decided to share my impressions regarding the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee Headphones, from a completely audiophile noob standpoint, so buckle up, get ready, because here we go!
About me: I do like quite a neutral sound signature, but my "secret pleasure" is and always has been, a bit of bass (definitely not muddy or overpowered, just present, if you know what I mean - to make the music sound more "alive”), so I guess you could categorize me as a bit of a basshead. Now, from what I’ve heard and understood from the many, many people of YouTube, Head-Fi, Reddit and other reputable websites/forums/reviewers, the HD 58X/6XX headphones were definitely not supposed to be basshead headphones and I was perfectly okay with that, just because people were recommending these over and over and over and over.
And this is where we come to my decision about purchasing the HD 58X’s over the HD 6XX's... from what I've read it seems like the HD 6XX headphones are a bit more “precise”, analytical and cooler sounding, while the HD58X’s (which are intended to be pretty much my daily driver for movies, gaming and music listening - mixed genre) are a bit warmer, have a touch more bass and are just more enjoyable and easy to listen to. I know they don't really need an amp for the most part, but I really wanted to get a setup that would be able to support maybe even some other harder to drive headphones down the line and I was hoping that the tube (I know it's a hybrid, but still) would help with the smoothness and warmth - at least a tiny little bit.
So thats why I also decided to purchase the ALEX CAVALLI TUBE HYBRID AMP and GRACE DESIGN STANDARD DAC. I need to mention that where I live (Slovenia), there is pretty much no way for me to test or try out headphones in some kind of store (even audiophile oriented stores), as they mostly only have more generic headphones on display, or much, much more expensive models of headphones and amplifiers, of which a lot of us that are just getting into high fidelity audio, probably haven’t heard of before. Not to mention that it is almost impossible to find reviews of those products online, or at least some kind of information, from which you’d be able to compare those against the products that we hear about on YouTube, various forums, etc. I have also never heard/tried out a tube amp, but this was my long time dream and I am glad I was able to finally get a pretty decent one! - I understand the basics of how tube amps work.
So what I am trying to say is I have never heard of any other headphones apart from a couple of generic "buy it at any store" Sony's, my long gone HD 518’s, HD25’s (awesome btw) and my V-MODA M100's (used to be used for DJing, but use them daily now), so I basically had to rely on reviews across a variety of platforms, when making this decision.
When choosing between the two I asked myself… what about the drivers? Are they worth the money? Like I mentioned before a lot of people have categorized (and very strongly might I add) the 6XX’s, which are essentially HD650’s (an absolutely legendary $500 pair of headphones, that can be had for cheaper most of the time), as vastly superior in terms of drivers. The HD 58X apparently use newer drivers, that are NOT the same as the HD 660 S or 6 series driver for that matter (as confirmed by Sennheiser, apparently).. and so at this point I am asking myself: is the $170 price on Massdrop right now actually worth it? What if I am actually getting a much much cheaper driver instead? I do realise this is a funny and probably stupid thing to be worried about, but still.. I just had some doubts, since we as consumers naturally want to get our money’s worth and make the best decision possible. Well after digging on a vast majority of highly respected audio oriented forums I concluded that even though a lot of people agree that the 6XX’s are generally a bit more capable (they also scale very nicely with different amplifiers) the 58X’s are definitely worth the price. Keep in mind that even if they use a “inferior” 5 series driver, the way those are/would be then tuned, could make them worth way more, as if we’re honest, it’s about the sound with these headphones, or any other headphones for that matter and not about what’s inside.
So… how do they sound? (Please keep in mind that I am an audio noob, so really trying my best). Really not sure what else to say other than yep - these are pretty much awesome.
Again, keep in mind this is coming from a bit of a basshead! I’ve used a couple of Sennheiser headphones before, though not quite on the same level as these, but still. However, right now you should be aware that, as mentioned before, I am coming from the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 which are a pair of coloured headphones, as they are meant to be used mostly in loud environments, such as clubs, so naturally they have a “V shaped” sound signature, meaning that they have a lot of emphasis especially on the bass (and also the highs).
I was afraid based on what people were saying that the 6XX, or even the 58X would sound too flat or thin for my liking, but boy oh boy was I wrong…
I’ve honestly never been this pleasantly surprised with a pair of headphones (especially with Sennheisers as most people define them as “oh, those are the headphones with no bass, for classical music, right?”) in quite a long time! They definitely don’t lack bass, not at all! And it’s actually quite punchy, very well defined and precise, in my opinion. It also doesn’t colour the rest of the sound, as the mids and highs remain smooth and well defined with lots of resolution, even when the bass is "hitting" - something I’ve never experienced before. What I also noticed is that the bass here is going to be reproduced by the actual track itself and NOT the headphones, meaning tracks with less bass, will have just that - less bass, which is how it’s supposed to be, at the end of the day. And this is not to say that these suck the life out of songs. Nope, quite the opposite - they just make them sound clear, not muddy at all (which some of us bassheads will possibly never understand, untill now) and just generally smooth and awesome! BUT, with tracks that have more pronounced bass, you definitely hear the bass. Mind you, it isn’t going to shake your skull, but still.. it’s just.. I don’t know really - it’s just extremely pleasant to listen to and for me (again, coming from pretty much a basshead headphone), not lacking in the low end at all! - and I really mean that! They just sound warm and pleasant while expressing an extremely large of detail in the mid and high range. What I kept saying to myself is: "Damn, these just sound so nice, just, so nice..." They just sound good and natural is what I kept thinking, while I was trying to find flaws when listening to them. I honestly thought I’d have to EQ these (or the 6XX’s), but I won’t be touching them with any piece of software, ever, because I absolutely LOVE the way they sound and after a bit of burn in I’m sure they’ll sound even a bit better and warmer!
One thing to mention is in spite of them being an open back pair of headphones, they don't have a particularly wide soundstage, which is to be expected, if you've ever read/watched some reviews practically on any of the series 6 Sennheiser headphones. However, the intimate vocal performance and just general intimate nature of these headphones should not be confused with them being aggressive, shouty or in your face! Instead I found out that I was experiencing the singers as if they were singing TO me, rather than AT a crowd/spectators - and they were doing so in an intimate, but very pleasant way.
The build: They are built well in my opinion. They use "Sennheiser's signature plastic", which at the end of the day is still plastic, but feels robust and solid. I am sure many people will tell you that they are still rocking extremely old pairs of 6 series Sennhesier headphones and that they are basically (apart from the pads) solid!
One thing though: please STOP putting shiny glossy plastic on anything electronic (that we touch on a regular basis) - this should be illegal haha, because while it may look good (to some), it’s going to show imperfections on the nano-scale + you touch it once aaaaaaand, boom - a million scratches. Not sure if these are going to have the same issue as pretty much most other pieces of glossy black electronics/devices, but I would seriously prefer the “naked black plastic” look.
Packaging (international): Pretty good. The actual headphone box itself is quite flimsy and the headphones are not really fastened in any kind of way (they just kind of sit in the box), unlike some of their other products, such as the Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amplifier and Grace Design SDAC (great packaging in my opinion), but they still managed to get to me completely 100% fine as they were packed inside an outer box with some packaging air bags, so I guess it works!
Shipping (international): Was EXTREMELY satisfied with the tracking and speed of the shipping. We must not forget that we are living in very different times compared to only a couple of months ago, yet most of the products I ordered managed to arrive within two weeks of me placing the order - fantastic. They managed to get through customs pretty quick as well (about two days in my case), though I did (as expected) have to provide them with proof of purchase.
Here's roughly what the tracking should look like for us international buyers: order processed -> DHL distribution centre -> processed at origin (U.S., airport) -> processed at transit facility (EU, Frankfurt) -> arrival in country (your home country) -> held at customs -> cleared customs -> delivered.
FINAL Price (international): $170 + shipping (roughly $15) + import tax (22% in my case) + customs processing charge (roughly 18EUR in my case) = around 230EUR in my case.
Conclusion: buy these, seriously. If you have the chance try them out first then try the 6XX as well. I think BOTH are going to be a good choice, but if you don’t want to invest in an amp (which even for the 6XX’s might not necessarily be needed as long as you have a decent motherboard), then I’d go for the HD 58X and trust me, if you find yourself in anything that I’ve written above, you WILL NOT be disappointed.
Hope this helps somebody!
Thank you all!