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Massdrop x Sennheiser HD6XX US$195 + US$15 Shipping (~A$285.24 total) @ Drop

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The legendary headphone for vocal timbre that still holds its own against $1000+ headphones in that regard while offering great detail and resolving ability, especially in its price point. Slightly warm sound that trades some of that warmth for a more relaxed treble as the pads break in.

You will need an amp to get the most out of it, and the better the amp, the better this sounds because of how low distortion this is overall for a dynamic driver headphone, with only old school AKG open backs besting it's distortion characteristics around this price point, but they trade a lot of timbre and tonality for imaging and soundstage width.

If you're trying to keep things to a reasonable budget, this is the headphone to start with for at-home listening, unless you're very serious about competitive gaming, and it's probably a headphone you'll use for 10-15 years until headphone technology takes a serious leap.

Cheapest it's been since January 2020, with the all-time low being $269 delivered. US$10 off for new accounts.

Don't get sucked into buying extra pads, they are not the stock (HD 650) pads.

Enjoy!

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                • @tromboc: Ah yes the old neg and keep scrolling… At least tell me I'm a (profanity) or something? Where's the fun….

    • +4

      Just giving my experience as contrast, as negative reviews usually are more vocal. They have been nothing but great (except slow shipping, but I feel like that’s more DHL.)

      6XX is standard at this point and always available, they shipped mine the next day, it took about 2 weeks to get here, that’s the only issue. But for the price and what you are getting, I am more than willing to wait. The HD650 is $550 here…

      They are fast at answering queries and do a good job.

      • -7

        My first order were 6XX a few years ago and I had no dramas at all. This was back when they werent always in stock and I had to wait a little while.Seems to be recently a lot more people are having issues with them

        • +4

          Both issues you had was keyboard related stuff and not stuff ready to ship, high volume product.

          I feel your experience doesn’t reflect the experience people will have ordering 6XX, which is what the post is about. And as you say, you didn’t experience any issues with your 6XX either. So neg’ing the deal isn’t really fair.

          Plus these are backed by Sennheiser in the end. (Not warranty, but production. And warranty eventually goes to them, through drop though)

        • +3

          Kind of an apples to oranges comparison though.
          I can agree that Drop isn't the best company in the world, but your experiences with the Holy Panda debacle and a GMK delay can't be compared to buying an in stock product.
          I definitely agree with the Holy Panda thing being a major issue and not their only (profanity) up they've had when it comes to keyboard related collabs.
          GMK or any other keycap vendor taking a stupid amount of time to ship is effecting everyone and not just Drop, you can blame them for their lack of communication, but the product being delayed is on GMK.
          I'm still waiting for GMK parts from a different vendor that were due Q1 this year that I'd ordered like August last year.

          The audio XX products are very different imo and some of the only things that I'd recommend people go to Drop for though.
          They're actually bringing some amount of value with most of these products, such as these and Meze 99 Noir. Especially at the price available.

  • +1

    THE DESTINY HEADPHONE

  • I have Sound Blaster X3 that I bought on sale from OZB a while back, will these headphones go well with the X3?

    • +1

      I wouldn't recommend it (or any gaming sound card) long term, but yeah, it'll do the job you want an amp to do.

      Amps are recommended for these because you lose out a bit in terms of treble and bass response and extension without them, which is why a lot of people can call some headphones a bit 'dead' sounding (alongside their tonal expectations due to lots of v-shaped headphone audio experience).

    • +1

      We're in the same shoes. Here's a bit of insight from Reddit on the X3 and HD6xx. Like OP mentioned, not recommended.

      https://www.reddit.com/r/SoundBlasterOfficial/comments/epdb3...

      • +1

        Thanks for the input. This might finally push me to getting the Magni Modi stack that I been eyeing forever

        • +1

          Sorry just to tag in on this as well: the 6XX are not super renowned for their imaging, so placing things via 3D audio may take a hit compared to what you might be used to.

          The Sennheiser 560S might provide that better spatial presentation for you, but it brings a little heat from 2-5kHz that you might not like for non-gaming uses, and outside of gaming it is a bit of a step down in terms of timbre and detail/resolution.

        • I've just sold my magni modi stack, I can't hear the difference lol so might as well use the cheapest one.

    • You can run these on the X3. There is a head phone gain setting in the head phone part or the command centre panel, set it to High (150 - 600 ohms) and your good to go.
      You can always get a AMP/ DAC and balanced cable later. Noting there isn't a balanced out on the X3.

  • +1

    Does anyone know if a behringer UMC204HD audio interface can power these?

    • +2

      They can, but it'll introduce some minor distortion, so you'll want to try and balance out by playing with both the DAC and the amp gain to try and maximise performance. Mostly playing around with the amp gain though.

      Here's a good summary video of interfaces from the perspective of headphone amp performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLShpyzwvJs

      Longer term, you'll definitely want that dedicated amp and dedicated DAC, because EMF and component quality considerations do make a notable difference here.

    • +1

      I have the umc202hd and it powers it easily. My phone powers them too.

      • The phone will drive volume to satisfactorily audible levels, but you should notice that the bass is a bit flabby and the treble a bit dead due to impedance issues.

        That's why amps are recommended.

  • Should I even be considering this if I only listen using Spotify 95% of the time?
    Like would I be able to differentiate between this and my TMA-2?

    • +1

      Looking over graphs and info, assuming the TMA-2 hasn't destroyed your hearing above 10kHz, this will offer a different tonal balance (much, much more neutral), better detail and better vocal timbre, and way less muddy vocals. Which model/configuration are you using?

      Your headphone would be high-energy, slanted towards EDM-based tracks, and offer a fatiguing listening. In many ways, the 6XX is the polar opposite.

      • I'm using the Studio preset, but just had a look at their website, they seem to have replaced the old S04 speaker unit to S05 now. Can you elaborate a little bit more about the hearing above 10khz part if possible? That made me a little worried tbh lol.

        I dont have any DAC/AMP, so I assume I would need those as well to pair with the 6xx? what would you recommend for something <$250?

        • They are very, very bright headphones, with overall having a v-shaped FR curve.

          DAC and amp recommendations are up in the first comments tree.

    • Yep definitely an upgrade but remember to factor in the cost of a decent DAC/amp. It's also an expensive hobby so tread carefully.

    • +6

      There is a huge difference, believe me.

      If you want the 500 series at its zenith, the new HD 560S is $249 on Amazon too, and would be a much better headphone for gaming than the 599.

      Don't get sucked into 'higher/lower number' better debates or looking at frequency response curves alone: the level of detail you get which each step (599 -> 560S -> 6XX) is substantial, but they are three different tonalities, and the 560S and the 6XX have different strengths and weaknesses.

      • TBH the main source I went with was OzB fav, RTings. I am guessing their audio equipment reviews aren't the most real-world relevant?

        • +2

          They can't really objectively measure timbre or detail, nor how staging, imaging and detail combine to create the technical presentation of sound.

          As a result, their ratings system can make a $20 headphone look competitive with a $1000 one, when it really isn't. If you just want to see the frequency response in relation to the 2018 Harman curve (which isn't ideal for open backs) to get an idea of the tonality, or you want to know a bit about clamping force and general design of the headphone, they've got your info, but that's about it.

          Here's some other places to go:

          https://crinacle.com/
          https://www.youtube.com/c/TheHEADPHONEShow

      • How would you rate the hd58x into the Sennheiser mix? Curious as I enjoy my bass and since the 6xx has fairly severe bass roll-off, would you recommend the 560s or 58x or another headphone completely?

        • +1

          Bass roll-off is overrated with open back headphones. The most notable thing you're losing a decent amount of is the rumble, that sub-bass. The audible stuff is absolutely fine, but if you're expecting your ear pads to shudder when a house track kicks in, that's where you should be looking at closed backs, some IEMs or a speaker set with a sub connected because you're losing that Harman kick.

          58X makes too many trade offs and the 560S isn't a relaxed listen in comparison. The price gap between the three is way too narrow for this deal, so unless you have a specific use case where you think the 560S will excel (music genre, specific games, etc), I would just get the 6XX and add it to your arsenal. If you really miss the bass kick, then you can grab something like the AKG K371 closed back as a compliment from a musical perspective.

          For imaging, soundstage, and further detail and resolution there are way bigger upgrades that you can aim for in time, as certain speaker driver technologies become more affordable. Check out this review to get an idea of where open back headphone technology will head eventually: https://www.headphones.com/community/reviews-learning-and-ne...

          • @jasswolf: Thanks for the informative response, really appreciate it! I guess I do have my drop plus iems if I am craving that extra sub-bass and bass extension. I will probably pick up the 6xx at some point then haha.

            • +1

              @diddypc: To be 100% clear, bass roll off wouldn't be audible until 30Hz, it's just perceptually flat from 30Hz through to 3kHz or so bar a small lift around 100Hz (warmth), instead of having a bass shelf (raise) like the Harman curve, which tries to emulate a subwoofer once you hit sub-80Hz.

              You can see that here.

  • +2

    Just heads up guys, I had this ordered end of July, just received yesterday! I am in Queensland, it took a month…if you can wait

    • +1

      They are running monthly drop fulfillments at the moment due to demand, so there may be a waiting period, but I assume the sale is to clear warehouse stock before the next cycle.

      • +1

        That could be the case, but for mine, it was ready to ship when order was placed and I had the tracking history of the whole procedure, It took DROP a whole week to send out the package and another week in the US transit. After arrived in Australia, my parcel took 2 weeks at Sydney waiting for clearance…maybe just bad luck

        • Yeah the clearance stumbling block definitely sucks, but the rest (preparation and transit to AU) seems right.

          • @jasswolf: Thanks!, I've placed an order 2 weeks ago, dispatched in 3 days but still in US transit

        • +1

          Yeah, that's definitely a Sydney airport/customs thing, it took 2+ weeks from when tracking said my HD58x departed the US to when I actually received it.

    • I'm expecting 1.5 months now, my Sydney to Sydney item hasn't been updated for a week

      • +1

        Thats so true mate, I had an order from Melbourne HIFI 1.5week ago, and still in transit to Queensland today LOL, just a bit wait under Pandemic

  • +4

    I know people talk a lot about an amp being absolutely critical, and no doubt a good bit of kit does really allow them to shine (such as my UAD Solo), but a lot of the time I have these simply plugged into my MacBook, iPhone and XBOX controller and they still kick ass.

    • +4

      As someone who has owned and demoed multi-thousand dollar head-fi systems, I completely agree. Many modern devices come equipped with pretty excellent DACs these days (Apple devices being particularly notable in this regard) so as long as they have enough power to drive them, you may not even need a dedicated amplifier to enjoy great sound. One category that seems to be an exception to this is most Android phones (except for some of LG's offerings, which are amongst the best sounding phones you can find) - they all seem to use really poor quality DACs and woefully under powered amplifier components. Thankfully, this can be easily and affordably remedied by some of the dongles I linked above.

      For anyone who is on the fence about getting these because they think they need a DAC/Amp, I'd recommend biting the bullet, testing them out with your existing system and then demoing a DAC/Amp combo at a store like Addicted To Audio or Minidisc to decide if you really need to make the jump.

  • I've had these for two years - great set of cans (highly recommend). Powering them with an Asus Xonar Essence STX - is this a good idea or am I ruining the quality of these?

    • Not ruining them, but you do have an upgrade path in time. The beauty of the 6XX/650 is that you'll be able to locally demo it against a lot of gear even if you don't take the headphone into the shop, as they'll tend to have one.

    • +2

      if you're happy with it then it's good enough. I've tried multiple different headphones and tbh I can't hear the difference lol

    • +2

      The Xonar is a great card. No shame in powering those set of cans with it

  • I have the Topping DX3 Pro DAC/ Amp for my desktop and Topping L30 for my turntable and am happy with the performance. Enough power and sounds clean through the range.

  • How do they compare to hd58x? I got it recently and I have the X2HR on the way
    Are these worth the upgrade?

    • +3

      Some people love the 58X for their timbre as well, and you do get a bigger soundstage, but it's a notable detail and resolution hit.

      X2HR is screechy and fakes detail, and I would consider it the inbred offspring of the 58X and the 6XX as a result. That headphone gets blind recommended by too many gamers who are coming from barely-imaging-focused headphones that do nothing else well except be loud.

      I'd return the Fidelio, and I would take your 58X to a headphone shop that has the Sennheiser HD 650 on demo, and compare the two to see if you want to outlay the $270 or so. This deal should come back around in November, maybe even be better.

      I don't recommend repeatedly reaching into mid-fi options unless you have a specific purpose in mind, which it seems you don't yet. You might wind up with 2 or 3 headphones that you don't like or have a purpose for, when you could have pooled that money for something that genuinely compliments and improves your experience and/or collection.

      Here's some resources to help you on your way, though they don't really cover the Fidelios (no one outside of gaming redditors really do):

      https://crinacle.com/
      https://www.youtube.com/c/TheHEADPHONEShow

      • Is there something that can be had for the same/similar price as the fidelios (<$200) that is comparable? As far as I understand, you don't need an amp for those which significantly reduces the cost.

        • +1

          Sennheiser HD 560S would be my recommendation over the Fidelios, but it's at $250. It's a jump over the $170 for the Fidelio, but it is a vastly superior headphone in the treble. Both have caveats though, and for better quality audio longer term, you're going to be needing better amplification and DAC performance, one way or another.

          Eventually the HD 560S will hit the sub-$200 market, and has already gone close a few times through cashbacks.

          • @jasswolf: Okay, thanks for the advice.
            Coming from a pair of Bluetooth taotronics, I'm thinking any upgrade regardless will be a big one, and already bought the Fidelios from the recent deal.
            May look into further upgrades in the future if I get into the hobby a bit more.

          • @jasswolf: HD 560S superfan here
            for me 560S>6xx>Fidelio x2H

            • @radissimo: There is definitely strengths and weaknesses to the two Sennheisers that will see people look over both seriously, but as you move up through mid-fi, you might find yourself hanging onto the 6XX.

              The Fidelio is not a refined sound, but there are benefits to gamers due to solid imaging and a sizable soundstage.

              Taking a medium-term view, the Sundara and the 6XX make for great compliments.

              • @jasswolf: maybe I just needs some decent bass and soundstage, which 6xx is not providing…

                • @radissimo: Most people won't hear less than a 2dB difference, so the only notable gap in performance between the two is from 35Hz onwards, which is mostly perceived as rumble, rather than sound.

                  I'm going to take a wild guess that your 6XX is older? Pads break in and soften which while varied in the tonal and technical changes, tends to reduces bass extension in all cases, but that too will happen to the 560S over time.

                  Both are great headphones, and they serve slightly different purposes, but the 6XX hits more high marks which is why it lasts in a headphone collection most of the time. Time will tell though, but for imaging and soundstage I'll be looking forward to upcoming headphone tech like ribbon headphones.

    • X2HR is excellent, I own one as well.

  • I got these recently along with the JDS Atom stack. They sound amazing! I upgraded from the Sennheiser GAME ONE.

    I just checked my order and it took exactly 10 days for it to be delivered from dispatch.

    • I had mine delivered 8 days, the fastest even compare with Schiit, epic speed from JDS. Very good pair with 6xx, but I found more detail would be audible if paired with lower impedance headphones

  • now to wait for the schiit stack to go on sale.

  • how do these pair with the Topping L30 amp?

    • +1

      Should be really solid. That's a neutral, analytical amp, and these are a relaxed, warm listen.

      Not the ultimate pairing, but very good.

  • +2

    Good price though I prefer the Audio-technica R70x…which I consider 90% as good as the focal clears for 20% of their cost….and easily the best headphone under $1000 along with the Sundara.

    • +1

      These three really are the whistle stop tour for the best of sub-$1000, even considering when the Ananda dips below.

      • How about the focal elears when the b stock goes for 500-700 from ATA?

        • +1

          There is something funny going on in the upper mids on the Elears….I personally hated them and returned them for the Sundaras

          • @Flognuts: Which do you prefer, the r70x or the sundaras?

            • @dahoe: Good question lol.

              Short answer: It depends on your current source and amp.

              Both are incredible value for money, can't go wrong with either.

              R70x - is extremely hard to drive and needs power…you'll be tethered to a desk with these…..get the right amp and source and it's bliss. They are the first headphone that I cannot find a flaw with…..I don't know how Audio Technica managed it but everything sounds so natural, they are tonally perfect…..they are completely different to all other Audio Technica offerings too.

              Sundara sounds incredible off a Chord Mojo and when I first heard this combo I couldn't believe the sound coming out of a portable.

              I'm keeping both….and have no desire to upgrade they are both that good….but if I had to keep one it would be the r70x…..just.

              • @Flognuts: I don't have a headphone set up at my desk now, just a 2.1 bookshelf speaker set up which works great.

                Have the topping e30 so thinking of getting the l30 to make a stack but not tethered to that. Have any recommended amps for either headphone?

                The r70x is a bit cheaper and lighter than the sundaras, but the sundaras have the ability to eq the bass which I do like for some types of music. I also like the sound of planers although haven't heard either headphone

        • +2

          Needs the Clear pads by most reports, which aren't exactly cheap, but yeah it's in the mix too I suppose. The issue with the Focals is that they start to move away from why you reach for a dynamic driver: the timbre.

          Tonally they're probably a bit more all over the place in the treble, but depending on what you listen to that can add to the mix. They probably have the best bass presentation of all four (a staple for Focal), and there are plenty who regard the Elear with Clear pads (aka the Elex) as an upgrade from the Sundara, but in truth all four of these headphones jostle with each other on various fronts, with the R70X being the least detailed.

          I don't think the Elex gets a clear (heh) win over anything here other than the R70X.

          The overall issues with the Focal house sound and timbre capabilities ultimately lead to them making the Focal Clear Mg, which traded in their strengths to try and patch their weaknesses, but didn't really hit the mark.

          Here's an FR graph comparison for your own perusal.

          • @jasswolf: Focal Clear are over priced IMO.

            They belong closer to the $1000 range.

  • +7

    OP replies to most comments. What a legend. Newbie like me need someone like you jasswolf

  • Would a Fiio BTR5 be enough to power this or will I need both a DAC and an amp?

  • how would these run from my LGV40?

    • It will sound amazing. I have used my set with the LG v20 and now with the LG g8x. But be aware if your into bass don't bother with these.

      These headphones are great for soundstage midrange and the highs.

  • -1

    Get the philips X2's imo, used both a fair bit.

  • I'm currently running these with the epos gsx300.

    I love the headphones with the upgraded pads.

    But not sure the gsx300 is great.

    Any recommendations on what I can power these with, without busting the bank (500+).

    I play fps mainly.

    Herd the modi 3

    Regards.

    • +1

      Modi is a DAC, you need a DAC and an amp. Plenty of recommendations at the start of the comments.

      • Ah yes I see. I need the shiit stack modi + magni.

  • This or the AKG k7xx?

    • They are pretty similar headphones with a very similar sound signature.

      AKG k7xx is probably more comfortable as the clamping pressrure is less if you have a big head.

      Your best to demo both and make up your mind on which one your prefer.

      Either headphone is a great buy. I wouldn't get both as it's too similar.

    • +3

      Not sure what the other poster is on about, as they're not that similar at all. This is much preferred, but you can get the K612 and the K702 for like $200 on Amazon. K612 sound better out of the box of the two AKG options, but both EQ well.

      6XX is a rock solid starter.

      • +1

        Not similar in what way?
        Both the k7xx and 6xx sound signature is optimised for soundstage and imaging, with the 6xx having better mids but the k7xx having better highs. But the difference at least to my ears is a very similar sound. They both sound good and both are very good entry level headphones.

        • +2

          K7XX is mostly a warmer, dialled down K712 Pro that loses some detail as a result of the tuning: https://crinacle.com/graphs/headphones/graphtool/?share=IEF_...

          That AKG line-up has better imaging and soundstage, whereas the 6XX shines at everything else. Both EQ well though, but stock sound is different.

          Here's a direct comparison: https://crinacle.com/graphs/headphones/graphtool/?share=IEF_Neutral_Target,K7XX,HD650_S2_(2020)_(fresh_pads)

          Obviously FR curve isn't the be all and end all, and some of that gets filled in a tad, but the AKG still angles for something more akin to warmed up diffuse field, while the 650 is a warm neutral that's a tiny bit vocal forward through its bump in vocal presence.

          Some music will obviously highlight this difference more than others. Based on your earlier comments, I'm guessing you listen to orchestral and studio recordings more, perhaps with less forward vocal mixes, and that would perhaps mask some of the differences. Spatially the AKGs should be notably superior, at least the original K712/K702/K612 would be.

          • @jasswolf: I knew it! I’ve never been a believer whenever people say that K7XX is a direct copy of K712 or even K702, always felt that K7XX has a bit of boomy bass, very easy sell to the mass compared to the flatter more neutral OG AKG ones.

            First thing that I did to help alleviating this, I removed the thin round foam under the pads, I suspect that was a part of the Massdrop’s “Tune”.

            Too bad the K7XX is getting harder to buy cheap especially the red special edition one, still the cheapest K7 series I’ve bought.

            • @piupiupiu: K702 is $200ish on Amazon, K712 is $350, but has been as low as $240 before, I think.

              • @jasswolf: K702 is definitely a good buy at that price point..

  • How would these compare against an old but super reliable pair of Audio Technica ATH-AD700s? (The purple headset, not to be confused with the black 700x)
    Worth upgrading or nah?

    • Yes, completely different sound signature. AT pair have a wide soundstage and nice imaging, and that's about it. This does everything else a headphone can do at a very high level.

    • +1

      Damn, the AD700 takes me back to the start of my headphone journey. These are a totally different beast, are you ready for the slippery slope that is upgradis?

  • +2

    Good that the deal got shared, credit for the find would have been nice 😕

    • I honestly completely forgot about that exchange! Had the email up before your comment, and brought up OzB to see if it was posted.

      • -4

        BS on all fronts.

        I alerted you to the deal and you decided to post it after checking it out, end of story.

        I guess making a name for yourself & getting your 15 mins is your priority here.

        I used to like you. No more.

        • +1

          This is OzBargain, not the Olympics.

        • +1

          I don't link referral codes on here, and I don't have any content anywhere generating revenue for myself, so I'm not chasing fame and fortune.

          I saw the email, came to OzB, responded to your comment, forgot about all of that, and later checked for the deal again and then posted it. There was no malice, but you also didn't alert me to the deal.

  • These are awesome. Buttery smooth. I don’t think you can really get much better in this price range, and if it’s better its subjective. I swap between these and my Hifiman Devas depending on how I feel (I have the Fidelio x2 as well but I’ve stopped listening to them because I tend to prefer these 2). I drive the HD6XX with a FiiO BTR5 and a balance cable - mainly because I wanted a shorter cable and figured I might as well go balanced. Goes way louder than I need it to. With the regular 3.5mm cable on the BTR5 I personally think it’s still loud enough, but some ppl say otherwise.

  • Is the HD6XX at $285 already the best value 'high/middle-end' heaphones under $1,000 or we can find something around e.g. $500 with 50% better quality? I understand there are some diminishing returns here and sound quality can be subjective but just wonder if this is truly the sweet spot or it's worth waiting for something noticiably better around $400, $500 or $750 brackets with similar value for money as the HD6XX?

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