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Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee Headphones
Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee Headphones
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Shipped on June 26 and I just received them on July 24. Was the wait worth it? Oh yes! Here are my OPINIONS. You and me are different, but hopefully, you can relate. This is a long, detailed-filled review if you can handle that!
I was wishing these would fix what I didn't like about my HD 598 SE, which are the dull highs, muddy mids and wooly bass. I was not disappointed. Out of the box, I liked them and felt relief.
The bass is FAST and TIGHT. I am impressed. Wow. They have just the right amount for me, even more than I was expecting. They aren't bass-shy at all. Sub-bass is easily heard but doesn't overpower the lows. It's well-blended like a good fragrance.
The mids are not distant, but zoomed-in and VERY revealing. Seriously, everything sounds amplified and evident, even elements that are less obvious in my higher-end headphones. Reverbs and delays are very distinct and noticeable. Vocals sound up-front but not isolated from the rest.
Highs aren't bright or harsh up top, but they zing when they need to. I say they're rounded, not sharp. I'd like them a bit more tizzy and sparkly on the upper end of the sound spectrum, but that's just my ear used to my Audio-Technica ATH-M70x and my overly-bright beyers. Really really, though, the highs are fine for recorded music...just a bit dull from being true-to-life.
Soundstage is closed-in and not holographic like the HD 598 SE, but they still sound like open headphones. I don't miss a wider, out-of-head aural image because their overall sound signature is intimate, not distant. Instrument separation is very good. Sound layering isn't as deep or separated as my beyerdynamic DT 880/990 and T90, but still respectable. You won't get a wall of sound even with really busy-sounding music. I am trying them on my bedside Schiit Mimby/Vali 2 combo, so I know their soundstage is wider and deeper than I am hearing here. The Mimby DAC has a respectably holographic sound, but the Vali 2 amp, impressively resolving for $150, is more intimate-sounding and just closes everything in. It has a respectable 3D sound in terms of clarity and presenting sounds through the HD 58X almost in a visual way, but the audio image as a whole is not very wide outside and in front of the head. I'm not making this up. It's not audiofool poetry. That's how they sound.
The HD 58X remind me of my Shure SRH1840, like a wilder, funner, but less refined version. They aren't as smooth or grain-free, and the highs aren't as defined or glittery, but they have at minimum twice the amount of bass amount and kick than the Shures, and the mids are face-slapping. These are great. I would recommend them to newbies and seasoned peeps alike. To my ears, they don't sound like $150. Seriously. Disregard the $150 price. You pay that, but the sound is on a whole different level. These aren't entry-level in technical prowess. They're truly mid-fi...closer to the upper echelon than the lower echelon of good sound quality.
Wow, I have them on right now as I type and all the tracks sound so punchy and crackly. Everything is so tight and CONTROLLED. Sound attacks out of nowhere and leaves with no decay. Really. Energy is the name of the game with the HD 58X. These sound way different than everything else I own. I don't think they sound cold, but they aren't warm either. They're brighter than the HD 598 SE and have a similar vibe to them in terms of the realistic tonality, but the HD 598 SE, holographic sound stage aside, sound slow, flabby, stuffy and blurry in comparison. The difference is big.
Tonality is, again, realistic in my opinion. No overall metallic tinge like my beyers or shouty quality like my Panasonic RP-HD10. Only metallic instruments sound like metal. Everything else sounds like they should. All microphones and compressors and effects sound distinct and unique. They're even sounding from lows to highs like good paper cone studio monitors. These sound closer to real life than my other headphones.
The HD 58X sound very alive and dynamic. That's it! They are fun-sounding for sure. I like how in my face they are, not tame at all. They have a very energetic sound. Again, nothing I own sounds like them. Do I recommend these even if you have higher-end headphones? YES! These are the cure to bass-light or distant vocal tracks, because they zoom-in everything closer to my audio eyes. I am listening to a track called Go Ye by Rogé Abergel & Kingdom Culture, which is gospel reggae with many interesting effects and a wide sound, but barely kicks on my other cans. On the HD 58X, it sounds lively, super snappy, the kick drum thumps and the bass sounds fat and goes low.
I am re-discovering my favorite tracks. My own self-produced tracks show elements and nuances I know by heart that my other cans have trouble reproducing. I am very excited and happy for these. I like how they play louder than my 65 ohm Shure SRH1840 on the same volume. 9 o' clock on low gain on the Vali 2 is as loud as I need or want them. These don't need a lot of volume to get the full picture because they sound very even from lows to highs. Some tracks I need to lower the volume.
Build quality-wise, they're worthy of being on an Always 99 aisle in terms of looks and fit and finish. They say Made in Ireland but they look and feel like Made in China cans. Seriously, they look how I imagine counterfeit Sennheisers would look. But for $150, you're getting at least $300 sound. Their bang for buck is unbelievable.
Out of curiosity, I just tried them on my Asgard 2 really quick and the sound changed completely. They present music in a way smoother and warmer way in the analog sound sense compared to the Vali 2, with almost a veil of softness that rounds everything off nicely while still remaining highly detailed. The overall aural image is less zoomed-in, so it projects wider and further away from my audio eyes. I'm seriously impressed. Nothing else I own has changed so much from amp to amp. They sound almost like different headphones. These scale with better equipment for sure. Now, I usually like the Asgard 2 over the Vali 2, but in this case, I like the HD 58X on the latter more, Why? Because the Vali 2 makes them sound more aggressive and not so civilized. I will try them on my other gear when I have time.
Comfort-wise, they do have vise-grip levels of squeeze like they want to juice my brain out of my smaller than average head, and the pads aren't cottony-soft comfy on my bigger than average ears. I wanna take them off after 15 minutes. At least they don't give me pain, just discomfort. I feel constricted and restricted. You won't forget you're wearing these.
I highly recommend the Sennheiser HD 58X over the beyerdynamic DT trinity or the awesome Sony MDR-7506, which were my first good headphones ever, just because they're easier to listen to. The beyers are technically more impressive-sounding, but not easy to relax to their extreme sound. The Sonys sound great, are very bright as a whole, and have ear-filling sub-bass, but they're closed and dry-sounding, don't have much of a 3D sound, and also don't sound very musical.
Finally, I don't suggest you buy these if you don't have a high-quality DAC and amp combo. SERIOUSLY. At a minimum, get yourself a Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS v2, which packs a punch. I've owned it and it has what it takes to make headphones shine. It pushed my super-sensitive 250 ohm beyerdynamic T90 with plenty of authority. For an additional $75, you'll ensure your HD 58x will sound as they should.
Well, I think that's it. Again, all of this is just my OPINION. My ears and brain are different than yours. Thanks for reading and God bless you!
I just tested them on my iPhone 8 Plus and to my surprise, the overall presentation is satisfactory to my ears. I'm not an elitist audio snob, so I will accept and admit whatever sounds good. I usually don't like how this iPhone sounds, preferring my iPad Pro's superior-sounding headphone output, but here, the HD 58X play as loud as I'd want on 10 clicks of volume and the dynamics and sound stage are more than acceptable. Still, I insist on at least a DacMagic XS v2 ($75) or even a DragonFly Red ($199). If you want to spend more, an Apogee Groove ($295) isn't shabby and is made in the USA. But that amount of money gets your feet into nice DAC and amp territory if you'd sacrifice portability.
Wow,what a review, nice and detailed!!
I'm using my 58x straight out of my galaxy s7edge without any amp, so I can only imagine how much better they would sound with a good amp..
Thanks, friend. Yeah, you're missing out in punch and dynamics for sure!
Oh btw,forgot to mention that I took out my foam that was inside the grills and the headphones sound a ton better!!!!
The highs open up like crazy,the soundstage becomes wider etc.
The only thing is that you lose a drop of bass which for me is just fine
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