Massdrop Sennheiser HD58X


Tonally, the Elex and the Clear are quite close. There are other differences, though, that set them apart. The details of which shall have to wait until my full reviews/comparisons …


Sometimes I hate this hobby! I didn’t used to believe much in amp pairings, but after listening mostly on my Ember II with an RCA 12AU7, I switched to my Topping NX4 which tends to have less bass rolloff and now I can enjoy the Elex at a somewhat lower volume and it still has a decently full sound. When I really want to push the bass like when listening to Daft Punk, I can just flip the “bass boost” switch. Incidentally, bumping the output impedance on the Ember II to 35 ohm fills in the low end as well, but it also sounds quite a bit looser, so I guess the Elex and the Ember II are just not a great pairing.


I wasn’t much of a believer either – then the Elex came with that lonely XLR cable in the box. I bought a FiiO Q5 ($350, “reasonably priced balanced Amp/DAC”) largely because of that stinking XLR cable. Well, after buying a 2.5mm to XLR adapter too, I’m a convert to balanced amp setups. The Elex are fuller, richer, have a quieter background, and are even punchier. I always notice this versus other setups and quickly return to the Q5.

This shifted my future purchase plans in an entirely different direction.


Now that I’m comparing them on solid state amps like the NX4 and LG V20, I also have to say the HD58X sounds a bit more detailed than it did on the tube amp (not more detailed than the Elex). I’m back to enjoying it at somewhat lower volumes and the Elex at somewhat higher volumes. Since I value my hearing, it seems that if I’m able to enjoy the HD58X at lower volumes then I should probably listen to that more than the Elex, which is exactly what I find myself doing over and over.


Alright, I’ve collected enough impressions and packed the Elex back in its box while I listened to the HD58X from my NX4 this morning. It’s either going back to Blinq or getting sold.


I’ve posted a comparison with the Elex.


I just bought one of these cables for use with my V20. It’s short for walking-around use, and the included playback and volume controls mean I can leave the V20 in my pocket most of the time, which is kinda handy.


A recurring theme in headphone reviews is the concept of “rediscovering” ones own music collection, finding new details and nuances in the recordings that previous headphones failed to reveal. For the most part, the HD58X does not give me this experience, but it does allow me to reconnect with and re-enjoy a lot of my music. I just listened to the below album and simply enjoyed it, recalling some of the feeling from when I listened to it in my teenage years. It’s difficult to express exactly, but the HD58X doesn’t add anything nor does it leave anything out, which in an odd sense makes it very high fidelity indeed!

BTW, for anyone who doesn’t know the story behind the KLF, you should check them out. “Weird” doesn’t even begin to do them justice.


Wow KLF I haven’t heard those mentioned in a while. I remember their chart hit first time round. I think it was called Unbelievable. Catchy tune.

I have just joined the drop for the HD58X. I should have them in a week or so. I will see if they differ from my HD650’s at all. I don’t think I will lose any money on them at the price and can keep them anyhow.



New music!! They are playing at a winery near me but were sold out before I could get tickets =(


The below album sounds fantastic on the HD58X. I’m still somewhat obsessed with the “grainy” background I hear with these. I’m starting to really come around to the idea that it’s exposing stuff in recordings that’s actually there but that I haven’t noticed with other headphones. On this recording the background generally sound blanket to me, especially on “Those Clouds are Heavy, You Dig?” which sounds absolutely great. It’s like I’m sitting right there in the studio with Kurt and his bassist.


I just started listening to this artist she has a very bluesy/jazzy feel about her singing.


Very nice. I hear echoes of Any Winehouse and Adele, but she’s definitely her own thing.


I’m reconnecting with something I haven’t listened to in a while.

Since I am me, I had to start comparing to my LCD2C on this album, since it seems right in its wheelhouse. Roughly level matched with handheld SPL meter. Listening from Google Play Music - LG V20 DAC - NX4 amp.


Vocals - Tie

Smoothness/Black Background - LCD2C, but at a cost. There are some reverb effects in the recording that seem to get lost with the LCD2C, wet sound notwithstanding. I’ll be listening more for this to see if I note it elsewhere.

Punch - HD58X. Mid-bass is where it’s at.

Imaging - HD58X. LCD2C doesn’t do badly here, but on some of the panning effects it feels like there’s kind of a gap in the middle of the soundstage. HD58X feels more contiguous and also more layered/deep.

Engagement - HD58X. The LCD2C sounds more effortless, but it’s kind of like watching somebody dance by themselves. The HD58X grabs my hand and pulls me onto the dance floor.


They’re different enough for me to keep both of them.
For certain listening I prefer the 58X and at other times, like higher volume with a balanced desktop amp I have preferred the 650s.

I think scalability comes into play with the 650s getting better at higher volume partly due to the 300ohm drivers.

It’s nice to have the 58X as it isn’t necessary to have a great amp to make things sound from very good to excellent depending on the recording.


Thanks for the info. I was thinking along the same lines.



Here’s what I’m currently enjoying on the HD58X. I think I need to add some tracks from this to my test playlist because it’s really well recorded, has a lot of depth for exercising imaging, lots of acoustic instruments for checking timbre and is frankly more enjoyable than some of my audiophile staples like Toto and Steely Dan.


This one has always been considered an exceptional recording; on the 580s I can honestly say it sounds as good as I’ve heard it.
These cans seem made for recordings like this…just phenomenal.

I’m past the honeymoon phase with these and am still amazed at their performance. IMO the clarity is unheard of at this price; if I heard them blind I’d guess a much higher cost.

I’m listening from an iPhone 5 through a portable smp and I don’t even think to want more…simly can’t think of a time when I’ve been happier with an audio gear purchase :ok_hand:

(My HD650s must be getting lonely!)


Holy crap that’s good! It’s got the good kind of 80’s vibe to it, if that makes any sense. Definitely a product of its time, but not in a cheesy cliche kind of way.

I need to buy this. Do you recommend the original CD version or the remastered 20th anniversary edition?

Yeah, I’m in the same place. They actually keep growing on me, which is unusual. Typically, the longer I live with some headphones the more I find fault with them. Stuff that I originally thought of as flaws in the HD58X (e.g. not the blackest background) now seem integral to their sound and actually a positive (e.g. I now believe the lack of blackness in the background is actually faithful rendering of reverb that’s present in a lot of recordings but gets lost on a lot of headphones).

The HD58X sound so good that I find myself listening through whole albums from which I previously only picked and chose specific tracks because the rest bored me or sounded bad in some way. This is not because they expose some details I hadn’t heard before, but rather because they present the music very cohesively so that I can enjoy it for what it is.

The HD58X seem like “honest” headphones that present recordings as they are. They don’t editorialize or enhance, they just convey the music from the recording through my ears into my soul :slight_smile: By the same token, they don’t shine a light on imperfections either, so even relatively poor recordings don’t sound awful. For example, my departed DT 1990’s really emphasized mid treble, which flattered relatively neutral recordings by spicing up cymbals and the like, but on the other hand it really punished recordings that were already hot in the treble. The HD58X don’t use such tricks and just get out of the way of the music.

EDIT - The above description might make it seem like these are boring, analytical headphones that are good for checking recordings, but they don’t come across as that. Perhaps because of their slightly warm tilt they’re very musical and allow me to just lose myself in the music rather than picking it apart.


another awesome track with them…one of my all time favorite relax tracks!

I also keep going back to these artists and this song they remade from The Bob!

I’m going to plug the 58X into my Crack (hahaha, I don’t know if that will ever get old) this evening and see how it fares with it and these tracks. It seems as if the 58X shines more with Solid State amps…but we’ll do some science(not really just plugging things into things lol) this evenning.