MASSDROP X SEHNNEISER HD58X JUBILEE - IMPRESSIONS

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

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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. 

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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. Stay tuned because I will be posting impressions of the 660S in line with this new release and how it holds up now that the 58X is here. 

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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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