Massdrop Sennheiser HD58X


Ah, the frustrations of comparing headphones head to head! For this morning’s listening, I had set the volume to a level that I thought sounded good on the HD58X. For fun, I tried turning up the Elex and now I see what people mean by the detail retrieval and clarity! Also, it really fills in the bottom end nicely and they no longer sound overly lean. Going back to the HD58X at this new volume it sounds muddy and congested by comparison. To be clear, this isn’t super loud, I’m reading at around 65 dBA on my handheld meter while listening to music, with peaks around 70 dBA.

So, in a nutshell, I can either listen to the HD58X fairly quietly and get pretty darned good sound quality, or listen to the Elex more loudly and get what at the moment seems like fairly spectacular sound quality. So, HD58X for daytime background listening, Elex for critical listening and LCD2C for evening relaxation? So much for whittling down my collection I guess :frowning:


This is a good reminder the people’s opinions about headphones don’t really mean much without knowing what kind of volume they’re listening at :slight_smile: I’ve read some opinions of the HD58X that it’s muddy and lacks detail, and others that it rivals and in some ways surpasses the HD600 and really isn’t far off in detail retrieval. I suspect that both are right, just depending on how loud you tend to listen.


I was about to say I do tend to hover right around the 75-80db when listening, and I try to match db over volume if that makes sense. But to I agree the Elex really shines when it has more power going through it.

The Fostex x00 for me is a headphone that just hits awesome Highs and thumps in the lows, mids aren’t bad but not where it “shines” it is just an overall enjoyable listening experience on majority of what I listen to.

The HD800 is exceptional at detail, and width and I just honestly prefer the sound signature, “it gets me!” slams bedroom door “gosh!!!” lol anyhow I think that I just enjoy what the HD800 provides, not the most “fun” experience but lively and anayltical, with accuracy that makes me giddy lol.

I am flirting with the CA Cascade as a possible replacement for the Fostex x00 but something just isn’t right about them…plus I had my first ever “hot spot” moment with headphones with them last night while listening…I may play with them some more but them and the Elex are on my short list of cans to trade for different ones right now ( I am looking at the Fostex 900mk2 as my next headphone possibly) I wish I could justify throwing $2500 at the HD820, based on what @Torq has been saying about them, they would be my end game closed backs (I’m lying there is no end game…just more headphones…and more headphones…foooorrrrreeeevvvveeeerrrrrr!).


I find if I listen too long at those levels, I get a little fatigued which is probably a sign that I’m not doing my ears any good.

Until the HD820S :slight_smile:

Yeah, I’m listening to them with an eye towards whether to keep them or not. I will say that at the right volume, they sound better than the HD58X. Do they sound 4 times as good? Do the HD58X sound good enough for daily casual listening? Do I need cans just for critical listening?


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.