Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee Review & Measurements
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NOTE: If you can't see the embedded video above, please CLICK HERE to see the video.
Today, Massdrop is announcing still another major headphone collaboration, the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee, a new member of the legendary family of headphones that includes the Sennheiser HD 580, HD 580 Jubilee, HD 600, HD 650, and HD 660 S. We review and discuss the new Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee, comparing it to its siblings. (Video includes frequency response and THD measurements.)

Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee Review & Measurements - Head-Fi TV - produced by Brian Murphy and Jude Mansilla



The measurements in the video were made using:
 
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By now, most HeadFiers have probably read Tyll's review of the Sennheiser HD660S over at InnerFidelity If not, you should certainly do so as soon as possible. Make sure to watch the accompanying video as well.

Funny story - the HD660S that Tyll reviewed was actually sent to me first, due to a misunderstanding. I asked for a review unit so I could cover it at Digital Audio Review, but the PR guy I was working with thought it would be for InnerFidelity (since I contribute to both sites). I definitely wanted Tyll to get first crack at it, and the PR folks didn't have another unit for Tyll, so I shot the package his way without even opening it.

The following week, I was able to get my hands on another HD660S from a friend. After spending time with it, I have to reluctantly agree with Tyll - this is a good headphone... perhaps even a very good headphone, all things considered. But it's not an evolution or improvement on the existing HD600/HD650 as we had hoped. Net result? Disappointment, as you can clearly see in Tyll's video review.

HD660S will likely still be a modest success for Sennheiser. But I predict many enthusiasts will find themselves underwhelmed for the price, and ultimately still waiting for a true HD600/HD650 successor.

Meanwhile, Massdrop has a project in the works that may help. It probably won't help Sennheiser all that much, but might be just the thing for enthusiasts who feel disillusioned by an underperforming $499 HD660S.

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The topic of discussion here is actually the new Massdrop x Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee. If you're reading this, you've probably already read or watched something about it from Jude, so I'm not going to repeat all that info. The Massdrop page also has the details so head over there and have a look. The most important detail, in my humble opinion, is the $149.99 price tag. Massdrop's other collaboration with Sennheiser - the HD6XX - has been a huge success at $199.99, and this new offering aims to continue that winning streak.

A few important points before I get into the sound aspect:

*In case there was any doubt, I can confirm that the HD58X does in fact use the new 150-ohm Sennheiser driver "platform" - which looks undeniably like the one found in their HD700 (but don't hold that against it). I tried to capture pics but wasn't completely successful due to the grill... it was far easier to see with the naked eye though. Despite the ease with which these cans can be disassembled, I wasn't comfortable taking apart the review unit just to get a better picture - it's obviously the new driver anyway, so why take the (small) risk?

*I've confirmed with Massdrop that the HD58X uses the "older" style pads, rather than the new and slightly different HD660S variation.

*The headband pads are the "4 lumps" style as seen in HD580/HD600, rather than the longer pad with a split in the middle used by HD650/HD660S. I'm indifferent about this choice... both styles are exceedingly comfy to me, but you may feel differently.

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*Finish is a bit of a mash-up. It has the smaller, offset "Sennheiser" text on top of the headband, and is all black like HD660S. But where that model has a matte finish, the HD58X has a glossy black, similar to the somewhat glossy finish on the HD650. It looks quite fetching though seems to show fingerprints more than any other variation.

*My review unit, which Massdrop says is the final design, says "Made in Ireland". Just in case anyone was concerned about Sennheiser pulling an AKG by switching production to China or elsewhere.

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*The cable is just the standard 6-foot HD650-style cable with a 1/8" termination. Meanwhile the HD660S comes with two cables, one of which has the 4.4mm balanced Pentaconn termination. It makes sense that Massdrop removed the extra bundled cable considering the price discrepancy. Plus I'm not really a fan of the Pentaconn style anyway (seems unnecessary), and that cable is too long in the HD660S bundle. So personally I don't miss this at all.

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Anyway.

Getting back to the drivers: Massdrop tells me this is the same "platform" as seen in the HD660S, but not quite identical. It's in the same "family of drivers" but has "different specs". Not sure how exactly they differ. The core of this driver architecture is an aluminum voice coil and new magnetic structure, which should result in more accurate transient response and faster decay - according to Axel Grell of Sennheiser.

My listening confirms that - at least to some extent. The HD58X Jubilee is indeed a bit faster than my well-worn HD650 and also a newer HD6XX. Sound is more immediate, more extended, not as warm/smooth overall. The "veil" is not so prevalent here. Perceived bass impact is... different. On the one hand it seems to kick a little harder down low, but then again it has reduced mid and upper bass so the overall feeling of warmth is reduced. The result might be the impression of improved kick when really it isn't much different. Soundstage seems wider - which I appreciate - though still lacking compared to an HD800. Particularly in depth which is not a strong suite here. Still, if you've always struggled with the HD650 sounding a bit compressed in terms of staging width, you'll appreciate this upgrade.

The HD58X is also (moderately) easier to drive. The Cowon Plenue 1 or Sony ZX2 seem more comfortable with the Jubilee than the "classic" models, and reach higher volumes more easily; which should result in superior battery life overall. I even find that an iPad or Galaxy S7 Edge does a better job with the Jubilee in terms of drive, though I do tend to miss the forgiving nature of the HD650 with those sources. In general though, if you listen primarily from a DAP, the 150 ohm HD58X is often the better match.

The flip side of that is I don't feel it scales as well on nicer desktop gear. HD650 has practically limitless potential, while HD58X seems to top out on moderate systems. The Jubilee can't really show much improvement beyond something like a Cavalli CTH or Rupert Neve RNHP. Ditto for DACs - your really-high-end source is sort of wasted here, so you can comfortably top out under $1K.

Is this a good thing or bad thing? Depends on perspective I suppose, but for me the increased scalability of the old models is more beneficial than the reduced amping requirements. I mostly listen at home on big gear though... others may feel differently.

It's very important to remember that this is meant to be a spiritual successor to the old HD580 Jubilee, which was essentially an HD600 before the real HD600 actually launched. So we're talking far more similarities to the HD600 than HD650. I no longer own an HD600 at the moment so unfortunately I can't directly compare.

What I can compare is the HD660S. And honestly I hear very minimal differences. Despite the pads being very slightly revised, and the drivers supposedly not being identical, I still don't hear a variation larger than what you might find between an older HD650 with flattened pads and a crisp new HD6XX. Which happens to be the exact scenario I have here. Or, to put it another way, the difference between HD58X and HD660S is less significant than the difference between HD600 and HD650. Also smaller than the differences between some of the AKG models, like switching from K702 to their 65th Anniversary Edition. If I must name a difference, I'd say the HD660S has more refined treble, but it's not at all a significant difference - I barely notice it for the most part.

Honestly, I'm disappointed in what Sennheiser has done with the HD660S. It's not a terrible headphone by any means, but it feels like a missed opportunity, and in a world where the HD6XX sells for $199, it seems pretty expensive.

On the other hand, I'm actually excited about the HD58X Jubilee. Yes, it's a little on the brighter side compared to HD650/HD6XX. And no, it won't scale to the same heights. But for a penny less than $150 it's an absolutely compelling release. If I'm being frank, I can't believe Sennheiser is letting this happen considering the similarity with HD660S and the difference in price. But I suppose Sennheiser will sell a ton of the more expensive model through outlets like Crutchfield, Sweetwater, Guitar Center, etc. Meanwhile, the enthusiast crowd will snatch up the HD58X for a steal of a price.

If you already own an HD600, this still might not add much to the conversation. If you own an HD650 and want a somewhat brighter, more expansive sound, this is worth a try for sure. If you don't own any of these, it's a toss up between HD6XX and HD58X Jubilee... I can think of situations where either one wins out, so there's no universal recommendation. Regardless, Massdrop should win some fans here.

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grizzlybeast

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SENNHEISER HD58X JUBILEE

HD 58X Jubilee will launch December 22 for $149.99 with free US shipping.

Specs

• Massdrop x Sennheiser

• Glossy black headband, gray metal grilles

• Ear coupling: Over-ear (circumaural)

• Transducer principle: Open, dynamic

• Impedance: 150 ohms

• Frequency response: 12–38,500 Hz (-10 dB)

• THD + N: < 0.1% at 1 kHz, 100 dB

• Sound pressure level: 104 dB at 1V, 1 kHz

• Connector: ⅛ in (3.5 mm) gold-plated stereo jack plug

• Cable: 6 ft (1.8 m) OFC, detachable

• Weight without cable: Approx. 9.2 oz (260 g)

• Individually serialized

Included

• ¼ in (6.35 mm) adapter

• Manufacturer’s 2-year warranty


The 58X comes in a black glossy finish that is identical in size and shape as the HD650 but most resembles the 1993 scheme of the HD 580 Precision on the first run. The drivers themselves are yet to be disclosed to me in regards to what they are most closely spec’d to but the sound is supposed to be reminiscent of the HD600 in some ways and the HD650 in others. Opening up the back of the housing reveals the same frame but a different dampening on the back of the driver. There is a very breathable foam covering the entire driver which doesn’t have the same plastic spider cage covering it. The grills are grey on this iteration and it uses headphone padding from the 580 and 600.


The Massdrop 58X is just a little bit easier to drive than the HD650 which is marginally tougher to drive. The original Sennheiser HD580 turned into the HD600 which was 300ohms. The Massdrop Jubilee will be using Sennheiser’s new 150ohm drivers while retaining the same magnet strength and driver size.


As far as comfort goes, I personally cannot tell a difference between Sennheiser models. This means that as with previous headphones in the series, the 58X will have a tight clamp that will ease into the natural shape of your head over time as it gives more, becoming the comfortable headphones they are known for.




Sound:

If there is one thing that is evident in regards to Sennheiser's goal with their latest iterations it is the improvement in the bass department. The bass sounds a little more solid in timbre compared to the Massdrop 6XX and original HD650. The 650 can rumble just as hard and has more presence in the mid bass but the 58X has a harder sub bass that works a little better with some instruments. This gives it a dense rumble and a more convincing foundation than the 650 even if it is less textured and present on some songs. It may not be as clean sounding as the HD660S but it is almost as solid and controlled.


The midrange is very much in line with the series but a little more lively and energetic than the 6XX giving it a sound that is less nuanced and resolving but more energetic by just a little bit. It has some of that appealing cohesion well known to the others that are highly esteemed in that regards. The 650 without any mods sounds a little more evenly balanced and smooth to my ears and part of that could be because it has been a reference to me for so long.


Compared to the 660S the 58X sounds a little less forward in the mids where the vocalist seems more close to the ear on the 660S than the 58X due to more richness from the 660S in comparison. The 58X sounds closer to the 650 when listening to voices singing. The 660S will sound more crisp and fast than the 58X and more focused as well but with a narrower soundstage. Listening to the 58X gives it a more wide soundstage than the 660S which has more height but seems like less width because of the 58X’s shorter stage.


The sound quality will be harder and a little stronger than the softer sounding HD650 though less resolving and detailed. What is pleasant about the 58X is its ability to provide bite and edge to the instruments that were sometimes missing in the other iterations. While I still hold the HD650 the highest in regards to overall resolution and scalability, the ways that the 58X has been able to stand out have been its ability counter the 650s aspects enough for me to desire to swap headphones depending on the song. Most of my contemporary music that is less demanding I used the punchy and prompt 58X instead. When I want to hear just a little deeper into the recording and feel ‘there’ with the fatter midbass and more fleshed out notes I put on the HD650/HD6XX which takes me beyond the face value of the recording and into the guts of the information easier.


The treble on all three of them never go into the territory of being way overboard. That is the beauty of this series and the 58X stays in line with that trademark of smooth non-fatiguing treble. The edge that it has compared to the 650 is partly due to a rise in the lower treble that provides more edge around 5K. This lifts up the upper mid harmonies just a little bit as well but still allows the mids to sound more soft than the 660S. I find the 650 easier to listen to for longer periods of time where I just relax and enjoy the music whereas the 58X kind of grabs my attention when trumpets come in and crescendos climax. At the moment in my Mogwai I use my Sophia 6SL7GT tube which gives me some presence there that I like with the 650 to give it a little edge, with the 58X I take it out and replace it with my Raytheon NOS tube to tame it just a bit. Compared to the 660S it is more forward in the lower treble as well.


The 58X has very good clarity for the price. Switching between the three headphones has me not losing much clarity, any differences are negligible. I think it is good value at only 149 and gives someone a different enough flavor to have any of the two as complimentary. For my tastes, having the 58X and a modified 650 make the most sense for the music I listen to. I am sure perspectives will vary.



CONCLUSION
The 58X is here and with only 5000 units on the drop, I am sure it will go fast. It got a good amount of head time while it was here and it drove rhythm very well, to the point that on rare occassion even preferred it to the HD650. I am glad Massdrop and Sennheiser keeps making high quality sound affordable with their collaborations and look forward to their relationship growing.
 
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Oh, I'm absolutely grabbing a pair of these!!

A while back, I actually suggested to Will that he should work with Sennheiser to create a 20th Anniversary version of the HD 600. This is pretty close!

Awesome job as always, Massdrop!
 
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Interesting. I never owned the original 580 Jubilee. I'll bite.
 
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@jude do you mind posting the measurements in this thread as I can't view the video at work. Thanks!
 
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A smaller driver. Again, interesting. So that precludes it sounding just like the previous versions.
 
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Hard to figure out what's going on with Sennheiser these days. I agree with project86, but will go further: with the 150 ohm drivers, this is a Massdrop 660S. It can't be anything else. All the frames are the same, except for the change to an open metal grill with the Jubilee/600 and the revised headband cushion on the 650 (and very slightly different can tuning). Back in the day, people were even ordering the 600 grills to replace the 580's plastic grills. It turned the 580 into the 600 very easily. I'm a bit of a purist and kept the plastic grills on my 580 (still have it).

As for this Massdrop version, it's still probably a steal at $149. However, with the 150 ohm drivers, everyone will be getting a Massdrop 660S, not a new version of the 580 or Jubilee.
 
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Honestly, I'm disappointed in what Sennheiser has done with the HD660S. It's not a terrible headphone by any means, but it feels like a missed opportunity,
Agreed. I heard it, thought it was 'good', but not $500 good. But for $150, the HD 58X Jubilee looks like an amazing deal! :L3000:
 
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I was reading the description on MD and I noticed it said "increase the top end of the frequency range. In the “air” treble region of 12kHz-15kHz, there is better extension as compared to the HD600/650". That will make me try these out. I just sold my HD6XX as it was dull sounding.
 
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with the 150 ohm drivers, this is a Massdrop 660S.
[...]
However, with the 150 ohm drivers, everyone will be getting a Massdrop 660S, not a new version of the 580 or Jubilee.
Having both on hand, this is absolutely not an HD 660 S. It's also not an HD 580 or an HD 580 Jubilee. It's something else entirely.
 
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Maybe, but it can't be a 580/Jubilee, either. :)
Yep, I guess I was adding that clarification to my post at the same time you were responding. :)
 
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Is this thing closer in sound signature to the HD600 or the HD660 S?
 
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