Superlux HD681 Semi Open Headphones - Maybe Bargainous...

Soldato
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These bad boys:

SuperluxHD681.jpg


What's that you say? They look like knock-off AKG K240s? Well maybe that's because they are. Some people reckon they're OEM 240s, and if so they look like they have a few cost cutting 'downgrades', aesthetically at least.

Seemingly most of the Superlux headphone range sucks hard, well according to headfi that is at least (most of them over at headfi have a strong dislike of clone cans and amps for various reasons, which I totally understand). However, there are a few people who seem to rate the HD681s rather highly, especially based on their ridiculously low price. Other Superlux cans closely resemble those made by Beyerdynamic, and are apparently trash.

Personally I have little qualm in purchasing a clone if it means saving a few dozen quids. The K240s are relatively expensive at ~£75. The HD681s usually come in at about £30, but they're on offer on eBay at £14.99 delivered from one seller (very helpful guy - they were up for £26.99 delivered yesterday when I ordered them, and he contacted me in the afternoon saying that they were reducing the price of them later in the day and would refund me the difference). You get what you pay for? Perhaps. I have a pair on order, so I'll let you all know how they are.

They'll be running against my Senn HD580s, a really nasty pair of Technics cans that somehow cost £30 but sound more like 30p, and my memories of a pair of AKG K141s that I had a while back. I'll be running them off a Grado RA1 clone that I threw together a couple of years back for testing. The main reason for the purchase of these cans is to replace the aforementioned utterly diabolical Technics cans that I use when I'm waiting for my RA1 batteries to charge.

Laughably translated blurb:


Superlux HD681 Semi-open Professional Headphones

Precise Sound, Comfortable Fit

- High efficiency and wide dynamic range, and also a close company for mobile use
- Self-adjusting headband for great fit and maximum comfort
- 1/8 mini stereo Gold plated contacts, plus 1/4 adapter
- Single-sided, straight OFC cable
- Accurate and detailed sound amazes your hearing experience
- Must have in a very affordable price and professional audio quality

Exciting
Check out the workmanship and price, you get surprise. People says price killer and HD681 is the one. Competitors start to damn HD681 is a very bad boy, but users say what a wonderful piece. Put on the HD681 headphones, and you almost cannot feel it exists. What a comfortable monster!

Touching
Fit HD681 headphones on your head, and play the music you like, and people can see your face change and smile. You start to lose sight of headphones, but just enjoy music. Accurate and crystal detailed music surrounds in your mind and touch your heart.

Warning
Boom! Watch out your ears! HD681s high efficiency and wide dynamic range might hurt your precious hearing ability. Carefully adjust the music volume when using HD681 headphones and HD681 is the monster to offer you punch and power. Attention, and get ready to rock!

And some specs:

* Type - Dynamic, Semi-open
* Driver - 50mm, dome type, neodymium magnet
* Sensitivity - 98 dB (SPL/mW)
* Frequency Range - 10 to 30,000 Hz
* Rated Impedance - 32 Ohms
* THD <0.25%
* Max Input Power - 300 mW
* Cord - Single Sided, Straight. 2.5 meters (8.2 feet)
* Connector - Gold plated stereo 1/8" mini jack
* Adaptor - Screw on, gold plated, stereo 1/8" mini jack to 1/4" phone
* Weight - 220 g (8.3 ounces)
 
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Soldato
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Looking at the specs they seem quite credible, if they're any good i may grab a pair

Yeah, they sound good on paper, just curious as to how they sound when they sound!

I will hopefully have them in my hands tomorrow, and will give a mini 'un run-in' review if I get the time tomorrow evening.
 
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Initial impressions are rather good.

Compared to my £30 Technics cans, they are amazing. Compared to my HD580s, they're totally different. The HD580s are relaxed, soft sounding and totally unfatiguing in sound and comfort. The HD580s are particularly suited to jazz/classical, and excel at these. They sound too muted at the frequency extremes for rock, electro and some gaming.

Now the Superluxes. They sound very AKG (from my memory of my K141s). Quite bright and detailed, and somewhat fatiguing compared to the 580s (which I'm sure you know are in a league or two above the K240/141 at least). They're slightly sibilant with vocals and symbols, but not bad enough to put me off using them by any stretch. Maybe they'll 'run-in'? Bass is good, and is at least as 'present' as the HD580s I'm comparing them with. As it stands, if someone offered me 2 pairs of cans at the same £££, one that sounded like the HD580s and one the Superlux HD681s, I'd probably take the 580s based on their less bright presentation.

Build quality is surprisingly good too, much better than any other budget cans I've had the (dis)pleasure of dealing with.

I've only had the chance to give them a 10 minute blast, but they are good. Extremely good for the £15 I picked them up for, and even at the £27 I almost bought them for. I'll need to give them more of a blast to form a definitive opinion, but so far - very good. Exceptional for the price.

At £14, they so far seem like they're quite a steal.

Oh, and they're quite comfy too.
 
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Currently giving Diana Krall a listen through the HD681s with my RA1 clone. They're far easier to drive than the HD580s, and are way more sensitive too.

I'm utterly astonished by how good these cans are for the price. Looks like there are none left @ £14.99 on eBay, but there are some for £26 delivered (I can heartily recommend supermusic57 as a seller).

They come in pretty rubbish packaging (shrinkwrapped onto a cardboard cutout), but that's another cost saving excercise by the manufacturer. They're not a premium brand, so need all the help they can get to keep the price down. They come with a 1/4" adaptor and a nylon storage bag, which is pretty much useless unless you're going to leave them in a cupboard for yonks and want to keep the dust off.

After a little longer wearing them, they do give you the trademark AKG headsqueeze, but that's to be expected. They're comfier than K141s which operate on the same type of clamping principal, but are supraaural and actually hurt the ear after a while, whereas the HD681s are circumaural and don't.

I can only imagine them sounding even better after a good 100+ hour run in.

Someone else buy some and share the bargainousness!
 
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I'llget a pair as soon as i can afford to, the AKG 242s was one of the p[airs i originally had on my shortlist when i managed to grab my A900s.
Good to see they're easy to drive instead of the classic AKGs which need the biggest amp you can throw at them.

Would be nice to see a direct comparison between these and the proper AKGs and some of the Goldring range.
 
Soldato
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Just snapped up a pair for £14.98 on the bay.

Needed a new pair, and these sound rather good for £15 :D

Good spot finding them at £15, they weren't on there yesterday. I hope you like them when they arrive.

I'm currently listening to mine, and still think they're very good for the money. I imagine my RA1 batteries will last a fair bit longer when it's driving them aswell.
 
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