Greetings mate and Welcome aboard.
Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…
Before we get into the Sennheiser HD58X vs. HD6XX vs. HD600 vs. HD650 shootout, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
If you landed here from another page, it means that I’ve decided to consolidate all articles on these headphones into one big article, so stick around because we’re going to cover everything today: Build, comfort, sound, genre, amplification, and more 🙂
Any and all future iterations of this headphone or future impressions of existing headphones in the line (660S and original 580 for instance) will be included here.
So bookmark, share, and visit often.
By the end of this write-up,
you should know which one is most worth a purchase.
At the very very end, I will provide a photo gallery of all images I’ve taken of these headphones over the years.
So get excited and let’s dive in!
I’ve owned the Sennheiser HD 600 since December 2016 and it’s been a mostly great relationship.
I also owned the HD58X (gave it to my brother-in-law) and have demoed the HD6XX and 650 extensively.
The 600s are fine headphones and they will likely continue to stand the test of time for many reasons.
there are a few things I don’t like about them. We’ll also get into that.
Long story short,
I got the chance to demo Massdrop’s newer HD6XX iteration.
Big shoutout and thanks to Shawn Quint for sending me them!
Shawn is a really nice guy who frequents my blog.
I enjoy talking with him about all things audio, and he was nice enough to entrust me with his baby.
No, not a real live baby mind you; I’m talking about the headphone. Lol.
You see, Shawn was doubly sure to send these bad boys packaged as if they could withstand a nuclear holocaust.
Have to make sure we can still listen to music in the midst of all that rubble and destruction, right? 😛
I’ve been loving my time with these and was curious to see how they compared with the others.
In The Box
Sennheiser HD58X Headphones
1/4″ (6.35mm) adapter
Manufacturer’s 2-year warranty
Not included but pictured: 2.5mm balanced cable
- Massdrop x Sennheiser
- Materials: Glossy black headband, gray metal grilles
- Fit: Over-ear (circumaural)
- Type: Open Back, dynamic
- Impedance: 150 ohms
- Frequency response: 12–38,500 Hz (-10 dB)
- THD + N: < 0.1% at 1 kHz, 100 dB
- Sound pressure level: 104 dB at 1V, 1 kHz
- Connector: ⅛ in (3.5 mm) gold-plated stereo jack plug
- Cable: 6 ft (1.8 m) OFC, detachable
- Weight without cable: Approx. 9.2 oz (260 g)
- Origin: Made in Romania
In The Box
Sennheiser HD600 Headphones
Limited 2-Year Warranty (not pictured)
- Type: Open Back.
- Fit: Circumaural (Over-Ear).
- Impedance: 300 Ohms.
- Sensitivity: 97 dB/mW.
- Frequency response: 12Hz – 39000 kHz.
- Material: Metal grilles, carbon fiber, velour earpads, plastic.
- Color: Speckled blue finish, black.
- Cable Length: 3m (9.84 ft.)
- Weight: 9.17 Oz.
- Type: Open Back.
- Fit: Circumaural (Over-Ear).
- Impedance: 300 Ohms.
- Sensitivity: 103dB/mW.
- Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 41kHz.
- Material: Metal grilles, carbon fiber, velour earpads, plastic.
- Color: Midnight Blue, Black.
- Cable Length: 6 ft. (1.8m)
- Weight: 9.2 oz (260g).
- Type: Open back. Closed back vs. Open back headphones.
- Fit: Circumaural.
- Impedance: 300 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
- Sensitivity: 103dB/mW. What is Sensitivity in Headphones?
- Frequency response: 12 – 39000 Hz.
- Material: OFC copper (Kevlar Reinforced), Velour, Plastic.
- Color: Grey and Black metal flake finish.
Let’s get into build!
What you’ll find across these 4 headphones is that the build is roughly the same, and excellent at that.
None of them fold or rotate, but the cups on each move in and out ever so slightly to ensure a comfortable fit on your head.
Cosmetically is where they differ,
as each has a slightly different color scheme:
- HD58X – Mostly black with some hints of white and gray.
- HD6XX – Midnight Blue/Black.
- HD600 – Speckled Blue finish.
- HD650 – Gray Metal Flake finish.
The headbands, cups, grilles, connections, branding, and velour padding are all the same, though the HD600 utilizes the 4 nugget pads for the headband while the other 3 have the cratered pad that the original 650 employed.
A huge benefit for you is that all parts are replaceable here which has always been a huge selling point.
You can essentially take the headphones apart and put them back together with relative ease, though I’d caution you about not putting too much pressure on the grille.
I inadvertently dented mine on the HD600 ever so slightly, but they still work fine.
You’ll notice the 58X’s branding has a slightly different design aesthetic (just moved left a little and looks to be smaller), but otherwise, it’s just about the same.
On the inside of the right headband adjustment, we have the “Massdrop” logo silk-screened in white for each of the 58X and 6XX.
On the outside of the headband adjustment at the bottom, the familiar lettering appears again inside of Sennheiser’s ‘ol rectangle, giving the headphone its distinct look.
It reads “HD 6XX”, which hearkens back to the “HD 600” lettering on the older model.
The 650 is similar, and the 58X includes “Jubilee” as well.
The other similarity is that both the 600 and 6XX say “Made In Ireland” on each side of the inner headband adjustment, right near the start of the padding.
You do really have to look rather closely for it, but it is there.
I can’t remember if the 650s I demoed were made in Ireland or not, and I don’t see any lettering in the pictures.
One other clear difference in each of these 4 is the wiring.
- HD58X – Nice thickness to it. Subtle off-gray coloring. Let’s see Paul Allen’s 58X. xD
- HD6XX – Same as above. Nice and THICC.
- HD600 – Feels flimsy and it’s very thin, but darn this cable has really held up over the years.
- HD650 – Same as 6XX and 58X.
All terminate in the proprietary 2-pin into each earcup,
but the HD600s are tiny and still are a pain to get in and out.
You will however appreciate the Red to differentiate between right and left on the HD600.
The other 3 headphones made the connections dummy thiccer and easier to pull out.
What you’ll also love about the 6XX is that the cable is now a lot shorter.
I’ve lost count of how many times my chair has run over the 600’s cable, but fortunately, it’s held up remarkably well over time which is something I was not expecting at all.
It just tends to get in the way more often than not because of its length.
- HD58X – 3.5mm w/ 1/4″ adapter.
- HD6XX – 3.5mm w/ 1/4″ adapter.
- HD600 – 3.5mm w/ Black 1/4″ adapter
- HD650 – 1/4″ termination with awkward 3.5mm adapter.
Comfort here is mostly the same on all 4.
In other words,
Exemplary. A lot of this has to do with their compact design and wonderfully soft velour padding – both of which feel really good on your head.
I did notice the HD 6XX tends to dig a little into the top of my head after a while, but this comes after quite an extended listening period and is a very minor nitpick.
all of these headphones are some of the most comfortable you’ll ever wear, but I do think the 4-padded HD 600 takes the cake, slightly edging out the rest.
In all actuality though?
You can consider these just about the same in terms of comfort.
All HD580/600 series headphones are notorious for being very “clampy” at first, but they do open up over time.
You may actually enjoy the snug clamp as it tends to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Maybe that’s just me. xD
One thing of note:
My left pad looks like it has been worn in a bit more than Shawn’s left, which may have some sort of effect on the sound.
This is understandable as I’ve had the 600 longer than he’s had his 6XX, but it’s important to mention regardless.
Sound & Imaging
- Source: Tidal, FLAC, Masters. Spotify Premium.
- Amp(s): FiiO K3, JDS Labs Atom, Audioquest DragonFly Red, too many to count.
- Final Shootout Playlist: Here!
That hallmark Sennheiser sound comes through with each of these, but there are some subtle differences between them even though it’s important to understand that all 4 follow roughly the same general trajectory on a graph:
- Rolled off bass below 100Hz.
- Slight mid-bass bump.
- Darker sounding treble.
- Forward mids around 3k though there are some slight discrepancies (i.e. the mids on each represent the most notable differences).
Let’s take a look:
There’s a reason the HD600 has remained relevant since 1997.
It’s vintage audiophile sound.
You’ve got an almost completely neutral signature with loads of detail, pinpoint accuracy and a relaxed but still detailed treble that pretty much never gets out of line.
Add to that some amazing bass texture and a fluid mid-range with plenty of presence, and you’ve got essentially all you’ll ever need in this hobby.
What’s not to love?
The first thing you’ll notice about the updated HD6XX is that it just sounds a little more airy and feathery by contrast.
It isn’t a huge difference, but it is noticeable.
It’s got this natural grace about it that’s truly wonderful to behold.
It sounds effortless as if it’s never trying too hard.
One back-and-forth listen reveals the mids on the 600 to be more forward and less relaxing.
Listening to the 6XX for about a week straight, then switching to the 600 indicated an easily identifiable difference between the 2.
John Coltrane’s Tenor Saxophone in particular on Miles Davis’ Blue in Green sounds more aggressive with the 6XX.
Another note of contention is air and texture.
The 6XX seems to excel better at both.
I got a sense that the 600 is a bit clammier and more congested by contrast, and even though it’s technically crisper-sounding, it’s a little too in your face.
The 6XX seems to open things up to a greater degree while coming across as more relaxed and mellowed out.
Overall Imaging and Soundstage has gotten a slight upgrade with the 6XX, but don’t expect miracles.
It mostly sounds about the same as far as width and depth go. What is Soundstage?
The HD 600 has long since had a pretty narrow image.
All the pinpoint accuracy is there – you can pick out individual instruments, sounds, and other subtle nuances, but the picture of said elements is fairly small and does feel a bit boxed in.
The 6XX basically continues this trend, but because it’s got a bit more air it gives off the illusion that Soundstage is a tad better (at least in my opinion).
It might be a bit wider, but it’s hard to say because the overall image of both is very similar.
Even with that said,
you’ll still experience some nice out-of-your-head moments with both of these headphones.
I just feel like the HD 600’s mid-range around 1-4k has always just been slightly too in your face.
It can really get fatiguing after a while as if the vocalist is shouting at you or raising his/her voice.
Joan’s “Take Me On (Chilled)” is a perfect example of a track that just sounds too aggressive with the HD600.
The vocals stand out, but they do so in a way that’s invasive.
Listening to the same track with the HD6XX is just a better, lighter, and more enjoyable experience overall.
The vocals sit perfectly in the mix, and the headphones overall exude so much class that I’m having a hard time justifying holding onto my HD 600.
Call it a form of Cognitive Dissonance.
you can always EQ that area down, but out of the box, the 6XX is just more professional sounding.
It’s like a woman who has matured with age.
In her younger years perhaps she was a bit rough around the edges.
As she’s gotten older, her aura has changed a bit.
She’s not brash and reckless in her appearance, or even in her emotions. She doesn’t fly off the handle so easily.
The HD6XX resembles a woman who’s sure of herself and doesn’t have to put on a front any longer.
The HD600 resembles a young lady who’s still got some growing up to do.
could all these perceived differences in the mid-range be attributed to the one pad on the 600 being slightly more depressed than the other?
Perhaps, but my money is on no.
I’ve owned the HD600 since 2016 and that area has always bothered me.
Add to that,
a few millimeters isn’t going to completely change the sound signature. Some may disagree and that’s fine.
You’re wrong. Lol. Just kidding. Maybe I’m wrong.
Whatever. Here’s another picture:
I have also had extensive time with the HD 650 although I don’t own it.
I would say the sound is similar, but I find the 650 to be a warmer affair while the 6XX sounds a little crisper.
The 6XX, if you weren’t aware, is actually a rebrand of the original 650, which makes sense.
Both have 103dB Sensitivity, both have very similar cabling (The 6XX’s cable is shorter, however), and both have that uniform crater pad on the headband.
With that said, the 6XX, in my opinion, does not sound identical to the HD650 even despite a lot of folks claiming it does.
The article linked above will go into exactly why, from a graphical standpoint, the 6XX is not the same as the 650.
It’s also very clearly discernable to my ears, thus why I have to point it out.
I will say that the bass on the 650 is certainly a bit more boosted in the mid-area around 100-200Hz, and most will agree on that.
Overall, the 58X probably sounds the most different out of all these, and the differences are fairly obvious:
- The 58X’s bass rolls off slightly less below 100Hz, giving it some added meat in the sub-regions.
- The 58X sounds a bit more overly sheeny and contrast-y (not a word, I know lol).
An analogy would be an image in Photoshop that has a tad too much contrast, making it look like it was photoshopped.
the 58X sounds a bit less natural and more overtly lush/dense if that makes sense.
Think of the 58X as a less organic and natural version of the other 3.
To quickly recap:
- HD58X – Most dense, lush, contrast-y. A bit unnatural sounding but still enjoyable. Less bass roll-off below 100Hz.
- HD6XX – Strikes a nice balance of airy, light, yet still crisp and impactful. Less in your face mid-range.
- HD600 – Mostly crisp and good, but mid-range is a bit too forward around 3kHz. In other words, too shouty at times. More bass roll-off below 100Hz.
- HD650 – Definitely the warmest out of the bunch, but a bit too laid-back and dull. Slightly more mid-bass emphasis than the others.
As for the treble, I’d classify it as roughly the same for each: Darker, though again, the 650s seem to be even more dulled down than the others.
Don’t forget to leave me some love on the channel!! Any support is much appreciated 🙂
Let’s talk a bit about amplification and genre pairing!
Amplification & Genre Pairing
In this case, the K3 functions as just the DAC, into the ATOM as an amp.
A wonderful combination!
I’ve also used just the K3 into said ATOM to a nice effect.
The Audioquest DragonFly Red is also a fantastic option here as well, though I’ve since removed it from the list below.
If you’re wanting a simplified solution,
the above article is great and will help you immensely.
There are so many amps that will likely work very well, so don’t get too hung up on what you go with.
To quickly sum it up:
- HD58X – 150 Ohm Impedance, easiest to drive.
- HD6XX – 300 Ohm Impedance, 103dB Sensitivity, not very hard to drive.
- HD600 – 300 Ohm Impedance, 97dB Sensitivity, a bit harder to drive, but still pretty easy.
- HD650 – 300 Ohm Impedance, 103dB Sensitivity, same as 6XX.
The original HD 600 and 650 have long since been known to work with nearly any genre, and the same holds true for the HD6XX and 58X.
Rock has always been the 600’s bread and butter, but the sheer amount of music that sounds great with these is staggering.
I tend to listen to mostly Indie Pop and Jazz nowadays, with some Classical, Hip-Hop, and Oldies thrown in for good measure.
I still listen to Classic Rock, Progressive Rock, Math Rock, and Hard Rock/Metal from time to time, but sparingly.
For those genres,
I prefer bands and artists like Chon, Plini, Animals as Leaders, Rage Against the Machine, and some Megadeth/Metallica.
That’s about the hardest I will go.
It’s plenty good enough to gauge how certain headphones will sound with various genres.
Just know this:
The 600, 650, 58X and 6XX will sound fantastic with all of the above.
Chon’s self-titled follow-up to 2017’s “Homie” in particular sounds wonderful with the 6XX.
With that, let’s take a look at my notes…
Well, I think you know what I’m about to say; I’d definitely take the HD6XX over the rest.
It improves on that mid-range but also doesn’t sound as sleepy as an HD650.
What I mean by that is the 650 can almost sound too relaxed at times, and almost too warm, while the HD58X can be a bit unnatural and the 600 too forward in the mids.
It seems as though the 6XX is basically a rebranded HD650, but it sounds better and is priced just right like Bob Barker.
In other words,
they got it 100% correct with the 6XX.
Sounds like a win-win situation to me.
This headphone would make a fantastic gift for someone because it represents a true foray into better sound at a crazy good price.
Introducing anyone to this product who doesn’t have a clue (no offense to non-audiophiles) is likely to make them go ape sh** with delight. What is an Audiophile?
Seriously, I let a friend borrow the HD 600 and an iFi xCAN and she told me she literally didn’t want to leave her room.
Like ever. Haha.
If you’ve made it this far, the 6XX is what I would recommend.
In 2023 and beyond,
there’s simply no reason to pay the original retail for the 650 or 600 – not when the 6XX is a better product and more sensibly priced.
Interested? You should be.
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Sennheiser HD58X vs. HD6XX vs. HD600 vs. HD650 Review & Comparison.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Are you convinced the 6XX is the better purchase? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,