While most of the headphones in this test are DJ oriented with a nod towards production, these HD 380 Pros are very much suited to high quality listening to audio, but can also be used in the booth.
So I was quite happy to get a pair in the post, as it allowed me to bridge the gap if you like - to see if more audiophile cans do cut it in the rough world of DJing.
In The Box: A real hard carry case for a start. A really good idea in this case as they're not as rugged as regular DJ cans. You also get the obligatory screw adaptor, as well as a removable cable rather than a hardwired one.
Looks: They're not like DJ cans for start. It's all about the large and spacious over your ear cups, with a smaller headband than normal. They certainly say producer more than DJ. Skull Candy they are not, nor are they a good lock in the street either.
Build Quality: Where the HD25s are all about ruggedness and repairability, the HD 380 Pros, are more about comfort and audio quality. So everything in these works on a less rigorous studio level - that is to say that while they're not built to withstand a booth beating, the finish is sleek and does say quality. Due to the design, I have my doubts about whether the headband will infinitely flex without damage, or if it'll lead to breakage. And the same can be said of the hinge too. If you break headphones on a regular basis, do not buy these.
Sound Quality: As you would expect, cans designed for studio use offer a more linear sound than DJ ones. So you may find yourself thinking that the bass isn't quite as brain squishing as others in this test - and you'd right. That said, the sound delivered is of a high quality, with clarity and detail across the whole frequency. But DJs may find themselves need more low end grunt, and may lament the lack of mono switch.
Isolation: Now I said in the HD25 section that on-ear pads seem to offer the best isolation. But the 380s appear to the exception to the rule. The isolation here is amazing - just as good as the HD25s, largely thanks to the huge closed cup design and over-generous and soft ear pads. When you push them to your head, they briefly sucker on - you can feel it in your ears.
Comfort and Stability: In all honesty, I didn't think anythng would stay on my head better than the HD25s - and then I put these on. It was a serious amount of violent headbanging that dislodged them from my head, but performance with one ear was less good. But then again, when will you use one ear in the studio? As a testament, I sat for hours, banging in much of this review with them on, and didn't feel the need to take them off.
Compactness: While most cans fold into the ear piece in a compact almost semi-ball like style, the 380s simply fold flatter. So while the area might be bigger, the volume is probably less. And you get the nice hard case to put them in.
Value for money: That depends entirely on how you view things. On one hand, you get superior comfort and audio quality, but the build might not be up to the punishment usually metered out by DJs. But coming in around £110 mark (price really vary), these are great for the more gentle but comfort conscious DJ.
There's no denying that these are the oddball cans in the group. They're not really DJ headphones, and aimed much more at the production market. That said, I'd be quite happy to have these wrapped around my head for a gig, in the safe knowledge that the audio reproduction is also suited to listening at home.
The HD 380 Pros are really worth checking out, but for those who are prone to trashing cans on a regular basis, you might want to look elsewhere.
Hype: Comfort - audio - isolation
Gripe: Ruggedness - lack of mono switch