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Headphones

Massdrop’s new $150 Sennheiser headphone is a slam dunk

The Audiophiliac has ears-on time with the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee.

The new Massdrop x Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee headphones pressed all the right buttons for me. 

This full-sized set is based on one of my all-time favorite classic Sennheisers, the HD580 that came out in the early 1990s! I still have my 580s on hand so I could directly compare both versions. Oh, and the HD58X's price is right -- it's $150 with free shipping in the US -- not bad for a serious audiophile headphone.  

The Massdrop x Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee headphones

Massdrop

So how does the HD58X compare with my original HD580? Glad you asked. I like the look and feel of the HD58X better; it's more contemporary, and the comfort of the two headphones is very good. I can wear either of these headphones for hours, no problem. The HD58X weighs 9.2 ounces, which is light for an over-the-ear headphone. It comes with a flexible user-replaceable 6-foot cable terminated with a 3.5mm plug. A 3.5mm-to-6.5mm adapter plug is included with the HD58X, and the headphone comes with a two-year warranty.

The HD58X is an open-back design so you can hear the world around you, and people around you can hear your music. Since it doesn't block external noise, the HD58X isn't the sort of headphone I'd wear on the New York subway or on a plane. It's mostly a stay at home headphone.

It's a very refined, very well-balanced sounding design; there's no booming bass or boosted treble -- the HD58X just tells it like it is. Switching over to my HD580s, the sound is a little less vibrant, less full and satisfying. The biggest change is the HD58X is more sensitive, so it plays louder at the same volume setting on my Schiit Asgard 2 headphone amplifier. Then again, some of the difference can be credited to the HD58X's impedance: it's rated at 150 ohms, which is higher than average, but the HD580 is a very high 300 ohms.

The 150-ohm impedance was a concern, so I tried listening on my iPhone 6S, which was the last iPhone to still have a 3.5mm analog headphone jack! The 6S had no problem lighting up the HD58X.

The Massdrop x Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee

Massdrop

I also compared the HD58X with a pair of Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 over-the-ear headphones ($300). The first thing I noticed is that the Momentum's have a bigger and fatter low-end, the HD58X is far more neutral. Same for vocals -- they sounded more natural over the HD58X, while the Momentums made vocals sound recessed and too lean. Further, the HD58X's stereo imaging sounded more spacious than the Momentum's. The latter is a closed-back design, so it has the advantage of hushing external noise, something the HD58X can't do.

So while there's a lot to like about the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee headphones, they're not for everybody. If, for example, you crave maximum bass impact and listen in noisy places, this headphone probably won't be ideal. But if you want a neutral sounding headphone that you can wear for hours at a time, the HD58X deserves your consideration.