If you like getting great deals on audio gear and other consumer electronics (and who doesn’t?) you should definitely get acquainted with Drop.com (formerly Massdrop). The company allows groups of people to purchase an item in bulk, thus dropping the cost for each individual. Sometimes though, Drop.com goes a bit further and partners with a large company to make a more affordable version of one of its popular products.
In this case, it’s Sennheiser with a pair of open back headphones dubbed the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee. These headphones are based on the original HD 580 Precision design from 1991, which eventually led to classic Sennheiser headphones like the HD 600 and HD 650. Sennheiser updated the internals with modern parts but stayed true to the original design. So, how do they hold up?
Editor’s note: this Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee review was updated on March 30, 2021, to include a contents menu and update other minor details.
Who should get the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee?
- Sennheiser fans. If you’re already a fan of Sennheiser headphones, you’ll probably like these. Whether or not you should get these over another more expensive pair is up to you, but for $170 you won’t be disappointed.
- Anyone ready to make the jump from listening while commuting to listening for enjoyment. Sure, the Bose QC35 II and Sony WH-1000XM4 are great for outside the home, but there’s something about the Jubilee that makes it a joy to actually listen to your music, rather than have it serve as a distraction.
- Anyone on a budget. While $170 isn’t going to make our best cheap headphones list, it’s definitely more affordable compared to the $300USD you’d need for the Sennheiser HD 600 or HD 650.
How are the Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee headphones built?
Sennheiser has a signature look that lets you know you’re holding a pair of its headphones. The Sennheiser HD 58X is no exception with large oval-shaped ear cups and plush velour padding. The plastic combined with the plush padding makes for a truly comfortable pair of headphones. Now, these are open-back headphones, so a perforated metal grill on the outside of the ear cups protects the drivers inside.
Learn more: Headphone driver types: Which one’s just right?
The headset lacks hinges for folding and the ear cups don’t rotate either. The only bits of metal are the grill and adjustable headband. So long as you leave these on your desk you won’t have any issues, but don’t chuck these in a bag. While these are fairly lightweight, it’s not like they disappear when you place them on. Even still, I could listen to these for a full day during testing (that’s six or seven hours straight) without issue.
How do you connect the headphones?
These come with a standard 3.5mm TRS connector for plugging into your devices, though you might need a quarter-inch adapter if you plan on using these with any kind of external gear. Thankfully, they come with an adapter in the box, too. Then there’s the cable itself, which is a detachable oxygen-free cable (OFC). Whether you need an amp or not depends on your source device—but in this case, it’s safe to say one wouldn’t hurt.
For example, while plugged into my Pixel 3 (with that stupid dongle), I could listen to music perfectly fine but had to max out the volume on my Pixel. That won’t be the case if you have something like the LG V30/V40 with the built-in amp, but I don’t. You won’t need to invest in anything too expensive or uncommon, and I was able to power these adequately with a basic Scarlett 2i2 interface. It doesn’t have the best headphone amp in the world: it just has to provide enough power.
How do the Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee sound?
The Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee sound fairly similar to the classic HD 650 headphones, which were much more expensive than the Jubilee. These also have a 150Ω impedance, instead of the 300Ω on the HD 650, which makes it easier to use portable devices. The low-end is given a slight bump that makes the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee pleasing to listen to. It nicely bridges the gap between what an audio purist would appreciate and what the average consumer would enjoy.
You can really hear how accurate the bass is about 1:34 into the song Moon River by Frank Ocean where the heavy bass notes are plucked ever so slightly softer as they step downwards, reflecting nicely in the headphones. Compared to the bass notes, I wasn’t as impressed with the notes in the mids. While vocals are relayed clearly, Rihanna’s vocals were a bit masked in the song Consideration.
It nicely bridges the gap between what an audio purist would appreciate and what the average consumer would enjoy.
Safe to say it depends on what you like to listen to. Treble notes come through clearly, and you can easily pick out reverb and decay from cymbals and hi-hats.
What you should know before buying
- These are exclusive to Drop.com. That means that you can’t just go to your local Best Buy and pick them up.
- Open-back vs Closed-back. If you’re entirely new to the world of open-back headphones, you might want to read our full explainer on the pros and cons of each kind of headphone to determine which one is best for what you’re looking for. While $170 for these is a great price for these, it might not be right for you. There are plenty of other options that might be better suited for your everyday life.
- You might need an external amp. To be clear, these were made to be adequately powered by most portable devices such as your smartphone, that’s true as long as you max out volume levels. To figure out if you should also consider getting an amp make sure you read our explainer.
Should you buy the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee?
The Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee is an excellent pair of open-back headphones for audiophiles and enthusiasts alike. The lightweight build, classic open-back Sennheiser design, and sound quality more than compensate for all of the nitpicks. In the same way that a dedicated pocket knife cuts better than a Swiss Army Knife, the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee is better for really listening to music than other headphones that have a bunch of fancy features.
Next: Best Studio headphones