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Superlux HD 681 Review

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Superlux HD 681 review

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I was quite clear about what I wanted; some pretty, new, quality headphones This led to the Superlux HD 681 review. I also knew it would take in-depth research to get it right. I was ready for that. Yes, I wanted to be the proud owner of a set of headphones that would be quite comfortable on my head. I wanted it to be light, something that would not feel tight on the head; that fits well; something better than what was available in the shops.

This means I had to walk around quite a bit, in search of my dream device. I went from shop to shop, mall to mall, market place to marketplace. I tried most of what was offered. I felt despondent after a while. Each time I thought I had what I wanted, something would still be missing. And then, yippee! I found it at last. In one shop, just one. The Superlux HD681 was the answer! I was thrilled!

 

The Superlux HD 681 proved to be better than I imagined.  It was a superior critical listening headphone, even better than the likes of the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x. These semi-open headphones proved to be quite comfortable and offered superb audio quality, especially for their relatively affordable price.

The design of the Superlux HD 681 makes them open-sounding. The build quality is both cheap and fragile in a beautiful way. The Superlux HD 681 headphones are more comfortable compared to peers, as the HD668. They are lightweight and feature an excellent headband design that feels less tight on the head and extends a little bit further than the HD 668 goes. They also have large ear cups that fit quite well around the listeners’ ears.           

First Impression

The Superlux HD 681 is strikingly similar to the HD 668B. Both devices have practically the same ear cups. What is different is the headband design. All these features make the HD 681 appear more like the AKG K240 MKII. Their color scheme is rather bland, but this particular model stands out a bit more, compared to the HD668. This is thanks to the red accents on the headband and ear cups. Unfortunately, their plastic build quality makes them look cheap and less durable. The Superlux HD 681 is quite similar to the HD 681 both in shape and sound. They’re a little bit more comfortable, due to their different headband design that is generally not as tight on the head as other headphones.

 

Right out of its box, the Superlux comes with a rather rugged pouch that shields the headphones from minor water exposure and scratches. As I found out, however, the usefulness of the pouch is limited since it cannot protect your headphones against impacts and drops. Just like the HD 668B, the Superlux HD 681 is cheaply made and comes with much plastic. They feel more like a good budget version of the AKG K240. This shows in their build quality. A little disappointingly for me, they also come with a plastic design without any metal parts.  When you open the box, all the materials that are used in their build quality feels a rather low grade.  For sure, as I discovered, they won’t break at once if they fall accidentally once or twice. Regardless, they don’t feel a lot like most durable headphones feel.

Design

As I noted, the Superlux HD 681 have more or less the same ear cups as the HD 668B. They, however, feature a headband that is a bit more comfortable when worn. The headband’s strap design adjusts better to the different head sizes and shapes when compared to the previous model. However, they are, seemingly, a little bit less stable than the HD 668. This is because they are not as tight. Moreover, they do not have a detachable audio cable. They are somewhat bulky and cumbersome to carry, especially if you don’t have a bag.

Just like the 668D, the HD 681 is not well designed to block ambient noise. They come with semi-open earcups that create not only an immersive Soundstage but also leaks, letting ambient noise sneak into your audio. This means that the HD 681 is not the ideal headphone for use while commuting or even for use at the office. If you have them on, you will struggle to hear your music in a noisy environment. The level of leakage is just too distracting to the people around you who are in quieter settings.

Performance

Unfortunately, as you will find out, the padding on the headphone’s ear cup feels a bit stiff and might cause uneven pressure. The device is not particularly uncomfortable, but it can be wearisome after using it for a while. Although the Superlux HD 681 are lightweight, they are also bulky and rather cumbersome headphones. The ear cups do not fold well or lay flat. This contributes to making them somewhat difficult to carry when roving around.

The HD681 are also not as tight on the head as the Superlux HD 668B. Moreover, they are less stable overall. They are certainly not recommended for sports since they have big ear cups. These sway a lot during physical activity. Interestingly, they don’t swing much during casual listening sessions. Unfortunately, also, this model of headphone does not feature a detachable cable. For this reason, if the cables get hooked by anything, the headphones will likely get yanked off your head. This is not a pleasant experience. At 100 Db SPL, the amount of harmonic distortion that comes in the Bass Range is too high. This often makes the Bass slightly unclear.  At around 9KHz, the peak in distortion will doubtless have a negative effect on the Treble Range. This makes the headphone harsh-sounding.

Sound Quality

The Superlux HD 681 are fabulous critical listening headphones compared to the likes of Audio-Technica ATH-M20x. They are semi-open headphones that are more comfortable and offer superb audio quality at a reasonably affordable price. The HD 681 sounds a lot better than most of the other pricier headphones. Unfortunately, they are not sufficiently versatile. They are cumbersome, leak quite a bit, and don’t block a lot of noise. For these reasons, they are best used in isolation.

The Superlux HD 681 are, indeed, a very good sounding pair of semi-open over-ear headphones. They have a virtually flawless Bass, a decent Treble and an excellent Mid-Range. They perform pretty consistently across multiple humans. If you wear glasses, however, there’s a chance you will get slightly less Bass compared to others who don’t have glasses. They offer an average Soundstage and decent imaging. Nevertheless, their common distortion often makes their Bass and Treble sound slightly harsh under heavy loads.

Conclusion

The HD 681 is simply great for critical listening. They are, however, not the most versatile headphones you can buy. True, they are affordable and good-sounding headphones. Regardless, they leak, are bulky and cumbersome and will not block a lot of noise. Overall, the Superlux HD 681 is a great budget option. Happily, the sound quality of the HD 681, just like the HD 668B is good, whether for casual or critical listeners. This headphone still comes well recommended despite its flaws. Hope you found this Superlux HD 681 review useful.

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Superlux HD 681

7.9

The HD 681 is simply great for critical listening. They are, however, not the most versatile headphones you can buy. True, they are affordable and good-sounding headphones.

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