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This is my first Massdrop and I am so excited for these! I can't wait until July. I'm new to the audiophile arena so the price here $149.99 and all the reviews have me absolutely giddy. I don't fully understand all of the audiophile jargon but bit by bit it's starting to make sense and $149.99 is very very palatable for trying something new like this. On that note, this community seems well informed, I've been reading a lot of the comments here and taking notes. To use these; and any other headphones I might get, to their full potential, what else do you recommend I get? I've been reading up on DAC's but have no idea where to start. I was thinking of one dedicated for my desktop and one for mobile listening as I also have a pair of Audio-Technica M50x that I am now realizing I'm not using to their potential. Anyway, thanks!
Thanks for the tips! I will check all of those out.
Enjoy your journey!
If you go for a desktop solution: the modi 2/magni 3 Schiit stack is very highly rated at the price. Above that there’s the audio GD NFB 11 or R2R 11 which Z almost worships (audioGoD he calls them). But these may be a little overkill for the 58x and M50x.
I recommend the Schitt Fulla 2. It’s excellent for $99
I have that on my Amazon wish list now.
What is your opinion on the sound quality of the E5 versus me going the route of the Mica Origen or SMSL M3? The more i look, the less I care about this being portable and the more I care about it being just dedicated to my desktop for movies, music and games.
i would HIGHLY recommend a fiio Q1 as your first dac, its cheap and will get you great sound worth twice what you will pay for it... only problem is it does not pump tons of juice... but since these are supposed to be efficient enough to be driven by phones and such i doubt that will be any sort of problem. I also picked up the smsl ad18 here when it dropped and enjoy the wider soundstage it presents over the Q1 but for being portable and half the price, it sounds just as good as my small desktop amp im using while i wait for my liquid carbon x sdac. To be honest it actually drives them HARDER than the smsl ad18 due to the fact the ad18 is primarily a speaker dac/amp that has a head out instead of a full headphone amp. I'm also quite new to the audiophile world (i have had "decent" headphones before but never anything anywhere near these, the HEM8 i bought last month, or the T50RP that i am currently modding ) so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I do think these paired with the Q1 should be a thing of portable beauty.
Bluewave GET actually does a fine job of powering these in a portable fashion. Tiny Bluetooth 5.0 DAC/amp, better than similar product from Creative or Noble audio. Bluetooth 5.0 gives you less compression and 4x as much range, almost WiFi-like range.
Lol, Hi Rachel!
I'll check those out, thanks! How does it fair with the t50rp? Have you tried it?
I haven’t tried it with the T50RP, though on Head-Fi I have an old review of the ZMF Vibro, which was a modded T50RP. Should be OK, but that was the hardest to drive headphone I’ve ever had at home, by quite a margin.
Sonically, the E5 is more crunchy and grainy, while the the GET doesn’t seem to struggle as much and has a rounder, less digital, smoother sound. GET has better synergy with the HD 58X Jubilee too. The GET is like a smoother whiskey ;) I actually haven’t done an A/B till right this moment. Now, the E5 has DSP options and more types of inputs, and a gamer would easily prefer the E5... but on the go, and for music, I would way prefer the GET. The E3 sounds... about as good as straight from my old iPhone, that still had a headphone jack?
Lol that's why I'm nodding mine into balanced and snagged a liquid carbon x sdac, headphones are 3000 mW and the amp gets a good juicy 2800 if I remember.
I'd recommend the iFi nano iDSD black label. It's $199 and packs a lot of value inside a sleek little box. Plays all the boutique music formats as well as MQA and works great with Tidal. It's best feature is it's 'ieMatch' for low impedance headphones but has a direct output as well for the higher impedance cans. It can push my HE4XX with authority to uncomfortable levels and still have room left on the volume knob.
I’ve heard good things about the iFi Nano BL, and GREAT things about the iFi Micro BL. Also worth considering, the Chord Mojo is about the size of the Nano with about the performance of the Micro, and all three would be a great pairing with the Liquid Carbon Massdrop (LCX?) and an upgrade over the LCX’s build-in DAC. A great desktop setup, but more expensive than the headphone (not always a bad choice).
Maybe keep the iFi DACs in mind for later, but for now Wolfie13 is pretty well covered with the LCX plus SDAC, and the GET is meanwhile complimentary as a small but capable Bluetooth/DAC/Amp. I mean, I’ve got some great stuff at home that I use there, expensive too, but on the go the GET is more convenient than my iPhone 8+’s included dongle and sounds better than my other Bluetooth receivers.
that sounds like a good choice, is it balanced?
I'll also say I use the nano BL daily for Tidal MQA with Shure 846s and it's a sublime combo. Noise floor is black and no hissing or popping. Not once. It even breathes new life into my 215s, EDC, and PX when I rotate IEMs to 'reset' my ears. Also works trouble free on my Android when I am using it on my phone with Google music. It's honestly one of the nicer portable gadgets I've used in a while.
this sounds like a nice one, im making my HEM and T50RP balanced with adaptable cables so it seems like a good option for what i need. thanks
Thanks guys for all the discussion!!! It helps a ton in figuring all of this out. Needless to say, I'm excited for when these ship in July and I can start putting the setup together.
Wolfie, I think it’s worth paying extra attention to what type of outlet is on the iFi Nano. It looks like a Standard 3.5mm TRS unbalanced connector is used, so if you get the Nano you wouldn’t want to change your cable and get it terminated in XLR, 2.5mm balanced or 4.4mm balanced. I believe your LCX you bought does have an XLR output though.
Exactly. I mentioned that they go about it a different way but you get a majority of the effect without re-cabling. If you read the documentation I provided they discuss how they achieve this for both ports and reduce crosstalk. For most, this will be more than efficient especially for those phones that don't even have XLR cabling. It's a really good way to go about it with worrying about extra cables, especially on the go. It's a great solution for portability which it nails in spades.
I'm recabling both headphones to terminate into mini xlr with adapter cables for each end type so I only have to make one cable for each new headphones I get. Besides that, I think that nano does accept both trrs and trs with its special amp they use, the document they liked above shows how nicely. It will be fun testing the noise floor on this both balanced and unbalanced with my HEM8s.
Aall my headphones will have easily swappable 3.5 unbalanced, 3.5 balanced, 4 pin xlr, and 4 pin xlr mini as attachment options by the end of tmrw ;) my new soldering iron gets here tmrw, the 40 feet of cable and bunch of heads got here yesterday lol
Nice. All mine currently terminate to 2.5mm and I use MEE's adapter set for 3.5/4.4/SE. Currently only my Elex has XLR but I know the 4XX and 6XX/58X has readily available cables in all flavors.
Ooh, is this MEE audio? I’d go a similar route, except I’d terminate my cables in 4.4mm bal and get ponytail adapters for the rest (since I have an amp with Pentaconn. Just learned that Acoustic Research also makes a DAP with Pentaconn too!).
Lol I've discovered premade cables are a bit of ripoff... the gold and silver shit certainly increases available voltage bit that only does so much unless your hp need more power lol, and thicker copper can do that, so it's really just a style choice. I found I can go to redco and buy the cable wire (just basically use Mic line, as it's perfect for balanced), heads, jacks for 3 or 4 headphones in multiple terminations for the cost of just one decent balanced cable that won't fall apart (I'm including the 85 dollar soldering iron too cuz I see those damn cables going for like 150 for adaptable). Well see tmrw how easy it is and how it sounds. Will keep you guys updated. Hell, if all goes well you can throw me 20 bucks + parts and shipping and I'll make you some ;)
Yo!!!! How did you get the 58x so fast!!!! Your cat looks very happy!!!!
It’s a preproduction model, full disclosure I do some freelance work for Sennheiser. They have many audio enthusiasts there, which is great to see!
Thanks for the cat compliment, she just joined our family in December and I‘ve never had a cat before. She’s single-handedly (single-pawed?) trying to make me a cat person, very affectionate, and always curious to see what oddball thing I’m doing ;)
Can you tell me what is the benefit of going with a separate AMP and DAC IE the Magni/Modi Combo vs the Schiit Fulla?
First thing to establish: there are really good discrete components, and really good separates. I have a $2,400 all-in-one on my desk now that sounds absolutely fantastic, and also a couple separate DACs and Amplifiers. One method isn’t necessarily better than the other, though each has slight advantages.
One advantage of separate components is you can mix and match. Say you like the Modi, but you get a great offer on another amp that people say has great synergy with an HD 58X Jubilee. With separates, you can upgrade parts as you go. The enclosures of each unit also almost guarantee good shielding between digital and analog components. Lastly, a stack of stuff sometimes looks impressive >_<
With all-in-one units, you have less mess and you sidestep the interconnect cable debate. You get a direct connection between the DAC and Amp and therefore minimal signal degradation.
Now, specifically with the Schiit Audio - only components you were looking at, the Modi 2 is a better DAC than the DAC part of the Fulla 2, and the Magni 3 is a better amp than the amp section in the Fulla 2. The Fulla does allow it to be used with an external DAC or Amp later, so it’s not a bad starting point either. So, basically, choose between price and size of the Fulla 2, vs the upgraded capabilities of the next-step-up M & M stack.
Maybe I just missed your response but I'd love to know how the 58X sound. I joined the drop for these and the 6XX (coming end of March). Waiting until July for the 58X is killing me as I'm really curious to know how they sound. I have 598s right now.
The production release will sound different from mine, so any impressions I give will have to be taken with consideration that there will be better bass extension.
That said... it’s like a perky young HD 650. Compared to the HD 650 (HD 6XX), the HD 58X Jubilee has a more modern tuning, with a crisper impact and more sparkle on the treble end of things, while retaining that famous liquid midrange. Bjork’s “Frosti“ track, in fact the whole Vespertine album, shows off some of th HD 58X Jubilee’s best strengths. Quality-wise, it’s a side step from the more rounded HD 650, a contrast of sunny and fresh versus easygoing and beguiling. Both are rather charming ;)
The volume setting doesn’t need to be turned that much lower than it would for an HD 650, but it is clear (especially on weaker amps/sources) that the HD 58X is more efficient and scales up sooner... meaning that you don’t need as powerful of an amp before you’re starting to hear the HD 58X’s potential in soundstage and depth. Sometimes, I just want a simpler setup or I’m limited by what source I can use – for example, I’d rather use the HD 58X Jubilee with my gaming surround DSP than the HD 650. Now, overall, I got to demo the HD 660 S and I’d like that over either of the others, but I’m not there yet. The HD 58X Jubilee is like an HD 660 S lite.
Cool. Thank you for that reply. Can't wait to get my 6XX and 58X to test them side by side.
Keeping in mind the pre-production caveat, I'm curious about a couple of things (obviously, I'll compare myself when I get both the 6XX and 58X in the summer), if you don't mind (as you have heard both and, for me, they are blind buys).
One--I've ordered a Bravo V2 to dip my toe in tubes (I know better than to expect anything spectacular from such an entry level product, but I figured it would be a safe entry into tubes for the price). I feel pretty confident the 6XX will sound reasonably good with the Bravo (it's actually one of the reasons I got the 6XX in the most recent drop). Should I expect similar performance from the 58X (not same sonic signature, but same "plays well"?)?
Two--I am also interested in a decent set of headphones for late night movie watching when firing up the whole "home cinema" proves problematic. Would you consider the "livelier" 58X or the lower bass extension 6XX the better of the two for movies?
(again, just looking for some observations--I know my own ears will be the final arbiter)
Nice review, now the obligatory "what about bass extension / quantity vs. an HD650" response.
I got both too now but will have to wait until the end of August to do a comparison. I will end up only keeping one and selling the other on eBay but I am excited regardless. I am sure both will sound great in their own respective ways but I have pretty consistent listening habits so whichever one sounds best with that music is the one I will go with.
Both the Schiit Fulla and Modi/Magni? Cool, I look forward to your impressions and how they contrast with each other :)
Yes and the HD 6xx and 58x. I figured it was worth it and they sell okay on eBay.
Thank you! Now, of course my answer is obliged to just be “I don’t know yet how the bass on the actual HD 58X Jubilee will sound compared to the HD 6XX.” This preproduction model isn’t the final revision that will be shipping to you guys. I’m not unhappy with the way it is now, but the HD 58X Jubilee will have better bass extension when it’s released. I already find this one to be pretty killer while gaming... maybe I should do another Twitch gaming stream while wearing the headphones, like I did for the PC37X? That was a few months before I started freelancing for Sennheiser, btw.
I haven’t kept up with the latest revisions to the Bravo amps, like if they revised the V2 model. Keep in mind, tubes make a HUGE difference, and if you ever feel like experimenting with mods and easy soldering work, the Bravo makes a great platform for that. “The Official Bravo tube amp” thread on Head-Fi is a great resource!
If you don’t want to try upgrading the capacitors and resistors yourself, Garage1215 makes some great already upgraded tube amps like the Sunrise, Solstice, Amber, and Starlight.
DON‘T TOUCH the tubes while the amp is plugged in and running! If the tube breaks and you make contact with some of the high voltage inside...
Oh, well let me know when the headphones arrive in August! You may get a final production version sooner than me ;)
Sennheisers do sell quickly on eBay.
What DAC/amp did you decide to buy?
I am going to go with the Schitt stack. The more comments I read, the more I hear, the more it sounds like its a good starting place with plenty of potential. I also got a manufacture refurb FiiO Q1 on Amazon for $40 that I've been messing around with that should be a good starting place for my portable needs. Thanks again for all your guys input on this! I am excited for the end of summer, I will come back and give my feedback.
On another note, I've been reading about equalizing headphones... A lot of it is going straight over my head. I get the general concept but the details are obviously geared to people who have some experience. Do you have any opinions on it and is there a good guide to start? Like EQ for Dummies???
I’ve been quite happy with my Magni 2 Uber/Modi 2 Uber for a few years now. Haven’t yet give the stack more power hungry ‘phones like the 58X or 6XX on the way this summer but I expect the stack to continue to perform well. So far I’ve only driven my (recently defective) B&W P5 v1 and my newly acquired Sennheiser HD630VBs. Looking forward to the open back experience.
I’ll likely try tube rolling first. After that, as funds allow, I’ll probably upgrade to something more polished—something fully tube driven. But it’s good to have the option to play around with the Bravo.
There’s two schools of thought on EQ’ing. Some people think that, if you have to EQ a headphone, then you’d be better off with a different one. I personally am usually pretty close to loving the headphone, and find no trouble with a little tweak... though I’m happy with my current headphones. A parabolic EQ, which also prevents clipping (IE, if you raise the bass, what the EQ actually does is keep the bass the same but lower the dB for everything else), seems to give the best control and the best results.
If you want someone to professionally EQ a headphone for you, a company called Sonarworks has software for sale that contains matched EQ profiles for particular headphones to EQ towards their neutral or studio target. If you want to learn what noises match a particular frequency, and EQ yourself with some assistance, I find the Sennheiser CapTune app is pretty cool (and free).
CapTune lets you play music from inside your smartphone/connected DAP as well as integration with TIDAL (you have to have an account and be signed in), and shows a live graph of how much amplitude is playing at that moment at each frequency. Then, there is a Parabolic EQ for those frequencies, and a nifty “Do you prefer EQ A or B?” tool that collects your preferences from several A/B comparisons and then makes a custom EQ for you based on your answers. It can also save different EQ profiles for different headphones.
I added CapTune and had a bit of fun with it (with my HD630VBs). Seems unavailable for iPad though, which is disappointing as my iPad has far larger storage capacity than my iPhone and CapTune doesn’t work with streams from Apple Music. Still, an interesting app.
Yeah, CapTune is an iPhone (iPod) only app, but you still can get the app on an iPad. After you search the App Store, you should see a box that says iPad Only in one of the top corners. Switch it to iPhone, and you can download any app (such as CapTune).
and yeah, Apple Music is a pretty closed system. Careful you don’t turn on iCloud Music Library too, I did something like that, and one day I stopped paying for Apple Music and it deleted my whole library. Not just playlists, but all my CD rips and songs downloaded from Amazon too.
Or to give the abbreviated recommendation... Schiit Magni 3/ Schiit Modi 2U. Add a Little Dot MK II or a Darkvoice to add a little tube goodness and you have a nice solid setup for under $450.