The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is the best set of headphones we've found in the sub-$100 range. Although experts agree they can't match the audio quality of top-tier headphones like the Sennheiser Momentum, they say these headphones deliver surprisingly good sound for their price. The closed-back, over-ear design also helps block out ambient noise. Although most users say they're sturdy and comfortable, some find the headband uncomfortably tight.
Surprisingly good sound. Nearly all professional reviewers say the sound of the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, while not top-notch, is far better than you'd expect for their price. Tim Gideon of PCMag.com notes these are studio headphones, meant for mixing tracks rather than listening, and he finds their neutral sound "a little less enthralling" for classical music than headphones with a stronger low range. However, most other reviewers find them very listenable, with good balance and detail. Only the testers at TheWirecutter.com say they found the sound "hollow," lacking in dimension. Reviewers also note that these closed-back headphones do a good job of passively blocking outside noise.
Puts the squeeze on. The point that most divides reviewers of the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is comfort. Gideon says they do "an admirable job of keeping long-term sessions more or less fatigue-free," while Tony Silva of Macworld notes that their "soft, well-cushioned earpads fully envelop the ears." However, he also observes there's "ample pressure from the headband," which many users at Amazon.com find uncomfortable. Users with big heads and small ones say they found the band too tight. On the other hand, Silva says the band "should loosen up a bit over time," and some Amazon reviewers confirm this has been their experience.
A price that's hard to beat. Considering their low price, the build quality of the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is impressive. Though made of plastic, they're quite sturdy, with double hinges so they can fold in several different ways for storage. In addition, the headphones' ear pads, cables and headband cushion are all user-replaceable, further extending their life. We saw some complaints at Amazon.com that the plastic headband is vulnerable to cracking, but if this happens, the damage is covered under Sennheiser's two-year warranty. Aside from this problem, durability is excellent; one owner who claims to be "pretty rough with my equipment" says they're still in good shape after six years.
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The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro earns an Editors' Choice award from PCMag.com, with 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. Tim Gideon praises its "accurate, clean audio performance," comfortable fit and durable construction. However, he says they're better suited for recording and mastering tracks than for personal listening.
Review: Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, Tim Gideon, Feb. 12, 2013
The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is one of the top performers in this roundup of six headphones priced at $100 or less. Silva says these sturdy, comfortable headphones have "flat, accurate response and great detail" for recording professionals, plus "just enough bass and treble emphasis to entertain the consumer."
Review: $100-Headphone Review: What Does a Benjamin Get You?, Tony Silva, Feb. 27, 2014
CNET's Steve Guttenberg gives the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones an Editors' Choice award and 4 out of 5 stars. Guttenberg says these headphones are light and comfortable, and they sound equally good for listening to rock, classical music or action scenes from movies.
Review: Sennheiser HD280 Pro, Steve Guttenberg, June 22, 2004
More than 1,250 users post reviews of the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones, giving them 4.4 points out of 5 on average. Most users like the sound, though opinions vary as to fidelity. The most frequent complaint concerns the fit, which a number of owners find too tight.
Review: Sennheiser HD-280 Pro Headphones, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2014
Editors at TheWirecutter.com are less impressed with the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro than those at other sites. In a brief, hands-on test, they find the construction flimsy, the ear cups "pinching and uncomfortable," and the sound "lackluster." Overall, they think there are much better headphones in this price range.
Review: The Best $150 Over-Ear Headphones, Lauren Dragan, May 20, 2013
About 20 users have reviewed the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro on this audiophile site. Owners award the headphones 3.6 stars on average, and 81 percent recommend them. While some say the headphones provide "great bang for the buck," others find the sound performance unimpressive.
Review: Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, Contributors to Head-Fi.org, As of May 2014
7. GoodCans.com by Listening Station
"Bill K," the proprietor of this online headphone store, names the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro as one of the best available headphone sets in the $79-to-$100 range. He says they don't sound as good as an open-backed headphone, but they offer "good detail and decent bass" while blocking sound leakage.
Review: Best Headphones: Headphone Recommendations, "Bill K", Not Dated