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We've recently released our Test Bench 1.7 update for Headphones! Read the Noise isolation R&D Article to learn more.

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Review updated Apr 10, 2024 at 10:29 am
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016 Picture
7.7
Neutral Sound
4.5
Commute/Travel
4.7
Sports/Fitness
5.0
Office
4.0
Wireless Gaming
6.0
Wired Gaming
1.9
Phone Calls

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016 are closed-back around-ears designed as durable, workhorse headphones suited for professional applications. They feature a collapsible frame with rotating ear cups, which is great for saving desk real estate in the studio. Furthermore, they have a modular design, with replacement parts that can be easily acquired and swapped in.

Our Verdict

7.7 Neutral Sound

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are good for neutral sound. They have a well-balanced sound with a balanced bass and mid-range, though they're hampered by a veiled treble range. This results in a warm sound profile that lacks some high-end brilliance. While their soundstage performance isn't bad for closed-back headphones, they still lack the open, immersive quality of open-back over-ears. Their mediocre frequency response consistency also means that the sound profile will vary quite a bit between different users and listening sessions.

Pros
  • Decent build quality.
  • Decently comfortable.
Cons
  • Struggle to deliver audio consistently.
4.5 Commute/Travel

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are poor for commuting. Their passive isolation isn't sufficient for loud environments, and they struggle to block out low-frequency noises, like bus engines. They're also bulky, not very portable, and have no control scheme to use with your mobile phone.

Pros
  • Decent build quality.
  • Decently comfortable.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Bulky, unstable design.
  • Struggle to deliver audio consistently.
4.7 Sports/Fitness

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are poor for sports, as they're not designed for this purpose. These headphones are not stable enough to exercise or jog with, and they have a bulky design that will hinder your movements during more strenuous physical activity. Their non-detachable cable can also easily get hooked on objects while you're in motion.

Pros
  • Decent build quality.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Bulky, unstable design.
  • Struggle to deliver audio consistently.
5.0 Office

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are poor for office use. Their disappointing noise isolation won't do much to block the chatter of a busy office, and while they don't leak as much as some of the other closed-back over-ears, you'll still distract your colleagues at higher volumes. Unfortunately, they fit quite tight on the head and aren't very breathable, which isn't ideal if you're looking for a good pair of headphones to wear during your entire shift.

Pros
  • Decent build quality.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Bulky, unstable design.
  • Struggle to deliver audio consistently.
4.0 Wireless Gaming

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are wired-only headphones, so they're not suitable for wireless gaming.

6.0 Wired Gaming

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are mediocre for gaming. They have a balanced sound, with plenty of bass to give life to sounds like explosions and gunshots. They also have a low latency wired connection, so you won't encounter many issues with lag between your audio and visuals. However, they lack an immersive soundstage that can aid you in locating audio cues and effects in the stereo field. They also don't have an integrated microphone, so you'll need to purchase a separate mic to communicate with teammates.

Pros
  • Decent build quality.
Cons
  • Struggle to deliver audio consistently.
1.9 Phone Calls

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro don't have an integrated mic and aren't suitable for phone calls.

  • 7.7 Neutral Sound
  • 4.5 Commute/Travel
  • 4.7 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.0 Office
  • 4.0 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.0 Wired Gaming
  • 1.9 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Apr 10, 2024: We've updated this review to bring the text in line with other reviews of similar headphones and have added relevant side-by-sides with comparable products.
  2. Updated Mar 25, 2024: This review was updated to compare the Leakage results to the AIAIAI TMA-2 DJ.
  3. Updated Jun 29, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  4. Updated Feb 20, 2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  5. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  6. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  7. Updated Feb 16, 2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  8. Updated Aug 10, 2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  9. Updated Mar 01, 2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  10. Updated Apr 28, 2016: Review published.
  11. Updated Apr 26, 2016: Our testers have started testing this product.
  12. Updated Apr 24, 2016: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  13. Updated Apr 11, 2016: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro come in one color variant: Black. The manufacturer also produced a 'Silver' variant for a limited time, which has since been discontinued.

If you encounter another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are utilitarian closed-back over-ears. They have a plasticky design with a low enough impedance that they can be driven by a range of mobile and professional devices. Their feature set puts them in competition with the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO—another pair of studio-oriented closed-backs offering some passive noise isolation. Though the Beyerdynamic are more expensive, this additional outlay is justified, as you'll get better build quality and a more comfortable fit, and their sound profile is more balanced in relation to our target curve. Their plasticky build quality and price point also warrant comparisons with the Sony MDR-7506. The Sony headphones have a more excited sound profile and a more comfortable fit, though they don't attenuate as much ambient noise as the Sennheiser.

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 2016. Both headphones have a plastic-heavy construction and feature coiled, non-detachable cables. While the Sennheiser have a more balanced sound profile and provide more passive isolation, they also deliver audio more inconsistently. The Sony have a more V-shaped sound profile, which is more consistent with different users. They're also more comfortable and more portable.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO are better headphones for neutral sound than the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016. The Beyerdynamic have a more balanced sound profile overall, although some people find the peak in their treble slightly sharp. By contrast, the Sennheiser have a veiled treble response that can make your mixes sound a little muffled and lacking in high-end detail. The Beyerdynamic are also much more comfortable than the Sennheiser, and their build quality is noticeably superior. The Sennheiser leak less audio, so they'll be better suited for quiet office environments.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x and the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016 are both closed-back headphones with reasonably balanced sound profiles. The Audio-Technica are more comfortable, which makes them better suited for long listening sessions. Still, their exaggerated bass and treble ranges can sound quite boomy and even piercing at times. However, they deliver audio more consistently, with less deviation in the bass and treble ranges between listening sessions. The Sennheiser have a much more balanced bass and smoother overall sound but aren't as comfortable.

Sennheiser HD 25

The Sennheiser HD 25 and Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016 are both aimed at enthusiasts but have different sound profiles. As a set of on-ear headphones, the HD 25 fit and feel quite different, weighing quite a bit less, and have some added benefits like the left ear cup, which you can flip forward or backward. They have a detachable cable and unimpressive noise isolation but a unique splitting headband for added security on your head. They sound more boomy with a similarly warm top-end. The over-ear-fitting HD 280 Pro 2016 are also plasticky in build, notably chunkier in size, and clamp harder. You can collapse them down, which is handy. They are more neutral sounding than the HD 25 and less bloated in the high bass registers.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016 for most uses. They're better built, noticeably more comfortable, and have a more balanced sound profile overall, with a prominent bass and detailed mids. The treble response is a bit more even than the Sennheiser, so the high-end doesn't sound as veiled. The Sennheiser also get very hot and aren't particularly breathable. Overall, the Audio-Technica offer better value, even at their higher price point.

AKG K371

The AKG K371 and Sennheiser HD 280 PRO 2016 are both closed-back headphones designed for professional applications. They have a similar build quality, with lots of plastic used in the construction, and they both struggle to deliver audio consistently between different listening sessions. However, the AKG are more comfortable to wear for long periods. Both sound profiles offer a balanced bass and mid-range, but the AKG perform much better regarding treble accuracy. Otherwise, there's not much to split the two as they provide similar levels of noise isolation and offer a comparable passive soundstage performance.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Dynamic

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro have an all-black, utilitarian aesthetic, so they're easily mistaken for construction site hearing protection. They have a bulky frame that's somewhat collapsible, along with ear cups that swivel to take up less surface area. There's a thick layer of padding on the ear cups and removable padding on the headband.

6.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.63 lbs
Clamping Force
1.61 lbs

These over-ears are fairly 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, which can create pressure on the top of the head over time. The pads help somewhat mitigate the tight fit but can become uncomfortable, 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
4.7
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 9.5 ยฐC

These headphones fit very tightly on the head. That, combined with their ear cups that create a good seal around your ears, obstructs airflow, making your ears very warm even after a relatively short listening session. They'll make you sweat more than other closed-back over-ears, so you can expect them to get very hot on the head during a long, hot day in the studio.

5.9
Design
Portability
L 5.5" (14.0 cm)
W 7.1" (18.0 cm)
H 3.2" (8.0 cm)
Volume 123.07 inยณ (2,016.75 cmยณ)
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. However, the cable can't be detached and stowed separately. 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
7.0
Design
Build Quality

These headphones feel sturdy and won't get damaged by an occasional drop. 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. The lack of a detachable cable means that you'll either need to replace the headphones when the cable breaks or break out the soldering iron. Fortunately, the rest of these headphones are designed to be modular, so you can easily purchase replacement parts and swap out damaged ones.

5.0
Design
Stability

These headphones aren't very stable. They easily slide off your ears, which can be an issue if you like to headbang aggressively to your favorite tunes. They maintain a stable fit if you're just sitting at your desk 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

The headphones have a fairly balanced sound profile. The bass range is mostly flat, although the high bass is slightly underemphasized, meaning kicks and basslines have plenty of boom and slam but lack a bit of warmth. The mid-range response is flat and detailed. The treble range is quite veiled, though, so the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments sound a little muffled and distant. Sibilants, like S and T sounds in vocals, also sound dull and lispy.

6.2
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.84 dB

The frequency response consistency is passable. Their ability to deliver accurate bass is inconsistent, and response will vary quite a bit depending on the size of your head, if you have thick hair, or wear glasses. Similarly, the treble response will vary quite a bit between different listening sessions.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.5
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 excellent bass accuracy. The low bass is virtually flat and will ensure there's plenty of rumble and boom in your mixes. There's some underemphasis in the mid and high bass, though, which results in a loss of warmth in basslines.

It's also worth noting that the 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 an outstanding mid-range. The response throughout the range is flat, and instruments and vocals have plenty of detail and clarity. In Billie Holiday's rendition of the jazz standard 'Night and Day,' the vocals sound crisp and are clearly discernable over the accompanying horns and piano.

6.8
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.74 dB
Low-Treble
-4.84 dB
Mid-Treble
-1.95 dB
High-Treble
-12 dB

The treble performance for these headphones is okay. The response is veiled across almost the entire range, meaning the upper harmonics of vocals lack brilliance, and lower-pitched sibilants sound dull and lispy. Your mixes overall will sound a little closed-off and lacking in high-end sparkle. The exception to this is the top of the mid-treble, where the response climbs to a peak. As a result, higher-pitched sibilants, like the bell sound on ride cymbals, sound present and have plenty of attack.

7.3
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.74 dB
Dips
1.25 dB

The peaks and dips performance is decent, meaning these headphones generally follow their own sound profile well. There's a peak in the low bass that injects rumble and boom into kicks and basslines, followed by a dip in the mid and high bass that robs these instruments of warmth and definition. There are some small peaks across the low-mid and high-mid ranges, which help accentuate vocals, as well as lead and rhythm instruments. The treble range features some more significant deviations, but this can be related to how higher frequencies are impacted by the shape of your ear. There's a dip in the low-treble that hurts the presence of lower-pitched sibilants, followed by a sharp peak in the mid-treble that brings out a harsher, more metallic quality in higher-pitched sibilants.

7.6
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.31
Weighted Phase Mismatch
5.08
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
2.14
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.57

The imaging performance is good. Good imaging performance is usually indicative of a manufacturer's good quality control and ergonomics, and Sennheiser have built up a solid reputation in this regard. Group delay falls within good limits, resulting in tight bass and transparent highs. While our unit's L/R drivers are well matched in phase, there are some slight mismatches in frequency and amplitude, particularly in the high-bass and low-mid ranges. This means that these ranges can be more audible in the left channel, even while listening to real-life content. However, imaging tends to vary between units, so your experience may differ.

5.6
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
1.79 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
3.52 dB
PRTF Distance
10.4 dB
Openness
5.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.4

These headphones have a disappointing soundstage. While their soundstage isn't as small and closed-off sounding as other closed-back headphones, it still sounds unnatural and doesn't create the impression that sound is reaching your ears from speakers placed around your 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

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is very good. There's not much perceptible distortion, both at regular and high volume levels, so audio reproduction is generally clean and pure. The exception to this is a slight peak between the low and mid-bass at regular listening volumes. As a result, strong kicks and bass sounds can sound a little distorted.

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

These are the settings used to test the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
4.6
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-12.36 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
1.49 dB
Mid
-10.31 dB
Treble
-29.3 dB

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro's noise isolation performance is disappointing. They provide almost no attenuation against bass-range noise, meaning they won't block out kick drums and bass guitars if you're using them to track a live session. They provide more isolation in the mid-range, though, and quite a bit of attenuation in the treble range. As a result, they can insulate you against sounds like background chatter and fridge hum reasonably well.

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

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro have a decent leakage performance, as expected from closed-back headphones. Leakage is mostly concentrated in the mid and treble ranges, so escaping audio sounds thin and lacking in body. If you're blasting tunes in a quiet environment, like a home office or library, others can hear the high-end of your music.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic 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
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
N/A
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample N/A
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
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
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
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 (1.31 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These headphones have a simple 1/8" TRS audio cable with no in-line remote/microphone, so they'll only provide audio when connected to PlayStation and Xbox family consoles, as well as PC. The cable is 1.31m (4.31 ft) in length.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

You can connect these over-ears to your PC via their audio cable. However, you can't send audio to your PC without purchasing a standalone mic.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones are compatible with PlayStation family consoles, so you can plug them into your controller for audio support. However, you'll need to purchase a standalone mic if you want to communicate with your teammates.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones are compatible with Xbox family consoles, so you can plug them into your Xbox controller to receive audio. However, you'll have to purchase a separate mic if you want to talk with your teammates.

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