Massdrop (currently Drop) collaborated with Sennheiser to create an entry level open back headphones. It borrows the design of the Sennheiser HD580 Jubilee (which then became HD600) while being price fairly low in comparison of the HD600 lineup.
In the box
- HD58X Headphones
- 3.5mm OFC Cable
- ¼ in (6.35 mm) adapter
Build quality and accessories
Build quality feels good however the materials used feel average at best. The plastic feels cheap, the grills don’t feel premium as on higher end models. The cable is stiff and janky with a very short Y split. Considering the price though everything but the cable is acceptable.
Fit and comfort
Fit is quite good, there’s a lot of adjustment on the headband to make sure the headphones fit correctly. However comfort in my case isn’t great, the clamp pressure is too high and it feels like the headphones want to squeeze my brain out, because of that I could only use them for an hour or so at the time.
I’ll preface this section by saying I have removed the foam from behind of the drivers, to me this improves their staging as well as high end extension and I highly recommend this to anyone who owns them.
In general I would consider the HD58X a warm headphone with very pleasant tonality and decent timbre. It’s tonally very close to it’s bigger sibling HD660s.
Quite warm, especially in the midbass area with good extension, average texture and speed. It can get a bit bloated if the mix gets busy. On songs such as “Trentemøller – Evil Dub” some details are hard to catch and lack texture, likewise on “Hans Zimmer – Mountains” the crescendo has a bit of distortion.
Forward and intimate. The vocals are very intimate, instruments have a decent timbre to them with a quite fast decay for a dynamic especially at this price. The problem comes with classical recordings where the instruments should have some air to them and in the case of HD58X this feels lacking and every instrument is squished together. If you like Rock or Jazz this will work well for you.
My biggest gripe with the HD58X is their treble, it lacks air and sparkle, even though tonally speaking it is close to neutral. It’s just boring and dry, lacks engagement. Even though the detail is present the headphones don’t invite us to listen and notice it as much as I would like.
Imaging and Soundstage
The staging is very very narrow, it sounds narrower than many IEMs and closed headphones I’ve heard. Depth is a bit better which works quite well for vocals. Because of that the imaging is just good, the separation is too lacking for it to be more than that.
The HD58X are interesting, if only because of the price point they occupy, that is to say their merit its limited, or rather tied to their low cost of entry. This is not limited to their msrp, rather it extends to their source chain demands, or the lack thereof. Tonally speaking, the HD58X invites comparison, bearing striking resemblance to the HD660S, however, its staging, or lack there of highlights the vast gulf between the headphones. The “soundstage” on the HD58X, at least to me, seems to be more suggestion than fact, the experience not dissimilar to smushing both of your hands on your face, stifling. My willful hyperbole aside, if audio is merely a passing fancy, and you don’t plan on investing in better source gear. The HD58X with its easy to like tonality, decent imaging, and acceptable build, is hard to beat at the msrp of 150USD, as long as you enjoy squishing your hands against your face.
Overall HD58X is a good introduction to the “higher end” audio. It has a tonality that’s hard to hate, decent detail retrieval but lacks in the soundstage and imaging department. However at the price point of 150$ it’s really hard to beat especially for someone who doesn’t want to invest into any more gear, as they don’t require a great source to sound well.