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This is a tough review to write. I know these are not 5 star headphones but every time I change it to 4 I feel like I am selling them short. I have plenty of headphones that are technically better in every single way but found myself having to listen to music I normally wouldn't in order to appreciate what they had to offer. The problem I always had was the music I like is normally poorly recorded and those headphones would just suck the fun out of most of my favorite albums. This includes the 600's and 6xx's.
I'm not sure what I expected when I bought these. I've been daydreaming about the 660s and seen another 150ohm Sennheiser with the 6xx series looks for $150 and figured why not. Massdrop shipped them quick and they got here in no time despite the normally slow fedex/usps thing. I have a regular new headphone ritual where I open up foobar and play Reasonable Doubt. Normally I skip through that album in a couple minutes because those other headphones makes the poor quality samples and overall poor recording quality unbearable to listen to. I usually have to use my jbl s700's or ATH-WS1100's for old school hip hop.
This is where this review may get a little weird so I apologize in advance. Now I have these on and hit play. Can't Knock the Hustle starts playing and the heart beat starts. At the 30 second mark it dawns on me I am sitting here with my eyes closed remembering when I first bought the cassette back in the day not really even listening. Then the 42sec mark hits and sitting in a room alone I actually say ooh. I sat there with my feet up and eyes closed and listened to the entire album. Not once did I have the flaws of the album forced on me or even thought to look for them. The entire time I was having memories of the first time I listened to the album and enjoyed it just as much as I did then.
I know all that probably sounded weird but what I'm about to say may sound even more weird. All of my so called "audiophile" grade headphones always gave me the impression they were tuned by someone a generation older to fit the music they enjoyed when they were younger. These are the first quality pair of headphones that feel like they are tuned by someone from my generation. A lot of audiophile headphones don't seem to like hip hop or at least late 80's early 90's hip hop but these do. Everything just sounds pleasurable. My collection of music is just not hip hop and I normally have to switch headphones depending on what I want to listen to but I haven't felt the need with these.
The only real shortcomings I think these headphones have is the soundstage and separation. I'm strictly speaking stock in this review because those can be improved. I find the soundstage to be very close to the 600's and separation of instruments to be a bit less or softer than both the 600's and the 6xx's. I would definitely like more soundstage stock but I think the way these do separation is part of why they work so well with all music and are so pleasurable. If your playlist goes from wu tang to rage to Biggie to Nirvana to Dessa to Wayne to you get the point these are for you. I have seen some comments of owners saying they had some graininess with theirs but I have no sign of that with mine. I did have that with those ATH-WS1100's but it went away after a week of use so hopefully those who have/had that issue with these will have the luck I had with those.
Sorry you can sell your headphones but quite honestly I would look for a dac. I have an amazing portable DAC from centrance. That helps iron out poor recordings.
Not exactly sure what you mean or why you are assuming I don't have a dac. To be honest I find a dac to be the least impactful change in the entire chain. A dac isn't going to make a pair of headphones produce sounds they just aren't capable of producing. A dac isn't going to take away the treble spike of my dt990's and make my 90's hip hop less painful on those. I imagine there is something being lost in translation but why would I sell headphones I love? I have dacs, I have solid state amps, I have tube amps and stupid cables that do nothing but look pretty. Tubes help in some cases but incredibly detailed headphones in the dt1990's, t1's, and hd800s range are going to make you hear those flaws and make you hear the smallest of details in perfectly recorded songs making things sound better than ever. Unfortunately I only own two of those three but just trying to make a point. I have a huge appreciation for headphones capable of that incredible detail. Every one of my headphones have their place but it just so happens these fill a spot that few audiophile headphones fill for me and do it without sacrificing detail like beats or the other style cans I mentioned in my review. Hopefully this is a case of a google translate failure. Lol
Thanks for the review. It spoke to why I got into the hobby in the first place: Enjoying the music I love.
To be honest, the bit about Sennheiser having a set of cans tuned for "modern" music makes sense. Is it happenstance? Maybe. But maybe they have a group of younger engineers who had an idea to make resolving cans that played nicely with 80s-90s rock, metal and rap.
Either way, good review.
Thanks for the comment. I like how you stay positive and say it could be a group of younger guys when I was seeing it as a sign of me getting old. Lol. Never even considered Sennheiser letting someone under 50 touch anything important. Jk sennheiser lol
Good review, man. This is how I feel about these headphones. I've played with some 650 cans and some 6XX cans, and I think they sound nice, but in precisely the different way that you describe here. The music I enjoy listening to is just different from the traditionally classical or even purely acoustic / live recording of my audio engineering forebears. I enjoy listening to that stuff but I tend to gravitate towards the 80s and 90s stuff I grew up with, anywhere from that classic rock sound, to grunge, to punk, to the anger of the Beastie Boys or Rage, Aesop Rock, or even the classic Hip Hop scene. I got the Jubilees as well and they really make this stuff sing, and they work well with even modern electronic music and the pop that comes from that, which I find the 6XX and 650 to really undersell even with good amplification and a paired DAC.
I re-ripped all my old original CDs to FLAC and have really been getting a lot out of these headphones (though it has also revealed I have some bad "remasters" or transfers). They've even let me rediscover some of the nuance I used to gloss over from the likes of Bowie and his ilk.
It's like you said: these make you re-experience that love of music you once had in your youth. Whether that's because they're tuned to fit broader, more modern stuff, or they're just tuned to be "fun", they really do accomplish their goal, and I appreciate you putting it down in writing here, man.
I am in the same boat as you fine gentleman, the 58X's seem to be suited perfectly to the music I love (rock/metal/hiphop).. I own the 6XX's and the HE-4XX's and I still prefer the 58X's.. $150 for these was an absolute steal.. I was thinking about getting a second pair for the office..
This was a pleasure to read. One of the best. Thank you for sharing.