Smashingly good headphones

I succumbed and bought a pair of Sennheiser 280 Pro headphones at CK Tang’s. The fun part was that I got to try out various Sennheiser models, which were connected to Nakamichi amplifiers (yeah!).
At first, the salesman tried to pitch the wireless models to us. But they didn’t sound spectacular, although the reception was OK. Then I recalled that various sound-production type friends had advised me to get a pair of professional headphones by this brand. Only thing is, I had forgotten which model to get and Tang’s had several of them on trial.
So I tried out the HD212, which were not too bulky, and silver. The sound quality was good but nothing spectacular. The next model was the HD280, which the salesman highly recommended (after I told him I was looking for something not just to listen to music with, but to do studio monitoring).
It definitely sounded more robust. But I wasn’t quite sure about their choice of sample music, since I seldom listen to Bryan Adams. Another album had pleasant-sounding acoustic guitars but it got terribly boring after the fifth track. So I asked the nice salesman if he could plug the headphones into my iPod!
He obliged, and Stacey Kent (Remastered, Gold CD audiophile version, ripped to Apple Lossless Format) sounded so clear I could almost imagine the hair on the insides of her nostrils blowing back and forth as she breathed out, “That would be so nice…”
Unfortunately, at that point, VanPod died. The ever-unreliable battery meter said it was at about 40%, I was about to make a big investment, and it had to conk out. Bad Pod!
So I didn’t get to play another ‘audiophile’ series of tracks by jazz band Flim and the BBs, who have a very dry sound and are pretty refined and intricate with all of their instruments, sometimes so subtle they are barely audible (to inferior speakers) and sometimes loud.
Then I looked at the remaining models and realised they were ‘bigger’ in number and presumably of higher quality. But according to the salesman, that wasn’t the case. I tested another pair of headphones from the 500 series but because they had an ‘open’ design, I could still hear a lot of noise around me. The HD280 had a ‘closed’ design which shut out more sound and I preferred that. (However if that’s chiefly what you’re looking for, I do recall trying out a pair of Bose headphones which were even better at silencing the environment.)
So I splurged on a pair of headphones. As I typed this entire post, it was clamped onto my ears. If you speak to me now, I might not hear you. I might be conscious of a bomb blast, or if the building collapsed. It’s rather exciting because I’m running through iTunes, choosing challenging tracks to test my headphones on. Flim sounds pretty good. I can almost see the drummer tinkling on the cymbals with his … left arm.
The headphones plug was (what else but) gold-plated. The screw-type 1/4″ adapter was also gold-plated. I learnt that screw-types were better as they ensured a good connection. I also received a Sennheiser teddy-bear and a Braun shaver. Oh, glorious day.
The sad thing is, now my Bose computer speakers sound amateurish…


  1. vantan

    Albert – Yes it can. Well, I’ll tell you if it suddenly dies on me. But so far so good, no drastic dip in battery power. [Update: Oh p***. It just died on me. It was fully charged and it dipped from about 80% to nothing in about 25 minutes.]
    Q – I imagined you would 😉

  2. airhole

    Hehe.. nice headphone.. I have HD212 i think? Monitor headphones.. yeah and they were clear.. same like Queenie, I got excited reading your log.. hahaha..
    anyway, I do believe that earphones have a rating of 32ohms, and think that headphones (the good ones) are rated higher… in terms of impedance.

  3. foo

    hi van,
    long time no hear/see/speak. good to know you have joined the sennheiser bandwagon. for the course of my research years here in bristol its been my hd580 that has kept me company and warm. do check out . they certainly rated your hd280 very well! here’s to happy can days!

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