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Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee Review & Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jude, Dec 20, 2017.
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  1. caenlenfromOCN
    i just bought them not delievered yet
    actorlife likes this.
  2. turbomustang84
    There are but none better than stock Sennheiser.
    I've tried several more expensive and none come close .
    DavidA and actorlife like this.
  3. MeltyGoblin
    I've found that's pretty much the case with most sennheiser headphones. Any pad rolling I've tried has usually just resulted in disappointment. Don't bother with cheap replacements or waste money on expensive pads
    turbomustang84 and DavidA like this.
  4. Lurk650
  5. Tuneslover
  6. TheoS53

    There’s no mistaking the HD58X for anything other than a Sennheiser-designed headphone. From the mostly-plastic design to the understated and minimal branding, the HD58X has all the hallmarks.
    In fact, the whole modular design of the HD6-- line has been carried over so you could very well transplant the drivers, earpads, headband, grilles and frame from the HD600, HD650, or HD660S onto the HD58X should you want or need to.
    We’re also getting the same proprietary 2-pin connector for the cable that we’ve seen on the other Sennheiser headphones.
    Out of the box the clamping force was just a little on the stiff side for my liking, but this is easily fixed by extending the headband adjust all the way out and just ever so slightly bending the metal band. But I do mean that this has to be done really slightly because remember that it would need to fit back into the plastic frame when retracted.
    After less than a week of using the HD58X they feel totally comfortable and I can wear them for hours without any sort of discomfort other than some slight heat build-up around my ears.

    Now, because this is a product designed in collaboration with Massdrop, there have been some corners cut here and there in the overall finishing and construction.
    Maybe it’s on par in the design and build quality with the likes of the HD600 and HD650, but I don’t have either of them on hand to say for certain.
    But, what I do have is the HD660S, and the HD58X does fall a bit short in both the overall design and in the quality of the construction.
    I still feel that the materials used and how the HD660S feels in the hand still does not justify its $500 price-tag, but it does still feel like a slightly better put-together headphone.
    In contrast, the HD58X feels looser at the earcups which makes it a little more rattly. Couple that with the different finishes of the plastic parts and what you get is a headphone that is just overall less refined than the HD660S. This difference can be experienced even down to the cables, where the texture of the cable used on the HD660S is just ever so slightly smoother.
    So no, the HD58X is never going to feel premium, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it feels outright cheap and flimsy either. Adequate is the word that comes to mind, especially when taking the price-tag into consideration.

    Ok, now if there’s one thing I don’t normally talk about then it’s about the robustness or longevity of the build. How long of a delay could you expect before the effects of daily wear and tear begin to show up?
    I don’t normally cover this simply because I never have the product for long enough to really be able to find out.
    “So, what makes the HD58X any different?”, you might ask. Well, let me tell you a little story.

    If you order items from Massdrop, you’ve got a choice of a few different shipping options. But, that’s only if you’re in the United States. In my case, I had to have it shipped to the United Arab Emirates, which meant that I only had a single shipping option, which is DHL Post. I immediately felt uneasy about this because my hatred for dealing with postal services is only second to the uncomforting thought of a trip to a proctologist called Dr. Edward Scissorhands.

    I once had an Italian headphone manufacturer send me what was somewhat of a prototype of a premium headphone that they were busy with, but for some reason once it arrived and had been processed on this side the post office didn’t want to deliver the item. So eventually we told them to just send it back to the origin, and it’s only once it was received back in Italy that we learned of why the post office was so hesitant.
    When it was going through customs on this end, they pretty much completely destroyed the product.
    They cut open some of the foam lining in the protective case and totally dismantled one of the earcups, and I think there might have been some damage to the driver as well.
    When I saw those pictures I just couldn’t believe how anyone can think that that is an appropriate way of doing their job.
    Because let’s face it, whoever was involved there either had a level of narcissistic arrogance that simply didn’t allow them to give a single damn if they damaged the product, or they entirely lacked the mental capacity to even realise what they were doing.
    Not to mention, the person who is involved with this Italian company, and had arranged for me to check out these headphones, is someone who I had never met in person but we became acquainted through Head-Fi, and are now what I would consider to be pretty good friends. So, when this all happened, I felt so bad that he got burned so badly whilst trying to do a nice thing for me. Of course, I’m not responsible for any of it, but I still felt terrible.
    So, it’s safe to say that between the long delivery times and just the sheer incompetence of some employees, I try my best to just avoid the whole postal process at pretty much any costs.

    Ok, right, so back to the HD58X.

    I think it was just one day after I placed the order with Massdrop that they were shipped out, and I was checking on the tracking info every few hours.
    Now, with DHL Post, for whatever reason, these items are sent from the US, but then they first go to Germany, and then on to the final destination country. I have no idea why it’s done like that, because that’s a level of inefficiency that would make any German blush, I’m sure.
    Anyways, one of the tracking updates had me a little worried as it said "The slightly damaged shipment is being repackaged".
    Now, I’m a person who pays close attention to words. I listen to not just what someone says or writes, but how they say or write it. So, when I read “slightly damaged”, I’m thinking that the box might have been dinged up a bit and so they’re just putting it in another box to protect the item.
    But, believe me when I tell you that nothing, absolutely nothing could prepare me for what I was to see at the post office when I went to collect it.

    Believe it or not, when this package showed up at my local post office, it was soaking wet.

    There was a point in time then that I felt my heart sink and I had basically made up my mind that there’s no way that I will be going home with my HD58X today. I was simply going to refuse delivery of the item.
    It must’ve happened somewhere between when I first saw the state of the box and when the postal worker handed me a piece of paper to sign which essentially absolves them of any responsibility.
    I should add that it was obvious to me that this issue had nothing to do with the UAE postal service because that DHL update was posted whilst the package was in Germany. So, it either happened there or before it got to Germany.

    But I really wanted the HD58X, so I said I’m not signing anything until I get to inspect it. At first, they were reluctant, but eventually they agreed.
    I still couldn’t quite grasp what this poor box had to go through, but as I worked my way through this paper mache mess I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I finally laid my eyes on the headphones.
    Not only did they seem totally unharmed, but, as if by some miracle, they were bone dry.

    How on Earth is this even possible? I felt the earpads and the headband over and over again, and there wasn’t even the slightest hint of any moisture whatsoever.
    But then another thing struck me. Part of a product’s packaging is, of course, to make it look appealing, but the main task is to protect it throughout the entire journey from the factory and into your home.
    Sadly, for this poor headphone, the packaging had zero structural integrity left, and so could obviously not provide the level of protection that it was intended for.
    And yet the HD58X got to me completely unharmed. There were no dents, no cracks, no warps, not even a slight scratch.
    So, I think it’s safe to say that this particular headphone survived more abuse in the span of 2 weeks than what I would throw at it over the course of several years. And maybe, just maybe, the silver-lining to this entire ordeal serves only as a testament to the robustness of these headphones.

    To say that I was impressed by this is putting it mildly, to say the least. But the pleasant surprises didn’t stop there because the first thing I did after having removed the headphones from the remnants of the packaging was to plug it into my phone to double check that there was no damage to the drivers. There was none, but what there was, was a smile on my face and an overwhelming sense of relief.


    I signed the silly piece of paper that was handed to me, paid the import duty and hurried back to my car where I sat for about another 10 minutes just listening to the HD58X. I was still trying to recover from the horror of seeing that packaging, but man did the sound of these headphones make it awfully easy to forget.

    So, I got home and spent at least 4 hours straight listening to them. Ok, there might have been a bathroom break and maybe a little pause to adjust the clamping force, but other than that I just found myself thoroughly enjoying these headphones.

    Do the sound perfect? No.
    There is some lack in refinement here and there, but there was absolutely nothing I heard that didn’t make me enjoy any single piece of music I was throwing at it.
    If we take a look at the frequency response graph, we can see that the HD58X offers an overall very balanced sound signature. It’s got a warmer character and a bass response that digs in very deep – down to 12 Hz in fact. But the bass isn’t bloated as to muddy up the mid-range. It’s there when it needs to be and it’s there to support the mids, not dominate them.
    There’s only one aspect that I would consider a slight flaw, and that’s a slight peak at around the 5kHz mark. Some users have reported that the HD58X can sometimes sound a little grainy to them, and I think it’s this 5kHz peak that’s responsible for it.
    But it’s not something that I’m constantly hearing, and so I don’t feel bothered by it.
    If there’s one specific characteristic that I would pick out about the HD58X then it would be how captivating they can make electric guitars sound. Perhaps it is that slight graininess but that raw crunch and bite of rock guitars is something that is portrayed so well.
    In fact, these headphones reignited my enjoyment of listening to the Dire Straits and ZZ Top. Those iconic riffs in Money For Nothing and La Grange just sound so addictive.

    In typical fashion of the HD6-line, we don’t exactly get a very wide stereo image. It does seem outside of my head, but definitely not as wide as something from AKG’s K7-line.

    When considering the treble there are no sibilance-inducing peaks at around the 8kHz mark, and generally things seem very well-behaved.
    There is a bit of a dip at the 14kHz point and for me personally, I do wish the dip wasn’t quite as deep as it does reduce that wonderful shimmery effect of cymbals. I think that, along with just a bit more elevation at around the 10kHz mark also would’ve helped to extract some finer treble details and would likely have also increased the perceived width of the stereo image.
    But, looking at the graph as a whole, I really can’t complain much.

    And it’s in looking at this graph that I’m seeing a pattern that is carried over from the overall build quality and design. The HD58X simply lacks some minor refinement, especially when compared to Sennheiser’s official products.
    And that brings me to how the sound of the HD58X compares to that of the HD660S.

    There has been a lot of talk about how the HD58X may or may not be using the same drivers as the HD660S or perhaps even the HD700. But, whatever the case is, if we compare the frequency response of the HD58X to that of the HD660S we can see some very strong similarities indeed.

    If we look specifically at that 5kHz peak, we’ll see that the HD660S doesn’t have as sharp of a peak, and this comes across when listening to the HD660S too. The treble region just sounds a bit smoother and more refined on the HD660S. There’s that word again – refined.

    When I reviewed the HD660S I was loaned an HD650 for the purpose of comparing the sound, and I did find myself enjoying the overall sound character of the HD650 more. That warmer signature just added enough flavour to the sound to keep me listening for longer.
    And maybe this is the thing that I like most about the sound of the HD58X. For me it sits squarely in between the HD650 and the HD660S. It’s got the warmer and overall more easy-going character of the HD650 whilst still incorporating a little more of the treble response of the HD660S.
    It’s not what I would necessarily describe as a best of both worlds scenario, but a very enjoyable compromise between those 2 signatures nonetheless.
    So much so that, if you said to me “there are no price-tags attached, pick one”, honestly, I’d pick the HD58X.


    I think at this point it should already be pretty clear to you where I stand in terms of the value of the HD58X.
    This is, hands down, by far, without the faintest shadow of a doubt, the best-sounding headphones I’ve tried at around the $150 mark. Hell, they might even be my favourite at double that price, and I certainly have heard headphones that cost considerably more, and yet I didn’t find nearly as enjoyable.
    Is it perfect? Of course not, but at $150 I don’t think it would be fair to expect perfection; would you?
    The fact of the matter is that when I glance over to the HD660S, I just don’t get it. What is Sennheiser’s game-plan here? The sound quality of the HD58X could easily be sold for $300, but instead they’re being sold for half that. What’s more, it costs less than a third of what the HD660S is being sold for. So again, what’s the deal here?
    Well, whatever is going on, all I can say is that the HD58X is an absolute bargain. Given the outright bang-for-buck value I would subjectively score the HD58X a perfect 10/10. But, the Samma3a scoring system is focused on the objective merit of a product, so it will lose a few points here and there for a lack of additional accessories and the lack in refinement of the built quality.
    Nevertheless, If you’re someone who wants to spend no more than about $150 on a pair of headphones that sound great, are tough as nails, and are perfectly suitable to a wide range of music genres, then this little gem that is the HD58X gets my highest recommendation.
  7. Electrolite
    Thank you for the review I liked reading through it, I'm glad the 58X survived this adventure.

    If possible please check this EQ, I'm curious to see your opinion since in theory it fixes all the small issues you had with the 58X like the 5k peak and the treble dip.

    I'm my opinion the treble response improves a lot, I use this song to test the EQ and the cymbals sound much more lively with the EQ:

    Here is the EQ if you are interested:
    https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/Au...an_over-ear_2018/Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X
  8. WilliamLeonhart
    I’ve found that to be the case with all headphones not just Sennheiser actually. Took me some time to figure out the engineers’ choice of pads actually matter, perhaps even more than cables and opamps.
    GearMe likes this.
  9. TheoS53
    58x 660s graph.png

    Here's a graph a took of the 58X (red) vs the 660S (blue). Very strong similarities indeed.
    Charente likes this.
  10. knalb
    Is this your plot? Can you show the raw as well?
  11. TheoS53
    Yup, that was taken with the Mini DSP E.A.R.S.

    Here's the raw plot:
    58x 660s raw.png
  12. knalb
    That’s interesting.

    There’s a rumor floating around that Sennheiser secretly and unbeknownst to Massdrop changed the FR to remove the 650 warmth that was seen in early production 58x making it more 660 like than the early FR measurements suggest. Solderdude measured a Nov18 58x that looks like this.
  13. TheoS53
    Yeah i dunno. Mine do seem a bit warmer than the 660s though, purchased in Feb
  14. Tuneslover
    When Massdrop originally announced the release of the HD58X and the guy who started this thread (@jude) gave his impressions of the initial "prototype" said that it was too lean in the bass for his taste. Shortly thereafter Massdrop and Sennheiser decided to take that criticism to heart and changed the design of the HD58X in order to improve the bass of this headphone.

    I wish that @jude would re-visit his review of this headphone, especially since it is NOT the same headphone he originally listened to.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
  15. Kammerat Rebekka
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
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