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Sennheiser HD280 or HD550?

Skott

Diamond Member
Oct 4, 2005
5,730
1
76
So my buddies are buggin me to get a headset again so I can talk on TeamSpeak with them. I've used the 150s in the past and some others like from Plantronics. This time I thought I'd step up to something a little nicer. Full over the ear headsets. The two sets I got my eyes on are the HD280s and the HD550s. Both seem to be very popular if you go by the NE users(yeah, I know to beware about those NE reviews). Both are same price so price is a non-issue as far as these two sets go. I'm wondering about quality though. I'll use them on two different rigs. One has the X-Fi XtremeMusic card and other has the XtremeGamer card. I plan to also get a stand alone microphone. Logitech has a 3.5mm connector type and a usb connector type. Not sure which I'll go with though. Undecided there.

I'm not a music afficiendo or anything. These will be used for online gaming mostly and multiplayer. One reviewer said the 280s are all enclosed and 550s arent. I thought they both were? Can anyone shed some light on this? Which of these two would be best for what I have planned? I'm guessing both will work for my needs but I need to understand the difference between the two to make a better informed decision. Any help would be appreciated.


P.S. Does it matter which microphone connector type (3.5mm or usb) one should use with a 3.5mm headset? The 3.5mm type is like $9 and the usb is around $16 on NE. Again, price isnt a concern.
 

nova2

Senior member
Feb 3, 2006
982
1
0
I think these links will help you:

http://www.goodcans.com/Headph...ws/recommendations.htm
http://www.goodcans.com/HeadphoneReviews/

http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=670808
http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?t=539463

on the hd280's - i own a pair that eventually started developing cracks in the headbrace (a part you cant replace).
Before I bought the hd280's I even read of this happening to one other person on newegg (which is where i got them).

this was several years ago and I'm guessing that quality problem has been fixed.

anyways, I put black tape around the cracked areas and I continue to be careful with my hd280's and they continue to function normally.
 

esun

Platinum Member
Nov 12, 2001
2,214
0
0
IIRC, HD280s are closed and HD550s are open. That should be the biggest factor in your decision. Closed headphones will block sounds from leaking in/out of the headphones (so you won't be able to hear other sounds in the room and nobody will be able to hear what you're listening to). Open headphones are the opposite. However, open headphones tend to sound better, so that's the primary tradeoff.

Thus, if you have a roommate and like to crank the volume on your headphones, I'd get the HD280s. If you have your own room, you play with moderate volume levels, or your roommate doesn't care about noise from your headphones, then get the HD550s.

Don't know about the microphone question. I'm guessing it's all the same.
 

Skott

Diamond Member
Oct 4, 2005
5,730
1
76
Thanks for the replies, guys. Nova2, I looked at those links. Thanks for them. There seems to be alot of discussion about witch is better between the two sets. More than I first thought anyway. Esun, I game in a room separate from the rest of the house so no noise problems to worry about. I didnt know open headphone tended to sound better. I assumed closed type would be better but in truth I'm not a conoseur of such things. I've had open headsets in the past and they were okay but I just didnt like how they sat on my ears for extended lengths of time while gaming. This time I just basically wanted something to fit around the ears instead of on them for comfort sake. Thanks again for the replies.
 

CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
4,860
233
106
However, open headphones tend to sound better, so that's the primary tradeoff.
It depends on what you're listening to. I think open ones are generally supposed to be better for music while closed ones are preferred for games for their positional sound. I like closed ones better due to their isolation.

I've had open headsets in the past and they were okay but I just didnt like how they sat on my ears for extended lengths of time while gaming. This time I just basically wanted something to fit around the ears instead of on them for comfort sake.
Open headphones don't necessarily have to be like that. In fact, most of the better headphones of either type are cirumaural (they have big earpads that fit around your ears), including both of the ones you mentioned earlier.
 

Skott

Diamond Member
Oct 4, 2005
5,730
1
76
Perhaps I explained it wrong. I should say I've owned the Sennheiser and Plantronics gaming headsets in the past that just sat on the ears. I've never owned ones that fit around the ears.
 

CKent

Diamond Member
Aug 17, 2005
9,020
0
0
I'd advise against the 280s. They sound great, but the plastic headband is notorious for cracking (mine are covered in duct tape >.> ) If you want good closed circumaural phones in that price range take a look at audiotechnica 500s.
 

pcslookout

Lifer
Mar 18, 2007
11,647
94
91
Originally posted by: nova2
I think these links will help you:

http://www.goodcans.com/Headph...ws/recommendations.htm
http://www.goodcans.com/HeadphoneReviews/

http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=670808
http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?t=539463

on the hd280's - i own a pair that eventually started developing cracks in the headbrace (a part you cant replace).
Before I bought the hd280's I even read of this happening to one other person on newegg (which is where i got them).

this was several years ago and I'm guessing that quality problem has been fixed.

anyways, I put black tape around the cracked areas and I continue to be careful with my hd280's and they continue to function normally.
I have the same problem with my HD280 but I am sure its from me dropping them so much. The whole headphone headbrace has black tape all around it because one day it broke in two and I didn't have a extra pair of headphones. They still work fine but are pretty old. Around 3 to 5 years old. Plan on selling them soon for $50
 

bloodugly

Golden Member
Apr 27, 2004
1,188
0
0
They HD280 headband will crack just because you use them. It doesn't have to be dropped for that to happen.
 

pcslookout

Lifer
Mar 18, 2007
11,647
94
91
Originally posted by: bloodugly
They HD280 headband will crack just because you use them. It doesn't have to be dropped for that to happen.
That sucks. How long did it take for yours to crack and why do they do this ? Can you send them back for a replacement ?
 

nova2

Senior member
Feb 3, 2006
982
1
0
i put my hd280's on and take them off and thats pretty much all the headband stress they get by me (no one else uses them).

mine may of started getting cracks after around a year, but i can't remember when exactly
 

you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
4,912
274
126
No question - the HD555. I use them for games/movies and love them. Another pair to consider are the AT500 or AT900 but I'm very happy with the HD550 for now. The open design might be an issue if have people around you who will be bother by the noise. In that case go with the AT over the HD280. HD280 sucks.


Btw what are the HD550? Did you not mean the HD555 ?
 

CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
4,860
233
106
Apart from the headband thing, the HD280 is supposed to be a little weak on bass. It doesn't matter so much for music but may not make it ideal for games.

For $100, you're also looking at the Sony 7506.
I think that one is a rebadged V6. You can probably get the original V6 a bit cheaper. It's another good option as far as closed cans go.
 

Skott

Diamond Member
Oct 4, 2005
5,730
1
76
Okay, let me ask you guys this question. How does the HD550s hold up as far as durability goes? I know dropping anything isnt good and would be my own fault but do they have a tendency to crack from just normal use and wear over time?
 

AdamK47

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
13,582
958
126
I just bought the Sennheiser HD 280 because these were supposed to be good closed headphones. Did Sennheiser fix the stress crack problem? When I look at mine it appears there are seperate plastic pieces screwed in on the left and right of where you guys are saying stress cracks develop. Do older models have a solid headband there instead of seperate screwed in pieces?

Edit: Photo I took of what mine look like
 

AdamK47

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
13,582
958
126
I found a post in this thread that may be the cause for the cracking issue.

What seems to happen is that if you have a habit of holding your phones wide open before you wear them, the headband deforms obviously to be flatter during that action. If you examine the plastic part of the headband, you'll notice a raised bit where the plastic bit meets the rubber bit. That is like an overhang above the rubber part of the headband, and is designed to lie flush with the rubber part of the headband when in the normal position.

Every time you 'over-deform' the headband by the stretching action as you put it on, you cause the rubber part of the headband to strain against that plastic overhang. Repeated instances of this will eventually crack that overhang, and the cracking might spread to other parts of the plastic parts of the headband depending on whether you continue with the pre-stretching of the phone.


In the case of a used HFI-650 I purchased, the cracking had snapped away a part of that overhang... clearly the previous owner was a "stretcher". On the other hand I don't do that, so an HD280 I had for ages was fine, as was a DT660 I had for a while, loaned out to a friend, got back and examined before sale.


You would have to hold open the phones very wide for this to happen quickly though, and although it will be covered under warranty the easiest way to avoid it is not to attempt to bend these as flat as you can prior to putting them on
 

CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
4,860
233
106
Originally posted by: Skott
Okay, let me ask you guys this question. How does the HD550s hold up as far as durability goes? I know dropping anything isnt good and would be my own fault but do they have a tendency to crack from just normal use and wear over time?
I think most of the other Sennheisers are pretty good in that respect. The HD280 is the only one that I've heard a lot of issues about, concerning the headband.

The MDR-V6 mentioned earlier is supposed to be highly durable, as it has been around since the mid 80s and many people still have the ones they bought back then. Some other good options among closed models (for both sound quality and durability) are the Beyer DT250 and DT770, although they're more in the $150-200 range. I have a DT250 and it's really built like a tank, and even if it breaks you can buy most of the parts for it individually and fix it again. I also like how the cable is coiled and removable on it, as I've had a number of cheaper headphones in the past break due to the cable getting pulled on over time and the solder joints getting disconnected.
 

Oyeve

Lifer
Oct 18, 1999
21,124
389
126
Originally posted by: CP5670
Apart from the headband thing, the HD280 is supposed to be a little weak on bass. It doesn't matter so much for music but may not make it ideal for games.

For $100, you're also looking at the Sony 7506.
I think that one is a rebadged V6. You can probably get the original V6 a bit cheaper. It's another good option as far as closed cans go.
Correct. Get the V6. Has a metal plug as opposed to the vinly ones on the 7506. I have a pair that has hit the 21year mark and other than replacing the earpads a few times they still work flawlessy. I had a pair of 280Pros and even after 200plus hours of burn-in they sounded like crap. Gave em to my son for his synth as they do seal out the sound. The 280Pros cannot take high volumes or bass without clipping like mad. POS IMO. :)
 
Dec 27, 2001
11,272
0
0
Originally posted by: Oyeve
Correct. Get the V6. Has a metal plug as opposed to the vinly ones on the 7506. I have a pair that has hit the 21year mark and other than replacing the earpads a few times they still work flawlessy. I had a pair of 280Pros and even after 200plus hours of burn-in they sounded like crap. Gave em to my son for his synth as they do seal out the sound. The 280Pros cannot take high volumes or bass without clipping like mad. POS IMO. :)
The 7506 has a gold plated plug. And the 1/4" adapter screws on so the mini plug can't come out which I thought was very cool. The warranty is also better on the 7506 with it being in their "professional" line. But, ya, otherwise they're identical. Got mine for $90 shipped.

I really wanted to try the M-Audio Q40 headphones, but at $150 I couldn't justify it without more reviews or hearing them myself.
 

Skott

Diamond Member
Oct 4, 2005
5,730
1
76
I think I'm going to try those Sony MDR-V6 headphones. I like the look of them and I've been seeing alot of good reviews of them as well. Now I just gotta find out who has them the cheapest and get my order in this week. Thanks for the help guys!

P.S. If you see any great prices on the V6 post a link and I'll check it out. Thanks again.
 

Oyeve

Lifer
Oct 18, 1999
21,124
389
126
Originally posted by: HeroOfPellinor
B&H and Amazon are both right near $76 shipped for the V6.
Good price. I recall paying well over 150 in the 80s.
 

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