Massdrop Sennheiser HD58X


Family has to come first like you say. Time management is always difficult when you have a young family. But you only get one chance with them. Enjoy them while they’re little, they don’t stay that way for long. My daughter is 19 now and at University. It only seems like yesterday when she was tottering about as a toddler.:grinning:



At the end of the day, what matters is what sounds good to you. I know that some people have fears about EQ introducing distortion, messing up phase, and so on. I’m admittedly not the most critical of critical listeners, but I’ve never really heard those problems myself. If you boost frequencies that were already distorted, you do boost the distortion, but that’s not EQ’s fault. The only thing I make sure to watch out for is applying enough negative pre-gain to counteract the maximum boost at any frequency to avoid clipping in the digital domain. In practice, even that is overkill because very little audio approaches 0 dBFS and on top of that I use ReplayGain which generally reduces levels even further.


Thanks for the advice. I would like to have a basic understanding of what I am doing as oppose to just tweaking away and not knowing how or why something sounds better to me. Thanks. I may message you if I get stuck. :grin:.



Please do!





So, due to some user error, I accidentally corrected based on measurements from my felt-modded HD58X, which caused me to over-compensate in the bass (amongst other things).

I finally bit the bullet and bough Neutron Player for my LG V20 so that I can get more than 6 EQ bands. So, here’s my latest:

Differences from previous:

  1. Milder bass and treble corrections
  2. Some slight adjustments to treble filter center frequencies
  3. Brought down 8300 Hz (I was feeling some fatigue and remembered that I’m sensitive to this area)
  4. Brought up the high treble (13 KHz) to get some more air and openness to the imaging


Good I am glad you’ve got neutron player. It’s very comprehensive but a little complex for the beginner in Eq like me. At least i can pick your brain now. Hehe. :grin:. I’ve got a busy week this week so haven’t been around much but will soon be posting more. I do read everything that’s posted daily though.



Yeah, now that I’ve given myself a little time to familiarize myself with the UI it’s actually pretty good. Entering EQ settings could be smoother, but at least there’s lots of configurability/power there.


I’ll have to hook up my old PlayBook to play around with some EQ on Neutron.
I’ve been using an iPhone with the foobar app for most listening over wi-fi from a PC. I use a HDD connected via USB to a router/modem when the PC is shut down

Neutron wants me to pay for the player again for iOs so I stuck with foobar so far.

The iOs foobar app might might have some eq capability which I haven’t tried so I need to check it out. It’s a great app but has a learning curve even if familiar with the PC version.
The initial learning curve isn’t as steep if you already know PC foobar well, as many components are pre-installed; but it doesn’t seem as full featured as the PC version, likely due to iOs/iPhone restrictions.


I’ve found the Neutron Player UI to be somewhat daunting. I’ve used it on and off for about 3 years because the feature set is very very good. There is some internal consistency within the settings. The part that drives me insane is if I allow it to start looking around my home network for audio files.

It has cataloged all of the sound effects from Windows, Linux, and Mac, and even turned saved voice mail messages into things that have popped up unwanted in a playlist. That may have been my user error, but the UI facilitated me in making it.


So, I learn something new every day. Most recently, I’ve been using Room EQ Wizard’s EQ designer to create my manual EQ settings. It helpfully provides a predicted frequency response based on the chosen filters. I was finding that things didn’t sound quite right, so I started making manual tweaks based on listening. I then remembered my older approach of analyzing full range pink noise in the Room EQ Wizard real-time analyzer. Here’s what the stock HD58X looks like in the analyzer. Note - this, as all pictures, is against a Harman-like target.

During this process, I realized that I had incorrectly entered some settings into Neutron which accounted for things not sounding quite “right”, so I went through a round of tweaking until the RTA showed a mostly flat response with some treble elevation and sub-bass rolloff (my preference from listening tests).

It looks pretty flat, with perhaps a little bass hump and low treble recession.

Putting those EQ settings back into the EQ designer though, I see this:

From about 200 Hz up it agrees pretty well with what I see in the analyzer, but below that the bass response is totally different. I think this means that the HD58X just isn’t able to produce as much bass response as I’m asking from it. Does that sound right to you @Torq?


Well, now I’m baffled. It must have been some kind of user error. I went in to see how the analyzer responds to me messing with the bass EQ in real time, and I found that now I’m getting the bass I was after. I could have sworn that I checked the seal on the ear cup that I was measuring, but now I’m thinking that I just had a bad seal between the headphones and the E.A.R.S. Now, with only +6 dB of gain in the bass, I get this:


That said, even at +6 dB the EQ designer predicts higher bass output than I’m seeing. Perhaps I still don’t have a perfect seal … In any case, it sounds nice, so maybe I should just listen to some music already!


You already beat me to commenting on what I suspect is the primary culprit here … seal on the measurement rig. This is a notorious pain with low frequency measurements, no matter the rig or headphones (it’s one case where a flat-plate coupler generally makes things easier/more consistent).

It is, also possible that you’re running into the limits of driver excursion (or drive voltage from the amp) and that’s limiting your ultimate low-frequency output potential - though I would generally expect both of those cases to be accompanied by a sudden, significant, increase in distortion.

My HD58X are supposed to arrive this week, so I’ll be able to join in the fun with those (you guys were having too much fun already … so I had to pull the trigger on a pair …).


Have you seen Metal571’s review/comparison on Reddit. He doesn’t seem to keen on the HD58x. Of course that’s fine as everyone’s not going to like it. I was a little surprised at him thinking build quality was an issue. And that there have been reports of cracks appearing in the cups. I haven’t heard of any failings. Have you come across any?

Just As an aside Metal571 is a respected reviewer and I respect his opinions. This post is in no way an attack on his views or character. I just wanted to get other people’s opinions on the. Build quality and if they’ve come across any issues with the cups cracking due to cheaper plastics being used in the production of the HD58x.

Also I know that there have been lots of people cry from the rooftop that the HD58x is basically a HD660. I don’t subscribe to this thought though. Sennheiser aren’t stupid and wouldn’t let this headphone on Massdrop to compete with its new flagship Of the 600 series.

I didn’t feel confident enough to bring this up on Reddit as I feel that I would have been jumped on.



Hmm… I haven’t heard anything on that front, interesting, I wonder what his sources are?


I don’t know. Build seems to be the same to me. I have never had any problems with Sennheiser products. But perhaps I’ve just been lucky, though as I have said before I do baby mine.



I just watched his video. I enjoy Metal571’s reviews, but I can’t say that I entirely agree with his conclusions.

I currently only own the HD58X, have previously owned the HD598 and HD600, but have never heard the HD650 or HD660S. Also, audio memory is known to be highly fallible, so my impressions of the HD598 and HD600 should carry less weight than his.

For reference, when I refer to distortion I’m using figures from for the HD58X, HD660S and HD599 (successor to the HD598).

What I think Metal571 Gets Right:

  • The HD598, HD58X and HD600 all have noticeable treble grain. In so far as the grain is a manifestation of distortion, we do see that in the midrange and treble, the HD650 and especially HD660S outperform the others in the distortion department, especially in the supposedly unpleasant 3rd harmonic distortion. In so far as this matters, recommending the only slightly more expensive HD6XX makes some sense.
  • If for no other reason than being tuned significantly differently in the bass, the HD58X can’t just be considered a drop-in replacement for the HD660S. Also, again based on the distortion figures, we see that it’s at least behaving differently than the HD660S, which has really low distortion in the midrange and treble.

What I think Metal571 gets wrong:

  • The bass on the HD58X sounds surprisingly clean to me. It won’t rival the LCD2C for example, but it sounds better than I remember the HD600 and much better than the HD598. Bass distortion, especially third harmonic, also measures really well. In fact, it measures better than the HD650 and HD660S, despite having relatively elevated bass (which seems pretty impressive to me). In light of this, recommending the HD598 over the HD58X seems baffling, especially if you have to resort to comparing the price of a used HD598 to a new HD58X.
  • Because the HD58X, HD650 and HD660S have different bass tuning, it seems like it would be difficult to compare “detail” in absolute terms, since the more abundant bass on the HD58X will tend to mask the higher frequencies that contribute to perceived detail.

I think people tend to get caught up in narratives like “these cheap headphones are giant slayers” or “don’t believe the hype”, when the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. This review was clearly a response to Zeos’ hyperbolic praise of the HD58X, and I think Metal571 may have gone too far in the other direction.

I’ve not heard nearly as many headphones as Metal571, but I’ve heard a fair number, and in my humble opinion the HD58X is a heck of a value at $150 new. Is it “better” than the HD660S? I couldn’t say, but I will say that it’s tuned differently and that tuning may or may not be to some people’s liking. Is the HD6XX a “better” choice given the similar price? Again, I couldn’t say, but again it’s tuned differently and so it will partially depend on listener preference.


As a side note…

I have not learned how to reliably distinguish “detail retrieval” from differences in frequency response. When I mess around with EQ, my perception of detail with the same exact headphones changes dramatically, and I have many of those moments of “wow, I’ve never heard this particular detail before”. After some longer listening sessions, I also come to realize that some other “details” go missing, and I have to conclude that I’m just biasing the frequency response towards one or another type of detail.

If anyone has any insights into this they’d be much appreciated :slight_smile:


Great response as ever @pwjazz I totally agree with all your conclusions. I do agree it may have been a cheeky nod to Zeos too. Not to take anything away from his review of course. Metal571 has far more experience than I do I take everything he has to say seriously. However I don’t have to agree with everything he says.