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Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee Headphones
Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee Headphones
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So I might catch some eye roll's for this review, but sound wise I'm having a hard time feeling than these are better than the HD 559's which have been my "keeper" headphones to date.
So quick background. I will admit I am fairly new to the audiophile scene. I'm a 44 yr old guy who listens to everything....but mostly it's top 40/pop/rock/rap. I am by no means a music snob. I don't listen to classical or instrumentals or crap just to show off my speakers/headphones. I listen to the music I like to listen to when I'm exercising or in the car or hanging out in the yard. I'm guessing that based on my experience below, I'm loosing hearing with age and probably favor a little more treble forward sound. The best headphones I've heard to date are lcd2c's on a good friends setup.
Like most, looking for the best bang for the buck I have purchased the following - M50x's, TacStar Pro 82's, SHP-9500s. Of that bunch I enjoyed the Pro 82's alot and felt that (and still feel) that the SHP9500's were pretty incredible for the price ~$60. But none of those cans felt comfortable to me for long periods. I'd either get sweaty ears or my ears would touch/rub inside. I then decided to give Sennheisers a try and fell in love with the fit. I've got a big melon and big ears and every Sennheiser I've owned feel great.
I've owned now 598's , 579's and 559's. The 598's felt too bright to me and almost uncomfortable high's on certain tracks. The 579's felt like they added some needed bass, but retained clarity and I really enjoyed the grey look. I then decided to give 559's a try on a whim and ultimately liked them the best of the bunch. To me, the 559's have the widest soundstage, the deepest base and with some slight EQ adjustment I was able to get back some desired treble. They are the most plain jain headphones - not cool in anyway, but they were cheap and the ones always went back to.
So then here comes the HD 58x's. I felt like if I was happy with this lower tier product line....these HD 58x's should be amazing right? Like night and day difference. So many reviews and comments seem to imply that. Well, honestly at the end of the day....they had a sound signature very, very similar to these 559's I love. Slightly less bass response and maybe a little more clarity. But A/B testing the HD 58x's against the 559's was not anything special. I also spent alot of time comparing them to the HD 579's as well. Definitely a different sound. I struggled more with this comparison. Many times I felt I favored the more vocal forward, treble/brighter sound of the 579's but in comparison the HD58x's felt....I'm not sure how to describe this properly, but maybe "fuller" is the right word?
How did I utilize all these headphones? Like I would imagine the majority of buyers would....especially these HD 58x's which are meant to be mobile friendly with their impedance. I listened to all of them through my 2011 iMac using itunes and spotify, also used my ipad and iphone. The HD 58x's never felt like they struggled with any of them. They did all require me to run at a higher volume though than the 598/579/559 series.
Lastly to just comment on the physical aspects of these...I think they were decently made. You can tell it's an older design/mold in comparison to these new designs. I was worried that the piano/gloss black would look cheap...but it was fine. Yes you can see mold lines, yes they look like $100-ish headphones. The fit was very comfortable and I can also agree that the clamp was tighter than anything else I've had on my head. However even with my big noggin, they never felt uncomfortable and I wore them several times for multiple hours. I personally was not a big fan of the cord design, I think I prefer the single one-side cable design. The double wires sort of formed this distracting chin strap thing to me and felt like if I was going to keep these HD 58x's I'd probably invest in a little nicer looking cable.
In the end, for the $60 I paid for the 559's they do the job nearly identical to these HD 58x's to my ears so I'll just keep those and I'll sell these HD58x's off. Are they worth the purchase - definitely. These are still very inexpensive and alot of bang for the buck. But there's no way you can convince me that these are incrementally better than what I've tried.
Maybe it's time now to start playing around with an amp and/or some planars. :)
You need more power for the 58X. They require a good bit of voltage if you look at their specs:
Impedance: 150 ohm
SPL: 104 dB at
1V, 1 kHz
And while you would never listen at 120 dB, dynamic music can swing that high (sometimes higher) so you have to be sure to account for that. The same applies to the impedance and voltage swings of the headphones. If the amp is not capable of doing that, things aren't going to be rendered properly since the drivers aren't being pushed to their required limit.
While the 58X isn't as hard to drive as the 6XX/650, 6.3Vrms is still pretty healthy. A good desktop amp would be needed to really push these headphones to their true potential. While they'll still sound pretty good most of the time unless you;re feeding them enough power they won't be close to what they should really sound like.
Even putting in the specs for your HD 559 they have a healthy voltage requirement:
Either way, if at all possible I would try to mate the 58X to a more powerful amp (or even try them balanced) and then judge them as you're not really pushing them to their true potential. At that point, if you're not digging them then it's just personal taste. At least that way you would know for certain you don't like their sound sig and it's not just them being underpowered.
what site are you using for that? looks useful. thanks!
http://www.digizoid.com/headphones-power.html and https://www.headphonesty.com/headphone-power-calculator/.
I'm sure there are more recent calcs with newer amps but this paints a picture well enough for my baseline when I pair my equipment off. Hope this helps.
great thank you!
I find them dull on my iphone, but an entire different animal on my q1 mark ii balanced output, or on my littledot tube amp. Same goes for my 598 closed, they are very low impedance but an amp puts more life into them.
It's definitely time to start playing with an Amp. While I haven't tested the upper limits of the 58X's, going from my phone to a Fiio Q1 Mark II (single ended out) there's a bump in sound quality. Not night and day IMO, but it's there, and it's a cheaper amp. I've got an Aune X1S coming in the mail and I'm excited to see how they sound on that.
The HD6## series is known for their ability to scale up with better and more powerful gear. I'd say, before you give up on them, check them out on whatever your friend was running his LCD2Cs off of.
Also, maybe check out this link. There is info about modding it pretty simply to get the frequency response curves closer to the 600 and 660.
And these are a pretty cheap way to mod this series of headphones.
Every once in a while I will plug something into my pc, out of convenience. I also plugged my 32 ohm travel cans into my phone, just to see what happens. These “base lines” should be done once in a while, to remind ourselves, why it’s ok that we spend so much on dac’s & amp’s.
Set a budget, and upgrade, your desire is there, it will be sated.
Move to 24 bit flac & try dsd, bypass pc audio mixer etc.
I still stand by my assessment/review. Since writing it. I ordered a Schiit Magni 3. Is the HD58x better, sure...yes, a little. Is it incrementally better? Is it night and day difference like evreryone wants to make it out to be....not to my ears. Sorry fellas, it's just not.
And the whole power/amp thing is even more of a disappointment. Once again feeling the pressure to jump into the serious audiophile world. It's literally splitting hairs IMO from my iMac desktop to both cans vs the amp.
Maybe with different headphones and higher impedance, etc. I could be convinced that the amp will be important. But with these two I keep A/B testing it's made zero impact. If I had to give it any praise, I'd say it's slightly cleaner in sound...but that is a major stretch in my book.
I'm not trying to be a negative nancy or poo-poo this product. If the HD58x were the only headphones I've ever tried I'd love them, just like I think these HD 559's are a tremendous value and suit my needs better. They both sound amazing to me. But the hype on these being significantly better/higher grade experience just doesn't live up to the hype in my book.
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