Massdrop Sennheiser HD58X


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.


I don’t know how readily available the original is but I’ve had the 20th anniversary edition for quite awhile now.

The remaster gets great reviews but I think it is a bit pricey now (I think approx $30->$40). Also, I’m not sure if it’s still the gold edition or if that was a limited run.

Honestly, I doubt any version doesn’t sound great.


Thanks. Prices for this are all over the place. I just bought the non-gold edition off eBay for $13.50, supposedly in Very Good condition.


You read my mind…was going to suggest eBay because the prices…as you say…are all over the map.

I don’t think there is a huge difference in SQ from what I’ve read and the CD was highly praised from the start. I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy with your purchase.:wink:


Ok, the 58x with the B.Crack…it slams…so much bass…it is an interesting listen for sure, it almost reminds me of my first listen with the CA Cascade. Just hard hitting, overwhelming bass, the lows just hang forever and don’t roll off and just keep rolling in like the a good ocean set (for those surfers in the group, imagine a steady swell with only a couple second intervals). That being said the Crack made this a very in a good way fuzzy and warm, like sitting in front of a nice fire and reading a good book.

Also wide, with precise mids and highs, if it wasn’t for the strong bass it would be an awesome reference set (specifically with the Crack). But I’m enjoying the listening a lot, I never would have thought I would be calling a pair of Senns “fun”; enjoyable, lively, analytical, etc…but not “fun”. Hmmm… I should say I am using the Dekoni Hybrid elite pads, so that is probably not helping/is helping the bass a bit. Ok it is really hard to find a track without lows, even acoustic tracks with guitarists just thumping their guitars…slam! Thump! Whoomp! ha there it is :wink:

Also the B.Crack has some serious power…barely moved the dial to get to 70-80db listening levels. Ok I’m acclimating to it. I think the reason the bass is so crazy to me is I was very much so not expecting it like this. These are almost as fun as my Fostex PH x00 (at least that is the feeling I’m getting) without the pronounced highs that the Fostex have. Enjoyable non-the less.


Fun, isn’t it?

You’ll find that bass increases markedly as you drift down from 300 ohms on the headphones. The HD58X will deliver substantially more bass, albeit with a tendency towards bloat, due to their 150 ohm impedance.

At the Bottlehead meet in Seattle a few months ago, a chap tried his 80 ohm Utopia on a Crack … his face was priceless … and he had no idea why there was suddenly such a massive increase in the bottom end, nor why, once he got past the shock of how MUCH bass there was, why it was so, comparatively, flabby.

Have you tried your TH-X00 PH on it yet? Given those are even lower impedance and have slightly elevated bass anyway, I can imagine they might be overpowering on it (can’t try mine until I put it together).


This is actually very accurate to what I’m hearing, I couldn’t quite find the words to what I was hearing and this “nail, meet head” ha.

To the Bottlehead Crack Cave Batman! dons Fostex X00PH “for science!”

Hmmm…Bass is mild compared to the 58x ( I mean mild for a Fostex) definetly getting the bloat though not as precise, but not as whoomphy as the 58x… mids are more forward, highs still up there but tamed more dialed in? Actually a very enjoyable listening experience minus the bloat of the bass (bloat new word of the day :wink: )…did I accidently open the door to bizarro land? What is happening brain melts ha!


Man, I need to listen to more Johnny Cash! I found this list of songs for testing headphones/speakers and on it was “Hurt” from the below album. Incredible song, sounds great on the HD58X.

As an experiment, I compared the LCD2C (equalized) with the HD58X on the first four of the listed songs. Based on the criteria listed in the article (mostly around instrument separation/clarity and balance), the equalized LCD2C fairly well trounces the HD58X. On the Johnny Cash song, the article lists dynamic range as a criterion, on which the HD58X comes out ahead, though not by a huge margin. What the article neglects to mention is timbral accuracy, which comes out most clearly when listening to Johnny Cash. On the guitars and especially on Johnny’s voice, the HD58X sounds much more real and natural, not just because of the timbre but because of better microdetail on things like string plucks, breath sounds, raspiness in the voice, and so on. The LCD2C really doesn’t sound bad on its own, but when juxtaposed against the HD58X it just sounds wrong.

Is it possible to get this incredible vocal and acoustic realism but with a blacker background, more clarity and better instrument separation? This might be the next windmill at which I tilt …


Pun inspired answer: You can find a much ‘blacker’ background with the first/original version of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor loves darkness…

Audio tests of covers versus originals…Postmodern Jukebox here we come…?


Haha, love it! The distortion on the original version is quite unsettling.


I’m digressing now, but I hadn’t listened to that NIN song in years, nor ever with quality headphones. It is truly and deeply creepy.

I’m still waiting for the jazz/pop/acoustic version of this landmark dance/metal genre bender:

It always used to make me laugh out loud–Depeche Mode in hell.


Well, it turns out that the HD58X can reveal previously hidden details. On Glenn Gould’s Sony recording of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, I can distinctly hear Gould humming on many of the tracks. At first I thought it was background noise of people talking in the studio (how rude!) but after looking it up, it turns out that Gould had a deeply ingrained habit of humming, including during his own playing.


My brother had a Vladimir Horowitz album with VERY obvious humming. It drove me crazy when he played it. Acoustic sources are so delicate that a lot of things can’t be avoided.


I finally applied the felt mod. So far, I’m enjoying the improved clarity and detail and the sound still seems weighty enough overall. Let’s see if that lasts!


Does the felt mod bring out the clarity then in your opinion? I have some coming this week and anything that bring out clarity is of interest to me. I will give them a good while before considering mods though.

By the way I am really into the Mayries at the moment. Their Black Beatles acoustic cover is a work of art.



Most definitely, but at the cost of bass. It really makes them sound even more like the Elex. So far it seems like a bit of a trader off-at really low listening volumes they sound a bit too lean I think, but at slightly higher volumes the clarity is very nice.


Thanks it’s worth keeping in mind should I want to change anything at a later date. I’ve heard that the 58x goes well with acoustic music so I am looking forward to hearing what they’re like. I am not expecting miracles but for the price the equate to good value.