A couple of years ago a friend and I were having the “best headphones” debate. This is a favourite debater of audio junkies and like best scotch or best mountain bike trail, there’s no right answer. The fun is in the debate. I was on the Grado side, my friend was supporting Sennheiser.

Now, I’d never owned a pair of Sennheiser headphones, but I was, and am still a big Grado fan so I held to my position. I’d never owned a pair because frankly, they’re expensive. So are Grado headphones, but I already owned them so why buy another fancy pair of headphones.

Well, as it turned out, a number of months ago, some Sennheiser headphones came up for sale on MassDrop. The price, in the end, was amazing. (I’ll explain that in a moment) I bought them and then waited for a month or two for them to arrive. (I’ll explain that too) When I finally tried them – I converted. I am now a dyed-in-the-wool Sennheiser fan. Now, I’ll tell you how that happened.

So, MassDrop is one of a new breed of 'group buy' websites such as Groupon and Woot! It tries to use the purchasing power of a group of people to get better deals on things that people want. In MassDrop’s case, the deals are offered, but you don’t exactly know what the deal will be in the end, because the price goes down the more people join the deal.

So, the Sennheiser HD 650s that I purchased run about $499 USD from Sennheiser. When I joined the ‘drop’ on MassDrop they were going for $299 USD. Already significant savings. By the time the drop finished they were down to $199 USD.  Woohoo!

So, how do you get in on the savings? Go to Join up. Browse the drops: these are the items that you can purchase. Commit to purchasing at that or a lower price. Sit back and wait to see what price you get.

The downside? It may take a while. Drops can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of months before enough people have joined to bring the price down. So, this is not a good site to go shopping for a present you need to arrive before Christmas or Hanukkah this year. This is a site to go shopping for that thing that you’ve always wanted but just can’t justify the price for. And then hope you get a crazy deal.

I've purchased a few things off here. One item, an Emile Henry tagine, arrived broken in shipping. There was no problem returning it for money back. It’s always money back because they only get the number of items that were ordered in the drop so there are no exchanges.

I also always compare the price to the price on first to make sure it’s worth waiting for the deal. I also always check on, which I’ve written about before, to make sure it doesn’t have regular significant sales on too.

There are large communities of buyers on MassDrop that can help you find the items that you’re looking for. I belong to the Cooking, Men’s Accessories, Outdoors, and Tech communities, just to give you an example of the diversity. There are also very specific groups like Knitting and Mechanical Keyboards.

All in all, it’s a fun place to shop for a great deal, once you accept the constraints of the system. There’s also a very knowledgeable group of people in the comments section that can usually provide comparative information about this specific item.

It’s also a nice place to do a little shopping for yourself over the holiday season, once you’re done shopping for everyone else. And if you're an audiophile level headphone fan, you could do a lot worse than checking out the Sennheiser HD 6XX headphones. They are stunning!

Happy Computing.