Field Report: Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones

Headphones are pretty simple. Personal monitors. Your private sound field. My favorite term is "cans." Unfortunately, I've heard some headphones that actually sound like cans — garbage cans.

Sennheiser is a famous name in professional headphones. The HD 280 Pro is a closed back circumaural design with neodymium drivers. The HD 280 Pro provides an 8Hz to 25kHz virtual linear frequency response and 102dB SPL. This means these are headphones designed for critical listening. Those engineers who still grab their 1966 X brand cans to test the latest microphone processor will not believe these cans. It always amazes me how many late 60s and early 70s headphones are still in use. The tape replaced record. CD replaced tape. The computer replaced everything. Do you really think those old cans can compete with today's headphones?

Performance at a glance
  • Circumaural design
  • 8Hz to 25kHz response
  • Neodymium drivers
  • High SPL capability
  • Tight fit with good isolation
  • Easy part replacement
  • The HD 280 Pro headphones are surprisingly lightweight. They breakdown to transportable size with collapsable rotating ear-pieces. The rotating ear-pieces also make for easy single-ear monitoring.

    They are probably the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn. However, out of the box they're a little tight. They hug your head so close it feels more like a helmet. They loosen up with a little time. I happen to like a tight fit. It reduces sound leakage from the headphones and outside sources.

    How do they sound? Very good, actually. Are they the best I've ever heard? No, but they can compete with the professional's choice headphones for long-term performance. The key to a good pair of headphones is not just the sound, but also the comfort and the durability. These fit the bill.

    Maybe the best feature is the easy-to-replace parts. Something I have never seen before in professional headphones is the attention to detail given in the HD 280s. The easily replaceable, single-side coiled cable plugs into a connector inside the earpiece. If you have never tried to repair the tiny wires of an inner-earpiece chord after 10 at night you truly haven't been frustrated. Sennheiser really put some thought into replacement parts, obviously with the idea that these headphones will be around a long time.

    In addition to the audio cable, the most important piece of the headphones is also easily replaced: the ear padding. We've all worn headphones down to the plastic. It just hurts too much to keep trying to wear them.

    Taylor is creative services director of KCFX-FM, Kansas City.


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    Editor's note: Field Reports are an exclusive Radio magazine feature for radio broadcasters. Each report is prepared by well-qualified staff at a radio station, production facility or consulting company.

    These reports are performed by the industry, for the industry. Manufacturer support is limited to providing loan equipment and to aiding the author if requested.

    It is the responsibility of Radio magazine to publish the results of any device tested, positive or negative. No report should be considered an endorsement or disapproval by Radio magazine.

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