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.