Friday, November 14, 2008

Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Headphones

I got a chance to hear these as a local Guitar center and they sound awesome! I WAS headed in to buy the Sennheiser HD 280's (Pro) until I heard these. The 380's completely blow the 280's away. There is JUST no comparison.

The Bass response is amazing for closed ear headphones. This is quite rare from what I understand.

You can hear all the detail in the highs and mid-ranges and everything sounds crystal clear. Close your eyes and you might think you're sitting in a concert hall.

Since Sennheiser still does not have anything about these headphones on their web page I e-mailed them for info and got the following:

Product Features
Collapsible high-end headphone for professional monitoring use
Highly advanced features for superior sound-monitoring- Extended frequency
response for accurate, reliable sound reproduction- Increased sound
pressure level (110dB) to handle demanding use
Closed circumaural design for excellent passive attenuation of ambient
noise (up to 32dB)
Exceptional comfort for extended listening
Carrying case included for engineers on the go
Replaceable single-sided, coiled cable with 3.5mm jack connector and screw
type adapter to ¼"
Easily replaceable parts for long service life
Headphone with detachable coiled cable, Carrying case, ¼" jack adapter

Technical Data
Connector 3.5 mm plug, straight (separate ¼" jack adapter included)
Cable length 1m coiled, extendable up to 3m
Frequency response 8 - 27,000 Hz
Weight 220 g (excluding cable)
THD < 0.1 % (1kHz, 100dB SPL)
Impedance 54 Ohm
Transducer principle Dynamic
Sound pressure level 110 dB (1kHz, 1Vrms)

I can only find 2 places that sell these headphones right now. Musicians Friend (and thus, Amazon) and Guitar center.

Oh and another thing, the sound isolation these things provide is SECOND To NONE (Except maybe the 280's)! Even with the volume extremely low I could not hear people talking who were standing 3 feet away from me! I was listening to Guns N Roses when one of the sales guys fired up a Bose system in the same room... it was so loud that (without the 380's on my head) I couldn't hear people talking but with the 380's on I barely heard the music coming from the Bose system.

These are totally worth $200!!!! And I'm not even a hardcore audio guy. If you don't believe me just demo these things are your nearest Guitar Center! Take your current headphones with you so you can compare them.


Andrew said...

Hi Jason,

I was looking for some good headphones and these seem to be exactly what I'm looking for. However I am new to the world of nice headphones and I was wondering: Do you use a headphone amp for these headphones? If you do, can they still produce the great sound that you are talking about here without the amp?


Jason said...


I use these headphones with an IBM Thinkpad T40 at work, a Technics all-purpose amplifier at home, and with an Ipod when on the go.

They sound amazing in all three cases. I'm guessing that they probably have a little more punch when connected to my amp but I cannot honestly say I notice any difference when using an Ipod or a regular Laptop line-out.

Let me know if I can provide any more info for you :) The HD 380's have been truly wonderful. I've not regretted the purchase.

Anonymous said...

I owned the HD280 headphones but lost them last spring break in a car accident. There are lots of complaints in the headphone community about their comfort and sound quality, but I thought they sounded fine and were not uncomfortable at all. I was thinking of replacing them (I originally got them from NewEgg for $60 OEM..) but if the HD380s are more durable/comfortable and have better drivers, etc I don't mind paying double, but if their sound is roughly the same, I'd rather save the $100. I enjoy the "Sennheiser" sound and I need closed headphones. Your review is the only one I've seen posted. So how much better are the HD 380s vs 280s? It seems they won't have the silly old headband issue with the familiar pc 3xx design..


Jason said...


The 380's make the 280's sound downright FLAT. If you have a guitar center local just go try both of them out and you'll see what I mean. The 380's are in a whole other class than the 280's.

Anonymous said...

I just purchased these from Guitar Center, with high expectations.

I now intend to return these tomorrow. I suppose that I can't fault the headphones so much as my personal preferences.

The physical design of the headphones oozes quality and durability, and they fold up into a nice little case that makes them very compact to store.

My only issues with them is the fit and the sound. They seemed to fit well enough at first, completely enclosing the ear and not being too heavy. However, they clamped down like a vise, and after a relatively short time listening through them, I found myself with a headache from them pressing at my temples.

To be fair, the fit would probably loosen up over time, but in the short term it would drive me nuts.

When I first put them on, I was pleasantly surprised that there was still a lot of space between my ears and the actual speakers inside. I initially thought that this would help open up the sound space and contribute to a more natural sound. Unfortunately, that extra space combined with the tight clamping earpieces produced, at least to my ears, a lot of "white noise echo". (As if putting your ear to a sea-shell and hearing the rushing sound of your own blood vessels being echoed back.)

Whenever I was trying to listen to something that was relatively quiet, (such as tiny pizzicato strings from an orchestral piece), I kept feeling like the sound was getting diminished by the rushing white noise in the earpieces, interfering with my concentration. This contributed to my growing headache.

Perhaps I am simply not accustomed to headphones that cancel that much exterior sound.

Still, I want silence to sound silent, and not like a seashell.

As for the actual sound that the headphones produced, it seemed generally very good. I had an easy time isolating individual sounds, and the bass was very powerful. I could definitely feel that bass, although it also seemed to diminish the mid and high tones in certain pieces. I would have to listen more to develop a definite opinion on this.

I intend to return them mostly for the fit and the sea-shell issue, but again, these may just be personal quirks that wouldn't necessarily ruin the headphones for someone else.

Brian said...

I was originally looking for the Sony 5209s and Guitar Center didn't carry them so they suggested the Sennheiser HD 380 instead. After about 15 seconds of demoing them to Sound Garden on the salesman's MP3 player, I was absolutely sold. I have owned Sennheisers in the past when working in radio. I used the light weight models with the yellow foamies. I really liked those headphones, but can't find them any more. With the HD 380s I was able to isolate sounds I never even heard before. It was amazing. Admittedly I haven't used headphones in years, but these blow away anything I've ever tried before. I took them home to use with my pc and I wound up spending 3 hours going through my music collection and re-aquainting myself with the intricacies of some of my all time favorite tunes in a way I had never done before. Music listening is a fresh new experience for me now. At $179.00 their well worth it. Highly recommended for quality listening, monitoring etc. The HD 380s are "Keepers" Love the case too!

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

Annonymous said: "[The 380s] clamped down like a vise, and after a relatively short time listening through them, I found myself with a headache from them pressing at my temples." HUH?...I have a 7-5/8" melon sized head and after 3 solid hours of listening, I thought they were great! No comfort issues here and I have a huge cranial structure! The comfort is perfect and the sound isolation is really nice.

vague_hit said...

very odd comment about them 'clamping down like a vice' as my 380s are very very comfortable and I've had problems with headphones being too tight before... maybe you misread and actually bought the 280s? now THEY clamp down..

Carrol said...

I agree with anonymous that they fit a little too snug. I have the the hd 525 open ear headphone in which blows away all of the current headphones by sennheiser for recording not so good for isolation for using in a live sound environment. Although I do thank that the closed ear type headphone 380 is great for live audio and for short term listening. I will be using them for live audio environment because the 525 dont isolate very good.