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Superlux HD 681

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #46 in Over-Ear


Pros: Soundstage, pretty neutral, decent resolution.

Cons: Bass falls off fairly quick, sounds dry and can be strident

Who would have ever thought that cans that cost 20~ bucks could sound pretty good, well some how Superlux did it and this is the result. I have the Presonus HD 7 which is essentially the same headphone 


At the price range I didn't really expect anything great, and not to my surprise they were very cheap feeling all round, they rattled and squeaked, the plastics felt incredibly cheap, they sort of make me cringe, the headband and pads were pleather and unlike high quality pleather they don't even feel a bit like leather. They feel light and flimsy overall, despite all these problems I didn't have any issues with them while I was chugging them around (took them to a few lan parties and tournaments) they held their own despite feeling so flimsy. I think despite the fact they feel so fragile and cheap I think they can take some abuse. The headphone scores a 4/10 in this category, but because of the low price ill bump that up to 6/10.


It uses the AKG auto adjust system from the K240 (this thing looks like a K240 knock-off, literally), I find because of that there is uniform pressure on the headband thus on hotspot are present making it pretty comfy for the top of my head and the clamping force is moderate so it doesn't put too much pressure against the ears, they would have been much more comfortable if the phones came with better pads, in terms of comfort the pads are pretty thin and hard making them lackluster for long listening sessions. If it weren't for the pads they would score a solid 9/10 on comfort because of the head band, the low-moderate clamp force and the lightness of the headphone itself makes it easy wear, but because of the hard and thin pads, which cause a bit of discomfort and my ears also touch against the drivers Im taking about 2 points off of it making it a 7/10.


 An Akg K240 look alike with cheap materials and horrible pleather make this headphone not very pleasing to the eye, I mean its not ugly but its not really a looker either. A solid 6/10 over here as well.



This was pretty surprising in terms of over all sound quality , I had initially got this as a replacement for my dying DT990 for use for Counterstrike in lan. Before it was fully burnt in it was quite thin and brittle sounding without much body in the lower end of the audio spectrum, but it had amazing resolution for the money I paid, they also imaged pretty well as footsteps were clear and easy to pick up in CS:GO (sound is very important in this game), slowly after some burn in I started listening to some songs and the headphone started to open up and I have to say that I was quite surprised by the audio quality I got for the bargain basement I paid for it. The bass was present had decent impact and was also tight sounding, didn't extend very well though and I personally would prefer a bit more bass, the mids were a bit dry but had nice detail and air to it, the highs were well extended and a bit emphasized and forward, they had plenty of detail and resolution but did get stirdent if the recording wasn't good and made these cans very revealing. 8.5/10 in perspective with price and 7/10 overall.



If you look beyond the terrible feeling of this headphone and the creeks and rattles of the poor build, you will find a pretty resolute and detailed sound that does gaming and music pretty well, although this doesn't really play to my preferences as I do like darker headphones I can't help but admit that I did enjoy my time with these and playing Counterstrike was a joy as the lightness of these didn't cause fatigue during long sessions, the pads however were a irritating ( I eventually used my beyer pads from my dead 990). I think these are a superb value and anyone looking for cans under a hundred dollars should definitely give these a try, and Im certain that most won't be disappointed.


Pros: Great soundstage, deep bass and punchy, crisp and intimate treble. Cheap.

Cons: Require damping mod atleast for the high treble. Need sturdier ear pads.

Without mods it's quite decent headphone but after modding it becomes very good. High priority is to get treble down atleast. I have been using cotton wool pad and three layer of thin active carbon filter paper to reduce treble. And bass needs also little dampering too. I have been using one cotton wool pad inside each cup to reduce bass and making it more punchier. Build quality is not super. I'ts plastic and quite easy to broke but also easy to repair. Also it's very cheap headphone so no big deal if it's get broken :) Also it's comfortable headphone, lightweight, gentle clamping. 




AWESOME SOUND can't beat these for price and they re tough too .My teens love em and steal them on me all the time to watch movies with or listen to music ,me too LOL .Long cord can get tangled around things not it self so much tho and comfy to wear too.The bad too big to wear out or carry around ,these are made for home use .PLEASE NOTE since these are an open design you ll still hear the TV and people around you in the back ground so if you want total quiet try one of their closed back options !


Pros: Cheap, good basic sound, cheap, decent build quality, cheap, includes carrying bag, cheap, self-adjusting headband and did I mention it's cheap ?

Cons: Harsh highs (solved by the filter mod), a bit tight clamping, all plastic (but makes it light) and not solid feeling.

I'm member on a forum for bassguitar players and since a few years the Superlux HD681 are the most spoken of headphones on there. Because of the price vs basic sound quality. After I bought the DT770 pro it seemed funny ordering this one on top, for comparisment and good for recording too.

Because I really dislike the one with the red rings I bought the one with silver rings, not realizing that it has a different sound. But it looked cooler, that's a lot to be said here...

Let's roll !


Build quality:

Okay, so what does one expect from €19,95 headphones ? They're made entirely out of plastic, but don't look too cheap. They have some thight clamping force and the self-adjusting system seemed to work fine, only not really smooth. But overall decent build headphones with easily removable earpads and even service friendly. The cord is thicker than the one on my AKG K271 so even there I don 't see any problem. It's a AKG clone, but Superlux gave it some own style-elements.



A self-adjusting system is always nice, but it does have a thight clamping force. I solved this by pulling it over a box and leave it like that for a day. Now the clamping force is normal for my head. With the AKG velours pads comfort didn't aprove, I acually prefer the stock pads, they have more clearance around my ears. Got no problem with them being sweaty too, allthough it has been extremely hot around here the last few weeks. The Superlux HD681 is quite light, which adds on comfort. Overall suitable for long term usage.


Sound quality (before filter mod) :

So, dare one speak of sound quality on €19,95 headphones ? At first I was disapointed... a lot ! Couldn't understand why all these guys were bragging about it on the bassguitar forum. I'll try to paint the picture:

Bass: The bass was very decent, nice punchy drumkick, bassguitar present in the mix. Not really deep bass, but well noticeable. It's more like a low-mid bass, somewhere around 80hz or so. But in metal (what I'm working on at the moment) the 80 hz region is very important. So I would call the bass sound "sufficient".

Mids: Mids where very clear from the beginning. The guitars really slammed me in the mixes I'd allready did with the DT770. But seems the Superlux puches mid foreward a bit. Cause when I lowered the volume of the guitars they became recessed in the mix. So I would call the mids a bit "over the top".

Highs: Here was where I could really hear this thing had only cost me €19,95 ! Too much highs ! Harsh highs ! Non-musical highs... really not good in this department. It sound like it has its own treble boost build in. So I definetly cal the highs "harsh".

Of course, since I have the B version, that's voiced like a K240, I have the "Balanced" version. Nothing balanced about the highs though...


But then I read on this forum and on Rock Grotto that these Superlux headphones started to sound better if they had some playtime. And I found the mod with the filters to take away the treble boost feel. I have been playing these headphones for days now and I really hear the highs getting a better sound. Still too much, but better sounding. A friend of mine, who's into electronics, is looking into the filter mod and I will get them in there for sure. If the highs soften this headphones simply have a very usable sound. So I will comment further on sound after the filters have been added.


EDIT 21st September 2013: a few days ago I've done the mod with the filter that softens the harsh highs. The Superlux are different headphones now ! Now they're really "balanced", even very close to my AKG K271. Incredible how $8 of components can chance cheap (sounding) headphones into expensive (sounding) ones.


Sound quality (after filter mod):

Bass: They are not bass-heavy headphones, but the bass is okay. It's not deep, more like a 80hz and up bassrespons. But it's compareable with the 7 times more expensive AKG. So don't expect punch in the basrespons, but it is very useable.

Mids: The installed filter takes care of the highs and in some amount the mids are also tempered. They're real sweet mids now, just as I like them on my AKG K271. Before the filter the mids were a bit over the top, puching vocals and guitars foreward. This has been solved beautifully by these filters. Now the mids are nicely balanced and dependable.

Highs: Allright ! Here we are... the difference in unbelieveable ! Gone are the harch highs, welcome to the new sweet, musical highs that suddely make these $25 headphones sound scary close to the 7 times as expensive AKG K271.



As far as I understand it, soundstage is all about stereo imaging and instrument placement. Well, that's not one of the strong points of these headphone. The sound sits a lot "inside the head" making it difficult to place the instruments. The stereo image is a bit rough, could be because of the forwarded mids and the harsh highs. But hey, what do you expect from €19,95 headphones that says "studio monitor". I cannot image one will use these for mixing, but I believe it would be a decent phone for guitar or bass recordings.



At this point it's hard to say because I 'm planning on the filter mod. But out of the box I think these headphones can satisfy many music-lovers. It's fairly neutral sounding, besides the overexaggerated highs, and many won 't even mind the highs. I read a lot of reviews where people say the HD681 can, with some mods, sound like $150 headphones, but I seriously doubt that. It is no match for the DT770 pro or the K271 studio. Not by a long run.


Conclusion after the filter mod:

These headphones were $25 and the filters have cost me about $8. This makes it a $33 headphone. After the filter mod the sound is truely balanced and really does have a "studio monitor" feel over it. It is definitly useable in the studio for recordings, allthough the open build will cause problems. Now I have to agree with all those who claim this Superlux HD sounds like a $150 HP after the filters are in place. At this moment it even is a match for my $200 AKG K271. Or it's at least surprisingly close.

After these filters I had to upgrade "Rating" from 3 stars to 4 and half stars and "Audio Quality" till max.


Here are some pictures of the B version with the AKG velours pads:







Pros: light weight, good clarity and high bass

Cons: stiff and sweaty ear pads, wire length option and portability

When the package reached, my first impression is... honestly cheap. Simply a plastic wrapped with a hard cupboard holding the HD681 which i understand because of considering the budget. The headphone comes along with a 6.3 mm plug adapter and carrying bag. Then I hold the headphone, surprisingly light weight and it fits my head quite well (my head is quite small). Unfortunately I realise the ear pads are quite hard and if used a long time it will become sweaty (tropical country :D).

For musics, so far all genre is good to go, and with amp and tuning equalizer the result will be more impressive. I'm just a normal home user who enjoy music but not in professional way so it is consider extra good for me except the wire is a bit too long for me (which i dont need too long). So i coil it and I think it is not a very big deal with it. In terms of portability, HD681 is not very suitable for mobility use as it looks too much adopted in studio monitor (the design is cool wearing in indoor) and big size. 

Overall, considering the price and output quality, it is still the best bang for bucks (in my country ;P) like other Superlux headphones and earbuds.

Recommend for users love enjoy any genre musics indoor with simple way (not DJ style) and replace its ear pads (velour pads or others).

Peace V


Pros: Sound quality, accurate reproduction, comfortable, price

Cons: Not portable, fugly

Reading reviews is one thing, as we all have our own subjective opinions, but when something receives a majority of praise, I think it's worth a try.


When the 681's arrived, I wasn't impressed with the packaging, but they looked as I expected them to look. They feel pretty durable and the look is retro, I can't see myself taking these outside since they don't fold up and they are kind of fugly.


Looks aside, the sound from these is nothing short of amazing. 


I'm running them out of my Dell Inspiron 530 desktop (Core 2 Quad) with a Behringer UCA222 in the signal path. The files are all WAV or FLAC. 


The 681's are very easy to drive, I don't feel the need to hook up my Fiio E05 or my Fiio E11. I'm getting plenty of volume, with room to spare, from the desktop.


I've been listening to a very wide variety of music and the 681's are working very well with everything. Acoustic, Folk, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Progressive Metal, Industrial, Hip Hop, Rap, they all sound really amazing on these Headphones.


I'm really glad I took a chance on these.


Compared to other Headphones that are in the same bracket, like the Panasonic RP-HTF600-S Stereo Headphones and the Monoprice 8323, I believe they aren't in the same league, as far as performance. I realize the 681's are a semi-open design, but so are the HTF600's. I'm not putting the 8323's or the HTF600's down, as they are very good headphones in their own right, but I overwhelmingly prefer the sound of the 681's.


The 8323 and the HTF600's are more portable but the Panasonic's don't really fold either but the cups rotate a little, whereas the 8323's fold up in the smallest portable package of the three.


So, the details the 681's produce are spot on, to me. I don't have a higher end set up to compare them to, as the only other headphones I own are Sennheiser PX100's, PX200's, and Audio-Technica ATH-M50's. 


Out of all those sets, I really prefer the 681's. I don't find they are lacking in any aspect. The bass is deep, fast, and tight. The midrange is fabulous, the vocals and instruments sound SO good. I don't feel the treble is too bright or forward or harsh. These headphones seem to reproduce exactly what you feed them, and that is no small feat.


Since they are "semi-open" the sound isn't contained, so others can hear what you are listening to and the sound from the surrounding environment creeps in without much resistance. This is another reason I don't see the 681's as ideal for use on a commute or in an office environment, unless you need to be aware of your surroundings. I don't think you have to crank the volume up much to get a really decent level of sound with these either.


I do appreciate the reviews on equipment submitted by everyone else on head-fi. This is a great resource and it was very helpful in my search for some decent setups.


As with anything else, this is just my opinion of the 681's. Your mileage may vary.


Pros: Soundstage, clarity, balanced sig with good bass, price

Cons: They aren't perfect... The ear pads are not the best. Not for the huge-headed, but what cans are?

People are dissing these for their looks?!? If you are buying any full-sized cans because of their sexy factor, you need to reexamine your priorities. If you haven't heard these, I'd bet you take them home when you do. For the tiny bit of $$ you'll pay, these are absolutely the best sounding cans you can purchase. College students, people on fixed-incomes and the thrifty audiophile will especially love these. Replace the pads with velour ones, if you want. The cans will still sound good and they may be more comfortable. As good as they sound and as cheap as they are, who cares how they look? If that's an issue, turn off the light when you listen to them. Lets face it, some Grados look like radio operator headphones from the 1920s, but they are graded on their sound first. These should be, too.


Pros: Deep sounding bass and lots of detail.

Cons: Comfort issues, resonance

The bass goes nice and low with adequate impact.  Not too much to say about the mids.  These things have too much in the high-end. They can be pretty shrill at times though a bit though an EQ helped a lot.


Comfort is definitely the worst thing about these. They clamp a lot and the earpads are made of a cheap, sticky, hard, pleather that peel off of your skin. BTW, Any earpads that fit the AKG 240 will fit these and I highly recommend replacing them; it's worth it.  The AKG styled self adjusting headband is actually quite comfortable and I like it though it's also a pretty cheap pleather.


Build quality is sub-par but for this price it's decent. I definitely wouldn't throw these around but they will last quite awhile if you take half decent are of them. If you plan to do one of the many mods to them be VERY CAREFUL opening them up, the internal wires are very delicate. The two wires on the headband are made of metal and if you happen to bump them they will ring and you an hear the resonance in the headphones. This is fixable with a piece of foam.



NOTE: There are two released editions of this headphone. The first has brightly colored red accents. The second released one has darker maroon accents and the highs have been subdued quite a bit and are more tolerable now but sound the same otherwise. I don't believe they sell the original anymore.


Overall, don't hesitate to buy them, just make sure you have some money extra saved up to replace those awful earpads.


Pros: Cheap. Gigantic soundstage. Excellent mids. Punchy bass. Easy to drive. Do well with EQ. Comfortable. Has dozens of modifications.

Cons: Piercing highs. Will not satisfy bassheads without EQ. Look kind of stupid. Semi-open design makes for a good deal of leakage.

Setup: Windows Media Player (Variable Bit-Rate WMAs at approximately 300kbps) -> PreSonus AudioBox USB ->Superlux HD681




Barton Hollow (The Civil Wars): Simply put, these cans make this song sound HUGE! Right from the get-go, the HD 681s impressive soundstage makes evident intricate panning on guitars, drums, strings and vocals. The kick drum is refined and tamed but present, and the male and female vocals sound superb. 


Black Horse and the Cherry Tree (K.T. Tunstall): The HD 681s brilliantly emphasize the hard panning of this song's drums, making this much more obvious than my Audio-Technica ATH-M50s (yeah, sure, open vs. closed headphone. The fact that this is even a comparison is a testament to the value of the HD 681s.) The guitar and vocals are clear and sound great, if a tiny bit congested.




Air Force Ones (Nelly): This song shows off the HD 681's remarkable bass. Quantity-wise, the HD 681s have less bass than mainstream headphones like Skullcandies or even audiophile endorsed headphones like the previously mentioned Audio-Technica ATH-M50s. However, the bass that is present is punchy and serves as a background to some AWFUL lyricism. 


Everything I Am (Kanye West): After listening on my ATH-M50s, this song sounds deflated. There just isn't enough low end here to keep me satisfied. Fortunately, these headphones do fairly well with EQ, so getting things to a level I could appreciate. Kanye's voice on this track sounds a bit piercing, but the strings and piano sound wonderful.



Set Fire to the Rain (Adele): Vocals sound rich, full and breathy (and Melodyned, but don't blame Superlux for that one.) Strings sound clear across the board. The HD 681s really shine here.


Don't Let Me Get Me (P!nk):  The hi-hats/cymbals are fatiguingly harsh. The kick drum is murky as all get-out. The song in general sounds congested. However, the vocals and guitar sound clear controlled. This was still painful to listen to.



Ain't No Rest for the Wicked (Cage the Elephant): The bass in this sounds JUICY. It's something to behold. Vocals sound transparent, and the HD 681s reveals layering techniques that are being used. The drums sound punchy, and the hard-panned guitar serves as an excellent example of the HD 681's abundant depth.


I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (The Ramones): Vocals sound clear. Drums sound clear. Bass sounds clear. Guitar sounds clear. Nothing to complain about here.



Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Skrillex): The high-pitched beginning synth is downright painful due to its harshness. The drums sound wonderful, and unsurprisingly, the bass drop is detailed and transparent. Some of the high-pitched parts of the drop are a bit fatiguing. Vocals sound a bit crisp, but are clear and pleasant. 


Face to Face (Daft Punk): The kick drum and bass on this sound warm in all the right ways. Vocals sound clear, if a bit sibilant. The guitars are extremely detailed and sit beautifully in the mix. Daft Punk on the HD 681s is a real treat.



The HD 681s are a steal at their retail price of $36. For people wondering if audiophilia is worth the money (BELIEVE ME, IT'S NOT! GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN! wink.gif) this is a wonderful set of cans. And heck, even for people with top-of-the-line set-ups, this is a worthwhile purchase. I favor these to my ATH-M50s in certain genres, and the ATH-M50s are some of the most loved headphones on Head-Fi. As a hobbyist producer, these are positively vital to my mixing/mastering process, as they are extremely analytical while managing to sound enjoyable. Simply put, these cans sound good, and if you can put up with some sibilant highs and a slightly weak (if incredibly clear) bass, you owe it to yourself to buy a pair.



Pros: bass response, design, value

Cons: K240 "knockoffs", plasticy

Here's a bargain bin favorite that has withstood the tests of time. It may remind you of value headphone (the AKG k240) but before you label it some cheap knockoff, take some time to give it a listen. No, the Superlux does not outdo its AKG brethren, but instead offers a bassier, "fun" sound that is perfect for the $37 asking price. (Also, I cannot speak about packaging I tried the headphones off a friend)



In terms of originality, this is a complete failure. But that aside, these headphones will look polarizing to any non-dedicated audiophile. That being said, let's face it: the K240 is probably one of the better looking studio headphones out there, and imitation is the sincerest form of flaterry. As for the build itself, I'm kinda stuck somewhere in the middle; the headphones are mostly plastic and seem to be on the cheap side, but they really feel like they could take a hit, and they lasted a day in my school backpack.



These are semi-open headphones which is basically a fancy way for saying the isolation sucks. Open headphones have holes behind the drivers which are intended to create a more free sound -- this benefits natural balance and soundstage, but it sacrifices the isolation. That being said, the isolation is better then my 535's which I compared them to. And to be honest, these have really good isolation for an open headphone, but at the end of the day they're still open.



This is where in my mind, the Superlux start to redeem themselves. Though marketed as "Studio Monitors" the Superlux are slightly colored. That being said they hold up were a majority of open headphones struggle: the bass has enough presence to make itself felt. On the flipside, unlike some closed headphones (cough, Skullcandy, cough) the Suerplux keep the bass on control, though they do lack some of the extension of closed headphones (the open design prevents this).


In regards to the rest of the spectrum, sorry for not paying more attention to those details. The mids are full in quality and rich; the highs are vibrant and I experienced no fatigue. I just really wanted to point out the bass here because it's amazing... at least for an open headphone.



I don't think open headphones get any better than this in the price range. Maybe Superlux's own HD668B can outdo the 681's, but these are still impressive... period. For $40, they're an absolute steal.

Superlux HD 681

The HD681 headphones feature a semi-open design intended for use in professional monitoring applications. These headphones feature premium quality audio components paired with an ergonomic design. The self-adjusting headband provides the listener with a great fit and these durable headphones can even be twisted for use in single ear monitoring. The HD681 professional headphones are an excellent choice for a wide range of audio listening tasks, including recording studio monitors, headphones for MP3 players or video games, computer/digital audio or any pro audio application.

Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
TitleSuperlux HD 681
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