Sennheiser has been making great quality audio products for years and don’t plan on stopping. The company has to deal with all the other aggressive brands rolling out $300+ headphones that try to please the audiophile and casual crowds. Sennheiser’s success in the high-end is proof that people are willing to pay extra for high-quality sound. It also means that budget products often get snubbed since they often compromise in some areas. Sennheiser’s own entry-level and midrange headphones are guilty of these compromises. However, the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones are timeless classics that were widely praised as midrange Sennheiser products, and they can still be bought today for a much cheaper price.
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Design and Comfort
The Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones really look like a professional pair of headphones for monitoring purposes. They only come in one color and have a full black design. They don’t have those genuine or luxurious materials that you would often find in $300+ over-ear headphones, but Sennheiser made some excellent choices to hit that sub-$200 sweet spot. The headband has some adequate cushioning and you can easily adjust it to determine the right comfort level. The earpads may be made of synthetic leatherette, but they provide nice cushioning to your ears without generating so much heat. What is most important is that the material is still breathable, which means that you should be able enjoy lengthy listening sessions without feeling pressure. After a couple of years of testing, the earpads still feel quite new and if you ever get them ruined, you can replace them by buying the earpads separately. Just set aside $40 and look for part 523310.
As for the overall unit, the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones feel very lightweight. Also, they aren’t all that demanding when it comes to head and ear sizes, thanks to its flexible design and above-average build quality. Even if you have slightly larger ears, the big earcups should fit just fine. Some might find the headphones a bit bulky though. The bulkiness is most apparent when you try to put the headphones around your neck. If you have that feeling where the headphones are hugging your neck too tightly, it is best to just wear them slightly above your ear when you are not using them. In summary, Sennheiser did not compromise on comfort which is huge deal when you consider the price of these budget headphones.
The cable of the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro also has that professional studio monitoring vibe as it is coiled, making it easier to compact. It isn’t flat like most of the cables included with headphones these days, but you can detach the cable and swap it with something more modern if you really want a cable that doesn’t tangle. A quarter-inch adapter is included in the package.
Speaking of compacting, you can fold the headphones and pivot the earpads so they appears flat. The included carrying case happens to be slim, and the inside gives you an idea on how you are supposed to compact them. The Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones easily fall under the “travel-friendly over-ear headphones” category.
The Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones aren’t the kind of headphones to get if you are looking for a huge list of features. They are advertised as monitoring headphones, so they mainly focus on comfort and an accurate sound experience. The cable doesn’t have a special remote for your Apple device, and the headphones lack active noise cancelling. However, the nice earcup design does help with passive noise isolation, which is surprisingly above average.
The way the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones perform is the real highlight here, alongside the comfort. The bass levels won’t impress the bass heads that are spoiled with all the headphones choices these days. Those that hate that exaggerated bass effect and want something still low and natural will definitely appreciate the sound signature of the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones. The highs and mids are also very balanced, so all genres of music should sound great.
In fact, the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones have a special technology called E.A.R. or Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement. This refers to the special angled positioning of the drivers. Generated sound goes straight to the ear canal so you can actually enjoy music at lower volumes and get all the details without suffering from fatigue. Since these headphones are comfortable for long periods of listening, they are ideal for people that love listening to mixtapes and other lengthy tracks and playlists.
The Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones aren’t the most affordable in Sennheiser’s arsenal. You might also be tempted with the cheaper HD-280 version but the HD-380 is simply more refined in terms of comfort and audio performance. Consider these headphones as solid proof that a careful selection of materials can make a comfortable design without bumping up the price too much. You have to remember the fact that these headphones have been in the market for several years, and they still manage to feel fresh. With their sub-$200 price tag, they’re still a formidable contender in the prosumer space.