Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Alternative – is there One?

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Headphones are crucial to most podcasting setups. For both recording and mixing, you’ll need to invest in a good pair of neutral sounding, closed-back, and over-ear studio headphones to guarantee your best chance at accurately monitoring and mixing your recording.

You can find out more about the type of headphones you’ll need and why in our article Best Headphones for Podcasting – Editing and Recording.

Previously, we placed Sennheiser’s new HD 280 Pros at the no.1 spot for podcasting headphones. The new model impressed us in their outstandingly accurate quality for a respectable price.

Not only do we think they’re great, but it seems to be a common opinion as the Sennheiser’s were found to be the most popular recording headphones in the world. 

The specs speak for themselves, featuring an extensive frequency range and high sensitivity.

Headphone Type: Closed

Wearing Style: Over-Ear

Impedance: 64 ohms

Frequency Response: 8 – 25000Hz

SPL: 102dB

Ambient Noise Attenuation: Max. 32dB

THD: < 0.1%

Weight: 285g

Buying headphones for your podcast can be a pretty big investment – especially when you need multiple pairs to accommodate guests.

As far as $100 headphones go, it can be a struggle to find alternatives that compete with the 280 Pros, but we know every podcaster is different, and whilst these are perfect for some, it’s always a good idea to look at all your options before making the investment.

This article will delve into the alternatives you should consider. Not only will we look at the alternatives in a similar price range, but we’ll decide if we think you could save money on a cheaper pair or if quality will be improved with price.

Sennheiser HD 280 pro alternatives include the AKG K-240s, Status Audio CB-1, Sony MDR-7506, SIVGA SV006, Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO and Meze 99 Classics.

AKG K-240

The K-240s are an excellent choice for starting out podcasting on a budget. Durability and presentation have clearly been the top priority during the design process utilizing a spring-loaded headband for full flexibility. The gold detailing on the ear cups makes the set seem more expensive and give an interesting look.

Flexibility is also offered in the cable, the K-240s comes with a 25ft cord to allow for movement around your room. Comfort is optimized with the lightweight frame and faux leather padded ear cups – many have reported no ear fatigue or pain even when wearing for long durations.

The design is semi-open which often offers higher quality sound and a wider stereo stage, but the trade-off seems to be some sound leak. Whilst many have reported low leakage levels, you should do a few recording tests at your regular volume to check for any surprise echoes. 

With such a low price point, the best sound quality shouldn’t be expected. There are a few dips in the mids and low end that take some presence away from your mix.

Ultimately the K-240s will make perfect monitoring headphones but any mixing you do with them should be double-checked through multiple devices.

Headphone Type: Semi-Open

Wearing Style: Over-Ear

Impedance: 55 Ohms

Frequency Response: 15-25000Hz

SPL: 104dB

Weight: 240g

Click here to see more information and the latest price at Amazon.

Status Audio CB-1

The CB-1’s are Status Audio’s original release. Status Audio is a fairly unknown brand but for good reason! The company, based in New York, aims to provide simple, understated designs with little branding so the focus can remain on a high-quality sound and build.

The build is high quality and initially makes the whole set seem more expensive whilst comfort is ensured with thick padding lining the headband and earcups.

Huge 50mm drivers mean the sound is pretty expansive with a clear extension in the bass frequencies optimized for pushing the sub-bass frequencies – maybe a little too much. The highs are detailed and balanced, and the soundstage is incredibly widespread. Some have reported a slightly disappointing mid-range. Luckily this can be fixed with an EQ boost.

Unlike the Sennheiser 280 Pro’s there is little sound isolation provided – this could be a positive or a negative depending on your environment and how much you want to hear your direct voice before it’s recorded.

Despite this, there is no sound leak even when utilizing the loud, 50mm drivers to their full extent – perfect for recording.

Headphone Type: Closed

Wearing Style: Over-Ear

Impedance: 32 Ohms

Frequency Response: 15-30000Hz

SPL: 97dB

Click here to see more information and the latest price at Amazon.

Sony MDR-7506

These old classics hold testimony to Sony’s innovative inventions over decades of audio design. The MDR-7506s are nothing fancy but meet industry standards and provide excellent sound quality with a comprehensive, clean low end and bright highs.

The design is optimized for portability as the set folds into itself for compact transport. Padding is a little lacking, the earpads can be replaced if necessary but this hasn’t taken away from the comfort too much due to the lightweight frame. Ear-cup padding may be important as the set are considered over-ear but are a little small so may sit on-ear for some. Many have reported hours of undisturbed, comfortable listening despite this.

The set is durable and will last for years even with a few bumps and drops.

With a 104dB max SPL, these headphones can reach incredibly loud volumes and still offer no sound leakage due to the tight fit.

The coiled cable is non-removable which could be a problem if damaged, but it does seem fairly durable and sturdy. The set also comes with a ¼” adapter for plugging into an interface.

Headphone Type: Closed

Wearing Style: Over-Ear

Impedance: 63 Ohms

Frequency Response: 10-20000Hz

SPL: 104dB

Weight: 221g

Click here to see more information and the latest price at Amazon.


SIVGA was recently established in 2016 but utilize an expert team of audio engineers to provide high-quality HiFi headphones.

At the same price point as the Sennheisers, SV006’s are incredibly unique in their build. Unlike the plastic build of the HD 280 Pros, the SV006’s incorporate a metal frame and wooden ear cups making the set pretty heavy. This bulkiness gives a robust feel for extended durability. The set even comes with a high quality, compact carry case for safe transport.

Both the headband and earcups are generously padded out with protein leather to allow for hours of pain-free wearing. The earcups also offer pretty good sound isolation and no leakage.

Large 50mm drivers produce a deep bass response and honest mids and highs. The stereo image is pretty spacious too offering an overall good quality sound.

Headphone Type: Closed

Wearing Style: Over-Ear

Impedance: 16-ohm

Frequency Response: 20-20000Hz

SPL: 105dB

Weight: 329g

Click here to see more information and the latest price on Amazon.

Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO

Not only have Beyerdynamic been developing headphones since the 1930s but this specific set has been continuously improved over the last 40 years. Beyerdynamic is a NY based company specializing in HiFi audio. 

The added few dollars compared to the HD 280 pros has clearly gone towards improving comfort and sound quality.

The design is fairly simple but still unique and interesting with a focus on the valor padded earcups. The frame is mostly metal making it sturdy and fairly durable. Sound isolation rivals that of the HD 280 Pro’s with a similar noise attenuation due to the strong clamp and thick padding.

The DT770 pros allow you to keep the sound quality of open-back designs without sacrificing the isolation you need for recording. Sound quality is immense with extended sub-bass, surpassing usual closed-back designs. The sound is transparent and neutral for accurate monitoring and the soundstage is incredibly wide.

The set comes available with 32, 80- and 250-ohm transducers. You will normally find that the 80-ohm set is the cheapest. You would need a headphone amp to use the headphones efficiently without limiting your listening levels however, for the purpose of monitoring a podcast, you can probably get by without one.

Headphone Type: Closed

Wearing Style: Over-Ear

Impedance: 80 Ohms

Frequency Response: 5-35000Hz

SPL: 96dB

THD: <0.2%

Click here to see more information and the latest price at Amazon.

Meze 99 Classics

Meze is an incredibly passionate audio company, founded in 2011. Their values surround clarity, high functionality, and build quality.

The sound is natural yet still provides a lot of warmth due to a slightly heavy bass with a wide soundstage giving the quality of open-backed designs. Low impedance means you won’t need a headphone amp either.

The build quality is clearly premium with wooden ear cups and a leather headband; the design is equally as interesting as the sound.

The Meze 99 classics are a huge investment whilst only audiophiles may be able to really hear the quality difference between these and the HD 280 pros or the DT770 pros. If money is no object, the 99 classics will offer you incredibly rich sound quality and should last a lifetime however you’ll still need to take note of the enhanced bass whilst mixing and make changes in your EQ.

Headphone Type: Closed

Wearing Style: Over-Ear

Impedance: 32-ohm

Frequency Response: 5–25000Hz

SPL: 103dB

Weight: 290g

Click here to see more information and the latest price on Amazon.


Ultimately, finding a replacement to the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is difficult – they’re so reliable and produce an incredibly accurate sound for the price. Personally, I think if you have the extra few bucks, the 770 Pros are definitely worth it, however, you’ll be amazed at either of these for the price.

If you’re a beginner and not ready to spend $100 on headphones, don’t be put off by the budget options! They’ll still get the job done and last you until you’re ready to upgrade.