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In a day and age in which in-home music studios have flourished, so has the market for cost-effective audio equipment. This article will break down the ever-popular Sennheiser HD 280 Pros and give an honest opinion on them.
The Sennheiser HD 280 Pros are some of the most popular headphones near this price point, and for an excellent reason: they provide producers/musicians with a fantastic recording experience.
While I have used the HD 280 Pros many times in studios, I recently got my hands on them for my studio and thought it would be great to put together this review.
It is my opinion the Sennheiser HD280 Pros are the best set of headphones for the price.
Let’s get into the full review below.
Sennheiser HD 280 Pros – My Review
*I have linked to Sweetwater above as they are my preferred retailer. I’ve been ordering mainly through them for over 10 years now and I highly recommend them for their customer service.
Sennheiser is one of the most well-known names for audio products, created in 1945 by Fritz Sennheiser. The HD280 Pros specifically have done wonders for Sennheiser as a brand as they are suitable for those beginning in production and those who are well-established.
I believe that Sennheiser has managed to create a set of headphones that is affordable yet high quality. Providing producers with neutral mids, comfort, a low ticket price, and an impressive overall sound, the HD 280 Pros are perfect for those on a budget as well as professionals.
The HD 280 Pros offer many great features that musicians of all levels can benefit from. The main thing I focus on with headphones, especially for keyboards, is a neutral sound. The HD 280 Pros are incredibly neutral, leaving you plenty of room to tweak keyboard/synth patches to your liking without too much bass.
Here’s a quick list of things I love with HD 280 Pros:
The build quality is impressive, given the price point. There are more solid headphones than the HD 280 Pros, but you will be spending considerably more.
The long cable is perfect for circumstances where you need a long reach as it quickly reaches 4.31 ft.
When trying to figure out the left and right ear, you can do one of two things. First, look on the inside of the arch of the headphones in which you will see an L or an R over the earpiece, or understand that the wire is attached to the left ear.
On the top of the headphones sit two pads that add a bit of comfort for those long sessions you might be getting into. What’s nice is that these don’t make the headphones uncomfortable by adding additional pressure to your head.
To give yourself more room, you gently pull on one side above the ear. Most people should have plenty of room to expand the headphones, but if you’re worried, you may want to look up headphones that are explicitly built to expand a bit more.
In terms so sound, you will likely be very pleased should you be tracking or mixing. The mids with the HD 280 Pros are excellent, and you can expect an extremely neutral sound.
The HD 280 Pros don’t disappoint in the bass end. If you’re looking for crunchy, thumping, and rumbling bass, you will find an additional 3dB from your typical headphones in this department.
The mid-bass is a bit more neutral, which is for your bass guitars and lower-end guitars.
The mids are what these headphones are known for. You can expect some thicker vocals and leads with the HD 280 Pros.
In terms of raw isolation, you won’t find much isolation in the bass range. This being said, isolation in the treble is much better. I feel pretty isolated when I’m playing piano, even at a shallow volume, especially when playing on the higher end.
Overall, they’re comfortable for hours on end. Other headphones provide a little more cushion; however, you will be paying a lot more for those.
I’ve spent many sessions in which I’ve recorded for 8-10 hours straight and wore these headphones for basically the entirety.
Adjustability is always crucial with extended sessions. I will typically loosen my headphones dramatically during a more comprehensive session, and with the HD 280 Pros, it’s a breeze to do so. You also won’t feel like you’re going to break your headphones from adjusting them too much. While this seems ridiculous, I’ve had cheap headphones break from nothing but adjustments.
The HD 280 Pros are lightweight, allowing musicians to quickly transport them from one location to the next.
The cable is rather long, which is helpful for standing further away from an instrument or mixing counsel. However, the line itself doesn’t feel as cheap as other cables, which can be a significant problem.
HD 280 Pros VS Audio Technica ATH-M50
The Sennheiser HD 280 Pros provide musicians with almost everything the ATH-M50s offer, only for about $50 cheaper on average. However, when it comes to tracking purposes, comfort is one of the more essential things, in my opinion.
The comfort level difference is not noticeable to me; after about 200 sessions wearing both to record. The overall sound is also very comparable, with the HD 280 Pros providing some great mids.
Regarding build quality, I would give a slight nod to the ATH-M50s as they feel just a little more solid. That being said, we are dealing with a $50 price difference, so if I had to choose an area to make a small cut, it would be here rather than sacrificing sound/comfort quality.
When choosing a set of headphones for tracking/mixing, I almost always choose the flat-sounding pair. The ATH M-50s are boosted in the low-end and treble, making for a more exciting listen but a less accurate mix.
Should you be mixing with headphones, I recommend the HD 280 Pros every time as they are incredibly flat, resulting in a cleaner mix. I also prefer these for tracking, as I can tweak sounds more accurately before recording or while recording.
Great For Tracking Musicians
I’ve enjoyed using the HD 280 Pros in multiple studios, including my studio, when tracking keyboard parts.
I love them as they give you a neutral sound that allows you to dig into any keyboard patches you may need. They’re also not incredibly heavy like other headphones in which you get sick of wearing them after an hour.
Should You Buy The Sennheiser HD 280 Pros?
I believe the HD 280 Pros are the perfect pair of headphones for tracking, playing piano, and mixing. If you’re on a tight budget, I would highly recommend getting these over something even cheaper, as you would be sacrificing quality.
The HD 280 Pros are tough to beat when it comes to headphones under $100. I love the quality and the price point.
If you’re someone looking for exceptional quality at a low price point, you will love what the HD 280 Pros have to offer.
I would highly recommend these for keyboard players as they are a significant step up from any options near its price point.