If it ain't broke...the Massdrop Sennheiser HD 6XX

This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Those Massdrop guys are pretty damned smart; they've essentially created a business model that monetizes a group buy. But more than that...they lurk in the shadows of headphone enthusiast forums and read looking for good products to make small improvements on. They cherry pick a good product, go to the manufacturer and ask for a few changes based on what they've heard themselves and on-line, and place a big bulk order to drive the price down. And then they sell a boatload of them because they're terrifically priced and they're often better performers than the original headphone.

Massdrop's Fostex TH-X00 came out second best in this survey of Foster headphones, and it was the cheapest of the bunch! And they were the top U.S. AKG headphone seller with their numerous AKG K7XX drops. My experience is that Massdrop headphones are consistently a big win for the consumer.

Well...they've changed their tune a bit with the just announced Massdrop Sennheiser HD 6XX because in this case they didn't change the headphone's tuning it at all. (Measurements show the HD 6XX and HD 650 essentially identical within measurement errors.) No, there is really no reason for them to re-tune the Sennheiser HD 650. They've done their homework. They know that this is widely considered amongst headphone enthusiasts the standard by which all other headphones are compared. I've reviewed them and love them. Yes, there are better sounding high-end headphones, but none deliver the price/performance ratio of this icon.

Massdrop's genius this time was to go straight for the jugular and slash the price to drive up the value of this already terrific headphone. You do give up some niceties compared with the HD 650, though. The paint job is plain-Jane dark blue—I think they should have gone black as black, oh well. The cable is exactly the same as the HD 650 but shortened to 50" and is now terminated with a straight 3.5mm plug rather than the 1/4" plug of the HD 650. I think this is a great idea as it makes them more versatile, and those who are really serious about these cans should get aftermarket cables anyway. The outside packaging is boring black and white—that'll get throw out so who cares—but you still get the hefty storage/presentation case.

Bottom line: This is a smoking deal. If you have an interest in high-fidelity audio on headphones and don't have a pair of Sennheiser HD 600 or HD 650s, I suggest you have a finger hovering over the buy button on November 8th at 6AM Pacific Time when the drop goes down. I bet they sell all 5000 in the first day!

Here's the HD 6XX drop!