The Sennheiser HD6XX and HD58X are arguably two of Drop’s (formerly Massdrop) most important headphones. These headphones helped create a new generation of audiophiles by offering the HD600 series in a more affordable package. They also helped Drop become one of the best places for your audiophile needs.
Both modes are very good headphones. However, potential buyers who have never owned open-back headphones or who have auditioned these models are often confused on which model to buy.
In this article, we will help you decide which of these two excellent models fit your use case better. We will discuss the differences in build quality, power requirements, and sound quality. Keep on scrolling to learn more about the Sennheiser X Drop HD58X and HD6XX.
Before we talk about the differences, let us quickly discuss the history and selling points of these two headphones.
Drop HD6XX vs. HD58X
The Sennheiser HD6XX was one of Drop’s first headphone collaborations. It is based on the legendary Sennheiser HD650 and pretty much changed the game since it made the HD650’s more affordable. And it was able to do this without sacrificing any of the key features of the HD650.
Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee
The Sennheiser HD58X was born thanks to the huge success of the Sennheiser HD6XX. But unlike the HD6XX, the HD58X is an original model.
It is the spiritual successor to the original Sennheiser HD580. However, it has a completely different design and sound signature that clearly makes it more of a modern-day Sennheiser headphone.
The Sennheiser HD6XX and HD58X are both based on the Sennheiser HD600 series that first came to life in the form of the Sennheiser HD580 (released in 1995). There were very few major changes in the design of these headphones because Sennheiser pretty much nailed it the first time around.
And what this means is that almost all headphones in the HD600 family look identical. That isn’t a bad thing since this essentially means that all models in this series come with high quality and reliable build.
It is mostly using plastic with metal reinforcement on the hinges and the headband. But this construction has been proven to last for years without running into major issues. And in case anything breaks, Sennheiser offers replacement parts for any part of the headphone.
All Sennheiser HD600 headphones are also utilizing the proprietary Sennheiser 2-Pin cable, which is pretty reliable. And despite being a proprietary connector, they are widely available, making replacing or upgrading the cable very easy.
Now, going back to the HD58X and HD6XX, there are some minor differences in terms of their aesthetics. One of the major differences lies with the Sennheiser HD58X’s grill design. There is a foam that partially covers the drivers making the look of the HD58X distinct from the hD6XX.
Another difference is that the HD58X has a glossy finish with slightly mismatched colors. The HD6XX, on the other hand, has a cleaner and more consistent look. But aside from those, the build quality on both headphones is identical.
One of the major differences between the two models is the power requirements. The Sennheiser HD6XX has an impedance of 300 ohms, while the HD 58X only has an impedance of 150 ohms. If you are not familiar with the term headphone impedance, you can check out our dedicated article.
But to make things short, headphone impedance is one of the factors that determine whether or not a headphone will require a headphone amplifier. Since the HD6XX has a high headphone impedance, it will need a headphone amplifier.
The Sennheiser HD58X, on the other hand, does not necessarily need a headphone amplifier. Its lower impedance allows it to be easily driven by more devices such as smartphones, gaming consoles, and your PC’s onboard soundcard.
But at the same time, the Sennheiser HD58X can benefit from having a headphone amplifier. Getting a device with more driving power will unlock the HD58X’s full potential. It will allow these headphones to sound more open and have a tighter bass response.
One advantage that the Sennheiser HD6XX over the HD58X is that it scales better with more high-end equipment. Feeding it with more power or using it with tube headphone amplifiers can alter and improve the sound of the HD6XX.
The HD58X’s lower impedance does not allow it to scale as well as the Sennheiser HD6XX. But, of course, it will still see some improvements if paired with higher quality sources.
Let us break down the key frequencies as well as which headphone technically performs better.
The biggest difference between the Sennheiser HD58X and HD6XX is the sound quality. Both have key qualities of the HD600 series sound signature; specifically, the midrange focused sound. However, the HD 58X and HD6XX have their own characteristics that separate them from the rest of the HD6XX lineup.
The HD6XX follows the exact sound signature of the Sennheiser HD650. It is a neutral pair with more focus on the upper mids and treble. It has more focus on clarity and accuracy.
The HD58X, on the other hand, has more focus on the low end and in the lower mids. It is a more fun-sounding headphone with less focus on accuracy.
But despite its less accurate sound, the HD58X can still do anything that the HD6XX excels at. It can still be used for professional applications such as monitoring and mixing. It also does well with gaming.
However, the resolution and detail that you get from the upper frequencies will be less resolving compared to the HD6XX.
In terms of the bass response, both headphones aren’t designed to deliver thundering sub-bass. The HD600 series was designed to deliver a neutral and accurate sounding bass, so you won’t get any bloat or exaggerated low end in both of these models.
But with that said, the Sennheiser HD58X has more forward mid-bass compared to the HD6XX. This makes them more fun-sounding compared to the HD6XX. This emphasis on the mid-bass makes instruments such as the bass guitar or kick drum pop out more.
The HD6XX, on the other hand, has a more neutral bass response. It is still heard and can be felt. However, when compared to the other frequencies, the HD6XX can sound very light on the bass side.
Both models do a great job in highlighting the mids, which is what the HD600 series is known for. But, there are some key differences. The HD6XX is more focused on the upper mids, while the HD 58X is more focused on the lower mids.
The HD6XX tends to overall sound clearer, but they can also sound a bit too shouty for some. This essentially means that elements in the upper midrange can be too overwhelming and fatiguing for some.
The HD58X, on the other hand, consistently offers a more smooth, relaxed upper midrange that never sounds fatiguing. Of course, this comes at the cost of losing those micro details and clarity that you get with the HD6XX.
Ultimately, it will come down to your personal preference. But if you are looking for a more accurate sounding and detailed pair, the HD6XX takes the cake on this one.
But with that said, the performance of these headphones in the vocal department is very similar. The differences are quite small, and you will only start noticing them during extended sessions and when you are comparing both headphones side by side.
The upper frequencies is where you start seeing some major differences between the two headphones. The highs on the HD6XX are clearer, more detailed, and have an overall better resolution than the HD58X.
It manages to do it in a smooth and effortless manner. Instruments such as cymbals never sound too harsh or piercing.
The highs on the HD58X are quite similar in such a way that they also have a smooth presentation. But they lack the quality and technical performance of the HD6XX’s highs. This makes the overall sound signature of the HD58X warmer compared to the HD6XX.
This is, of course, not a bad thing since it guarantees that the HD58X will never be fatiguing for long listening sessions. But in terms of overall technical performance and accuracy in the high frequencies, the HD6XX takes the cake.
Imaging and Soundstage
Winner: Sennheiser HD6XX
The soundstage of these two models is very similar. The Sennheiser HD600 series isn’t well-known for its soundstage. It is wider sounding than closed-back headphones but does not sound as open as other models such as the Sennheiser HD800s.
The same is true for both the HD6XX and HD58X. But the main benefit is that you aren’t getting any artificial sounding soundstage. What you hear is a realistic presentation of how wide each track is supposed to sound.
Also, the soundstage shouldn’t be an issue for gaming. The stage feels wide enough for all in-game elements to be positioned well. Both of these headphones will surely outperform any digital soundstage expansion found on most gaming headsets.
The imaging is, however, where these two models slightly differ. The imaging of the HD58X isn’t as good as the HD6XX. It is still very much capable of showing the directions of different sound elements, but it just doesn’t feel as effortless as the HD6XX.
This may be due to the HD58X’s less technical upper midrange and treble response. That is, unfortunately, the tradeoff that you get with the more fund sounding and relaxed nature of the HD58X.
Which Headphone is For You?
Now the biggest question that you might be asking is, which headphone is for you? Both are very good models with very close price points, so it can be quite difficult to make a decision.
Best For Beginners
If you are looking to get your first pair of open-back headphones, then we highly recommend going for the Sennheiser HD 58X. With its lower power requirements, it is guaranteed to work with any setup that you currently have. And if you wish to explore the vast world of headphone amplifiers and DAC/Amps, then the HD58X will still show improvements.
Additionally, its sound signature is not too analytical. This prevents it from sounding too boring and should fit with a wide variety of genres. But, of course, the HD58X does this without sacrificing the accuracy of its sound.
If you already own an entry-level open-back headphone such as the Philips SHP 9500 and if you have already invested in headphone amplifiers or DAC/Amps, then we recommend going straight to the Sennheiser HD6XX.
Its analytical sound signature, resolution, and detail retrieval will prove to be more resolving than lower-priced headphones, including the HD58X. Its clearer upper midrange and treble and better imaging will reveal more details making listening to high-resolution tracks more enjoyable.
Additionally, if you also plan on upgrading your sources, then the HD6XX will scale well with them. Its higher impedance makes it synergize well with powerful amplifiers as well as tube headphone amplifiers. Overall, if you are looking for the better headphone, in the long run, the HD6XX is your best bet. See our recommended DAC/Amps for Sennheiser headphones here.