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Sennheiser HD 58X vs HD 6XX: which of the two "tells the truth"?

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#1
This is my first time in this section, so hello to you all. This forum is a very interesting place. I own an Apogee Groove which I've had at a steal price and after reading in search for a decent pair of headphones I ordered Sennheiser HD 58X from (mass)Drop a couple of days ago. Not yet shipped and I'm still not sure which one between 58X and 6XX would suit better my needs, could it still be possible to pay the difference and get the 6XX. I haven't so far listened to neither of the two, so it's everything "in theory"....I just want a of headphone which reproduces instruments how they are. I know that both recording and playing back are an "artificial" thing but I'll try to explain my perspective, maybe a little different from a true audiophile, so I hope I will not bother you too much. I beg your pardon in advance...
I am a professional musician and what I like to hear is a reliable relation between sounds without extra emphasis (it's dynamic; clarity; neutrality? don't know), exactly what I'm going for when playing the piano, be at home or on stage. Also important is the timbre, the closer to reality as possible.
Today I was working at a Schumann's piece and, as I often do, I was recording and hearing back little fragments for practice purpose. Hearing with my old AKG K141 Studio was not bad; round sound, absolutely not dry with very sweet and rolled off treble but.... everything absolutely false! I've tried with two different sets of condenser microphones placed 30 cm close to the soundboard and nothing of the upper harmonic was there in the recording, nothing of the raw articulation of the close-miking sound was there. Then I listened with my 20 Euros Apple EarPods; not pleasant, but I heard what I played. Then with a super-crap pair of earphones which came with an ultra cheap smartphone; horrible sound, but still the proportions were there.
Listening to classical music cd's ( piano, chamber music, symphonic) I agree that my AKG put a more pleasant sound in my ears than iPhone pods, but I also ask headphones to tell the truth. Don't need to mix in order to highlight every little detail of a raw recording, just want something which sounds like the recording is.
I came up to ordering Sennheiser 58X having read that they are "natural" and mostly flat and they don't have any particularly recessed part of the frequency range. I live in Europe, so also chose 58X because they can be bought only in US ( unlike HD650) so in case I don't like them it will not be that easy to sell them here with a minimum loss of money. Do you consider it a good choice or should I have opted for 6XX, given what my needs are? I think both of them could be easily driven from my Apogee Groove, which has no problem with headphones from 150 ohm to 600.
Thank you very much for reading me, and I thank you for not falling asleep and giving me an advice!
 

andreasmaaan

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#2
The HD580 and HD650 on which each of those massdrop headphones is based have more in common than they they have separating them.

Rtings' measurements of the two can be compared here. I think you'd find yourself similarly satisfied with either pair.
 

m_g_s_g

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#3
I bought the HD6XX some time ago after reading many HD6XX vs HD58X threads without reaching a clear conclusion. I also suffered from buyer's regret until I received them. I am quite happy now. I feed them with a Shiit Heresy amp, but sometimes even with my iPad and phone ("workable at > 90% volume"). Classical music sounds very pleasing and natural to me with them.

I haven't tried the HD58X, but they are easier to drive and seem not to be that different. According to Amir's review of the Apogee Groove, they may be the better choice for you, since for the HC650 "...while comfortable, the bass was not as impactful as I am used with desktop products."
 

Darwin

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#4
I definetly noticed the bass of the 58x but overall prefer the 6XX for better overall detail. Either is a steal.
 

solderdude

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#6
The HD580 is a HD600 with a different grill.
The HD58X is quite different from a HD580. They only share the HD58* because it was intended as an ode to the HD580 which started the famous headphone line. The first Alex Grell headphones design (he left Sennheiser about a year ago)

below HD600 (same as HD580 of old) vs HD58X



below the HD650 (= HD6XX with a different cable + paintjob) vs. HD58X



HD58X and HD6XX are closer to each other than HD580 and HD58X.

HD58X has a bit better bass extension (a complaint of the HD6** line) and lowered clarity (an often mentioned complaint of the HD600 which some find to strident).
As raistlin65 said the differences are small and a matter of taste.
The plots look alike a lot but use a HD650 and dial back the 3kHz slider about 3dB and the 16kHz 2dB and push the 40Hz slider up by 3dB and you are closer. 2-3 dB is audible.

I perceive the HD58X to be better (tighter) in the bass and the HD650 to be 'smoother' in the treble and having a tad more clarity.
Both are very good headphones, HD58X has slightly better VFM over HD6XX.

B.t.w. I still have the HD58X prototype which was closer to the original HD580
Below the differences between the prototype and the final version. HD58X proto had too much bass roll-off and was too strident in the very audible 5khz area.
Orig versus Production HD58X.png
 
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OP
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Thread Starter #7
Thank you all so much for your advice...I have 58X shipping and I'll receive them in a week or so. Probably the are a good "all-rounders" ( listen with/without dac amp, recording myself, listening to music) etc. In the meanwhile I found a website containing some tests for headphones/ hearing capabilities. Given that being 56 y-old I haven't been able to hear a tone over 17.000 I report that at that frequency I could barely perceive the tone with my Apple EarPods while my Akg K141 studio at about the same spl didn't "show" anything over 16.000.
Kept fiddling around with the onboard EQ in Mac OS Music ( no Flac, I know) and discovered that lowering down the 125-250 khz region and raising a little bit the 8khz on my Akg made the sound more transparent and neutral and finally I had the impression to hear more treble.
It would be nice if there was a free and easy way to "export" different profiles to other players thank stock OS music and set them in different circumstances ( send to loudspeakers, internal speakers or different sets of headphones).
 

JohnYang1997

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#8
comparing to truth
58x is warmer more bass tonality is good out of the box but as earpads wear in it becomes darker than it should.
6xx is less bassy but has little extra mid bass than truth. 1-2khz is recessed than truth, 3khz energy is on point unlike hd600(too much). Treble is on the slight dark side. As the earpads wear in it gets more enjoyable.
 

JohnYang1997

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#9
Bonus:
hd600 is hd650 with upper tilt. A bit too much 3khz energy. 5khz and upwards is good. Bass is a little light.
hd660s has recessed 2-5khz. In perception the 500-1000hz thickness is obvious. Due to that treble after 5khz is not attenuated the detail is remained and has better spacial awareness than older models. Good headphones for long period listening.
 

solderdude

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#10
for completeness HD650 vs HD600



and to top it all off with the HD660S a comparison with HD600 and HD650



The HD660S is so easily forgotten these days. It basically is a slightly more 'laid back' version of the HD650
 
OP
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Thread Starter #11
comparing to truth
58x is warmer more bass tonality is good out of the box but as earpads wear in it becomes darker than it should.
6xx is less bassy but has little extra mid bass than truth. 1-2khz is recessed than truth, 3khz energy is on point unlike hd600(too much). Treble is on the slight dark side. As the earpads wear in it gets more enjoyable.
Probably when worn out pads should be replaced with more “treble-favourable“ pads (should they exist)?
 
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Thread Starter #13
@solderdude It seems to happen a moderate loss in the treble...anyway it should take some time from new. I guess, when time comes to replace them, 58X could share the same pads with HD660. Being not 58X in the Sennheiser catalogue, just wondering if it will be easy to find at need.
 

solderdude

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#14
HD580, HD600, HD650, HD660S, HD58X and HD6XX all have the same pads.

When new the pads are quite stiff. Over time the foam degenerates, becomes soft.
This process depends on a few factors such as how the headphones are stored, clamping force (can be lowered), wear, and 'chemicals' on the skin etc.
The pads will compress much further then when new.
Of course, when brand new they also need to become a little less stiffer which happens in the first few weeks.

I recommend to always use original pads.
Yes, they are expensive but aftermarket pads will perform differently, this may be in a negative way or positive way.
The pads do not need changing already after a few years, they can last longer but depends on usage.

You can always use some EQ if you want them brighter, sparklier, less warm or have more subbass.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #16
I received my 58X yesterday in Italy....I have to say very fast having ordered them on April 20th.
From what I've listened so far I am satisfied of the purchase. The strong points of these headphones to me rely on the accurate reproduction of the timbre of instruments, and also the micro-dynamic details of music which allow to hear different articulations within an orchestra. They play good out of my Mac, even better with Apogee Groove which pulls out more energy. Probably the smoothest matching I've found is with my old Linn Majik-I integrated amplifier's headphone out ( I'm pretty sure it has a dedicate amp inside); very hard comparison, though, as I can easily comare my iMac vs. Grove playing a flac file while I have to put some cd's in my cd player to test the amplifier.
The only little flaw I've found so far is I miss some high frequency resonances; just a little step-back from the closeness to the sound I feel while hearing the midrange and the bass. Not enough to call it unbalance due to the general clearness, but still something.
Don't know how it's going to evolve with use. Or, maybe, reducing a little bit the clamping force ( which I don't mind in itself) will produce a slightly brighter response?
 

shellback

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#17
Would the 6XX still be considered a good deal at the new price of $220?

It was $190 a day ago and they raised the price on it and the 58X by 12%
 
OP
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Thread Starter #18
Don't really know....it seems I was one of the last customers to get 58X for 150 dollars. If you live in USA maybe yes, not if you're from Europe...adding shipping costs plus VAT and Fedex fees it would end up costing maybe 50 only euros less than HD 650 directly from Sennheiser.
Given that it has been my first purchase I've had a 20 dollars off, so it ended up costing less than 180 euros, still a good price.
 

Svperstar

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#19
I own the 580, 58X, 6XX.

At the end of the day they are basically the same thing. Buy any of them and be happy.
 

Tks

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#20
for completeness HD650 vs HD600



and to top it all off with the HD660S a comparison with HD600 and HD650



The HD660S is so easily forgotten these days. It basically is a slightly more 'laid back' version of the HD650
Got a comparison between the 58X and 660S?

I feel nearly all headphones with same driver specs are literally the same, just repackaged and sold off to different audiences for different prices.. (which is why the 600 and 650 are virtually the same to me outside of driver revision or housing differences..).

I feel if someone could get a 10-20 sameple size of each SKU, this belief of mine would be verified without any doubt.
 

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