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Upgrading from my HD58x ? HD6xx or something else ?

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#1
Hi everyone.

I know this question has been covered on many forums, but, after about a month reading all threads I could find, and after buying the HD58x, I'm still thinking about the HD650/HD6xx.
My only other pair of headphones are original M50s, with upgraded pads.

The reason I bought the HD58x first was because:
* I had never used massdrop before, wanted to see how it goes customs-wise (am from EU)
* I came from M50 which is known to have strong bass. The sub bass boost of HD58x attracted me.
* I had no DAC/Amp. I now have a Topping NX4 DSD, and I'm going to get the JDS Lab Atom if I get the HD650.

Now, after one month of using the HD58x, listening to a lot of different tracks, I find this headphone really versatile and good.
When bass boost is enabled, I absolutely love EDM with these. I listen to Melodic EDM, with vocals, vocal dubstep, things like this.
And, to be honest, I actually prefer the HD58x bass compared to my M50s, after a month of using exclusively the HD58x.

As for other genres, I really love the HD58x with pretty much everything. Rock, Pop, Metal.. except that one time where I found them a bit too bright/aggressive.

When I got my hands the HD58x, I found them a bit bland at first, but instrument separation, clean bass not bleeding into the mids, clarity (I'm not native English speaker, and found that I was able to understand more lyrics with the HD58x), really made me smile.
Also, I used to play guitar when I was younger and still play a bit, and I really found that guitars sounded so natural.
On the other hand, when I had my M50, I would sometimes feel like that bass guitars were almost sounding like computer-generated, whereas same song with HD58x would just sound more natural and detailed.

Since the HD650 is a reference, always used as comparison (and since I can get one for ~160€ used), I still have the itch to buy it. But, as I find 58x's tonality, bass and all awesome, I'm not sure.
Will I get more details / micro-details ? Will instrument separation be even better ?

What's your take, guys ?
Worth getting this + atom (260€), or should I just try something completely different, since I'm really "new" to the headphone game, that would allow me to better know my taste ?
Worth getting the HD650 to try with the Topping NX4 only, if I don't care much about headroom ?

Ha. And I read that HD650 undergone a few revisions. The used HD650 I can get it some 2015, so should be pretty much the same as the current HD650/6xx, right ?
Is there something like a serial number lookup I can do to find out which revision it is ?

Lots of questions, I know. :)
 

dc655321

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#2
Worth getting the HD650 to try with the Topping NX4 only, if I don't care much about headroom ?
Unless you listen at ear-damaging volume all of the time, the NX4 works fine with the hd-6xx.
I have both and (IMO) find neither lacking.
 

flipflop

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#3
You have HD 58X and consider buying HD 6XX because you want better sound quality? Might as well just equalize your headphones and save $200.
 

jasonq997

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#4
You have HD 58X and consider buying HD 6XX because you want better sound quality? Might as well just equalize your headphones and save $200.
I think 6XX is a sound quality upgrade for me based on my personal taste. The drivers in the 58X produce a thinner and rougher sound that I don't think you can equalize away to make it sound like a 650. Good headphones, but different enough, and each has it's own use case.
 

flipflop

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#6
The drivers in the 58X produce a thinner and rougher sound that I don't think you can equalize away to make it sound like a 650.
You can bring up the bass with EQ. I don't know what you mean by "rougher".
Good headphones, but different enough, and each has it's own use case.
The models are almost identical. How are the use cases different?
 

jasonq997

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#7
You can bring up the bass with EQ. I don't know what you mean by "rougher".

The models are almost identical. How are the use cases different?
You are incorrect. The models are definitely not identical. You are probably thinking that 58x is the HD600. It is not. It has a different driver which is easier to drive and has a different sound, and therefore thrives in a different use case.
 
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#9
@dc655321 Yes, I think NX4 DSD will be enough, I don't listen at high volume all the time. But I read that the HD650 has impedance spikes and therefore would benefit from more power.

@twsecrest Why another DAC ?

@flipflop The problem is HD58x doesn't have HD650 drivers, nor HD660 drivers as some reviewers spread.
That being said, solderdude's review goes through a "mod" than can make it measure almost the same as the 660s, but still not exactly the same.
 
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#10
Haha, we replied at the same time, and, in my reply, I was talking about your article.
I read your article as well as the PDF multiple times.

I think I will try the mod described in the article, I bought the AKG K240 froam and only need double sided tape.

If I don't hear much difference, I guess i'll pass on the HD650.
On the other hand, if I find the subtle differences being worth buying another headphone, I'll give the HD650 / HD6xx a try.

How does that sound ?
 
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#12
How is it a problem they don't have the same drivers?
Well if they had the same drivers I would see no reason to buy the other. But it's not a problem per se.

@solderdude I'm not sure I had read the updated article.
One consequence is that the proposed modification does not work any more for HD58X with this driver and is why these findings are posted here.
proposed modification = AKG K240 mod, right ?
If it doesn't work anymore, does it mean it has no effects, not the same effect ?
What happens if you do the modification on a revised HD58x ?
 

solderdude

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#13
The 5kHz passive filter makes the HD58X smoother sounding in the treble. It does not look like it would make a big difference when looking at the plots but it takes the slight 'edge' of a bit.
After all this is a cheap headphone that is not intended to compete or replace the HD650.

The HD650 is a bit more refined but less 'tight' in the bass. A subtle difference but audible.

The HD650 and HD58X are about the same when it comes to efficiency the difference is small and not nearly of the magnitude some make it out to be.
The difference between 150 and 300 Ohm isn't big and the actual power efficiency of the HD650 is actually higher.
 

solderdude

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#14
Well if they had the same drivers I would see no reason to buy the other. But it's not a problem per se.

@solderdude I'm not sure I had read the updated article.

proposed modification = AKG K240 mod, right ?
If it doesn't work anymore, does it mean it has no effects, not the same effect ? I'm a bit lost now...
The 'problem' is that I suspect the later series of HD58X differ from the first run.
This is based on measurements of a newer version and reported sound signatures.
It still is unclear if the latest HD58X I measured is an outlier (an isolated case) or not.
Given the channel matching I think it is a silent product change not sanctioned nor asked by Massdrop.

The FR of the newer version differs more from the HD650 (in tonal balance) than the first version.
The newer version (if that is what I actually measured) doesn't have the mid-bass hump and that's what the mod was for.
Also this newer version cannot be 'converted' easily to becoming scaringly close to the HD660S.

It makes sense for Sennheiser to change the tuning a bit so it is a more 'different' product from their more expensive line.

So... when you have one from the original (first) drop then modifying it will make it 'better' and closer to the HD660S.
Performing the same mods on the later drop versions will change the signature but not as intended.
Fortunately it is a totally reversible mod so try it anyway and see what it does.
Just make 100% sure you do not drop anything in the magnet hole.
The foam in the cups is there to prevent dust and other small crap to get in there.
 
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#16
Haha, we replied at the same time, and, in my reply, I was talking about your article.
I read your article as well as the PDF multiple times.
I think I will try the mod described in the article, I bought the AKG K240 froam and only need double sided tape.
If I don't hear much difference, I guess i'll pass on the HD650.
On the other hand, if I find the subtle differences being worth buying another headphone, I'll give the HD650 / HD6xx a try.
How does that sound ?
I really like the sound of my HD58X and my best guess is most would only find minor improvement going to the HD600/HD650/HD6XX.
If you had something like a BottleHead Crack (w/Speedball) tube headphone amplifier, then the 300-Ohm HD600/HD650/HD6XX might be more of a worthwhile upgrade.
I'm currently running my HD58X off my Darkvoice 336SE OTL tube headphone amplifier, sounds good to me :)
 
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#17
I really like the sound of my HD58X and my best guess is most would only find minor improvement going to the HD600/HD650/HD6XX.
If you had something like a BottleHead Crack (w/Speedball) tube headphone amplifier, then the 300-Ohm HD600/HD650/HD6XX might be more of a worthwhile upgrade.
But... it's still a guess, also I am inclined to think about the same.

I was indeed considering the BottleHead crack after reading it is THE perfect match for HD6xx.
But after a lot of reading, I considered the Atom since, if I understood it well, bottlehead crack makes a perfect match due to it's high power and high output impedance. It felt a bit like a waste to me to build a amp only good for high impedance headphones, which means only for a few (and old? correct me if I'm wrong, n00b here.) headphones.

I think I should just hunt for another headphone in 200-300e price range... instead of spending that much into an amp that will only be good: at home, and with one headphone. Should this amp break, I'll also be very sad and will not be able to justify again spending that much for a pairing with only one headphone.

I'm only 26 years old, I don't need to find my end game now. :)

By the way, I really find the headphone world crazy.
Even more now, that I seen this HD58x outlier thing with @solderdude ... if there was indeed a silent revision, this is a just nuts.
So I could even say "but @twsecrest has the original drop hd58x, totally not the same as mine !!" ..
 
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#18
The 'problem' is that I suspect the later series of HD58X differ from the first run.
This is based on measurements of a newer version and reported sound signatures.
It still is unclear if the latest HD58X I measured is an outlier (an isolated case) or not.
This is just nuts, I hope you'll figure this out.

And thanks again for your review, I reads most reviews I could find and I have to say that yours felt like god-tiers one, even including MEASURED mods... was bliss to find!

When you said "more refined" earlier, what does that mean exactly ?
 

solderdude

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#19
softer, sweeter highs or 'smoother' in the treble range.
 
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#20
Alright, thanks a lot.

Might get a 2015 HD650 for 160€ :facepalm: Shouldn't be too different from HD6xx
 
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