser HD 280 Pro don't have a microphone so the recording quality has not been tested.

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

These headphones don't have a microphone so the noise handling has not been tested.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro don't have any active components and don't require a battery.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro don't come with an app or software for added customization options.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

These headphones are wired and don't have a Bluetooth connection. If you want a good-sounding wireless headset, then consider the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018.

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

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

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

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro don't 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 Wireless 2017.

Compared To Other Headphones

Comparison picture

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're very tight on the head and don't have a breathable design, so they will get more uncomfortable during long listening sessions 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.

Sony MDR-7506

The Sony MDR-7506 are slightly better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. While the Sennheiser show a more neutral sound profile, they perform more inconsistently with different people. The Sony have a more V-shaped sound profile, but this is more consistent with different users. They're also more comfortable and more portable.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x and the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are both decently neutral-sounding closed-back headphones. The Audio-Technica are more comfortable, which makes them better-suited for long critical listening sessions, but they can sound quite boomy and even piercing at times. The Sennheiser have a much more neutral bass and smoother overall sound but aren’t very comfortable.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

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 Sennheiser also get very hot and aren’t breathable. Overall, the Audio-Technica offer better value and are one of the best critical listening headphones we’ve reviewed so far.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO are better neutral listening headphones than the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. The Beyerdynamic have an overall more accurate sound profile, although some people find them to be a bit overly sharp. They're also tremendously more comfortable than the Sennheiser and their build quality is noticeably superior as well. On the other hand, the Sennheiser are less leaky, but that's about it.

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