Pros: The sound quality rivals $200-$300 mid-fi reference phones; neutral sound; clear; easy to drive; less than $50?!
Cons: plastic body, cables that come with are less than stellar, puts pressure up top of head with ATH wing design
Let me start by saying I don't normally write reviews on the official level, star system with graphs and all. I do look at them religiously when trying to find info on a HP, DAC, or AMP that's sparked my interest. So here I am reviewing on the Taiwanese made Superlux 668B which is quite obvious a mix of AudioTechnica's wing headband system, AKG K studio series body, with Superlux's driver. Aside from the last bit, obviously all are homages or clone of their respective brands. Not the first time one brand took from another however.
With that out of that way, let me start by saying at less the $50 shipped, not much can go wrong. The headphones look and might feel somewhat cheap on the cups but before you judge, plug the sucker in and have at it.
- Quite obviously the headband's wing system is something you'd find from AudioTechnica's line. Similar to AD900X and the likes. The headphone feels quite secure but the the two wings takes time getting used to. I'm hoping with time they get somewhat softer and less obvious. Aside from the two wings pads, the headphone is very light and does not feel like you're wearing a headphone at all. Clamp force is very good in gripping your head but not overly where it hurts (like a DT880 Pro when new). I've tried pointing my head downwards to try and get the HP to fall off, doesn't even budge. For reference I wear a 7 5/8" fitted hat, I fare on the big noggin side.
- The cups are made of plastic, they feel and look cheap. Aside from the opening of the grill, the cups look exact clones of the AKG K studio series (K240 for example). From the way the cups swivel up and down on the driver housing, the way the headband goes into the housing, as well as cable entry and run from one driver to another.
- The earpads are pleather and aren't too bad, although I can see some Hifiman velours or similar would do great on comfort. As is, it's not too bad. They're soft but not memory foam or anything fancy. The feel isn't too bad either, I've seen worse.
Now the most important part, SOUND.
They've been running for about two hours now and there's already a noticeable difference in treble. At first it sounded rough and spikey but after 60 mins it's calmed down quite a bit. From word around here, 50 hours would produce the final sound after burn-in. First these are what you would call reference type headphones, neutral sounding and fairs to the bright/airy side. No dark stuff here and if you seek a bass-head or a warm phone, look elsewhere. What I can say however is the clarity on these phones are fantastic. Dry sounding, it pairs well with tube amps for a more musical flavor but does well with solid state if speed and attack is of priority. With an emphasis in the treble end, they air on the bright side The treble does get too hot with poorly mastered tracks, definitely a bright and airy phone that does well when the music fed is greatly recorded (loud war tracks need not apply). The bass has a steep roll off after 60hz, sub-bass rumble is non-existent but bass is pronounced from 60hz and up. Nothing sloppy, but unamped the drivers can lose control when the sound swells. Soundstage isn't very wide, I would say comparable to the DT880's semi-open width. Instrument separation are great, you can easily follow different instruments in a piece without it getting lost when you've got 3-4 different going at the same time.
These sound to be about 85% straight from a cell phone, a plus if that's all the source you have or need to use it on the go. When amped, the HP can keep things tight and true. It doesn't take a whole lot to get these going as well, plugged straight to my Lenovo laptop I'm having to use 50% of the volume bar to keep things at a sane level. These are 56ohms with the rating of 98db/1mW according to the box.
I've never heard anything in the full size realm that sound like these at this price range. It definitely holds up to the hype and praises it gets as reference or studio quality. If you prefer a bright tilted phone with a dry and clear sound at less than $100 this is something that should be in your shopping list. At the normal price of around $40, these are a steal of a headphone. It's great as a value minded HP, backup, or something to let the kids chuck around. I'm one for great value and willing to spend the money if it warrants it so when something with great value comes around it definitely sparks my interest. If you're looking for something that won't leave a hole in your wallet that will compare very to mid-fi headphones, this is it. A definite listener's headphone, not very show worthy but when your friends ask what you spent on it, you'll look like you've done some homework with your purchase.