I've always been an audiophile on a budget. I appreciate great sound, but I'm never spending more than $5,000 on my reference system whether I can afford to or not. My home reference system is vintage set of Klipsch Quartets driven by a NAD 316BEE, vintage Denon turntable, Shure 97xe cartridge and Bluesound Node 2i streamer. Not flashy, but provides great sound and lots of musical enjoyment.
I never invested in a good set of cans since my last pair of $200 Shure IEM's were eaten by my dog nearly 10 years ago. My on-the-go setup has been my apple earbuds with apple music on the iphone. I guess I figured why spend a bunch on headphones to listen to this lossy music on my phone. I'm not "critically listening" anyways.
So what changed? First, I bought the Node 2i streamer in November, and immediately realized how far music streaming had come from a quality standpoint. I dumped Apple music for Tidal Hi-Fi and the streaming quality was taken to a whole new level. I can now have my cake and eat it too...hi-fi quality streaming and an unlimited music library. Secondly, due to the newfound love of streaming hi-fi to my reference system, my wife was now constantly telling me to "turn it down". It was clear I needed some cans.
After hours of research I settled on the 58x, and to top it off ditched my Iphone for an LG Quad Dac phone (the G7 One).
Ok, let's test out the new setup:
Pink Floyd - Money. A go-to track for soundstage...and wow. Instrument separation in droves - just beautiful sounding across the dynamic spectrum.
Beck - Blue Moon - silky mid range, pure vocals.
Ice Cube - Pushin Weight. Clean accurate delicious bass. Not overpowering, but fun. I was definitely "feeling it".
Kids See Ghosts - Feel the Love - unbelievable production on this track and the Tidal master is stunning on these cans.
Sufjan Stevens - Casimir Pulaski Day - just got that tingly feeling.
Arcade Fire - No Cars Go - One of my favourite AF tracks and I just can't stop smiling...
On and on it went...Miles, Kanye, Petty, Nirvana, Daft Punk, Dr. Dre, Coldplay, Death Cab, Pearl Jam....it didn't matter what I threw at the 58x, it was like hearing my music again for the first time with a whole new level of detail. I can only imagine what these will be like after more burn in time.
To top it off, these things are well built. Yes there is a lot of plastic but they feel high quality and I have high hopes for their longevity. They are light and comfortable in a long session, and the removable cables is a plus. I do wish the cord was a few feet longer for my purposes, but that is easily solved with an extender or different set of cables.
I can't say it enough, if you are looking for a value packed open-back set of cans these are tremendous. If you are like me and coming from something like standard buds, you are going to be blown away unless you are looking for something bass heavy, or you just have unrealistic expectations for a $150 set of headphones. Pair these with a good source and just zone out to your collection for the first time.
Bravo Massdrop x Sennheiser.