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Singer's Blog by Jeannie Deva

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HD 280 Professional – Studio Monitoring Headphone
Deva Straight Talk:
The HD280s are the BEST I've ever used in the studio - and I've sung with many. They help to make singing easy which keeps the session fun and efficient in achieving final vocal tracks. They are light weight and adjustable with very comfortable and luxurious ear pads permitting extended wear. This is important because the weight and pressure created by some headphones can actually cause head and neck tension and sometimes even headaches. I have personally sung with these in challenging vocal recording sessions and found them to be a most wonderful asset. With these on, I can hear exactly what I’m doing with no alteration.

As part of my testing, I brought them to a session for which I was the vocal producer. The singer was using a different company’s headphones. When she showed signs of having vocal difficulty, I switched the headphones she was using to the Sennheiser HD 280s. Immediately she was able to sing better, more freely and with more expression just by changing to this headphone.

Best Uses: These headphones reproduce both male and female voices equally well. While I have not used them for every type of voice and musical style, I am confident that the HD 280s will support them all. I don’t usually make such sweeping statements about equipment but these headphones are fabulous. It’s likely that audiophiles and DJs will enjoy the sound of these as well, but I’m only reviewing them for singers in studio sessions.

Technical Details: The HD 280 Pro is a closed, around-the-ear headphone that provides what could be called “aggressive noise isolation” which is very important for studio recording. They also block out room noise with up to 32 dB of ambient noise attenuation. They have a single-sided, coiled cable with a 1/8 mini jack and a locking screw-type ¼ inch jack adapter. You can also replace the ear pads if they ever wear out. The collapsible design and swiveling ear cups make it easy to pack and carry.  The only thing I wish Sennheiser would include with these headphones is a carrying bag.
Final Notes: I encourage recording studios to purchase several sets of the HD280s. It’s important for producers and engineers to hear what the singer is hearing. While of course you can send the headphone mix through your external studio monitors, since each monitor is designed to reproduce sound differently, you will only truly hear what the singer is hearing if you use the same make and model headphones.

Other Gear Reviews


  1. Rick on February 9, 2015 at 7:47 PM said:
    I have two of the Sennheiser HD 650's and they are great (and yes they are pricey). The issue with the HD 280's is that they do not have a true flat response. However, that being said, for the money you will be hard pressed to find a better set of headphones for your studio.
  2. Denis D'Aoust on February 11, 2015 at 8:27 AM said:
    Yes, the Senns are good, and at around $100, not that expensive. I still like my Sony MDR-V600 headphones. I've replaced the pads a couple of times, but the sound is great. Too bad they're a discontinued item.
  3. Ken on February 13, 2015 at 2:10 AM said:
    How are the Sennheiser HD-380 Pro compared to 280?
  4. Jeannie Deva on February 13, 2015 at 2:06 PM said:
    I actually reviewed both and you'll find it in my "Singer-Gear" link on the website. Thanks for asking!
  5. Ken on February 28, 2015 at 10:10 AM said:
    Thanks Jeannie Deva ! :-)
  6. Ms P Pieretti on July 3, 2017 at 12:35 AM said:
    Which headphones do you recommend for editing ?
  7. Studio Staff on July 3, 2017 at 10:42 AM said:
    These HD 280's are an excellent choice for editing. They reproduce sound accurately and block out room noise which is important. Also they are lightweight so you can work for longer periods without fatigue.
  8. Ms P Pieretti on July 6, 2017 at 4:55 AM said:
    Checked them out and far too pricey for my present income level: but out of interest; is the cable replaceable ? As find that main problem when headphones stop working, is that cable has broken. Have been using in-ear headphones from pound-shop so far, and recently noticed sound / mix totally change when replacing a pair mid-project [!] Not good, as can be quite cumbersome getting a good mix (and while still working on some aspects of): only to find that one has to start from scratch.
  9. Studio Staff on July 9, 2017 at 12:47 PM said:
    The cables are quite sturdy on these headphones. We've never had them break, but they can be repaired.
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