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4.4 out of 5 stars
Sennheiser Collapsible Headphones HD 380 Pro, Black
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435 of 450 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2009
I've been a huge fan and user of Sennheiser headphones for the last three years, and have had many of their headphones (HD200, HD201, HD215, HD280, EH150, CX300 - All still work fantastically, I've just been expanding my collection) as well as a few other brands and models (Sony MDR V700, Pioneer HDJ1000). That being said, I will be reviewing the 380s and how they compare to the HD280s.

First, the construction and design - the 380s have been entirely reworked from the previous 280 design. The ear-pads now sit at an angle to the headband, meaning that they cover the ears completely while still allowing the band to sit comfortably on one's head. Additionally, while they do sit tightly on the ears, there is less of a "vice grip" effect that was heavily criticized for the 280s. Another improvement is that now, while the ear-cushions sit around one's ears, the actual pad on the inside of the cup does not touch one's ear. This arrangement is much more agreeable than the 280s, where the ear-pad was in constant contact. Also, the swivel on the 280s has been reversed in direction. While this is a bit strange, there is still enough give in the cups to allow one ear monitoring (as a DJ, this is invaluable). Just out of curiosity, I compared the noise cancellation to both the Sony MDR-NC7s and the Bose Triports - they were just as good as either of these models (although the Triports leather is much more comfortable). Finally, while they are a bit heavier than other full headsets (7.7 oz), they do not feel as heavy as they should. In fact, they feel much lighter than the 280s (7.8 oz), perhaps because of the new design.

Now, the sound - HUGE HUGE HUGE improvement over the 280s. The 380s provide an even clearer and more analytical sound than their predecessor. Another change has been the soundscape within the ear-cups. The 280s project the sound (in my opinion) as if it were a beam right into the ear canal: the 380s create an environment of sound that surrounds one's ear and draws the listener in. By doing this, it creates a much more enjoyable experience while not sacrificing the clarity of the music. Finally, the bass impact and response have been improved and given some force. Whereas an equalizer had to be used to "correct" the 280s, it is not needed for the 380s. That being said, they are not bass-heavy, just accurate.

Finally, some things to consider. The price tag is $200, so even if you're into music production or DJing (that's why I got them), the price may still be a bit steep. Also, if you do buy these, you MUST increase the bitrate of your MP3s. Anything less than 192 Kbps is just too low, and you WILL NOTICE the lack of clarity (I rip at 320 Kbps, or preferably WAV or FLAC). This being said, an iPod will have no trouble running these headphones, as is a problem with some higher impedance headphones (>64 Ohms).

I wholeheartedly recommend these headphones, for both their clarity and comfort. If you get a chance, swing by your local Guitar Center and give them a listen. I guarantee you'll be in love. If these aren't what you need, be sure to hit [...] and look around. Great info there. Good luck with your decision, and enjoy if you do buy them!!

EDIT - I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but no, I am not paid for my opinions nor in any way do I make money in any audio-related field (as was suggested in one review, though not at me specifically). I'm a grad student in chemistry, and I only purchase items after hours of research. If I seemed somewhat knowledgeable in the field of headphones, it's only because of lots of reading done at head-fi.org and comparing the sounds of different brands. I prefer accuracy (i.e. the "true" nature of the sound) so I love my Sennheisers.
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124 of 133 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2010
Verified Purchase
I am going to compare this model to the HD 280 Pro, which I have owned for several years.

My pair of HD 280 Pro's were getting a bit beat up from wear, so I decided to try this updated version. Compared to the 280, these are a more sleeker design, and appear to be better to handle frequent use. The 280 will eventually have cracks in the plastic headband - easily repaired with super glue, and may eventually need taping to hold the parts in place, but this is only a cosmetic flaw. Also, the pads will not fall apart like most Sony and cheaper headphones. The 380 has no parts in the headband to easily break or come lose, so durability is improved. The 380 also comes with a carrying case, that provides a tight fit for getting the coiled cord inside. The 380 is also lighter and requires a little less power from a flash drive player than the 280.

One reason I bought these was because they were advertised to surround the ear, whereas the 280 would rest on my ears (but not uncomfortably so). The 380 does surround the ear and the band provides a tight and fairly comfortable fit for long listening times. Surprisingly, I found that the 280 had a slightly better ability to block the sound of an air cleaner fan in my listening room, otherwise, both models provide good isolation for you and outsiders.

As to sound quality, there is a significant improvement in the bass response of the 380, while the upper frequency response has remained very good. Both models will easily play on a flash or CD player and do not need a separate amplifier. They offer detailed sound reproduction that cheaper headphones lack, and you will notice the difference between lower end MP3 bit rates and higher ones, such as 128 kbps vs. 192 kbps.

The HD 380 costs twice as much as the older model, but I think it is worth it, especially if you are deciding between the two. Better design, better bass response, carrying case, and fit over the ears. While I have high quality earphones, I still prefer the feel of bass sounds delivered by headphones, especially for trance, rock and other kinds of music that heavily use percussion.
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230 of 264 people found the following review helpful
In my quest to search for the best closed, non-noise-cancelling headphones that will do a satisfactory job of isolating the engine rumble of the bus that I take to and from work, I found that the choices are very few. I ultimately decided on purchasing two pairs, the Sennheiser HD 380 pro and the Shure SRH840. Prior to testing the differences between these two headphones, I ran both of them through my home audiophile stereo system at high volume for over 50 hours each plus another 20 hours each of casual listening to and from work.

First, the dimensions of each can. The Senn's are bigger and more oval shaped than the Shures. The Senn's cans measure approximately 4 9/16 inches by 3 7/16 inches, while the Shure's is more roundish, although still oval, measuring about 4 2/16 inches by 3 1/2 inches. The longer length of the Senn's may bother people like myself who suffer from TMJ syndrome (jaw problem due to clenching), which may also be further induced by its vice like pressure. The Shure's are not long enough to reach my jaw, and they fit more loosely but still snug enough to keep firmly on my head. The depth, the length of the outside of the leather that covers your ears to the felt of the inside of the can, is 1 1/16 inches in the Senn's and only about 3/4 of an inch for the Shures. This is a huge difference. My normal size ears actually touch the inside felt of the Shure's, but this rarely bothered me. This vast difference led me to believe that the Senn's will have a better soundstage; however, I was not able to detect any difference. The Senn's have a very thin and porous felt, and it is easy to see the speaker. However, the Shure's felt is thicker and far less porous, and therefore, it is not possible to see the speaker. Perhaps the speaker in the Shure's is further recessed, which may be the reason that I was not able to detect a difference in the soundstage.

I like the fact that the Shure's wire is a screw on, so if the wire breaks, it can be replaced. I believe that the Senn's wire is a permanent fixture, but I am not certain; however, I do know that they are not the screw on type. Although they both come with a case, I much prefer the Senn's case. It is a somewhat hard case, but at the same time somewhat soft - difficult to explain. Anyway, it is very cool. It even has a strap like handle - very cool. It fits very easily in my briefcase. The headphone case has a zipper and can be completely enclosed. The Shure's case is leather with a draw string, but it cannot be completely enclosed, and takes up a lot more space in my briefcase, and is not nearly as cool. I was not impressed.

In my subjective casual listening to these headphones during my commute to and from work, I felt that the Senn's isolated the outside sounds of the engine rumbles of the bus perhaps 10%-20% better than the Shures. I did a more objective test in my house, as I put the headphones on without music and listened to my air conditioner. The Senn's clearly isolated better. Still, the Shure's did a satisfactory job.

Now it was time to test the sound. First, I wanted to know if the headphones would sound different through an mp3 player (320 bit rate) compared to through my stereo system. I did a blind test. The difference was clear - it took me only between 5 and 10 seconds to know which sounded better. I came up with the same results time and time again. The headphones sounded superior, much cleaner and sharper, when connected to my home stereo. I am not sure how much of the difference was due to the mp3's compressed sound of the copy or to the huge difference in the quality between my audiophile stereo amplifier to the low quality amp of the mp3 player. However, my test may lead me to one day buy a portable amplifier for my headphones, if a company ever comes up with a high quality amp that uses a rechargeable battery instead of a 9v battery lasting only a week or two.

I wanted to know which is more efficient ( obtaining more headphone volume at the same amp volume setting.) I raised the volume in my amp until I was able to hear something. This test proved to me that the Senn's are efficient but only sightly. I used music with only midrange in this test.

Now I wanted to see which headphones sound better - at least to my ears. To me, better means more faithful frequency response, extended bass, and crisp and open sound. I used my audiophile stereo system as the reference. I listened to songs that I am very familiar with - Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Chicago, Elton John, Melissa Manchester, Kelly Clarkson, Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, George Winston, and Johann Sebastian Bach. I listened for many hours. I listened at high volumes and at very, very, low volumes. There is definitely a huge difference in the sound. By far the biggest difference is in the middle to high part of the bass, such as sounds produced by the bass guitar, bass drums, and synthesizer bass. I am completely convinced that the Senn's have an exaggerated mid to high bass. The Shure's mid to high bass always sounded far closer to the faithfulness of my reference. The difference is staggering. The only reason that I still listen to the Senn's with music with a lot of mid to high bass is that the rumble of the busses dampen the exaggerated bass; however, once I step off the bus, I always wish that I was listening to the Shure's. So, when I listen to say Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, and Chicago, I much prefer to listen to the Shure's.

I must say, however, that although the Senn's mid to high bass is definitely exaggerated, its mids and high are impressive enough and the bass is tight enough, that the whole music spectrum can still be appreciated. However, the whole music spectrum is more appreciated with the Shure's, as it too has a tight bass and has mids and highs that are even more impressive than the Senn's.

Listening to music having a deeper bass than mentioned above, for example the plucking of the bass fiddle in Count Basie's CB Express and Satin Doll, the Senn's were a little more impressive than the Shure's. Going still deeper in the bass, the bowing (you know, when the musician uses the bow in the string instrument) in Bach's concertos, I was surprised to find out that the Shure's went equally deep as the Senn's. With bass this deep, it is nearly impossible to exaggerate the bass, so ultimately the headphones with the more powerful bass is the one with the better deep bass. I found that sometimes the Senn's sounded slightly better and at times the Shure's sounded slightly better. At one part of the music, I decided to listen at the lowest possible volume to find out at what volume would I not be able to hear the bass anymore. The Shure's actually did slightly better than the Senn's during this test. However, at a different part of another concerto, I felt something in the bass with the Senn's that I felt less of with the Shure's. Consequently, my impression with the deepest part of the bass is a mixed conclusion and the differences only slight.

When I tested the mid range to high ends, I found that the Shure's made this musical spectrum sound more separated from the bass than the Senn's, but I was not certain if it was due to the exaggeration of the mid to high bass of the Senns's. However, when I listened to Bach, which mostly lacks mid to high bass, the mids and highs still sounded more separate from the bass with the Shure's. Cymbals in every music that I listened to almost always sounded more crisp and clear with the Shure's. Still, they never sounded too bright or tinny.

All the other closed, non-noise cancelling headphones that I tested at the stores simply could not match the noise isolation of the Shure's and Senn's. However, I think that the Sony MDR 900's came the closest. I did not buy the Sony's because they were too loose fitting on me. If you want headphones that have high quality sound but you are a little less concerned about isolation from outside sounds than I am, I would consider the Shure's SRH840 and the Sony MDR 900. If you are not concerned about isolation at all, then there are many, many more choices. The Denon's 2000's is just one example of a solid choice for those who want high quality sound and do not care less about isolation, but, as I mentioned, there are many, many other choices. I just wish there were more choices for folks like myself who want to enjoy listening to music while being in the middle of a raucous of a big city. For now, the Sennheiser HD 380 pro and Shure SRH840 may be the two best choices available for those who need the very best of noise isolation, without the noise-cancelling technology.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2010
I was looking for closed, non noise-canceling headphones that would significantly elevate my home listening with true, vivid, trustworthy reproduction. These headphones more than deliver.

I won't repeat what others have said better than I could, but some observations:

- I saw no reason to upgrade my iTunes music purchases to 256KBPS until I owned these headphones. Now, I'm not sure how I listened to things the other way.
- Listening to some familiar music on these headphones for the first time -- the best analogy that pops to mind is as if one's old analog TV had suddenly become an HD, high-end plasma TV. Details you never knew existed, and a clarity and resolution that delivers surprise and marvel.
- These headphones sound their very best when driven directly from my MacBook Pro rather than my iPod, perhaps due to the power of the signal.
- I have used these headphones instead of Bose QC-series headphones on several flights, and they offer good sound-dampening. That said, I would prefer QC II / 15's on a plane.
- If I could award six stars, it would be for vocal reproduction on these headphones. Amazing.
- When I want to know exactly how something is supposed to sound, I use these as the reference
- I disagree with the comments about low bass performance. There is plenty of bass, and it's tight and smartly delivered even at the lowest end. Anything more would be artificial.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
98 of 117 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2011
Verified Purchase
With this addition to the lineup Sennheiser seems to have made a conscious effort to move away from neutral reproduction toward the V-shaped equalization favored by rock and pop fans. The lows on the HD-380 are huge. I can see why some may find it "thrilling", but it remains the kind of thing you like if you like that kind of thing. Classical music listeners probably will not want a bassoon to sound like a foghorn.

Sennheiser makes two other sets of closed headphones, the HD-280 and the venerable HD-25. While the 380 are by far the most comfortable, if you (like me) were hoping for the same balanced acoustics and sound signature you are well advised to audition before taking the plunge.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Hello Kobayashi- Thanks for the message. The HD 380 has a full bodied signature as you noted. Your recommendations for a very neutral sounding headphone in the HD 280 are appreciated.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2011
Verified Purchase
I am a live sound engineer who mixes shows of all sizes, genres and volume levels. I don't do this for a hobby - I actually do it almost every day and when I'm not I'm thinking about ways to do it better. The Sennheiser HD280 Pro has become the venerable standard in the pro live sound world of late, so when I saw these here at $79.00 (holy crap, what a steal!) for factory refurbs it seemed like a no-brainer. As of this week I've used them on almost a daily basis for 3 solid months in 'mercenary sound' conditions (you pro guys know what I'm talking about). The slim carry case fits right in the front of my laptop bag and the detachable - and replaceable - coiled cord has a nice 2 foot straight drop from the headset so the cord doesn't tangle in glasses, laminates, etc. (still no luck finding a factory straight cable for this headset). I believe the overall sound quality to be a good step up from the HD280s, especially in the clarity of their generous bass response. The isolation is crucial for engineers involved in large outdoor events and loud rock shows in general as these can double as hearing protection. They are also a huge step up in comfort and collapsibility (sorry, DJs, the smooth outer shells make them a poor choice for one ear wear). They feel a good bit lighter and more out of the way than the HD280s and seem to disappear after long use. I think these are more representative of a true audio standard than the HD280s, especially in the realm of vocals and acoustic instruments.

To the audiophiles - I don't know what to tell you, go look elsewhere for your perfect sound, these phones are not meant to be deployed for you. My disclaimer here as far as the recorded music I personally listen to (and play back in my live venue) is that I am in the process of replacing my aging MP3 collection with FLAC files, so if you like to listen to 192Kkz MP3 or AAC files you'll hate these headphones - they will faithfully reproduce every artifact, harmonic dissonance and dynamic watering down of your crappy music collection. Earbuds or maybe a frontal lobotomy night be more your style. On the other hand, I can personally attest that FLAC files and wave files of all genres of music are reproduced with stunning accuracy on these headsets. I am certainly not convinced that these are poor headphones for listening to classical music - I listen to classical on these phones all the time, although I may not be as discerning of musical tastes or acute of hearing as some of our audiophile companions on here (I am a live sound engineer, after all!).

In summary, the isolation, the clarity at full range and volume, the portability (cool case!) and the replaceability of parts makes perfect sense for a touring engineer or resident A1 engineer such as myself that is in the business of reproducing actual live music with real musicians in the room. I listen to every genre of music imaginable, both live and recorded, for hours a day on these cans. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to come home from a live show and listen to what I just recorded on these and hear it exactly the way I mixed it. If you are a live touring or resident A1 sound engineer, and already enjoy the HD280s, I can't recommend the Sennheiser HD 380 Pros highly enough.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2011
I'm entering my review here even though I purchased my Sennheiser HD 380 PRO headphones elsewhere due to the need to actually do some comparison listening before making a decision. The local business that had most of the headphones I wanted to audition was Guitar Center, which is where I bought them. I also entered the following review on their website. As an Amazon Prime member I relied on Amazon for reviews and comparative shopping during this process so I thought I would also post my review here.

THE REVIEW

You can read headphone reviews until you're blue in the face but you just won't know what's best for you until you actually audition several headphones. Fortunately, Guitar Center has several top rated models to choose from. So I headed over to my local store where the guys in accessories were nice enough to layout several models for me to audition.

I brought an mp3 player with different types of music all sampled at 320kbs - high quality stuff - and spent 90 minutes listening to the following headphones. Here's how it went (in listening order).

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro-80 - I went in thinking that I was going to walk out with these headphones based on what I had read, and they did sound good.

Sennheiser HD 380 PRO - WOW, these beat the Beyer's hands down though I did go back and forth between the two on several types of music. The Sennheisers offer greater clarity, a much better soundstage, and very accurate reproduction.

Audio Technica ATH-M50 - Nice form factor and the critics love'em, however, to me they sounded cheap: lacked clarity, accurate tonal timbre, and soundstage. I did come back to them again but was reminded of their inferior sound quality each time. I can't believe these are priced at $159.

AKG K240 Studio - These are nice and a real bargain for $99. Had I not needed sound isolating headphones I may have purchased these and saved a hundred bucks. These were number two in sound quality for me. They are open back headphones.

Sennheiser HD 25-1 II - Very nice. These clamp on the ear and offer outstanding sound isolation but they don't have the soundstage of the HD 380s. I think they're intended primarily for session recording, and for that they would be very good.

KRK KNS-8400 Studio - Don't bother, even worse than the ATH-M50s.

Honorable mention: on my way out of the store I noticed the Shure SRH-840s which are supposed to be very good. I didn't listen to them but that's okay because I'm so happy with the Sennheisers.

Noteworthy points: the HD 380s fold to a small flat form factor and come with a great case. The cord is replaceable and plugs into the phones very securely with a 3.5mm mini-jack. They have great sound isolation and are extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The only downside is that sound is easily transmitted to the phones when jostling the cable (similar to in-ear buds but less dramatic). Overall these are great headphones and well worth the money, in my opinion.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2008
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.
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52 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2010
Verified Purchase
I do professional recording of classical musicians and am always on the lookout for new headphones to use "on-location" The "fold-flat" design of the HD380 pro phones was appealing as was the included hard case and the claimed high isolation level. My usual on-location, closed back monitor headphones are Sony 7509's (not the 7509HD), but I've also used Beyerdynamic DT-770's and AKG 240's, and an old pair of the classic Sony CD999's. My favorite casual listening phones are Grado RS2's, but they are useless for on-location recording because of their lack of any isolation.

My general impression of the HD380 pro's is that they have only moderately flat frequency response, which emphasizes the upper midrange. This translates to an apparent "clarity", but also causes an imbalance between the lower register instruments and the higher ones.

These phones do have good lower bass response, but also have a clear mid/upper bass "dip" and a very predominate upper midrange accentuation.

After much listening to a wide range of clean classical recordings, both my own 88.2 kHz/24 bit wav files and several commercial CDs which I feel very accurately capture musicians and instruments who's sound I know well, I'm very convinced that this assessment is accurate.

To confirm my listening impressions, I decided to run some frequency response tests comparing the HD380 pro's to my Sony 7509's. I connected a Neutrik Minirator MR1 audio signal generator to a high-end mic mixer and the phones to it's headphone monitor output jacks so each was fed by the same signal. The Mixer has very low output impedance and can easily drive many sets of phones in parallel. I ran several smooth 20 to 20kHz sweeps as well as a 31 frequency step sweep with each step lasting 200 mS. As a reference I compared the headphone output to a switched 250 Hz sine wave coming through my studio monitors (speakers). After adjusting the mixer output level so the headphones matched the 250 HZ speaker level, I attempted to judge each frequency as louder or softer than the 250 Hz reference and roughly gauge the amount of the differences, if any.

Test results;

Absolute sensitivity to a constant voltage, low Z signal:
The Sennheiser HD 380's are 5 to 6 dB less sensitive than the Sony 7509's. This is probably mostly a reflection of their higher impedance therefore drawing less current (and less power) at any signal voltage level. However, they are sensitive enough to be driven to decent levels by an iPod Touch and certainly any professional recording equipment.

Frequency response compared to a fixed 250 Hz reference (levels are subjectively noted in dB, differences judged to be less than 2 dB are listed as "flat"

Frequency (Hz), Sennheiser HD380 pro, Sony 7509

20, -12, -10
25, flat, flat
30, flat, flat
40, +3, flat
50, +3, flat
65, +3, +3
80, flat, +3
100, flat, flat
125, -3, flat
160, -3, flat
200, flat, flat
250, flat, flat
315, +3, flat
400, +3, flat
500, +3, flat
630, +6, +3
800, +6, +3
1.0K, +6, +3
1.25K, +6, +3
1.60K, +10, +3
2.0K, +10, flat
2.5K, +6, flat
3.15K, +6, +3
4.0K, +6, flat
5.0K, +6, flat
6.3K, +3, +3
8.0K, +3, +3
10K, flat, flat
12.5K, flat, flat
16K, -5, -5
20K, n.a., n.a.

Note: the drop at 16K Hz, and no response at 20K Hz, is due to my hearing and not reflective of the headphones.

I found the sound of these phones had a fairly serious effect on the apparent spectral balance of classical ensembles. To illustrate: I listened extensively to a new recording of the very fine Beethoven Project Trio which was recorded in late 2009 in the hall at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York. This is a piano trio (violin, cello and piano) who I've heard live, in concert at various halls and also in small (studio-like) salon situations. Listening via the Sony 7509's or through a set of room equalized studio monitors, the Trio sounded as they normally do, with their usual carefully attained balance between the three instruments. Listening through the Sennheiser HD380 pro's the sound of the cello was significantly reduced compared to the violin, which was significantly increased. This resulted in the cellist sounding as if she was sitting 8 or 10 feet further back in the hall. Additionally, the piano (in this case a very fine, carefully selected and regulated Fazioli) sounded bright and slightly "uneven" on the HD380's , but sounded normal (very fine) on the 7509's.

Another, somewhat unexpected effect, was that when listening through the Sony 7509's the room ambience was very obvious and clear, but through the HD380's the room ambience was greatly reduced and the recording sounded much more like it was made in a "dry" studio. I suspect that much of the low level reverberation that contributes to "ambience" (for this particular space) occurs in the 100 to 200 Hz octave and is not well conveyed by the Sennheisers.

Finally a few other comments:

I've seen an isolation spec. of 32 dB listed for these phones. In my experience, comparing the sound leakage in front of a pair of studio monitors playing pink noise, the isolation is more like 15 to 18 dB maximum. This is essentially the same as the Sony 7509's and is about as good as it gets with closed phones with well designed cushions.

Comfort with any phones is a very personal, subjective judgment. I found the HD380 pro's to be quite comfortable, but not quite as comfortable as the Sony 7509's which have just as much isolation, but with somewhat less head pressure.

I hope this is useful to anyone considering these for professional use. I'm only reporting what I personally heard. I don't work for Sony (or Sennheiser) and I love several of the new Sennheiser MKH 8000 series microphones, which may currently be some of the best available anywhere for recording classical music.

Your mileage may vary.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2009
Verified Purchase
I bought the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro to use for listening to music at work in an office. Quite simply put these are the most comfortable headphones I've ever used. I am a huge fan of the swivel design where the ear cups connect to the headband as this lets the ear cups bend to exactly the right angle on your head instead of being fixed in place. I have a big head and big ears and these headphones still fit all the way around my ears, though I have the headband adjusted to max length. The headband is not overly tight and I can wear these all day long without discomfort. The swivel design allows the headphones to fold up and to be stored in the compact case that is included with them. I wasn't even aware that these came with a case, but it has proved to be very useful for occasionally transporting the headphones around as headphones similar to these are usually a pain to carry around.

As you would expect of a fairly expensive set of Sennheiser headphones, the sound quality is excellent, though I think this goes without saying. The only negative point I can think of is that I don't especially like the cord which is mostly the spiral/stretch kind. I mostly use these with a portable mp3 player sitting on my desk next to me or my computer so it's not an issue 95% of the time, but sometimes I wish the cord was just straight or a bit longer. The spiral design makes the cord seem significantly shorter than it actually is, though it reduces extra cord clutter around my desk so it's also nice in a way. Lastly, the impedance of these headphones is low enough to be driven without a headphone amp by an mp3 player or a computer, which can be an issue on some higher end headphones.

I very highly recommend these to anyone who is looking for a set of closed circum-aural style headphones.
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