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Review: Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones

Sennheiser has outdone themselves with the higher-end sibling to the HD 280 Pro.

I’ve written often on this site about how happy I am with the pair of 280s that I’ve had, going strong, since 2005. They’ve always been my office headphones, staying at work through three different jobs, affixed to my head for many hours per day. They passively block outside sound very well, and my coworkers can’t hear my music because the 280s are not “open”. Coworkers have always been so impressed by my 280s that many of them have bought their own. Whenever I fly somewhere, I bring the 280s, even though they’re huge and have a big, coiled, unwieldy cord, because they’re so comfortable for long periods and block out the plane noise so well.

But recently, Sennheiser quietly released a higher-end model: the HD 380 Pro. (Well, it was released two years ago. In the world of headphones, that’s “recently”.) I wasn’t motivated to try them since my 280s were going strong and I could never find the 380s in a store to test. But I recently got them as a gift (thanks, Mom!). And I’m sure glad I did.

I knew it would be difficult to surpass my love for the 280s, and I wasn’t sure if the 380s were worth almost twice as much money:

In short: the 380s are completely worth it.

Headphones are difficult to compare objectively, and different listeners have different preferences, especially regarding comfort. But they’re remarkably better than the 280s:

They share the 280s’ other good qualities as well:

I’d love an option to replace the heavy, coiled cable with a shorter, straight one. (The cable is replaceable, but I don’t know of any alternatives to replace it with.) Otherwise, I have no complaints.

If you’re looking for a great pair of closed headphones for mostly stationary use, I can’t recommend these two models enough. The 280s are great. The 380s are greater. And neither are very expensive, as good headphones go.

If you already have the 280s and wonder whether it’s worth upgrading, it depends. How much do you use your headphones? How much do you care about these differences? And how much will you miss the money?

I wear my big headphones constantly while working, and if they’re anything like the 280s, it’s probably safe to assume that these 380s will outlast at least my next four computers. An extra $80 for a significant upgrade on such a long-lasting, heavily used product is an easy sell for me.

Highly recommended.

If you’d like to buy a pair of 380s, I’ll get a small commission if you use this Amazon link. Thanks.

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