Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Max_Settings

Member
  • Content Count

    5,172
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Reputation Activity

  1. Agree
    Max_Settings got a reaction from whm1974 in 1080p vs 4k in laptops, how it affects battery life?   
    4K does drain battery life significantly faster. Unless you are doing video or photo editing, I would stick to 1080p
  2. Like
  3. Agree
    Max_Settings got a reaction from btwiusearch in Why people use MacOS?   
    Final Cut is not an argument for MacOS anymore. As someone who works in video, Final Cut is a joke. I am friends with a lot of people in the video space that are so die hard Apple users they all 100% agree that they would use an Apple Flip Phone before an Android smartphone. All of these people agree Final Cut is completely shit and would never use it. And anyone who I am not friends with but have worked with before when topics of editing software comes up if you mention Final Cut they laugh because of how awful it is. People in the pro space edit video in Premiere, Davinci Resolve, or Avid.
  4. Agree
    Max_Settings got a reaction from Ben17 in How many GB do I need for a boot drive SSD   
    I bought a 120 for my boot drive, and I regret not getting 250gb. Stuff piles up that you wound't think because thinks save on you C drive that you wouldn't expect and it's a pain to change
  5. Like
  6. Like
  7. Like
    Max_Settings got a reaction from Derkoli in Sub $200 Massdrop Headphone Showndown: HD6XX vs K7XX vs T-X0 vs. HE-4XX   
    At this point I think most people in the tech world and audiophile world have heard of the crowd buy site Massdrop. They have quickly become known for their low prices, amazing exclusive products, long wait times, and a few sketchy things in the past. One of the thing they have become widely known for is their exclusive collaboration headphones. Massdrop works with companies to make a rebrand or a completely new headphone based off a more expensive existing headphone and sells them for less. They have become popular quick, and they sell a lot of headphones, Most popular are the under $200 headphones, and I see a lot of people asking which one to get. I already owned the HD6XX, so I decided to pick up what I think are the other big three under $200, the AKG K7XX, the Fostex T-X0, and the Hifiman HE-4XX, and put them through an audiophile shootout to let you all know which one to buy. I hope you enjoy.

    Sennheiser HD6XX $199:

    (I copied this from my HD6XX vs T50RP review so @GamerDude I'm sorry again for the tag)
    These are a headphone that probably need no introduction. These headphones came to be back in 2016 when Massdrop collaborated with Sennheiser to make the legendary $500 HD650s be able to be sold for $200. Many people question the build and sound quality becasue it seems too good to be true, but there are only a few differences. 1. They are midnight blue instead of gunmetal grey like the HD650s. 2. They have a matte finish unlike the glossy on the HD650s. 3. They have a 6ft cable that terminates in a 3.5mm instead of a 10ft cable that terminates in a 1/4in on the 650s. That's it, there is nothing else that is different with these from the HD650s.
     
    Build:
    These are one of the most legendary headphones of all time, they are built well. In classic Sennheiser fair all the materials used feel nice and high quality, lending to why there are still many pairs of HD650s from 2003 still kicking around. The plastics feel high quality and there is a nice feeling piece of what I assume is spring steel making up the headband. Just like the 650s these can easily be fully disassembled and modified. The pads are very large, what I would call a 4 finger pad (meaning you can put 4 fingers of a fist in the hole of the pad), and the head cushioning is very supple and soft. The entire package just feels very well built and solid. Not any foldablity so not good for portable use. Of note after I bent the metal to reduce the clamp I got some squeaking that I fixed with some silicone grease. (Build: 8/10)
     
    Comfort:
    These are among the more comfortable headphones I've ever worn, once you fix the major problem. The HD6XXs like the HD650s are known for a stupidly strong clamp force. I can tell you right out of the box these clamp like crazy. It's almost to the point where it hurts and it feels like it's cutting off blood flow to your face. On the upside these will never fall off your head. For any of you who are Air Force fighter pilots and want to replace your standard headset with a pair of HD6XXs, go right ahead they will not fall off your head no matter what kind of maneuvers you do. In order to fix this clamp force you have to open the headband up all the way and bend the metal and it massively reduces the clamp to the point where they are very comfortable. Don't get me wrong they still have a strong clamp, but they are actually very comfortable now, and they still won't fall off. Plus with the combination of the large velour pads, and soft head cushion, these are a headphone that I have no problem wearing for long hours. Also of note these are pretty deep so you won't have to worry about your ear hitting the drivers which is always a huge plus. (Comfort: 8/10)
     
    Misc, Wires, Power. and Accessories:
    As for other thoughts, the stock cable these come with is ok. It's a 6ft cable that terminates in a 3.5mm jack (with a 1/4in adapter included), and it works. I could live with it if I had too, but of note I replaced that with a 7ft balanced cable from Periapt Interconnects. I do think that balanced makes a considerable improvement to the sound quality, but to make it fair I am going to compare the two using the stock cable. Also the 6XXs come in a super nice hinged box with a nice foam insert that holds them nicely. As for how hard they are to drive, they aren't that hard. People freak out with these because they are 300ohm, but honestly they don't require a ton of power. Your phone will push them, not to their full potential, but it will push them. Not that you'd probably want to use them with your phone because these are open back headphones and they leak sound like crazy. Everyone around you can hear exactly what you are listening to. Also note these are made in Ireland, while the others are Chinese made.
     
    Overall sound:
    Overall if I had to describe the sound of these headphones with one word it would be "Pleasing". These headphones are just relaxing. They never hurt and they never get tiring to listen to. Some headphones like the M50Xs are what I call, "Over ear IEMs" they are so intense they sound like IEMs because they sound like they force the sound right down your ear. These never do that. These sound like they just place the sound in the cups and you just hear it. It is hard to describe but I can say it's a wonderful experience. Are these HD800Ss? No. But these don't sound like $200 headphones, these can easily throw punches with headphones 5x the price. I think @GamerDude put it well when he said that despite his collection of headphones ranging from $100-$3000+ these can trade blows even with headphones like the $3000 HE-1000s. Are these as good at the HE-1000s? No, but it's pretty scary how well these can play with the big dogs.
     
    Mid Range:
    The 650s/6XXs are known as a "Veiled" headphone. That means the vocals tend to be recessed. While I would say that is true to a degree, most of that criticism comes from the original design of the HD650s which was later changed in order to combat that veil a bit. The vocals are a bit recessed compared to other headphones I've heard, but they are still spectacular. They are super crisp and clear and never get lost despite them being slightly recessed. These headphones do vocals well for those of you who like music that is vocal centric . (Mid Range: 7/10)
     
    Treble:
    Treble I find a hard thing to rate because in my mind it's subjective. Some people like a lot of treble and others don't. I think there are two parts to this category, amount of treble and quality of treble. As for the amount, these are not treble heavy headphones which is why they are so easy to listen to for a long time. However that doesn't mean the treble is bad. The treble is very smooth and relaxing. There is this crispness and sparkle to the treble that is simply amazing These headphones excel at classic music. If you are one of those people who likes to kick back and relax listening to classic music these are the headphone for you. (Treble Amount: 5/10) (Treble Quality: 8/10)
     
    Bass:
    This is the one category where the 6XXs do not shine. These are not bassy headphones, there's nothing else you can say. Now they do have bass, these are not HD600s where the bass barely exists, but for bass heads these are not what you are going to want. In fact I actually dislike listening to bassy hip hop or rap music with these. Could I listen to deadmau5 with these? Yes, but they wouldn't be my first pick for EDM. Now the bass itself is very tight and focused, and it has what I would describe as a booming sound, even though there isn't much of it. This is hurts their gaming performance a lot which I will get to later. They don't have bad bass just not much (Bass Amount: 5/10) (Bass Quality: 7/10)
     
    Sound stage:
    These headphones have sound stage, but not a ton. Are they wider than M50Xs? Yes. Are they Fidelio X1/X2 wide? Not even close. Personally not having a super wide sound stage doesn't bother me, I just need some. (Sound stage: 5/10)
     
    Imaging:
    As for imaging these are very good. I remember one of the first songs I listened to with these there was someone playing a piano and I remember flipping out when I could hear the difference from left to right of the guy moving up and down the piano. These image very well. (Imaging: 7/10)
     
    Gaming:
    You won't realize how much you dislike these for gaming until you try something better. I actually enjoyed these more for gaming than my M50Xs. I enjoyed these a lot in games due to their spectacular imaging and decent sound stage. But spoiler alert, once I got my T50s I realized how much I disliked these in games. The one big problem they have for gaming is that light bass. It makes gunshots in FPS games sound anemic. There is no life to them, you hear them but don't feel them. On headphones with more low end you can actually feel the gun shots, the 6XXs you can't. Imagine firing a real gun and hearing the sound, but there is no shock wave, it's like that. If you don't care about that or don't play a ton of FPS these do very well for gaming. And I will say I do like their sound stage over the T50s for games, but I just can't get over the light bass as someone who plays almost entirely FPS.  (Gaming 5/10)
     
    AKG K7XX $199:

    The AKG K7XX is the first ever Massrop collaboration headphone. They are a cheaper, Chinese made version of the K702 anniversary edition, at least that's what Massdrop claims. I haven't heard the K702 Anniversary, so I can't speak as to whether or not this is true, but what I will say is if the K7XX and K702 Anniversary sound the same, then the K702 Anniversary is extremely overpriced at $430. (Also please excuse the plastic I left on over the glossy plastic in the pic)
     
    Build:
    These headphones are not built that great. They are entirely plastic, and somewhat cheap feeling. They have that plastic China made rattle and creaks that you expect, unlike an Austrian made set of AKGs. The weakest link definitely seems to be the headband and the plastic arches that make it up and houses the bridge wires. I have seen a lot of people break these, and I can see why. The headband is the standard AKG gravity adjust system, with a fake leather strap which actually feels pretty good. This wouldn't be a set of headphones that you would want to drop on a hard surface, they would probably break. (Build: 4/10)
     
    Comfort:
    These headphones come so close to being very comfortable, but fall short. They are very light and I actually like the gravity adjust system. Even though there is no padding on the headband, they feel very comfortable. Where they fall short is the pads. These have the AKG memory foam Anniversary pads. I know some people who love these pads, I get why, but I hate them. While they are massive and round, anyone's ear would float in them, they are too thin. My ears hit the inside of the drivers, which really hurts after a short while making them uncomfortable. If you have a set I highly recommend picking up the Dekoni Velour pads which are thicker. I briefly tried these with the very thick Brianwavz XL pleather pads, and they become very comfortable, but with the stock pads, they just aren't that great. (Comfort: 5/10)
     
    Misc, Power, Wires, and Accessories:
    As for power, people extremely underestimate how hard these are to drive. Tons of people runs these just off their onboard because they are 62ohm and they think that's nothing. But as you all should know, sensitivity is what makes a headphone hard to drive more than impedance. If you run the power calculator, these require identical power to the 300ohm HD6XX. They aren't that hard to drive, but harder than people give them credit for. I hate the stock wire, 10ft wires are always a no for me. If you are running them onboard from the back of your PC. then yes you might want a 10ft cable, but if you are running them off an Amp on your desk as you should be, a 10ft wire is way too long. It is also thin and spaghetti like and twists up and is very janky, if you get these please consider buying a shorter replacement from Periapt (linked below). The wire is a 3.5mm with a screw on 1/4in adapter. The box they come in is decent, with a plastic window to see them, and velvet lined plastic holding them in place. As for leak, they are open and leak as much as the HD6XXs if not more.
     
    Overall Sound:
    These sound similar to the HD6XXs to me, but they are bit different. I'm not going to say they are very similar, only reminiscent.
     
    Mid Range:
    These headphones are still what I would called veiled. They aren't as veiled as the 6XXs, but still aren't super vocal forward. The vocals also aren't that clean, they tend to be a bit muddy and have a grain to them. They do vocals decently, but not the most pleasing ever. (Mid Range: 6/10)
     
    Treble:
    These headphones have more treble than the HD6XX, but it is dull. The 6XXs despite the roll off, have this crispness and sparkle, that these just don't have. They usually sound very bland and meh with strings. (Amount of Treble: 6/10) (Treble Quality: 5/10)
     
    Bass:
    These headphones have a decent amount of bass, more than the 6XXs by a fair bit. It is also fairly clean and focused.and enough for them to be enjoyable for EDM and for some fun in gaming. We aren't talking Monoprice Retro murder bass here, but still very good. (Bass Amount: 6.5/10) (Bass Quality: 7/10)
     
    Sound Stage:
    These headphones have very wide soundstage, in fact out of everything I own they come in second, falling only short of the Monoprice Retros. In some songs the sound stage is really nice and it gives a sense of presence and you can feel the environment in which the song was recorded. Very nice, and I know some people say that is good for gaming, but wait till we get to imaging. (Sound stage: 8/10)
     
    Imaging:
    With a wide sound stage usually comes poor imaging, and these are no exception. They aren't horrendous by any means, they are decent, but they's aren't spectacular. (Imaging: 5/10)
     
    Gaming:
    The K7XXs are ok gaming cans. They are better than the HD6XXs for sure they have more bass and more sound stage which is good. However, they lean more towards the fun gaming headphone category, than the competitive category. They do footsteps ok, but their somewhat poor imaging hurts them with the accuracy. Granted the sound stage helps a bit with judging distance, but either than that they don't do the best. I think the less veil helps with the poor imaging and the footsteps are a bit louder than on the HD6XXs which also helps, despite them being less accurate than the 6XXs. Read my thread here to see what I mean with fun and competitive gaming headphones. (Gaming: 6/10)
     
    Fostex T-X0 $149.99:

    The Fostex T-X0 is a special collaboration between Massdrop and Fostex to make a tweaked version of the T50RP MK2. And yes I said that right, MK2, not the newer MK3 which I praise so much. They don't give a ton of details on what they did to tweak the sound of the driver, but they did something. Admittedly, I have never heard the MK2 T50s, so I can't say what is different. They put on very nice hybrid pads and added a comfort strap. Also, look at the all black! They are the best looking set of T50s by far. I was almost tempted to eat the cost of the T-X0s and swap my MK3 drivers into them and send them out to Modhouse to get the Argon mod. But that's for some other time.
     
    Build:
    The build on these is very similar to the MK3s. Overall it feels the same as in the plastic and metal headband pieces. It differs in the headband which is rubber as in typical MK2 fashion, not that it matters because your head will never touch it because of the added comfort strap. Now the strap doesn't feel very good. It isn't leather, honestly I don't know what it is. It doesn't seem to be pleather either, it's very thick and stiff and doesn't feel nearly as nice as the leather strap I got from Mr. Speakers for my MK3s. Now it being stiff doesn't hurt the comfort, more on that later. Curiously the strap is attached to the headband with torx security screws, and  I doubt many of you have those. Stock the friction adjust mechanism is far too loose and the adjustment will not stay no matter what and it is infuriating and makes the headphones unusable. I checked some forums and I saw many other people had the same issue, so it's not limited to my pair. So a Home Depot run and an $18 set of torx screw drivers later I have fixed that issue and now it works perfectly. Factor a screwdriver into the cost of these because that has to be fixed. The pads are a hybrid bad and also feel nice. The exposed wires aren't braided as on the MK3s, just plain rubber sleeving. Overall though they feel decent and a tad better than stock MK3s. (Build: 6/10)
     
    Comfort:
    Out of the four headphones, these are the most comfortable. I love the comfort of my MK3s, but these are even better. I also touted the comfort of my HD6XXs, but I have since docked their comfort score a point from my original review. These, despite the weight, are super comfortable. The comfort strap is wider than my Mr. Speakers one and does a better job at distributing weight across your head. Only problem is the strap is smooth, and not suede like on the Mr. Speakers strap, which means they slip if you move your head down too much. They also have less clamp than the MK3s, which is nice. And I love these pads, I like them more than the Shure 1540 pads. These aren't memory foam, but they are soft and are deeper than the 1540 pads and just feel really nice. My ear also doesn't touch the driver which is huge bonus points. (Comfort: 9/10)
     
    Misc, Wires, Power, and Accessories:
    As for power, these are a T50, they love their power. Now, these aren't the MK3s, they aren't that inefficient and don't require near that much power, but they still require the most power out of the four. While the MK3s need a Magni 3 minimum, the T-X0s could get by on a Fulla 2. They sit comfortably at 12:00-1:00 on my X7S compared to 3:00-5:00 on the MK3s. The stock wire I didn't like much at first, but it has gown on me. It is a 6ft version of the 10ft wire that comes with the MK3s. However, this one isn't as stiff and fixed out the kinks much easier. Also the tips are gold plated this time which is nice. It still uses the locking 3.5mm to connect to the headphone which I don't like. It also is the only one of the four that terminates in a 1/4in. The other three terminate in a 3.5mm with a 1/4in adapter, which I always prefer. I know some people don't like adapters, but I can never tell a difference between a straight 1/4in and a 3.5mmm on a 1/4in adapter. The T-X0s include a 1/4in to 3.5mm adapter which I don't like because it's not a wire, just a solid metal piece. Manufacturers, if you are going to include a 1/4in to 3.5mm adapter, please make it a wire and copy the one Sennheiser includes with the HD650s. The problem with the one Fostex included is that it is solid metal, and that creates leverage. You have this massive big metal post sticking out of a 3.5mm jack, that is just asking for it to snap off ruining whatever it is plugged into. As for the box, it's the same really cheap basic box that the MK3s come in, nothing even holding the headphones, just bubble wrap and the wire thrown in.
     
    Now let's talk sound leakage. I made this it's own subsection and bolded this because it's important. Massdrop advertises these as "Closed back principal" which I didn't initially believe because I assumed they were Semi-open like the MK3s. Now once again I haven't ever used MK2s, so I don't know if this is a MK2 thing, or just a T-X0 thing, but these aren't closed or even semi-open, these are full open. On the MK3s there are three versions, the T20, T40, and T50. The only thing that differentiates them is what covers the small three vents on the bottom. On the semi-open T50s there is a thick felt, on the closed T40s it is completely filled with plastic, and on the open T20s it is just screen. The T-X0s have the same screen that the T20 MK3s have. Therefore these are what Fostex would classify as open. Honestly, even the T20s realistically are semi-open compared to other things, but just know the T-X0s are not like the T50 MK3s. Which in turn means these leak sound a good bit, if you have ever experienced open planar headphones, you know they leak sound like crazy, and these are no exception. Now it's not as bad as a full open back planar, but they still leak more than the HD6XX or K7XX
     
    Overall Sound:
    Overall, I don't like these headphones. They have problems, which I also thought was problem with my particular set, but after reading forums it seems most people have the same opinion. Now like the stock T50 MK3s, they are confusing. Sometimes they sound great, while other times they sound terrible. They definitely sound terrible more times than the sound great. Overall they suffer from a muddy mid range, a hollow echoey sound, and bass slam. I really wanted to love these headphones, because I love their little brothers, the T50RP MK3s, but I just can't
     
    Mid Range:
    The mid range on these headphones is more often than not abysmal at best. It is so muddy and nasally you almost can't believe it, but then you hit the right song and they are great. It makes no sense. Also a poor mid range usually means bad footsteps in games, but that is not the case at all as you will see later. I also think a lot like the stock MK3s they sound better louder and their inefficiency affects the mid range more than anything. I'm writing this segment of the review after doing the test tracks to get some more last minute opinions and I'm listening to random songs while I write these on the headphone that I'm currently writing about. As I'm writing this a Hamilton track came on, and they actually sound good on the vocals, not as good as the others, but not bad. But if I go back to the Dee Dee Bridgewater track from the test track segment, they are awful. I think I figured out they problem with the mid range. These headphones seem to have a reverb problem. It seems on tracks with a lot of electric guitars and a lot of reverb it clouds the mid range and ruins it. I know this is an odd style of writing, but once again as I'm writing another Hamilton track came on with more going on and the vocals are changing in clarity as the song goes. I'm now almost 99% sure that's what it is. On songs that are not busy the vocals are actual pretty decent, but if there is a lot going on they suffer. (Mid Range: 4/10)
     
    Treble:
    These are fairly treble heavy headphones like the MK3s. I don't think they are quite as sharp as the MK3s, but still pretty good. I actually enjoy the treble on these headphones, but I think like mid range it also gets clouded out a lot. Also interestingly, they don't seem to do great on a lot of purely treble songs, which is odd. There they almost seem a bit dull and rolled off, but in other songs that have crisp strings as background details, they do a fantastic job at reproducing those, probably the best of the four. But once again as I'm writing this I'm listening to a piano piece and they actually sound very good, so they just keep being confusing (Treble Amount: 6.5/10) (Treble Quality: 6.5/10)
     
    Bass:
    These headphones have a lot of bass, but not very clean bass. They have a fair bit of bass slam, where the low end comes up a bit too much and clouds out some of the other frequencies. They aren't terrible bass cans however, and work pretty good for EDM. The quality isn't very good though, it's not very focused and kind of muddy. They are the second bass heaviest headphone I own, behind the Monoprice Retro. (Bass Amount: 8/10) (Bass Quality 5/10)
     
    Sound Stage:
    Also a lot like the MK3s these don't have wide sound stage, But they do that weird thing that T50s do where random sounds sound far away. Not a ton of sound stage, but enough to get by. (Soundstage: 3/10)
     
    Imaging:
    Once again the T-X0s are confusing. I praised the T50RP MK3s as the gods of cheap and accurate imaging, and the T-X0s are not that. Some songs like Letter as you will see later, they do very poorly. But if I try another imaging test I like called "Black Satin" they actually do pretty well. Also in games they do well with footsteps as we will get to later. But they still aren't quite on the level as the 6XXs or 4XXs. (Imaging 6.5/10)
     
    Gaming:
    These, like the MK3s, are actually pretty good for competitive gaming. They aren't as good as the MK3s in terms of imaging and accuracy, but they do a pretty good job. Also the narrower sound stage helps bring in the vagueness. The low end is also good for gunshots or for fun games. Overall, these are pretty good gaming headphones. (Gaming: 7/10)
     
    Hifiman HE-4XX $169.99:

    These are a newer collaboration between Massdrop and Hifiman. They are a revival of the old-school Hifiman design which has gained some notoriety. Most notably this design had a very prevalent issue where the plastic pieces holding the cup to the headband would snap. Massdrop had fixed this with steel reinforcements.  
     
    Build:
    This is a well built set of headphones. I know, well built and Hifiman don't usually belong in the same sentence, but these are impressive. They feel extremely rigid with an all steel construction and a dense plastic used for the cups. Also of the blue plastic used isn't painted, so there is no worry of paint chips which was an issue on the original Hifiman headphones. The headband is using a fake alligator leather texture and is hand-stitched and feels very nice. The grills are also a very nice black painted metal. These honestly feel better built than the HE-560 or even the HE-1000. The cheapest set of Hifiman's is the best built in my opinion. But I haven't held the new style Sundara which looks well built, but I digress. I praised the HD6XX build, but these are even better and these best of the four. Just something about the solid steel construction and the weight gives them a really premium feel. Now on my set one of the screws wasn't tightened all the way and it was causing the cup to wobble, so I had to unscrew the cup from the headband and tighten the screw, but your mileage may vary. (Build: 9/10)
     
    Comfort:
    Comfort is a bit of a mixed bag with these. This is the old style Hifiman and there is no comfort strap, which admittedly is better than a simple headband. This are by no means terrble, they are decently comfortable, but I think a bit more padding would help on the headband. The one thing that helps a ton is the angle of the headband curve contacts a massive amount of your head which helps distribute the fairly substantial weight. The earpads are very nice, they are using the Hifiman Focus A pads, which are a hybrid pad and are angled. They aren't the biggest pads, or the deepest, but my ears don't hit the driver, so that's always good. These are pretty comfortable, but once you hit that 2+ hour mark, you start to feel them. (Comfort: 7/10)
     
    Misc, Wires, Power, and Accessories:
    As for the wire, I almost loved the stock wire on these headphones. It is a nice wire that's fairly thick and not janky. It also has a very low split, one of the lowest I've ever seen which I enjoy, especially compared to the very high split on the HD6XX which can almost feel like it's choking you. The problem is the cable is a 4.5 or 5ft cable. Massdrop markets these as a portable to used on your phone, so they included a short cable that ends in a right angled 3.5mm with screw on 1/4in. I really have to question this whole portable thing. For starters, they are the easiest of the four to drive, but they still aren't that easy to drive. Your phone will push them, but you will be up on the higher end of volume and it's not the best sounding. I do like the looks, they are good looking and not something that I would be embarrassed wearing in public like some crazier looking headphones, they are pretty small and somewhat elegant looking. But then we get onto sound leakage. I know a lot of audiophile do crazy mobile setups and don't care about sound leakage in public, that's why the Koss ESP950 exists, but I'm not one of those people. These are an open back planar. Anyone who knows open back planars knows they are almost speakers, they just throw sound out of the backs. Out of the four these leak the most sound by far and if you are in any quiet environment people will hear your music. As for the box, this is the second nicest box. The inside is nothing special, and there is no presentation box like the 6XXs, but it is a nice solid feeling box with a slide on lid. Also of note these headphones can be run Balanced, which I have done through a Periapt cable (once again linked below) I don't think balanced on these makes much difference, unlike on the 6XXs where it makes a big difference, but that is still the cable I use any other time outside this showdown because it's longer and a nicer cable and no harm in using balanced.
     
    Overall Sound:
    These are a fun headphone. They have a very nice sound that I think most people will like. There is a ton of speculation which drivers these headphones use. Most people think even a totally new driver for these, or the HE-400i drivers. I have heard the HE-400i before, and they do remind me of those. But the frequency graph is almost identical to the more expensive HE-400S, which I have not heard, so the jury is still out on that.
     
    Mid Range:
    The mid range on these is good. It is very forward and pleasing, especially compared to the veiled HD6XX and somewhat veiled K7XX, and they don't have the echo or oddness of the T-X0. Now they aren't the cleanest vocals, the HD6XX takes that award, but they are still very good. They just have this tiny bit of compression, but different from the grain of the K7XX. Still though you will enjoy the vocals on these. (Mid Range: 7/10)
     
    Treble:
    These headphones have a fair bit of treble, and the most of the four. But it isn't in the painful realm by any means. Strings sound good and crisp. I think they maybe quite aren't as clean or crisp as the HD6XX, but way more pronounced.They are very enjoyable, and I'm sure most people will like them. (Treble Amount: 7/10) (Treble Quality: 7/10)
     
    Bass:
    These headphones have bass, but not a massive amount. These aren't what I would call an example of "planar bass". They have more bass than the HD6XX, but not as much as the K7XX or T-X0. The bass is very clean and focused however, and sounds great. But these aren't for bass heads and probably not the best for EDM people. (Bass Amount: 6/10) (Bass Quality: 7/10)
     
    Sound Stage:
    Initially I wanted to say that the HD6XX and HE-4XX sounded equally as wide, and I still think that is true for the most part, but these have that planar quality. Every once in a while you get that song and these sound wide, and they sound amazing. Many Deadmau5 tracks do this thing that gives them sound stage. Overall because of this I have to give them a point over the HD6XX for sound stage, and they are the 2nd widest of the four. (Sound Stage: 6/10)
     
    Imaging:
    Imaging on these is about the same of the HD6XX if not slightly better, and that's a good thing. These do a great job of left to right and front to back, which really helps them in games. They image well enough, not MK3s, but still good. (Imaging: 7.5/10)
     
    Gaming:
    These are great gaming headphones. Out of the four this is probably the best competitive pair. Their somewhat limited bass prevents gunshots from clouding the mid range which is very pronounced which really brings up those footsteps. (Gaming: 7.5/10)
     
    Summary of the Four:
    This is a new section I'm including because I want to summarize these previous sections in a way that compiles my thoughts and ranks them in terms of build, comfort, and other factors, as well as ranks them in the sound categories.
     
    Build:
    1st: HE-4XX
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: T-X0
    4th: K7XX
     
    Comfort:
    1st: T-X0
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: HE-4XX
    4th: K7XX
    Note that the HD6XX and HE-4XX are close in comfort, there's just a marginal difference, where the K7XX is much worse.
     
    Stock Wire:
    1st: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: T-X0
    4th: K7XX
     
    Box:
    1st: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Hard to Drive:
    1st: T-X0
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: HE-4XX
     
    Mid Range:
    The mid range on these is tougher to rank, the HD6XX has the cleanest, while the HE-4XX has the most pronounced, so I'm going to split this into cleanliness and presence.
     
    Vocal Cleanliness:
    1st: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Vocal Presence:
    1st: HE-4XX
    2nd: K7XX
    3rd: HD6XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Treble:
    This will be split into cleanliness and amount.
     
    Treble Amount:
    1st: HE-4XX
    2nd: T-X0
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: HD6XX
     
    Treble Cleanliness:
    1st: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: T-X0
    4th: K7XX
     
    Bass:
    Split into amount and cleanliness.
     
    Bass Amount:
    1st: T-X0
    2nd: K7XX
    3rd: HE-4XX
    4th: HD6XX
     
    Bass Cleanliness:
    1st: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
    Note that on 1st-3rd they are all more or less equal on quality.
     
    Sound Stage:
    1st: K7XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: HD6XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Imaging:
    1st: HE-4XX
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: T-X0
    4th: K7XX
     
    Gaming:
    This category I'm not doing a ranking per say, because this depends on what you want. If you read my gaming headphone misconception thread, you'll know that I said there's two main types of gamers, the competitive gamers, and the fun gamers. I now think that there is a rarer type of gamer, and that is what I'm going to call the artsy gamer. That is someone who plays simpler, mostly single player games, that are more of an art piece type games and have very high fidelity audio. I would put Subnautica in that type of games. So if you are that type of gamer, take the HD6XX. They have a very high fidelity relaxing sound, and will suite you well for that type of game. They don't have enough bass or sound stage to be fun, and while their imaging is good, their footstep reproduction isn't good enough for competitive. If you are a fun gamer, I'd take the K7XX. They don't do the best job with footsteps, but they have a good amount of bass and a wide sound stage. The T-X0 I think can fit either fun or competitive, they do a good job of footsteps for competitive, but do a great job with footsteps, only issue is the somewhat narrow sound stage that some might not like, but doesn't bother me. The HE-4XX is probably the bass all around competitive cans here. They don't have a ton of bass, but have decent sound stage, really good imaging, and great footstep production which makes them ideal for competitive.
     
    Test Tracks:
    All are FLAC in either 16/44.1 or 24/96. All were listened to with their stock cables on my Aune X7S and Grace Design SDAC.
     
    Phil Collins' This Must Be Love:
     
    Phil Collins does very beautifully recorded and mastered tracks. This is a good test of vocals as well as micro details and background details.
     
    This track was hard to pick a winner, which is a theme that will probably carry throughout the rest of the showdown because I find it hard to A/B/C/D test headphones, but I will do the best I can. Immediately the T-X0 falls flat here. It's very hollow sound comes out and makes the vocals sound not all the great. Not a terrible job in background detail, but the poor vocals kill them here. The two that pull ahead are the HD6XX and HE-4XX. The K7XX also sounds pretty good, but it is slightly muddier than the 6XX and 4XX and has grainier vocals. The 6XX has maybe slightly cleaner vocals, but the 4XX has a more forward presence and better emphasis on the drums in the background. Honestly, this one is really a toss up between the 6XX and 4XX, but if I had to pick it's going to be the HE-4XX.
     
    Winner: HE-4XX
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Yosi Horikawa's Letter:
     
    This track will make it in probably everyone of my reviews as it is my favorite track to test sound stage and imaging. Once again the only thing that matters is the first 30s.
     
    In this track I can't pick a winner, simply because it depends on what you are looking for, sound stage or imaging. T-X0s have the narrowest sound stage and the poorest imaging from left to right in this song, so if you want a definitive looser, that is it. After that it gets interesting. The K7XX no doubt has the widest sound stage, but it's imaging isn't spectacular. The HD6XX and HE-4XX have nearly identical sound stage and their imaging is almost identical too. After listening to both a few times I think the HD6XX might be a tiny bit smoother from left to right, but it is so close. So no winner here, just depends on what you want. K7XX for width, HD6XX or HE-4XX for imaging.
     
    Dee Dee Bridewater's Why Am I Treated So Bad:
    This is a nice and fun upbeat jazz track with vocals, electric guitars, and drums.
     
    Off the bat, T-X0s suck, I listened to about 1min of the song and gave up. Narrow, hollow, and muddy sounding, these loose here hands down. K7XXs, widest, and the most bass on the drums, but dull guitars and slightly grainy muddy vocals. HD6XXs, very clean vocals, despite the veil, as well as pretty good sound stage and good sounding guitars. HE-4XXs shine again, I was getting bored of listening to this song, being that the 4XXs were the last pair I listened to on this song, and they got me excited again about listening to it. Vocals are not as clean as the HD6XXs, but they are more forward and fullers. Also they have more low end for better sounding drums, they sound wider in this song and the guitars have more presence thanks to the increased treble. I think the 6XXs have cleaner treble, but it is rolled off, where the 4XXs not so much.
     
    Winner: HE-4XX
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Deadmau5's Moar Ghosts 'n' Stuff:
    Test of low end, and how headphones preform for those of you who like EDM.
     
    I have said it before, and I'll say it again, I don't like the HD6XXs for EDM. They just have very little bass, they are doable, but really fall flat on this song. The HE-4XXs also don't do amazing on this track either. They have more bass than the 6XXs, but both of them have a narrower sound stage that makes the violins off in this distance sound close and not as pronounced, they both however do well with the electronic sounds. The K7XX did surprisingly well here, it had ample bass for EDM and was enjoyable, I also loved the wide sound stage for the violins off in the distance. The shocker here was the T-X0s. They have the most bass by far, and it was really getting up into that head thumping level, not Monoprice Retros, but still very good. Also they did their odd thing T50s do, where they have narrow sound stage except for certain sounds, and the violins on this song sounded the furthest away and the most pronounced by far. Only problem was the electronic sounds sounded a bit off, but I think most people will forgive that for the bass.
     
    Winner: T-X0
    2nd: K7XX
    3rd: HE-4XX
    4th: HD6XX
     
    Alexandre Tharaud's Suite bergamaque, L. 82: III. Clair de lune:
    This is a classical piano piece to test treble as well as how they preform in soft gentle music.
     
    This was an interesting piece. For starters the K7XXs fall flat here with very dull treble and not a very crisp sound. The T-X0s did surprisingly well, they sounded better than the K7XXs, but had that odd echo. Then once again we are back to the HD6XX vs HE-4XX. Like I always say the HD6XX is the kind of classical, and they don't disappoint. The 4XXs have more treble, and it is a bit sharper, so the piano is more pronounced. But the 6XXs just have this little something, this crispness, that the 4XXs can't quite match.
     
    Winner: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: T-X0
    4th: K7XX
     
    Alan Silvestri's The Oasis (Ready Player One Sountrack):
    This is a very well recorded orchestra piece, because we need one of those in here. Decided to go with this over a Hans Zimmer piece I would usually include.
     
    In this song none of them did particularly bad. The T-X0s, once again just didn't have the presence or clarity of the other 3, so they take last. The K7XX put up a fight this round, overall the sound wasn't quite as crisp as the HD6XX or HE-4XX, but the sound stage shown. This song has chanting, which you traditional associate with something like a massive cathedral.Something about the width of the K7XXs just sounded right in this song, and it made up for their slightly less clarity. As for the 6XX and 4XX they were so close, but this is more of a classical piece, and I think the 6XX just slightly edges out the 4XX, but it really is a tossup.
     
    Winner: K7XX
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: HE-4XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Diana Krall's Like Someone in Love:
    Just a very pure vocal test track, simple as that.
     
    This was the toughest one of the group. Know that the rankings they get are very close to one another, there is no massive looser on this track. T-X0 actually sounded decent. The vocals however, were a bit nasally and the bass (instrument bass in this case) isn't as pronounced. The K7XX sounded very good too and didn't sound that grainy and the soundstage actually sounded great. Then the HD6XX come in and almost bring a tear to you eye with their super crisp vocals and production of the strings. But then there are the HE-4XXs, they did something that no other headphone did. They produced an echo of the vocals way off in the left channel that I had not heard on the other three that I had listened to before them. I went back and had to check myself. The K7XX and T-X0 didn't reproduce this echo in the slightest, while the HD6XX did if you really listened for it. That would normally give the 4XXs the win in one of my shootout, doing something amazing like that, that no other headphone did. But I found their very forward vocals a little to sharp and intense in this song, yet still very good. The HD6XX is just a more beautiful rendition here. Once again, these are all very close and their ranks aren't far apart.
     
    Winner: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Conclusions:
    Well this has been one heck of a battle, and if you have made it this far, thanks for reading you now get to know my final thoughts  (unless you skipped here, then IDK then  ). The first thing you are going to ask me to do is pick a winner, and I simply can't, because there are a lot of factors in play. First let me get a few things out of the way.
     
    For starters, I don't recommend the Fostex T-X0. I'm sorry I have to say this, but they really just don't sound very good. They have a very hollow and nasally sound, which isn't pleasing at all. I don't think they are worth their $150 asking price, especially compared to other offerings. Not that this really matters, because the T-X0 is the rarest of the 4 by far. I think there are only around 2000 pairs ever made, and they drop extremely infrequently and in low numbers, so most likely you will be buying a used set. Maybe if you can get them around $100 they aren't the worst ever, but still not recommended. I think the only person they fit is someone who only games and listens to EDM, either than that I don't think you should get them. Also they require the most power and you will need an amp. Now if you ask, well I can get the stock MK3s for $10 more, which should I get? T-X0s, hands down. Why? Not because of sound, but because the stock MK3s are the most uncomfortable headphones ever. Now if you asked, T-X0 or MK3 with 1540 pads? MK3s by a mile, they sound much better stock than the T-X0.
     
    The AKG K7XX is the interesting pair here for one reason, it is always in stock. If you buy them, they ship next day. If you buy HD6XXs, HE-4XXs, or T-X0s, you are waiting months, where the K7XXs you will get in mere days. I never hated them in anything but comfort and build, but they didn't do amazing at anything and I think they have a few issues with the sound. They will get my recommendation, but I think they need a pad swap and a new cable which pushes them close to $300, and at that point you're a moron for not buying HD600s. But if you can live with them stock, they aren't the worst thing ever. Are they better than HD598s? Eh...It's hard to say, I'd have to have a set for side by side comparison, but from memory I think they are a tad better. If you can't wait, they get my recommendation, but I think they are overrated. 
     
    Now if you can wait and have $200 to spend, the question becomes, HD6XX or K7XX? HD6XX in a heartbeat. They massively outclass the K7XX in nearly everything. Overall they are just a much cleaner sound, and a far better headphone. There's a reason these have been around for 15 years, they are amazing headphones. I think most people will really like them, they have such a smooth and relaxing sound, and are still probably my favorite headphones. These get my highest honor of recommendation, if you don't have a set, buy them.
     
    Now before the HE-4XX came, I thought the HD6XX was going to sweep, but as you saw the HE-4XX put up one heck of a fight. They are so good, where I am seriously contemplating if they are better. The real million dollar question of this whole showdown is HD6XX or HE-4XX? I have concluded this.
     
    Which to gets depends on what you want and a few factors. For starters, do you want to get into audiophile headphones and get multiple pairs? Or do you just want one pair and to be done? If you want to get into collecting multiple pairs, get the HD6XX. They are the HD650 which is the universal reference point that everything is compared against and you need to have a pair in your collection if you are an audiophile. Now what if you want one pair? Well that's where it gets hard. You will enjoy either, but frankly I think the HE-4XX has a sound signature that more people will enjoy. Personally, I still think I prefer the HD6XX because it's sound caters more towards the type of music I listen to. But the HE-4XX has more bass, more forward vocals, more treble, more sound stage, and slightly better imaging. They also are better gaming headphones. Overall I think that sound signature matches more music genres then they laid back HD6XX which is the kind of classical and old time music, while being very bad at pop, rap, and EDM. The HE-4XX does a great job with pop and rap, and a decent job with EDM. I think the HD6XX is more comfortable once you fix the clamp, but neither are bad. As for power, the HE-4XX is easier to drive, but you really should get a DAC/Amp for both. All you need is a Fulla 2, that will drive both perfectly fine and you will be happy with either. Also the HE-4XX is $30 less, and ships quicker than the HD6XX. So which one of those to get is ultimately up to you. Both of them get my highest recommendations and both are amazing.
     
    Now at the end is the collection update, what's staying and what's going. I say that it's an honor for a headphone to earn a spot in the collection of a starting out reviewer like myself, because otherwise I can sell them and move onto something else. The HD6XX earns the most permanent spot you can get, like I said they are the reference point you have to have, so those will never be sold. The T-X0 will be sold, I love the look and the comfort, but the sound isn't very good and they are destroyed by my Mayflower MK3s. K7XX is also going to be sold, I have no need. They don't do anything special and don't fill any gaps in my collection, I have no need for them. The HE-4XX is here to stay, at least for now. I love these headphones, but there are better open back planars. I've heard better open back planars,so down the road if I ever get a set of something higher end, these might go. But under $200, these are the best planar headphones you can get. These are better than M560s, M565s, M1060s, and even stock MK3s with 1540 pads. Before you ask if these are better than Mayflower MK3s, stop, those cost way more.
     
    Anyway thank you for reading my review. I hope this was helpful to everyone looking for headphones on Massdrop. I do intend to review the new Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee if I can grab a second hand set in the next few months, because that is another $100-$200 Massdrop headphone, so stay tuned for that. I also have another big review in the works in the next 2-3 weeks, and trust me, you won't want to miss it. Everything used will be linked below. Also I will link my HD6XX vs T50RP MK3 review, and stay tuned for HD6XX balanced vs T50RP MK3 Mayflower.
     
    Sennheiser HD6XX
    AKG K7XX Black
    AKG K7XX Red
    Fostex T-X0
    Hifiman HE-4XX
    Aune X7S
    Grace Design SDAC
    Periapt Cables
  8. Like
    Max_Settings got a reaction from rice guru in Sub $200 Massdrop Headphone Showndown: HD6XX vs K7XX vs T-X0 vs. HE-4XX   
    At this point I think most people in the tech world and audiophile world have heard of the crowd buy site Massdrop. They have quickly become known for their low prices, amazing exclusive products, long wait times, and a few sketchy things in the past. One of the thing they have become widely known for is their exclusive collaboration headphones. Massdrop works with companies to make a rebrand or a completely new headphone based off a more expensive existing headphone and sells them for less. They have become popular quick, and they sell a lot of headphones, Most popular are the under $200 headphones, and I see a lot of people asking which one to get. I already owned the HD6XX, so I decided to pick up what I think are the other big three under $200, the AKG K7XX, the Fostex T-X0, and the Hifiman HE-4XX, and put them through an audiophile shootout to let you all know which one to buy. I hope you enjoy.

    Sennheiser HD6XX $199:

    (I copied this from my HD6XX vs T50RP review so @GamerDude I'm sorry again for the tag)
    These are a headphone that probably need no introduction. These headphones came to be back in 2016 when Massdrop collaborated with Sennheiser to make the legendary $500 HD650s be able to be sold for $200. Many people question the build and sound quality becasue it seems too good to be true, but there are only a few differences. 1. They are midnight blue instead of gunmetal grey like the HD650s. 2. They have a matte finish unlike the glossy on the HD650s. 3. They have a 6ft cable that terminates in a 3.5mm instead of a 10ft cable that terminates in a 1/4in on the 650s. That's it, there is nothing else that is different with these from the HD650s.
     
    Build:
    These are one of the most legendary headphones of all time, they are built well. In classic Sennheiser fair all the materials used feel nice and high quality, lending to why there are still many pairs of HD650s from 2003 still kicking around. The plastics feel high quality and there is a nice feeling piece of what I assume is spring steel making up the headband. Just like the 650s these can easily be fully disassembled and modified. The pads are very large, what I would call a 4 finger pad (meaning you can put 4 fingers of a fist in the hole of the pad), and the head cushioning is very supple and soft. The entire package just feels very well built and solid. Not any foldablity so not good for portable use. Of note after I bent the metal to reduce the clamp I got some squeaking that I fixed with some silicone grease. (Build: 8/10)
     
    Comfort:
    These are among the more comfortable headphones I've ever worn, once you fix the major problem. The HD6XXs like the HD650s are known for a stupidly strong clamp force. I can tell you right out of the box these clamp like crazy. It's almost to the point where it hurts and it feels like it's cutting off blood flow to your face. On the upside these will never fall off your head. For any of you who are Air Force fighter pilots and want to replace your standard headset with a pair of HD6XXs, go right ahead they will not fall off your head no matter what kind of maneuvers you do. In order to fix this clamp force you have to open the headband up all the way and bend the metal and it massively reduces the clamp to the point where they are very comfortable. Don't get me wrong they still have a strong clamp, but they are actually very comfortable now, and they still won't fall off. Plus with the combination of the large velour pads, and soft head cushion, these are a headphone that I have no problem wearing for long hours. Also of note these are pretty deep so you won't have to worry about your ear hitting the drivers which is always a huge plus. (Comfort: 8/10)
     
    Misc, Wires, Power. and Accessories:
    As for other thoughts, the stock cable these come with is ok. It's a 6ft cable that terminates in a 3.5mm jack (with a 1/4in adapter included), and it works. I could live with it if I had too, but of note I replaced that with a 7ft balanced cable from Periapt Interconnects. I do think that balanced makes a considerable improvement to the sound quality, but to make it fair I am going to compare the two using the stock cable. Also the 6XXs come in a super nice hinged box with a nice foam insert that holds them nicely. As for how hard they are to drive, they aren't that hard. People freak out with these because they are 300ohm, but honestly they don't require a ton of power. Your phone will push them, not to their full potential, but it will push them. Not that you'd probably want to use them with your phone because these are open back headphones and they leak sound like crazy. Everyone around you can hear exactly what you are listening to. Also note these are made in Ireland, while the others are Chinese made.
     
    Overall sound:
    Overall if I had to describe the sound of these headphones with one word it would be "Pleasing". These headphones are just relaxing. They never hurt and they never get tiring to listen to. Some headphones like the M50Xs are what I call, "Over ear IEMs" they are so intense they sound like IEMs because they sound like they force the sound right down your ear. These never do that. These sound like they just place the sound in the cups and you just hear it. It is hard to describe but I can say it's a wonderful experience. Are these HD800Ss? No. But these don't sound like $200 headphones, these can easily throw punches with headphones 5x the price. I think @GamerDude put it well when he said that despite his collection of headphones ranging from $100-$3000+ these can trade blows even with headphones like the $3000 HE-1000s. Are these as good at the HE-1000s? No, but it's pretty scary how well these can play with the big dogs.
     
    Mid Range:
    The 650s/6XXs are known as a "Veiled" headphone. That means the vocals tend to be recessed. While I would say that is true to a degree, most of that criticism comes from the original design of the HD650s which was later changed in order to combat that veil a bit. The vocals are a bit recessed compared to other headphones I've heard, but they are still spectacular. They are super crisp and clear and never get lost despite them being slightly recessed. These headphones do vocals well for those of you who like music that is vocal centric . (Mid Range: 7/10)
     
    Treble:
    Treble I find a hard thing to rate because in my mind it's subjective. Some people like a lot of treble and others don't. I think there are two parts to this category, amount of treble and quality of treble. As for the amount, these are not treble heavy headphones which is why they are so easy to listen to for a long time. However that doesn't mean the treble is bad. The treble is very smooth and relaxing. There is this crispness and sparkle to the treble that is simply amazing These headphones excel at classic music. If you are one of those people who likes to kick back and relax listening to classic music these are the headphone for you. (Treble Amount: 5/10) (Treble Quality: 8/10)
     
    Bass:
    This is the one category where the 6XXs do not shine. These are not bassy headphones, there's nothing else you can say. Now they do have bass, these are not HD600s where the bass barely exists, but for bass heads these are not what you are going to want. In fact I actually dislike listening to bassy hip hop or rap music with these. Could I listen to deadmau5 with these? Yes, but they wouldn't be my first pick for EDM. Now the bass itself is very tight and focused, and it has what I would describe as a booming sound, even though there isn't much of it. This is hurts their gaming performance a lot which I will get to later. They don't have bad bass just not much (Bass Amount: 5/10) (Bass Quality: 7/10)
     
    Sound stage:
    These headphones have sound stage, but not a ton. Are they wider than M50Xs? Yes. Are they Fidelio X1/X2 wide? Not even close. Personally not having a super wide sound stage doesn't bother me, I just need some. (Sound stage: 5/10)
     
    Imaging:
    As for imaging these are very good. I remember one of the first songs I listened to with these there was someone playing a piano and I remember flipping out when I could hear the difference from left to right of the guy moving up and down the piano. These image very well. (Imaging: 7/10)
     
    Gaming:
    You won't realize how much you dislike these for gaming until you try something better. I actually enjoyed these more for gaming than my M50Xs. I enjoyed these a lot in games due to their spectacular imaging and decent sound stage. But spoiler alert, once I got my T50s I realized how much I disliked these in games. The one big problem they have for gaming is that light bass. It makes gunshots in FPS games sound anemic. There is no life to them, you hear them but don't feel them. On headphones with more low end you can actually feel the gun shots, the 6XXs you can't. Imagine firing a real gun and hearing the sound, but there is no shock wave, it's like that. If you don't care about that or don't play a ton of FPS these do very well for gaming. And I will say I do like their sound stage over the T50s for games, but I just can't get over the light bass as someone who plays almost entirely FPS.  (Gaming 5/10)
     
    AKG K7XX $199:

    The AKG K7XX is the first ever Massrop collaboration headphone. They are a cheaper, Chinese made version of the K702 anniversary edition, at least that's what Massdrop claims. I haven't heard the K702 Anniversary, so I can't speak as to whether or not this is true, but what I will say is if the K7XX and K702 Anniversary sound the same, then the K702 Anniversary is extremely overpriced at $430. (Also please excuse the plastic I left on over the glossy plastic in the pic)
     
    Build:
    These headphones are not built that great. They are entirely plastic, and somewhat cheap feeling. They have that plastic China made rattle and creaks that you expect, unlike an Austrian made set of AKGs. The weakest link definitely seems to be the headband and the plastic arches that make it up and houses the bridge wires. I have seen a lot of people break these, and I can see why. The headband is the standard AKG gravity adjust system, with a fake leather strap which actually feels pretty good. This wouldn't be a set of headphones that you would want to drop on a hard surface, they would probably break. (Build: 4/10)
     
    Comfort:
    These headphones come so close to being very comfortable, but fall short. They are very light and I actually like the gravity adjust system. Even though there is no padding on the headband, they feel very comfortable. Where they fall short is the pads. These have the AKG memory foam Anniversary pads. I know some people who love these pads, I get why, but I hate them. While they are massive and round, anyone's ear would float in them, they are too thin. My ears hit the inside of the drivers, which really hurts after a short while making them uncomfortable. If you have a set I highly recommend picking up the Dekoni Velour pads which are thicker. I briefly tried these with the very thick Brianwavz XL pleather pads, and they become very comfortable, but with the stock pads, they just aren't that great. (Comfort: 5/10)
     
    Misc, Power, Wires, and Accessories:
    As for power, people extremely underestimate how hard these are to drive. Tons of people runs these just off their onboard because they are 62ohm and they think that's nothing. But as you all should know, sensitivity is what makes a headphone hard to drive more than impedance. If you run the power calculator, these require identical power to the 300ohm HD6XX. They aren't that hard to drive, but harder than people give them credit for. I hate the stock wire, 10ft wires are always a no for me. If you are running them onboard from the back of your PC. then yes you might want a 10ft cable, but if you are running them off an Amp on your desk as you should be, a 10ft wire is way too long. It is also thin and spaghetti like and twists up and is very janky, if you get these please consider buying a shorter replacement from Periapt (linked below). The wire is a 3.5mm with a screw on 1/4in adapter. The box they come in is decent, with a plastic window to see them, and velvet lined plastic holding them in place. As for leak, they are open and leak as much as the HD6XXs if not more.
     
    Overall Sound:
    These sound similar to the HD6XXs to me, but they are bit different. I'm not going to say they are very similar, only reminiscent.
     
    Mid Range:
    These headphones are still what I would called veiled. They aren't as veiled as the 6XXs, but still aren't super vocal forward. The vocals also aren't that clean, they tend to be a bit muddy and have a grain to them. They do vocals decently, but not the most pleasing ever. (Mid Range: 6/10)
     
    Treble:
    These headphones have more treble than the HD6XX, but it is dull. The 6XXs despite the roll off, have this crispness and sparkle, that these just don't have. They usually sound very bland and meh with strings. (Amount of Treble: 6/10) (Treble Quality: 5/10)
     
    Bass:
    These headphones have a decent amount of bass, more than the 6XXs by a fair bit. It is also fairly clean and focused.and enough for them to be enjoyable for EDM and for some fun in gaming. We aren't talking Monoprice Retro murder bass here, but still very good. (Bass Amount: 6.5/10) (Bass Quality: 7/10)
     
    Sound Stage:
    These headphones have very wide soundstage, in fact out of everything I own they come in second, falling only short of the Monoprice Retros. In some songs the sound stage is really nice and it gives a sense of presence and you can feel the environment in which the song was recorded. Very nice, and I know some people say that is good for gaming, but wait till we get to imaging. (Sound stage: 8/10)
     
    Imaging:
    With a wide sound stage usually comes poor imaging, and these are no exception. They aren't horrendous by any means, they are decent, but they's aren't spectacular. (Imaging: 5/10)
     
    Gaming:
    The K7XXs are ok gaming cans. They are better than the HD6XXs for sure they have more bass and more sound stage which is good. However, they lean more towards the fun gaming headphone category, than the competitive category. They do footsteps ok, but their somewhat poor imaging hurts them with the accuracy. Granted the sound stage helps a bit with judging distance, but either than that they don't do the best. I think the less veil helps with the poor imaging and the footsteps are a bit louder than on the HD6XXs which also helps, despite them being less accurate than the 6XXs. Read my thread here to see what I mean with fun and competitive gaming headphones. (Gaming: 6/10)
     
    Fostex T-X0 $149.99:

    The Fostex T-X0 is a special collaboration between Massdrop and Fostex to make a tweaked version of the T50RP MK2. And yes I said that right, MK2, not the newer MK3 which I praise so much. They don't give a ton of details on what they did to tweak the sound of the driver, but they did something. Admittedly, I have never heard the MK2 T50s, so I can't say what is different. They put on very nice hybrid pads and added a comfort strap. Also, look at the all black! They are the best looking set of T50s by far. I was almost tempted to eat the cost of the T-X0s and swap my MK3 drivers into them and send them out to Modhouse to get the Argon mod. But that's for some other time.
     
    Build:
    The build on these is very similar to the MK3s. Overall it feels the same as in the plastic and metal headband pieces. It differs in the headband which is rubber as in typical MK2 fashion, not that it matters because your head will never touch it because of the added comfort strap. Now the strap doesn't feel very good. It isn't leather, honestly I don't know what it is. It doesn't seem to be pleather either, it's very thick and stiff and doesn't feel nearly as nice as the leather strap I got from Mr. Speakers for my MK3s. Now it being stiff doesn't hurt the comfort, more on that later. Curiously the strap is attached to the headband with torx security screws, and  I doubt many of you have those. Stock the friction adjust mechanism is far too loose and the adjustment will not stay no matter what and it is infuriating and makes the headphones unusable. I checked some forums and I saw many other people had the same issue, so it's not limited to my pair. So a Home Depot run and an $18 set of torx screw drivers later I have fixed that issue and now it works perfectly. Factor a screwdriver into the cost of these because that has to be fixed. The pads are a hybrid bad and also feel nice. The exposed wires aren't braided as on the MK3s, just plain rubber sleeving. Overall though they feel decent and a tad better than stock MK3s. (Build: 6/10)
     
    Comfort:
    Out of the four headphones, these are the most comfortable. I love the comfort of my MK3s, but these are even better. I also touted the comfort of my HD6XXs, but I have since docked their comfort score a point from my original review. These, despite the weight, are super comfortable. The comfort strap is wider than my Mr. Speakers one and does a better job at distributing weight across your head. Only problem is the strap is smooth, and not suede like on the Mr. Speakers strap, which means they slip if you move your head down too much. They also have less clamp than the MK3s, which is nice. And I love these pads, I like them more than the Shure 1540 pads. These aren't memory foam, but they are soft and are deeper than the 1540 pads and just feel really nice. My ear also doesn't touch the driver which is huge bonus points. (Comfort: 9/10)
     
    Misc, Wires, Power, and Accessories:
    As for power, these are a T50, they love their power. Now, these aren't the MK3s, they aren't that inefficient and don't require near that much power, but they still require the most power out of the four. While the MK3s need a Magni 3 minimum, the T-X0s could get by on a Fulla 2. They sit comfortably at 12:00-1:00 on my X7S compared to 3:00-5:00 on the MK3s. The stock wire I didn't like much at first, but it has gown on me. It is a 6ft version of the 10ft wire that comes with the MK3s. However, this one isn't as stiff and fixed out the kinks much easier. Also the tips are gold plated this time which is nice. It still uses the locking 3.5mm to connect to the headphone which I don't like. It also is the only one of the four that terminates in a 1/4in. The other three terminate in a 3.5mm with a 1/4in adapter, which I always prefer. I know some people don't like adapters, but I can never tell a difference between a straight 1/4in and a 3.5mmm on a 1/4in adapter. The T-X0s include a 1/4in to 3.5mm adapter which I don't like because it's not a wire, just a solid metal piece. Manufacturers, if you are going to include a 1/4in to 3.5mm adapter, please make it a wire and copy the one Sennheiser includes with the HD650s. The problem with the one Fostex included is that it is solid metal, and that creates leverage. You have this massive big metal post sticking out of a 3.5mm jack, that is just asking for it to snap off ruining whatever it is plugged into. As for the box, it's the same really cheap basic box that the MK3s come in, nothing even holding the headphones, just bubble wrap and the wire thrown in.
     
    Now let's talk sound leakage. I made this it's own subsection and bolded this because it's important. Massdrop advertises these as "Closed back principal" which I didn't initially believe because I assumed they were Semi-open like the MK3s. Now once again I haven't ever used MK2s, so I don't know if this is a MK2 thing, or just a T-X0 thing, but these aren't closed or even semi-open, these are full open. On the MK3s there are three versions, the T20, T40, and T50. The only thing that differentiates them is what covers the small three vents on the bottom. On the semi-open T50s there is a thick felt, on the closed T40s it is completely filled with plastic, and on the open T20s it is just screen. The T-X0s have the same screen that the T20 MK3s have. Therefore these are what Fostex would classify as open. Honestly, even the T20s realistically are semi-open compared to other things, but just know the T-X0s are not like the T50 MK3s. Which in turn means these leak sound a good bit, if you have ever experienced open planar headphones, you know they leak sound like crazy, and these are no exception. Now it's not as bad as a full open back planar, but they still leak more than the HD6XX or K7XX
     
    Overall Sound:
    Overall, I don't like these headphones. They have problems, which I also thought was problem with my particular set, but after reading forums it seems most people have the same opinion. Now like the stock T50 MK3s, they are confusing. Sometimes they sound great, while other times they sound terrible. They definitely sound terrible more times than the sound great. Overall they suffer from a muddy mid range, a hollow echoey sound, and bass slam. I really wanted to love these headphones, because I love their little brothers, the T50RP MK3s, but I just can't
     
    Mid Range:
    The mid range on these headphones is more often than not abysmal at best. It is so muddy and nasally you almost can't believe it, but then you hit the right song and they are great. It makes no sense. Also a poor mid range usually means bad footsteps in games, but that is not the case at all as you will see later. I also think a lot like the stock MK3s they sound better louder and their inefficiency affects the mid range more than anything. I'm writing this segment of the review after doing the test tracks to get some more last minute opinions and I'm listening to random songs while I write these on the headphone that I'm currently writing about. As I'm writing this a Hamilton track came on, and they actually sound good on the vocals, not as good as the others, but not bad. But if I go back to the Dee Dee Bridgewater track from the test track segment, they are awful. I think I figured out they problem with the mid range. These headphones seem to have a reverb problem. It seems on tracks with a lot of electric guitars and a lot of reverb it clouds the mid range and ruins it. I know this is an odd style of writing, but once again as I'm writing another Hamilton track came on with more going on and the vocals are changing in clarity as the song goes. I'm now almost 99% sure that's what it is. On songs that are not busy the vocals are actual pretty decent, but if there is a lot going on they suffer. (Mid Range: 4/10)
     
    Treble:
    These are fairly treble heavy headphones like the MK3s. I don't think they are quite as sharp as the MK3s, but still pretty good. I actually enjoy the treble on these headphones, but I think like mid range it also gets clouded out a lot. Also interestingly, they don't seem to do great on a lot of purely treble songs, which is odd. There they almost seem a bit dull and rolled off, but in other songs that have crisp strings as background details, they do a fantastic job at reproducing those, probably the best of the four. But once again as I'm writing this I'm listening to a piano piece and they actually sound very good, so they just keep being confusing (Treble Amount: 6.5/10) (Treble Quality: 6.5/10)
     
    Bass:
    These headphones have a lot of bass, but not very clean bass. They have a fair bit of bass slam, where the low end comes up a bit too much and clouds out some of the other frequencies. They aren't terrible bass cans however, and work pretty good for EDM. The quality isn't very good though, it's not very focused and kind of muddy. They are the second bass heaviest headphone I own, behind the Monoprice Retro. (Bass Amount: 8/10) (Bass Quality 5/10)
     
    Sound Stage:
    Also a lot like the MK3s these don't have wide sound stage, But they do that weird thing that T50s do where random sounds sound far away. Not a ton of sound stage, but enough to get by. (Soundstage: 3/10)
     
    Imaging:
    Once again the T-X0s are confusing. I praised the T50RP MK3s as the gods of cheap and accurate imaging, and the T-X0s are not that. Some songs like Letter as you will see later, they do very poorly. But if I try another imaging test I like called "Black Satin" they actually do pretty well. Also in games they do well with footsteps as we will get to later. But they still aren't quite on the level as the 6XXs or 4XXs. (Imaging 6.5/10)
     
    Gaming:
    These, like the MK3s, are actually pretty good for competitive gaming. They aren't as good as the MK3s in terms of imaging and accuracy, but they do a pretty good job. Also the narrower sound stage helps bring in the vagueness. The low end is also good for gunshots or for fun games. Overall, these are pretty good gaming headphones. (Gaming: 7/10)
     
    Hifiman HE-4XX $169.99:

    These are a newer collaboration between Massdrop and Hifiman. They are a revival of the old-school Hifiman design which has gained some notoriety. Most notably this design had a very prevalent issue where the plastic pieces holding the cup to the headband would snap. Massdrop had fixed this with steel reinforcements.  
     
    Build:
    This is a well built set of headphones. I know, well built and Hifiman don't usually belong in the same sentence, but these are impressive. They feel extremely rigid with an all steel construction and a dense plastic used for the cups. Also of the blue plastic used isn't painted, so there is no worry of paint chips which was an issue on the original Hifiman headphones. The headband is using a fake alligator leather texture and is hand-stitched and feels very nice. The grills are also a very nice black painted metal. These honestly feel better built than the HE-560 or even the HE-1000. The cheapest set of Hifiman's is the best built in my opinion. But I haven't held the new style Sundara which looks well built, but I digress. I praised the HD6XX build, but these are even better and these best of the four. Just something about the solid steel construction and the weight gives them a really premium feel. Now on my set one of the screws wasn't tightened all the way and it was causing the cup to wobble, so I had to unscrew the cup from the headband and tighten the screw, but your mileage may vary. (Build: 9/10)
     
    Comfort:
    Comfort is a bit of a mixed bag with these. This is the old style Hifiman and there is no comfort strap, which admittedly is better than a simple headband. This are by no means terrble, they are decently comfortable, but I think a bit more padding would help on the headband. The one thing that helps a ton is the angle of the headband curve contacts a massive amount of your head which helps distribute the fairly substantial weight. The earpads are very nice, they are using the Hifiman Focus A pads, which are a hybrid pad and are angled. They aren't the biggest pads, or the deepest, but my ears don't hit the driver, so that's always good. These are pretty comfortable, but once you hit that 2+ hour mark, you start to feel them. (Comfort: 7/10)
     
    Misc, Wires, Power, and Accessories:
    As for the wire, I almost loved the stock wire on these headphones. It is a nice wire that's fairly thick and not janky. It also has a very low split, one of the lowest I've ever seen which I enjoy, especially compared to the very high split on the HD6XX which can almost feel like it's choking you. The problem is the cable is a 4.5 or 5ft cable. Massdrop markets these as a portable to used on your phone, so they included a short cable that ends in a right angled 3.5mm with screw on 1/4in. I really have to question this whole portable thing. For starters, they are the easiest of the four to drive, but they still aren't that easy to drive. Your phone will push them, but you will be up on the higher end of volume and it's not the best sounding. I do like the looks, they are good looking and not something that I would be embarrassed wearing in public like some crazier looking headphones, they are pretty small and somewhat elegant looking. But then we get onto sound leakage. I know a lot of audiophile do crazy mobile setups and don't care about sound leakage in public, that's why the Koss ESP950 exists, but I'm not one of those people. These are an open back planar. Anyone who knows open back planars knows they are almost speakers, they just throw sound out of the backs. Out of the four these leak the most sound by far and if you are in any quiet environment people will hear your music. As for the box, this is the second nicest box. The inside is nothing special, and there is no presentation box like the 6XXs, but it is a nice solid feeling box with a slide on lid. Also of note these headphones can be run Balanced, which I have done through a Periapt cable (once again linked below) I don't think balanced on these makes much difference, unlike on the 6XXs where it makes a big difference, but that is still the cable I use any other time outside this showdown because it's longer and a nicer cable and no harm in using balanced.
     
    Overall Sound:
    These are a fun headphone. They have a very nice sound that I think most people will like. There is a ton of speculation which drivers these headphones use. Most people think even a totally new driver for these, or the HE-400i drivers. I have heard the HE-400i before, and they do remind me of those. But the frequency graph is almost identical to the more expensive HE-400S, which I have not heard, so the jury is still out on that.
     
    Mid Range:
    The mid range on these is good. It is very forward and pleasing, especially compared to the veiled HD6XX and somewhat veiled K7XX, and they don't have the echo or oddness of the T-X0. Now they aren't the cleanest vocals, the HD6XX takes that award, but they are still very good. They just have this tiny bit of compression, but different from the grain of the K7XX. Still though you will enjoy the vocals on these. (Mid Range: 7/10)
     
    Treble:
    These headphones have a fair bit of treble, and the most of the four. But it isn't in the painful realm by any means. Strings sound good and crisp. I think they maybe quite aren't as clean or crisp as the HD6XX, but way more pronounced.They are very enjoyable, and I'm sure most people will like them. (Treble Amount: 7/10) (Treble Quality: 7/10)
     
    Bass:
    These headphones have bass, but not a massive amount. These aren't what I would call an example of "planar bass". They have more bass than the HD6XX, but not as much as the K7XX or T-X0. The bass is very clean and focused however, and sounds great. But these aren't for bass heads and probably not the best for EDM people. (Bass Amount: 6/10) (Bass Quality: 7/10)
     
    Sound Stage:
    Initially I wanted to say that the HD6XX and HE-4XX sounded equally as wide, and I still think that is true for the most part, but these have that planar quality. Every once in a while you get that song and these sound wide, and they sound amazing. Many Deadmau5 tracks do this thing that gives them sound stage. Overall because of this I have to give them a point over the HD6XX for sound stage, and they are the 2nd widest of the four. (Sound Stage: 6/10)
     
    Imaging:
    Imaging on these is about the same of the HD6XX if not slightly better, and that's a good thing. These do a great job of left to right and front to back, which really helps them in games. They image well enough, not MK3s, but still good. (Imaging: 7.5/10)
     
    Gaming:
    These are great gaming headphones. Out of the four this is probably the best competitive pair. Their somewhat limited bass prevents gunshots from clouding the mid range which is very pronounced which really brings up those footsteps. (Gaming: 7.5/10)
     
    Summary of the Four:
    This is a new section I'm including because I want to summarize these previous sections in a way that compiles my thoughts and ranks them in terms of build, comfort, and other factors, as well as ranks them in the sound categories.
     
    Build:
    1st: HE-4XX
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: T-X0
    4th: K7XX
     
    Comfort:
    1st: T-X0
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: HE-4XX
    4th: K7XX
    Note that the HD6XX and HE-4XX are close in comfort, there's just a marginal difference, where the K7XX is much worse.
     
    Stock Wire:
    1st: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: T-X0
    4th: K7XX
     
    Box:
    1st: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Hard to Drive:
    1st: T-X0
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: HE-4XX
     
    Mid Range:
    The mid range on these is tougher to rank, the HD6XX has the cleanest, while the HE-4XX has the most pronounced, so I'm going to split this into cleanliness and presence.
     
    Vocal Cleanliness:
    1st: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Vocal Presence:
    1st: HE-4XX
    2nd: K7XX
    3rd: HD6XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Treble:
    This will be split into cleanliness and amount.
     
    Treble Amount:
    1st: HE-4XX
    2nd: T-X0
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: HD6XX
     
    Treble Cleanliness:
    1st: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: T-X0
    4th: K7XX
     
    Bass:
    Split into amount and cleanliness.
     
    Bass Amount:
    1st: T-X0
    2nd: K7XX
    3rd: HE-4XX
    4th: HD6XX
     
    Bass Cleanliness:
    1st: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
    Note that on 1st-3rd they are all more or less equal on quality.
     
    Sound Stage:
    1st: K7XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: HD6XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Imaging:
    1st: HE-4XX
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: T-X0
    4th: K7XX
     
    Gaming:
    This category I'm not doing a ranking per say, because this depends on what you want. If you read my gaming headphone misconception thread, you'll know that I said there's two main types of gamers, the competitive gamers, and the fun gamers. I now think that there is a rarer type of gamer, and that is what I'm going to call the artsy gamer. That is someone who plays simpler, mostly single player games, that are more of an art piece type games and have very high fidelity audio. I would put Subnautica in that type of games. So if you are that type of gamer, take the HD6XX. They have a very high fidelity relaxing sound, and will suite you well for that type of game. They don't have enough bass or sound stage to be fun, and while their imaging is good, their footstep reproduction isn't good enough for competitive. If you are a fun gamer, I'd take the K7XX. They don't do the best job with footsteps, but they have a good amount of bass and a wide sound stage. The T-X0 I think can fit either fun or competitive, they do a good job of footsteps for competitive, but do a great job with footsteps, only issue is the somewhat narrow sound stage that some might not like, but doesn't bother me. The HE-4XX is probably the bass all around competitive cans here. They don't have a ton of bass, but have decent sound stage, really good imaging, and great footstep production which makes them ideal for competitive.
     
    Test Tracks:
    All are FLAC in either 16/44.1 or 24/96. All were listened to with their stock cables on my Aune X7S and Grace Design SDAC.
     
    Phil Collins' This Must Be Love:
     
    Phil Collins does very beautifully recorded and mastered tracks. This is a good test of vocals as well as micro details and background details.
     
    This track was hard to pick a winner, which is a theme that will probably carry throughout the rest of the showdown because I find it hard to A/B/C/D test headphones, but I will do the best I can. Immediately the T-X0 falls flat here. It's very hollow sound comes out and makes the vocals sound not all the great. Not a terrible job in background detail, but the poor vocals kill them here. The two that pull ahead are the HD6XX and HE-4XX. The K7XX also sounds pretty good, but it is slightly muddier than the 6XX and 4XX and has grainier vocals. The 6XX has maybe slightly cleaner vocals, but the 4XX has a more forward presence and better emphasis on the drums in the background. Honestly, this one is really a toss up between the 6XX and 4XX, but if I had to pick it's going to be the HE-4XX.
     
    Winner: HE-4XX
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Yosi Horikawa's Letter:
     
    This track will make it in probably everyone of my reviews as it is my favorite track to test sound stage and imaging. Once again the only thing that matters is the first 30s.
     
    In this track I can't pick a winner, simply because it depends on what you are looking for, sound stage or imaging. T-X0s have the narrowest sound stage and the poorest imaging from left to right in this song, so if you want a definitive looser, that is it. After that it gets interesting. The K7XX no doubt has the widest sound stage, but it's imaging isn't spectacular. The HD6XX and HE-4XX have nearly identical sound stage and their imaging is almost identical too. After listening to both a few times I think the HD6XX might be a tiny bit smoother from left to right, but it is so close. So no winner here, just depends on what you want. K7XX for width, HD6XX or HE-4XX for imaging.
     
    Dee Dee Bridewater's Why Am I Treated So Bad:
    This is a nice and fun upbeat jazz track with vocals, electric guitars, and drums.
     
    Off the bat, T-X0s suck, I listened to about 1min of the song and gave up. Narrow, hollow, and muddy sounding, these loose here hands down. K7XXs, widest, and the most bass on the drums, but dull guitars and slightly grainy muddy vocals. HD6XXs, very clean vocals, despite the veil, as well as pretty good sound stage and good sounding guitars. HE-4XXs shine again, I was getting bored of listening to this song, being that the 4XXs were the last pair I listened to on this song, and they got me excited again about listening to it. Vocals are not as clean as the HD6XXs, but they are more forward and fullers. Also they have more low end for better sounding drums, they sound wider in this song and the guitars have more presence thanks to the increased treble. I think the 6XXs have cleaner treble, but it is rolled off, where the 4XXs not so much.
     
    Winner: HE-4XX
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Deadmau5's Moar Ghosts 'n' Stuff:
    Test of low end, and how headphones preform for those of you who like EDM.
     
    I have said it before, and I'll say it again, I don't like the HD6XXs for EDM. They just have very little bass, they are doable, but really fall flat on this song. The HE-4XXs also don't do amazing on this track either. They have more bass than the 6XXs, but both of them have a narrower sound stage that makes the violins off in this distance sound close and not as pronounced, they both however do well with the electronic sounds. The K7XX did surprisingly well here, it had ample bass for EDM and was enjoyable, I also loved the wide sound stage for the violins off in the distance. The shocker here was the T-X0s. They have the most bass by far, and it was really getting up into that head thumping level, not Monoprice Retros, but still very good. Also they did their odd thing T50s do, where they have narrow sound stage except for certain sounds, and the violins on this song sounded the furthest away and the most pronounced by far. Only problem was the electronic sounds sounded a bit off, but I think most people will forgive that for the bass.
     
    Winner: T-X0
    2nd: K7XX
    3rd: HE-4XX
    4th: HD6XX
     
    Alexandre Tharaud's Suite bergamaque, L. 82: III. Clair de lune:
    This is a classical piano piece to test treble as well as how they preform in soft gentle music.
     
    This was an interesting piece. For starters the K7XXs fall flat here with very dull treble and not a very crisp sound. The T-X0s did surprisingly well, they sounded better than the K7XXs, but had that odd echo. Then once again we are back to the HD6XX vs HE-4XX. Like I always say the HD6XX is the kind of classical, and they don't disappoint. The 4XXs have more treble, and it is a bit sharper, so the piano is more pronounced. But the 6XXs just have this little something, this crispness, that the 4XXs can't quite match.
     
    Winner: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: T-X0
    4th: K7XX
     
    Alan Silvestri's The Oasis (Ready Player One Sountrack):
    This is a very well recorded orchestra piece, because we need one of those in here. Decided to go with this over a Hans Zimmer piece I would usually include.
     
    In this song none of them did particularly bad. The T-X0s, once again just didn't have the presence or clarity of the other 3, so they take last. The K7XX put up a fight this round, overall the sound wasn't quite as crisp as the HD6XX or HE-4XX, but the sound stage shown. This song has chanting, which you traditional associate with something like a massive cathedral.Something about the width of the K7XXs just sounded right in this song, and it made up for their slightly less clarity. As for the 6XX and 4XX they were so close, but this is more of a classical piece, and I think the 6XX just slightly edges out the 4XX, but it really is a tossup.
     
    Winner: K7XX
    2nd: HD6XX
    3rd: HE-4XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Diana Krall's Like Someone in Love:
    Just a very pure vocal test track, simple as that.
     
    This was the toughest one of the group. Know that the rankings they get are very close to one another, there is no massive looser on this track. T-X0 actually sounded decent. The vocals however, were a bit nasally and the bass (instrument bass in this case) isn't as pronounced. The K7XX sounded very good too and didn't sound that grainy and the soundstage actually sounded great. Then the HD6XX come in and almost bring a tear to you eye with their super crisp vocals and production of the strings. But then there are the HE-4XXs, they did something that no other headphone did. They produced an echo of the vocals way off in the left channel that I had not heard on the other three that I had listened to before them. I went back and had to check myself. The K7XX and T-X0 didn't reproduce this echo in the slightest, while the HD6XX did if you really listened for it. That would normally give the 4XXs the win in one of my shootout, doing something amazing like that, that no other headphone did. But I found their very forward vocals a little to sharp and intense in this song, yet still very good. The HD6XX is just a more beautiful rendition here. Once again, these are all very close and their ranks aren't far apart.
     
    Winner: HD6XX
    2nd: HE-4XX
    3rd: K7XX
    4th: T-X0
     
    Conclusions:
    Well this has been one heck of a battle, and if you have made it this far, thanks for reading you now get to know my final thoughts  (unless you skipped here, then IDK then  ). The first thing you are going to ask me to do is pick a winner, and I simply can't, because there are a lot of factors in play. First let me get a few things out of the way.
     
    For starters, I don't recommend the Fostex T-X0. I'm sorry I have to say this, but they really just don't sound very good. They have a very hollow and nasally sound, which isn't pleasing at all. I don't think they are worth their $150 asking price, especially compared to other offerings. Not that this really matters, because the T-X0 is the rarest of the 4 by far. I think there are only around 2000 pairs ever made, and they drop extremely infrequently and in low numbers, so most likely you will be buying a used set. Maybe if you can get them around $100 they aren't the worst ever, but still not recommended. I think the only person they fit is someone who only games and listens to EDM, either than that I don't think you should get them. Also they require the most power and you will need an amp. Now if you ask, well I can get the stock MK3s for $10 more, which should I get? T-X0s, hands down. Why? Not because of sound, but because the stock MK3s are the most uncomfortable headphones ever. Now if you asked, T-X0 or MK3 with 1540 pads? MK3s by a mile, they sound much better stock than the T-X0.
     
    The AKG K7XX is the interesting pair here for one reason, it is always in stock. If you buy them, they ship next day. If you buy HD6XXs, HE-4XXs, or T-X0s, you are waiting months, where the K7XXs you will get in mere days. I never hated them in anything but comfort and build, but they didn't do amazing at anything and I think they have a few issues with the sound. They will get my recommendation, but I think they need a pad swap and a new cable which pushes them close to $300, and at that point you're a moron for not buying HD600s. But if you can live with them stock, they aren't the worst thing ever. Are they better than HD598s? Eh...It's hard to say, I'd have to have a set for side by side comparison, but from memory I think they are a tad better. If you can't wait, they get my recommendation, but I think they are overrated. 
     
    Now if you can wait and have $200 to spend, the question becomes, HD6XX or K7XX? HD6XX in a heartbeat. They massively outclass the K7XX in nearly everything. Overall they are just a much cleaner sound, and a far better headphone. There's a reason these have been around for 15 years, they are amazing headphones. I think most people will really like them, they have such a smooth and relaxing sound, and are still probably my favorite headphones. These get my highest honor of recommendation, if you don't have a set, buy them.
     
    Now before the HE-4XX came, I thought the HD6XX was going to sweep, but as you saw the HE-4XX put up one heck of a fight. They are so good, where I am seriously contemplating if they are better. The real million dollar question of this whole showdown is HD6XX or HE-4XX? I have concluded this.
     
    Which to gets depends on what you want and a few factors. For starters, do you want to get into audiophile headphones and get multiple pairs? Or do you just want one pair and to be done? If you want to get into collecting multiple pairs, get the HD6XX. They are the HD650 which is the universal reference point that everything is compared against and you need to have a pair in your collection if you are an audiophile. Now what if you want one pair? Well that's where it gets hard. You will enjoy either, but frankly I think the HE-4XX has a sound signature that more people will enjoy. Personally, I still think I prefer the HD6XX because it's sound caters more towards the type of music I listen to. But the HE-4XX has more bass, more forward vocals, more treble, more sound stage, and slightly better imaging. They also are better gaming headphones. Overall I think that sound signature matches more music genres then they laid back HD6XX which is the kind of classical and old time music, while being very bad at pop, rap, and EDM. The HE-4XX does a great job with pop and rap, and a decent job with EDM. I think the HD6XX is more comfortable once you fix the clamp, but neither are bad. As for power, the HE-4XX is easier to drive, but you really should get a DAC/Amp for both. All you need is a Fulla 2, that will drive both perfectly fine and you will be happy with either. Also the HE-4XX is $30 less, and ships quicker than the HD6XX. So which one of those to get is ultimately up to you. Both of them get my highest recommendations and both are amazing.
     
    Now at the end is the collection update, what's staying and what's going. I say that it's an honor for a headphone to earn a spot in the collection of a starting out reviewer like myself, because otherwise I can sell them and move onto something else. The HD6XX earns the most permanent spot you can get, like I said they are the reference point you have to have, so those will never be sold. The T-X0 will be sold, I love the look and the comfort, but the sound isn't very good and they are destroyed by my Mayflower MK3s. K7XX is also going to be sold, I have no need. They don't do anything special and don't fill any gaps in my collection, I have no need for them. The HE-4XX is here to stay, at least for now. I love these headphones, but there are better open back planars. I've heard better open back planars,so down the road if I ever get a set of something higher end, these might go. But under $200, these are the best planar headphones you can get. These are better than M560s, M565s, M1060s, and even stock MK3s with 1540 pads. Before you ask if these are better than Mayflower MK3s, stop, those cost way more.
     
    Anyway thank you for reading my review. I hope this was helpful to everyone looking for headphones on Massdrop. I do intend to review the new Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee if I can grab a second hand set in the next few months, because that is another $100-$200 Massdrop headphone, so stay tuned for that. I also have another big review in the works in the next 2-3 weeks, and trust me, you won't want to miss it. Everything used will be linked below. Also I will link my HD6XX vs T50RP MK3 review, and stay tuned for HD6XX balanced vs T50RP MK3 Mayflower.
     
    Sennheiser HD6XX
    AKG K7XX Black
    AKG K7XX Red
    Fostex T-X0
    Hifiman HE-4XX
    Aune X7S
    Grace Design SDAC
    Periapt Cables
  9. Funny
    Max_Settings got a reaction from SnowTech in Help me choose a new phone.   
    Just get an 11 Pro Max
  10. Agree
    Max_Settings got a reaction from Sorenson in Help me choose a new phone.   
    Just get an 11 Pro Max
  11. Agree
    Max_Settings got a reaction from Lenovo1984 in iPhone 11 Pro Max vs OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren Edition   
    It is worse battery life. Smaller battery than iPhone 11 Pro Max with higher resolution, 90Hz, more power hungry CPU, and worse Android power management = worse battery life.
     
    This “review” is so biased it’s not even funny. You mention things that are hits against the iPhone that are either untrue or irrelevant. Then your ignore almost all the things I pointed out.
  12. Agree
    Max_Settings got a reaction from Den-Fi in Best overall wireless headphones?   
    Avoid the 4.50s like the plague. Closed Sennheiser = crap. Mobius is cool but it is plagued by a constant amp hissing that is annoying to me. Personally I would do the WH1000XM3 from Sony. Mobius is better sounding overall, but XM3s are an easy listen and a ton of cool features.
  13. Like
    Max_Settings got a reaction from LienusLateTips in 10 Tips for Beginners Assembling Their First PC   
    Why do anything past this?
     
    No step 2.
     
    Don't see how building it on a table would apply to any way with how cables are routed through a case.
     
    Thanks Verge.
     
    The positions are not always standard. You can find boards with these in different places.
     
    24pin is motherboard power, not GPU power.
     
    Why do I need to know the order in advance? Why can't I look as I am doing it. Won't change how I cable manage at all.
     
    Really? Thought I could put it together with the panels on. And honestly who cares if you have to spend 30s to undo the side panel screws?
     
    There are so many ways to install a cooler, not all are going to have clips and whatnot. Also depends on AMD or Intel and what socket.
     
    You'd have to be an idiot to be able not to tell.
  14. Like
    Max_Settings got a reaction from ShoshinUK in Gaming Headphone Misconceptions   
    Recently I've been seeing a lot of misconceptions floating around the audio subforum among people who are looking for gaming headphones. For starters I am talking about people looking at actual headphones, not gaming headsets. If you have gotten that far, congratulations, you've seen the light and now understand how much better headphones are than gaming headsets. But, I still see a lot of misconceptions of what people are looking for. The most common thing I see people say is, "I want a pair of open back headphones with a wide soundstage to hear footsteps in games." To this I always say, "Why?" This is a very common misconception I see among people. Let me start off by saying that I agree with this notion that there are two categories of gamers and gaming headphones. In this thread I'm going to be using two headphones as my examples, the Fostex T50RP MK3, and the Monoprice Retro.
     
    The first category is probably the most common, and that is the footstep category. These people are competitive gamers and want headphones to hear footsteps as accurately as possible. The misconception comes with them wanting a wide soundstage. I understand the logic, if you can hear sounds far away you can tell where they are. However, that is not true. What is more important is imaging. People don't seem to get the difference of the two so here's the explanation. Soundstage is how far away distant sounds sound like they are coming from. Once you have that soundstage, imaging is how accurately the headphones can place the sound within that defined soundstage. What happens in headphones is that headphones with a very wide soundstage tend to have poor imaging. Sounds sound like they are coming from far away, but the accuracy of where they are is very vague. Now don't get me wrong, you need some sound stage, headphones with zero soundstage also have poor imaging because there is no sense of left, right, front, and back. What you want is headphones with moderate soundstage and the best imaging possible. That way you have some sense of distance, but with the accuracy to pinpoint where they sounds are exactly coming from. This is why I will say to the day I die the Fostex T50RPs are the best gaming headphones there are for competitive gaming. They don't have a crazy wide soundstage, but their imaging is insane. Probably the best imaging on any headphone under $1000, I honestly can't believe how well they image, you can hear footsteps with scary pinpoint accuracy. That is why you will often see me quote this status update of mine.
    Also, I don't see why everyone is obsessed with gaming headphones being open. I have no issues with gaming in open headphones, but honestly I would say I prefer closed because it blocks out the sound of my PC and keeps any sound from going into my mic. I get why people think they need open, because they want that wide soundstage, which is also another misconception, just because a headphone is open doesn't mean it has wide soundstage, but alas more often than not open headphones tend to have wider soundstage. But like I said, imaging is what matters more for footsteps.
     
    The thing I also like about the T50s is that they have enough low end to also be fun in games without it becoming overpowering, they really are just amazing gaming headphones. Which leads us into our next category of gamers and gaming headphones, the fun category. 
     
    The fun category is for the gamer who doesn't care about footsteps. Basically, this is for people who play single player games. In this category you will often want crazy low end, and soundstage. Now if you don't play games with explosions or gunshots, then you might want just really high fidelity headphones for beautiful sounds. But for example if you are playing GTA single player, you want to have some fun. That is where headphones like the Monoprice Retros come into play. These are cheap headphones, but my goodness these are fun. These have so much low end they are almost like wearing a subwoofer. They also have close to the widest sound stage of any headphones I've heard. In any single player game these are amazing. The gunshots and explosion feel almost real with intensity, and things that happen off in the distance sound very far away. However, with that wide soundstage comes poor imaging. BF1 is my test of footsteps in games because Battlefield games have very well done audio, and in that game the Retros barely even produce footsteps. Even people less than 10ft away you won't hear sometimes, which often gets me killed. On the flip side the gunshots and explosions sound amazing, but for a multiplayer games you need to hear those footsteps. Switch over to something like Watch Dogs 2, and you are almost laughing with how hilariously fun these are. For $30 these sound amazing, even in music, expect a full review soon.
     
    So to summarize this entire thing. If you are doing competitive gaming, or anything online where you need to hear footsteps you want moderate soundstage with the best possible imaging. For single player games with gunshots and explosions you want bass and crazy soundstage.
     
    Perfect example of competitive footstep headphones. (They also can be fun because of the bass) *disclaimer they are super hard to drive, you will need a Magni 3 minimum*
    Fostex T50RP MK3
    Shure 1540 Pads
     
    Perfect example of fun gaming headphones.
    Monoprice Retro
    Brainwavz XL Pads
  15. Like
    Max_Settings got a reaction from ronferree in Should I get the he4xx?   
    He wanted headphones with a lot of bass and sound stage for gaming. Not the HE4XX. Although can't wait for my set so I can compare the HD6XX, K7XX, HE4XX, and T-X0.
  16. Informative
    Max_Settings got a reaction from ronferree in Sennheiser HD600 Series Showdown and Reviews: HD600 vs. HD650/6XX vs. HD660S   
    Arguably the most famous headphone lineup of all time. There isn't a person who knows anything about audio that hasn't heard of the famous Sennheiser HD600 lineup. Now you could argue that this line started in the 500 series with the extremely well regarded HD580 followed by the HD580 Jubilee several years later. Now Sennheiser with the help of Massdrop is reviving that line with the HD58X Jubilee (review on those in the coming months). But today I'm here to talk about the 600 lineup which consists of the HD600, HD650, HD6XX, and HD660S. Today I will be shooting out the 600, 6XX, and 660S and letting you all know which one is superior and which one you should buy. I'm also going to talk about the future of the 600 series lineup and how it might not be around much longer. Without further ado let's start things off with the HD600.
     

     
    Sennheiser HD600 $286:
     

     
    The HD600 first came out in 1997. It is one of the most legendary headphones of all time and even 21 years later they are one of the highest regarded on the market and still highly recommended and used by many people. They have gone through slight tweaking over the years, but still the base technology is quite old. Don't let the numbers full you, there are some headphone lines where the numbers don't mean anything for how good they are and this is one of those cases,
     
    Build:
    I'm only really going to do this segment on this headphone because all three of these are more or less build the same, I'm only going to describe their differences in their respected sections. These are one of the most legendary headphones of all time, they are built well. In classic Sennheiser fair all the materials used feel nice and high quality. The plastics feel high quality and there is a nice feeling piece spring steel making up the headband. The pads are very large, what I would call a 4 finger pad (meaning you can put 4 fingers of a fist in the hole of the pad), and the head cushioning is very supple and soft. The entire package just feels very well built and solid. Not any foldablity so not good for portable use. Now as for the finish on the plastic the HD600 and HD650 have a glossy finish, where the HD6XX and HD660S have a matte finish. Also, the HD600 has an incredibly ugly quail egg color scheme. This is why you see a lot of people paint their HD600 because they are quite ugly. (Build: 8/10)
     
    Comfort:
    These are among the more comfortable headphones I've ever worn, once you fix the major problem. All of the HD600 series are known for a stupidly strong clamp force. I can tell you right out of the box these clamp like crazy. It's almost to the point where it hurts and it feels like it's cutting off blood flow to your face. On the upside these will never fall off your head. For any of you who are Air Force fighter pilots and want to replace your standard headset with any of these, go right ahead they will not fall off your head no matter what kind of maneuvers you do. In order to fix this clamp force you have to open the headband up all the way and bend the metal and it massively reduces the clamp to the point where they are very comfortable. Don't get me wrong they still have a strong clamp, but they are actually very comfortable now, and they still won't fall off. Plus with the combination of the large velour pads, and soft head cushion, these are a headphone that I have no problem wearing for long hours. Also of note these are pretty deep so you won't have to worry about your ear hitting the drivers which is always a huge plus. Now the HD600 are going to loose a point over the HD6XX and HD660S for me personally. The head cushion of the 600s uses the 4 bump style that the 580s used. The 650 later changed that to 2 larger bumps more on the side of your head and nothing on the top. This is personal preference. I know people who like the 4 bumps more than the 2 and have swapped the cushions in their 650s with the 600 one and likewise I know people who 650 head cushion swapped their 600s. This one is up to use, but I prefer the 2. The 4 starts to hurt on the top of my head after about an hour. Also of note is that the pads on the 600s use a different type of velour than do the 6XX and 660S. The pads are also curiously thinner and cut with a different rake angle which doesn't help the comfort any. (Comfort: 7/10)
     
    Misc, Power, Wires, and Accessories:
    The stock cable the 600s come with is terrible. It is way to thin and janky and is way too long at 10ft. It also uses on of the strangest 1/4in adapters I've ever seen. Also the connectors are recessed farther than any other Sennheiser connector I've seen. This is an unusable cable in my opinion because it is too long for a desk and is just a really crappy cable. I will link a cheap and better replacement, and Periapt for a higher end option. All 3 of these headphones come in the same really nice hinged box with a foam insert. As for power these are 300ohm and fairly hard to drive. Of note these seem a bit easier to push than the 650s. Also for all 3 these are open back and they leak a good bit of sound.
     


     
    Sound:
    While you can tell that the 600, 650, and 660S are from the same family of headphones they all have their differences. The 600 is the most different of the 3 without question. That by no means makes them bad,
     
    Mid Range:
    Mids on these headphones I would classify as exceptional. The 600 has a bump in the mids that the 650 and 660S doesn't. Some would classify them as "shouty" but I quite like them. While testing the 3 there were songs where I started with the 600s and then went to the 650 and 660S and though my volume was too low because the vocals were so much quieter, but that wasn't the case it was simply the more vocal forward nature of the 600. And the quality is incredible. These are some of the best vocals in a headphone in my opinion. (Mid Range: 8/10)
     
    Treble:
    Treble on these is also spectacular. Very clear and crisp with a good sparkle. These have more treble than the 650 does, and don't quite so much of that famed Sennheiser veil. Strings in anything sound really good and very accurate. (Treble Amount: 6/10) (Treble Quality: 8/10) 
     
    Bass:
    If you love bass, these are not a headphone for you. These have some of the lightest bass of any headphone I've used. Now it is not non-existent, these aren't a Grado headphone, but it still ins't much. That being said, the bass that is produced is very tight and accurate. (Bass: Amount 4/10) (Bass Quality: 7/10)
     
    Sound Stage:
    These are on the narrow side. Not insanely narrow, but still pretty low sound stage which is important in a bit. (Sound Stage 4/10)
     
    Imaging:
    These image very well. Lower sound stage typically helps with imaging and that seems to be the case here. While stuff isn't far away sounding, it can be easily pinpointed. Still not T50 MK3s, but very good. (Imaging: 7/10)
     
    Gaming:
    These headphones suck at gaming. As many of you know I divide gaming into two categories, fun and competitive. These are not good at either. No bass and sound stage to be good a fun gaming and too narrow for competitive. While you also may recall I said sound stage wasn't important for gaming, that is only true to a degree. If it is too narrow then it does hurt footstep reproduction. Then there are those of you who will point out that I say the T50s are the best competitive headphones and they are as narrow or narrower. While that is true, remember the T50s are god when it comes to imaging, so that makes up for it. If the 600s had a bit more sound stage I think they would actually be good competitive headphones because they have so little low end gunshots won't drown out the footsteps. (Fun Gaming: 2/10) (Competitive Gaming: 4/10)
     
    Tubes and Balanced:
    The HD600 is the most tubed headphone of all time. Everyone will always tell you that 600s need to be tubed, and indeed they sound much better on tubes for music. There is an added width and added low end that really helps them out and they are spectacular. The Schiit Valhalla 2 would be my choice of Amps for the 600s. We can debate if balanced makes a difference or if it is just an thing with the balanced section of the Amp being better quality, but regardless these are one of the headphones that I think changed on balanced and for good. Slightly more width.
     
    Sennheisr HD650/6XX $367:

     
    These are a headphone that probably need no introduction. The HD650 first came to be back in 2003, but I will be using the HD6XX for this showdown. The HD6XX came to be back in 2016 when Massdrop collaborated with Sennheiser to make the legendary $500 HD650s be able to be sold for $200. Many people question the build and sound quality becasue it seems too good to be true, but there are only a few differences. 1. They are midnight blue instead of gunmetal grey like the HD650s. 2. They have a matte finish unlike the glossy on the HD650s. 3. They have a 6ft cable that terminates in a 3.5mm instead of a 10ft cable that terminates in a 1/4in on the 650s. That's it, there is nothing else that is different with these from the HD650s. I have the 6XX for this review, but note that if you have 650s they are identical in build and sound.
     
    Build:
    Same as the HD600 but with a matte finish and slightly different pads as mentioned before. (Build: 8/10)
     
    Comfort:
    Slightly more comfortable than the 600 for me because I like the two bumps over the four. Also as mentioned before deeper pads than the 600 with a softer velour. Once you fix the clamp these are still some of the most comfortable headphones I've used. (Comfort 8/10)
     
    Misc, Power, Wires, and Accessories:
    As for other thoughts, the stock cable these come with is okay. It's a 6ft cable that terminates in a 3.5mm jack (with a 1/4in adapter included), and it works. I could live with it if I had to. Same nice box as the other 3. As for how hard they are to drive, they aren't that hard. People freak out with these because they are 300ohm, but honestly they don't require a ton of power. Out of the 3 though these are the hardest to push. Your phone will push them, not to their full potential, but it will push them. Not that you'd probably want to use them with your phone because these are open back headphones and they leak sound like crazy. Everyone around you can hear exactly what you are listening to. 
     
    Mid Range:
     The vocals are a bit recessed compared to the 600, but they are still spectacular. They are super crisp and clear and never get lost despite them being slightly recessed. These headphones do vocals well for those of you who like music that is vocal centered. (Mid Range: 7/10) 
     
    Treble:
     As for the amount, these are not treble heavy headphones which is why they are so easy to listen to for a long time. However that doesn't mean the treble is bad. The treble is very smooth and relaxing. There is this crispness and sparkle to the treble that is simply amazing These headphones excel at classic music. If you are one of those people who likes to kick back and relax listening to classic music these are the headphone for you. (Treble Amount: 5/10) (Treble Quality: 8/10)
     
    Bass:
    This is the one category where the 6XXs do not shine. These are not bassy headphones, there's nothing else you can say. Now they do have bass, these are not HD600s where the bass barely exists, but for bass heads these are not what you are going to want. In fact I actually dislike listening to bassy hip hop or rap music with these. Could I listen to deadmau5 with these? Yes, but they wouldn't be my first pick for EDM. Now the bass itself is very tight and focused, and it has what I would describe as a booming sound, even though there isn't much of it.  They don't have bad bass just not much (Bass Amount: 5/10) (Bass Quality: 7/10)
     
    Sound stage:
    These headphones have sound stage, but not a ton. Are they wider than M50Xs? Yes. Are they Fidelio X1/X2 wide? Not even close. Personally not having a super wide sound stage doesn't bother me, I just need some. And they have more than the 600s for sure. (Sound stage: 5/10)
     
    Imaging:
    As for imaging these are very good. I remember one of the first songs I listened to with these there was someone playing a piano and I remember flipping out when I could hear the difference from left to right of the guy moving up and down the piano. These image very well. (Imaging: 7/10)
     
    Gaming:
    The 650 isn't enough bass or sound stage for a fun, better than the 600, but not Monoprice Retros. They are passable as a competitive headphone because they have sound stage and good enough imaging for footsteps. Not my top pick for gaming headphone however. (Fun Gaming: 3/10) (Competitive Gaming: 6.5/10)
     
    Tubes and Balanced:
    The HD650 also really likes tubes. I would say I probably prefer them on tube over solid state, but I don't think you are missing quite as much running them on SS over tube. The 650s already have the width and low end that the 600s don't so the tube doesn't add as much. Tubes seems to add some echo and reverb which is nice and I like the sound because it matches the signature. And once again I think these change on balanced. Little more width and crispness to the highs.
     
    Sennheiser HD660S $500:

     
    The HD660S is a new edition to the Sennheiser lineup, debuting first back in late 2017. The 660S is slated to be the successor to the HD650, which are some big shoes to fill. There have been rumors that Sennheiser will soon be stopping production on the HD600 and HD650. This would be a massive mistake in my opinion which I will talk about later. The 660S is similar to the HD600 and HD650, but with some noticeable differences. The biggest change is the choice of drive. The HD600 and HD650 more or less use the same driver with some tweaking, a 40mm 300ohm driver. The HD660S uses an extremely modified version of the HD700 driver which is a 38mm 150ohm driver. So the HD660S is running a smaller driver than HD600 and HD650, and for those of you who know headphones using the HD700 driver should scare you because we all know what a horrible headphone the HD700 is. But, I can confirm that Sennheiser fixed all the issues and these are not even close to the HD700. Curiously, the new Massdrop x Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee is also using an extremely tweaked version of the same 38mm HD700 driver. I'm interested to see how much Sennheiser messed with it to where those are worth $350 less than the 660S. The HD660S is a very good headphone as you will soon see, but their biggest issue will be their price tag which I will get to later.
     

     
    Build:
    These are built closer to the HD6XX than they are to the HD600 and HD650 both with a matte finish, the same pads, and supposedly sharing some more internal parts. There are two big cosmetic areas that make the HD660S stand out from the rest of the 600 series. The first is that there is no longer the big Sennheiser logo on the top of the headband. Instead, Sennheiser moved it down towards the left side of the headband and only put the word "Sennheiser" in a smaller font and removed the S Sennheiser logo. The second thing they did was added a bump of the mesh on outside of the cups and placed a Sennheiser S logo there. Also they added a lip to the back of that mesh. (Build: 8/10)
     
    Comfort:
    Exactly the same as the HD6XX and HD650. Tight clamp that needs fixed with the same pads and two bump headband. (Comfort: 8/10)
     
    Misc, Power, Wires, and Accessories:
    Let's start with power. These headphones are very easy to drive being that they are only 150ohm and more efficient than the HD600 and HD650. This makes them actually very suited for portable use. I will talk later about portable use on my iFi portable if you are one of those people that's fine with open headphones in public. Same nice hinged box as the other 3. As for wires these come with 2 wires. The first is the standard 10ft Sennheiser 1/4in cable that comes with the HD650, 10ft cables are always bad IMO. The second is the same 10ft cable, but with a 4.4mm balanced Pentaconn connector. This is a standard that Sony and Sennheisr have been trying to push as the replacement for 2.5mm balanced on portables. Which makes me question why it's a 10ft? I mean, I know why, because Sennheiser makes an new Amp for these that uses the 4.4mm, but still I promise you less than .01% of 660S owners are buying that Amp. I would of much rather seen a traditional 4pin XLR balanced instead of 4.4mm. Also included is a nice 1/4in to 3.5mm adapter that is a short wire and not a solid metal piece (Fostex take notes) since these come with a straight up 1/4in cable and not a 3.5mm on an adapter, I prefer a 3.5mm with a 1/4in adapter.
     

     
    Sound:
    These are exceptional sounding like the rest. The best way to describe it would be a blend of the HD600 and HD650 with one huge added bonus.
     
    Mid Range:
    Mids on these headphones are very neutral and sound basically just like the HD650. Very clean and crisp and not forward like the HD600. (Mid Range: 7/10)
     
    Treble:
    These have around the same amount of treble that HD600 do. Not too much, these aren't treble heavy cans by any means, but the strings are nice and pronounced and sound very good. I think they are a just a tab bit artificial sounding compared to the HD600, but still very nice. (Treble Amount 6/10) (Treble Quality 7.5/10)
     
    Bass:
    Bass one these sounds pretty much the same as one the 650s if not the tiniest bit more. Not basshead cans, but ample bass with very good quality. (Bass Amount:5/10) (Bass Quality: 7/10)
     
    Sound Stage:
    Same as the 650s. Not crazy wide, but wide enough for my liking.
     
    Imaging:
    Oh my god, this is where you are going to want to own these headphones. These headphones are probably tied for the best imaging I've ever heard in a headphone. These are as good as the T50RP MK3s if not better. Sounds are so stupidly precise it is scary. This might be the new king of imaging. The accuracy of where sounds are placed is breathtaking. You can tell every little millimeter of left from right, these are just exceptional. (Imaging: 9.5/10)
     
    Gaming:
    Not enough bass or sound stage for fun gaming, so that's out. But, competitive gaming oh my god..... These are probably my new favorite gaming headphones for competitive. They have the stupidly perfect imaging of the T50s while having a bit more sound stage. These are once again wall hack headphones because the footsteps are perfect and you can tell exactly where they are coming from. If you are a competitive gamer with some spare income and want to improve your game, buy these. I promise you these are better than any gaming headset or any 7.1 virtual surround. These are the best competitive gaming headphones money can buy. (Fun Gaming: 3/10) (Competitive Gaming: 10/10)
     
    Tubes and Balanced:
    These don't change that much on tubes because they are quite easy to drive, but there is slight tubey sound that comes out with these and it is enjoyable, you get the pass to tube these. As for balanced I think these change a bit on balanced too.
     
    Which One To Buy and Conclusions:
    I'm not going to do test tracks like I would normally do with one these showdowns because these headphones are so similar and I don't think a shootout is appropriate. Instead I'm going to explain each of these headphones and where they fall in the market and let you decide which is for you. All my testing was done with 3 Amps, Aune X7S (balanced and unbalanced), a Schiit Valhalla 2 Black, and a Schiit Lyr 2 with Tesla tubes, all were feed by a Schiit Yggdrasil DAC and all tracks listened to were FLAC in either 16/44.1 or 24/96
     


     
    Let's start things off with the HD600. These are the most neutral of the group. If you do audio mastering any of these three are perfectly acceptable to use, but the 600s would be my first pick of the 3 for mastering because they are the flattest. If you like a somewhat neutral headphone with a balanced sound these are probably for you. Out of the 3 these push the most detail because they are very close with a narrow sound stage.
     
    The HD650 and the HD6XX I think more people would enjoy for a bit more sound stage and low end. They are also somewhat neutral, but not nearly as much as the HD600. The 650s are a bit more laid back and in the age we are now where most people like bass I think these will suite you well. They are also acceptable to game in where the 600s are just a no all around for gaming. The 650 is the most laid back of the 3, not that any of them are particularly intense.
     
    Now the HD660S. If you asked me which of the 3 I would pick, I'd take the 660S. They strike a nice balance between the HD650 and HD600 with the 600s sharper highs, and the 650s sound stage, low end, and mid range. Personally though if I could of picked I would of rather of had the HD600's shoutier mids and the HD650's more relaxed highs, but that's just me. And then of course the HD660S has probably the best imaging of any headphone ever and the best competitive gaming can there is in my opinion.
     
    I wish it was that simple, but unfortunately the pricing of these 3 is going to complicate things. Now if you look at the current Amazon prices of at the time of this review the HD600 is $286, the HD650 is $367, and the HD660S is $500. And then of course to complicate things further we have the HD6XX for $200 every few months when they are on Massdrop. And then to complicate things even further I tend to like buying lightly used cans on eBay. 
     
    So the first question is if the HD650 is worth the $80 more over the HD600? I'm going to say yes if you want that sound signature. The 650 is more comfortable, looks better, and has a better stock cable. Now if you can wait the delivery time, the HD6XX for $200 is going to win this entire thing because that is the best value all around. So now the next question is if the HD660S is worth $500? That's a tough one. Are they worth the cost over the other 2 or 3 depending on how you want to look at it? No, I don't think so. I like the blend of the HD600 and HD650 sound and that imaging is to die for, but the overall sound isn't that much different. And $500 puts them into competition with things like the Hifiman HE560 and the Beyer Dynamics DT1990. I do happen to have a set of HE560s on hand and I would probably take the 660S over the HE560 because of it's cleaner sound sound and better imaging. And also these are an Irish made pair of Sennheisers vs. a Chinese made set of Hifimans. And spoiler alert for my upcoming HE560 review, they break, a lot. As for the 1990, that is much closer. The 1990 is a closer sound with close imaging and much more detail reproduction. Kind of like a more advanced HD600 without quite reaching the level of the HD800. For you Europeans out there I understand that you can find used HD800s for around $500 and for that case you'd be crazy to take the 660S over the HD800. For us Americans we pay almost $900 for used HD800s so that's out of the question.
     
    So let's look at eBay prices for all 3 of these headphones. I paid $180 for my pair of HD600s. The guy said he bought them on Amazon, used them for 6 hours, and didn't like the sound signature, so I had to pick them up. A very lightly used pair of HD600 and HD650 can be had around $200 if you are patient and or get lucky with an auction. Then you can get a new set of HD6XXs for $250 all day long if you don't want to wait for Massdrop shipping. I also see new HD600 and HD650 for around $250 on eBay from time to time. I paid $350 for my set of HD660S and they were used about 10 hours and are in perfect shape. I will admit I got a bit lucky because it seems most pairs go around $400 used. Going off of used prices I still don't think the 660S is necessarily worth it. If you have the money and want that imaging, then yes I would take the 660S, and I will say they are the best out of the 3, but they are pricey. I hope that if Sennheiser does discontinue the HD600 and HD650 that they won't base their decision off their MSRP prices. The HD650 retails at $500 and the HD600 retails at $400. I don't think Sennheiser should stop making the HD600, the HD660S is not a fair replacement because it is not as flat and doesn't push the detail that the 600 does. The 600 needs to stay as the serious work can of the 3, at least while on solid state, once again tube them for music. The 660S is a more than worthy successor to the HD650, but I still would be sad to see the 650 go. If they do stop making the HD650 Sennheiser needs to drop the price of the HD660S to $350 then it would be a no brainer, the HD660S would be an obvious pick because they are amazing. In fact they are probably my favorite headphones I own at the moment, they are just simply incredible. I would say to Sennheiser to keep making the HD600, and if they stop with the HD650, keep making the HD6XX, but at that point I think they would still make the HD650 because the only change is the color scheme, but I digress. Then of course we have the old school HD580 which is also a comparable headphone to all of these and those can be found for $100-$150 which makes them a great bargain if you can find them in good shape.
     
    Now real quick for portable use, if you are okay with using open headphones in public the 660S is also the best to use portable because they are so much easier to drive. The 660S can be pushed by smaller portables like a Fiio Q1 MK2 no problem. I have an iFi iDSD Nano Black Label which is a decently powerful portable putting out more power than something like an Oppo HA-2, and it will get the HD600 and HD650 going, but you can tell it's just not quite there. The HD660S no problem at all. Speaking of portables, I have a review coming in the next 2-3 weeks of the 1More Triple Driver Over Ears which I bought as my portable headphones. Trust me you don't want to miss that review so stay tuned.
     
    Now at the end I'm going to do a collection update. First for the 3 Senneheisers and then for me as a whole as of June 14th, 2018. Starting with the Sennheisers the HD600 I already have sold to my friend who will be using them for his new mastering headphones to replace his HD380 Pros. I really wanted to keep the HD660S, but I can't quite justify spending another $350 when I already have the HD6XXs and they are so close. I cold sell the 6XX and keep the 660S, but once again I will never sell the 6XX because they are the universal reference point I compare everything to. Plus I have the HD800 goal so I need to keep saving up some money. 
     
    As for the rest of the collection I am swamped with headphones. I am going to be selling some cans soon and then buying HD800 when they come back down in price a bit. The HD660S, M1060, HE560, and SHP9500S will all be gone in a few weeks and more stuff will be to come.
     

     
    Anyway, thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it helpful. I will link everything used below as well as some of my other reviews to check out.
     
    HD600
    HD650
    HD6XX
    HD660S
    Aune X7S
    Schiit Valhalla 2
    Schiit Lyr 3 (Because Lyr 2 is no longer made)
    Schiit Yggdrasil
    Cheap Replacement Cable
    Periapt Cables
     
  17. Like
    Max_Settings got a reaction from Arika S in 10 Tips for Beginners Assembling Their First PC   
    Why do anything past this?
     
    No step 2.
     
    Don't see how building it on a table would apply to any way with how cables are routed through a case.
     
    Thanks Verge.
     
    The positions are not always standard. You can find boards with these in different places.
     
    24pin is motherboard power, not GPU power.
     
    Why do I need to know the order in advance? Why can't I look as I am doing it. Won't change how I cable manage at all.
     
    Really? Thought I could put it together with the panels on. And honestly who cares if you have to spend 30s to undo the side panel screws?
     
    There are so many ways to install a cooler, not all are going to have clips and whatnot. Also depends on AMD or Intel and what socket.
     
    You'd have to be an idiot to be able not to tell.
  18. Like
    Max_Settings got a reaction from LienusLateTips in Intel is getting desperate   
    The fact you haven't been banned yet is honestly shocking. You are such a blatant troll it is ridiculous. You have never once and I mean NEVER made or responded to a single topic with anything that was even in the same universe as being even remotely correct. And you make thread after thread of clearly pointless and stupid topics that are so clearly stupid it is obviously trolling. You are not 41 years old. You are 14 at best. Any 41 year old would not have such a low mental capacity. People are sick are tired of your shit.
  19. Agree
    Max_Settings got a reaction from Turtle Rig in 4k monitor stuck @ 60hz and Im out of options   
    You know those TV were not 240hz right? Those are 60hz TVs. And there are only 1-2 4K 120hz monitors out there, both of which are 27in.
  20. Agree
    Max_Settings got a reaction from rice guru in Suggestions For Headphones For College   
    880 250ohm is pretty nice. It is listed as Semi-open but it is basically open back. And yeah probably not going to be the best thing if you have a roommate. I would take a look at the AKG K553 for a closed back. Easy enough to drive you should be ok off a laptop, but could be improved a bit if a DAC/Amp setup if you want to. FX Audio DACX6 would be fine for it.
  21. Agree
    Max_Settings got a reaction from Derkoli in Suggestions For Headphones For College   
    880 250ohm is pretty nice. It is listed as Semi-open but it is basically open back. And yeah probably not going to be the best thing if you have a roommate. I would take a look at the AKG K553 for a closed back. Easy enough to drive you should be ok off a laptop, but could be improved a bit if a DAC/Amp setup if you want to. FX Audio DACX6 would be fine for it.
  22. Informative
    Max_Settings got a reaction from AL1V3 in Wired or wireless version   
    Would not reccomend the 846. Shure IEMs are not very good. They were good for their time, but they have been majorly outclassed. Take a look at the Campfire Andromeda or Hyla CE-5.
  23. Agree
    Max_Settings got a reaction from Ben17 in Custom watercooling at AIO prices?   
    IMO this is actually a stupid product, here's why.
     
    1. For the CPU only models it is WAY too expensive compared to an AIO. $140 for a 120mm RAD, while an AIO would cost you $60. And $150 for the 240mm, while an AIO would cost you $100. And they only have a tiny performance improvement.
     
    2. No option for aftermarket cards, considering that most people buy aftermarket cards that kills that market.
     
    3. As Linus mentioned, there really isn't any upgradablitly here. EK as far as I can tell does not sell their aluminum blocks separately, nor do they sell any other aluminum parts, so the benefits of an AIO are gone unless you want to mix metals.
  24. Agree
    Max_Settings got a reaction from Derkoli in Here's Why The Audio Technica ATH-M50X is a Terrible Headphone   
    And top artists use Beats. Why does them using them mean these people know about headphones? They only care about their music and singing, not the technical side of the recording, that's the job of the studio people.
  25. Informative
    Max_Settings got a reaction from sowon in The Truth About "Studio" Headphones   
    As many of you know, I am a very outspoken critic of the Audio Technica ATH-M50X headphones. I have written an entire thread on why I think they are terrible headphones and explaining the hype behind them and why that is all based out of ignorance. Speaking of which, I got someone who asked me why all these different platinum album artists use them then? And his logic was that since all these famous people use them, they must be good. While I understand the logic that would make you come to that conclusion, that position is also based out of ignorance of how the music production industry works. Let me give my insight as someone who works with sound and has been in and around studios.
     
    You often see the term "Studio Headphones" thrown around. This leads many people to believe typically one of two things. 1. They must be good since they are used in a studio. 2. That they are neutral because they make music with them so they must not color the sound. Both of those things are wrong. The thing you have to understand is that studios are businesses. In today's world of mainstream music, there are very few artists and producers that put in the time to make a really well recorded and master track, because it is time consuming and time is money. Also, 99% of people have no idea the difference between a well recorded and mastered track, and a bad one. So, by their logic it is not worth the time are effort if no one is going to care.
     
    Continuing with this idea of studios being a business, studios don't use what is best, they use what is cheap, durable, and gets the job done. Less money spent on gear means more profit for them, so why spend thousands of dollars on headphones? Cheap and durable is what they look for.
     
    Now going back the notion that studio headphones are neutral, that is not true. You see, music is not mixed and mastered on headphones; it is done on speakers. Headphones when it comes to mastering are only used as a check to see what something sounds like on another devices besides the studio monitors. People who care will typically also check mixes on say a phone speaker to see what other people will hear. Now people also see people using headphones will recording, DJing, or performing live. In these cases what headphones you use makes no difference whatsoever. When recording, your headphones are only for you to hear the mix, say a singer recording vocals will have the music playing through the headphones. DJs look for headphones that can be played loudly to drown out the crowd, are durable for them to be thrown in a bag and not break, and many look for ones that can be worn on one ear. Performing live is a similar situation, it is just to hear your mix, you don't need accuracy. Also, you can theoretically mix on any headphones as long as you know their sound signature and know how to compensate for it. So studio headphones don't have to be neutral.
     
    This is one of the reasons why the M50X is so popular, it is cheap, durable, folds, and can be worn on one ear. It covers all the basis for studio use, DJing, and live performance. However, this doesn't make it good for you to use for music or gaming as I described in my M50X thread. 
     
    Finally I want to give a list of some of the most common studio headphones I see and show you how they are not neutral. 
     
    Audio Technica M50X: Bloated bass, sharp highs, terrible grainy mid range:

    Audio Technica M40X: Same as M50X

    AKG K240: No bass and sharp peaky highs. Also very narrow and intense

    Sony MDR 7506: No bass, elevated mid range, very grainy.

    Beyer Dynamic DT770: Insanely bloated bass with sharp highs

    Beyer Dynamic DT990: Painfully sharp and peaky highs

    Sennheiser HD280 Pro: Huge dip in the lower and upper treble with an insane 9K peak.

    Sennheiser HD380 Pro: Bloated bass, inconsistent mid range, and peaky treble with rolloff.

     
    I hope you learned something from this thread. And remember, the term "Studio Headphones" means basically nothing and doesn't mean they are good or neutral.
×