Massdrop Sennheiser HD58X - Official Thread

Yup, exactly what I was talking about. The build quality is noticeably worse than with the original releases from Sennheiser.

Drop is a mainstream business, so they probably try to get the production costs to the minimum (while not cheaping out on the sound!). This is fine (IMO), you are getting a good product at a good price - except there are sacrifices.

I have to agree with @generic, I would avoid going with WD40. Definitely seems like it would degrade or damage the plastic.

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Thanks folks.

Agreed. I got these two 58X/6XX for daily use and I’ll probably beat the crap out of them.

With my 600/660S, that’s a whole other story, i.e., they get a special case, cables, etc. :smile:

There shall be no WD40 in the pure horses then. It is decided. :smile:

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I ordered the 58x and a 4xx today from the drop website. My actual dac at the moment is an audioquest dragonfly red. The size of it makes me doubt if its powerfull enough to drive them. Is that small amp dac ok or should i buy something a bit bigger. To get the best on these cans?

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Should be fine with the 58x. My old HD-580 is just fine with my DFC and my DFB. If you go to the HD-650 or 6xx, the Dragonfly is rather minimal.

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I used to have an HE400i with a dragonfly black and it was fine.

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Awesome thx for the reply

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Just to add to the other answers. Not to mention there are 2 different questions:

If you hear distortion when increasing the volume with this pairing. Then that’s your answer.

For this one you’re probably better off asking in this thread:

Good luck!

Hello all,

Has anyone purchased the 58x and then upgraded to the 6xx? If so, what was your experience and was it worth the upgrade or not?

Thanks!

Yes, some have. See this thread and search for @pwjazz and @pennstac’s comments.

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I’ve not trodden that path. I actually started with an HD600 which I gave away, and now I have the 58X which I expect to keep for a long time.

@Professor_F if you want an “upgrade” you can try this reversible mod. Only costs a few bucks.

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Excellent! Thank you for sharing–I’ll be modding shortly =)

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When I got my HD6xx, I thought I’d be selling my HD580, but I didn’t. Instead I got new earpads. I keep both, but in different houses. The HD6xx scales better with good power, but the 580 holds its own. It has slightly more balanced sound, and is much easier to drive. With a good signal, detailed DAC, and plenty of power, the HD6xx is a better sounding headphone. More detail. I find clamping force on the 6xx is too strong for my head, but it’s only a problem if I listen for a long time. The HD-650 may well be better in that regard. Anyplace they’d find to skimp would certainly include headband materials on the Massdrop version.

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I bought a Massdrop (Drop) HD-58X. Here are my impressions, plus comparisons to headphones ranging from cheap to very expensive.

Background

I’ve owned the HD-600 for a long time – they were my first serious headphones. I’ve used them with at least two dozen setups, and they vary from terrible to fantastic per the amp and DAC. They also improve with balanced setups, as they are prone to generating an awful lot of hissy noise on the wrong setup.

In contrast, the HD-58X is positioned as a cheaper and easier-to-drive product that isn’t as finicky, but also doesn’t scale like the Sennheiser 600 family. Yes, this is true. My findings aren’t different and won’t be surprising. However, the 58X has its own personality and fits different needs.

What I hear with the HD-58X

This is a mid-focused and largely neutral product that doesn’t generate deep bass, nor extreme highs. It always has a slight treble roughness or harmonic diffusion that takes away the details I hear with many other headphones. The crowd noise in one of my live-recording test tracks went away, as did known bass notes in other test tracks.

I thought of high quality mosaic art or even Lego art as I listened, for music acquires a faint binary roughness on the HD-58X. You hear everything the drivers can produce and every sound is distinct, but some known sounds result in hearing nothing at all. In contrast, the HD-600 presents more photo-like intermediates either as air and nuance – or with bad setups it transforms nuances into hissy and bright artifacts.


The HD-58X is not very sensitive to amps and DACs. I tried it with the iFI ZenDAC (V1) with on single-ended and balanced output, with the ZenDAC feeding the Loxjie P20, and with the Bifrost 2 and RebelAmp. The single-ended ZenDAC was notably thinner, and the HD-58X needed bass boost to bring back the lower end. All the other setups resulted in similar high quality mosaics.

Comparisons with low and high priced headphones

This is an odd comparison, and useful for curious people rather than any sane cross shopper. Here I extend my Focal Utopia review framework to the low end. Be warned that I haven’t listened to the Utopia for a long time, so those comments are from my old notes.

Overall, the Koss Porta Pro and HD-58X are squarely in the consumer electronics category while the HD-600, Focal Clear, and Focal Utopia are in the performance product category. The consumer products have obvious limitations, but are also safe (mid range focused) and not affected much by supporting equipment. The performance products require far more thought, planning, and attention. This distinction happens with many product categories beyond headphones, so I threw in some car analogies.

I see the HD-58X and HD-600 appealing to different buyers and different use cases. The 58X will keep casual listeners happy as music is distinct and easy to follow. It moves nuanced music in the direction of compressed pop (e.g., hearable over car noise or in a crowded restaurant). The HD-600 is for gear heads who want to build the perfect equipment chain, dwell on nuance, and spot Waldo in a crowd.

Sometimes I want what the HD-58X offers and sometimes I want what the HD-600 offers. The HD-58X surely requires less thought and planning to reach its destination.

Model Koss Porta Pro Sennheiser HD-58X Sennheiser HD-600 Focal Clear (Original) Focal Utopia
Street Price $35 $170 (or less) $350 $1,000 $4,000 (per SKU)
Bass None, thick lower mids Okay, not very deep Good with the right setup Excellent Beyond real
Mids Mids are all there is Primary focus Major focus Major focus Attention shifts to lows and highs
Highs None; piercing whines if unable to produce a tone Not much content in the highs Varies by setup: excellent to shrieking Controlled and “clear” but beware of technical amps Piercing treble common; beyond real sensitivity
Details Good Good Excellent Great Beyond real
Dynamics Good Excellent Excellent Great Beyond real
Character Pleasant except for generating whining artifacts instead of real bass or treble Binary or mosaic-like: sounds are either heard or ‘disappeared.’ Easy on the ears and safe Highly determined by the amp and DAC; performance ranges from awful to sublime Strong with most setups, and often more technical than studio equipment “Why do I need more?” Finds all sorts of minute details and creates an unreal space – plus random piercing treble needles
Car Analogy Cheapest airport rental on the lot. Involves serious compromises. Good family sedan or crossover. Safe, reliable, easy to drive. “Not special.” Entry-level sports car or 4x4. It’ll take you almost anywhere with the right gear. Premium sports car that tolerates user errors. Has ABS and traction control. Finicky super car with $$$$$ tires and $$$$$ maintenance. “Watch your back.”
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A wonderful review @generic. Different from a lot of reviews and all the better for it. Thank you for the read.

Your description and comparison with the Mosaic or Lego Art is a very apt one. You’ve put into words my thoughts exactly on the HD58X.

A perfectly serviceable headphone which remains in my collection.

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Thank you. I’ve always been a bit of an oddball, but I’ve got a plan here. When I was new to buying serious headphones I’d see prices from $100 to $5,000 and had no idea what one would get for the money. My write-ups have been addressing that question at least since my Utopia review. While I’m disciplined about not spending for stuff I can’t hear or don’t appreciate, I’d honestly buy anything that sounded significantly better than the Clear. [It must be versatile, as I listen to many genres and flawed productions.]

My Sony WH1000-XM2 is a consumer-grade product that didn’t make the cut for this review. I thought it was too different from the others as both closed and wireless, but it sounds a lot like the HD-58X when used with Sony’s “bright” EQ setting. It’s way too muddy and warm by default. The HD-58X is better than the Sony, but it seems all headphones reach a similar quality level when designed for use with weaker amps.

I can’t promise that I’ll keep the HD-58X, but the HD-600 has been there so long that it won’t be going away.

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For me personally I often find it hard to shake the notion that more expensive is better. It’s someting that I have got to grips with now and your posts have been a great help.

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UPDATE: Testing with the Schiit Bifrost 2 and Lyr 3

I ran the HD-58X with the Lyr 3 today. Its main difference from my other amps was a reduction in treble grain and the removal of a few rough edges. The HD-58X is really easy to listen to on the Lyr 3, but neither one is technical.

There was no increase in resolution, obviously, and all previously missing details remained missing. The Lyr 3’s tube had a minimal impact relative to the Focal Clear, and I’d likely not realize a tube was present. The HD-58X communicated only slight traces of “tubey” resonances with female voices.

The HD-58X just does what it can do. If used for comparisons one would seem to mainly hear its potential, with DACs and amps sounding largely alike.

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It’s time for me to once again check in with some love for the HD58X. This thing has been with me longer than any other headphone in my collection and it still brings me enjoyment.

As Sennheisers do, the pads have gotten pretty squished and warmed up the already warm sound. My initial remedy for this was to replace the front foam with a sheer curtain fabric, which brought out the treble nicely. But as the pads squished, the bass got even warmer and this became a little too v-shaped.

I bought some new pads, which restored the good original sound, but I felt like I could do better. So now, I’m back to the old squished pads, stock foam in front, but Solderdude’s rear felt damping mod with 3mm holes and boy, the HD58X sounds better to me than ever.

Compared to the stock sound, this is smoother and more detailed without being bright at all. Maybe I should just sell all my other headphones and enjoy this …

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I sort of like the YAXI pads that fit it. My originals were way to squished. The Yaxis form a nice seal, and move the cups a tad away from your head, giving a notably improved soundstage.

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I really started digging the squished pads with the HD58X. For me, it gives an extra advantage of bass “always being there” for low listening volumes (~70dB or lower).

Allow me to quote myself a joke I made this week in the HD660S thread:

The more I listen to these HD6-family Senns, the more I’m convinced my ears should be literally touching the drivers. Yep, it means I’m a mid-range whore – the hard way, of course. :grimacing: :man_shrugging:

HD58X is a keeper for me.

Cheers. :beers:

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