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[Review] Superlux HD668b, They Cost How Much? (Foam Mod+More for 668b+681!)

post #1 of 132
Thread Starter 

 

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Pros: Stunning clarity and balance

Cons: Comfort issues, build quality feels cheap.

 

I chose to review these with my FiiO E7 with my E3 LOD to my iPod Classic as they definitely need some juice. The E7 is able to power these to comfortable listening levels though without a worry.

 

 

Packaging

 

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The Superlux HD668b came packaged in a rather cardboard box which I actually found to be pleasing to look at on the front. It's not eye catching, but it doesn't need to be. It simply says Superlux on the front with the model number and "Professional Studio Standard Headphones," with a picture of the HD668b taking up the rest of the space. On either side of the box the included contents are shown with many languages present to tell the information. The back has technical specs in various languages with a serial number and contact information.

 

The packaging isn't flashy, but I actually really like it. It is classy and old school and has a charm about it I really like. The box is also rather thick cardboard, it doesn't feel cheap. 

 

Inside is an instruction manual, the Superlux HD668b headphones, a cloth carrying pouch, a 3m cord, a 1m cord and a 1/8th to 1/4 adaptor. Nothing excessive, but well packaged. I'm happy with the included items and couldn't really ask for more.

 

 

Design and Build Quality

 

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When I read some reviews on these I thought they looked beautiful, a nice mix of Audio Technica and AKG. When I received them I noticed the pictures were very flattering, it's not that the Superlux HD668b look bad in person, it's just easy to see that they are rather cheap looking. They still look fantastic, but the plastic and rather cheap construction is apparent.

 

The feel of these is rather cheap plastic with faux leather pads and thin metal wires as opposed to the thicker ones on the Ad900. For $50 though I can't blame Superlux, they obviously can't spend a huge budget on the quality of materials in the way Audio Technica can, especially when they're focused on the sound. Overall though, while they look cheap, I don't see any problems with durability. The removable jack on the left earphone is a nice touch, 2.5mm female plugs into the headphones. The cable is a bit thin and cheap feeling, but there's no problems I have with it sound wise or durability wise so far. I will say that I wish Superlux included a medium cable as the 3m is a bit too long and the 1m is a bit too short. I like that it terminates into a straight plug though.

 

When worn they do get a bit hot, despite the semi-open design, which really feels like a closed design and offers decent isolation. The pads do get a bit hot and there's some clamping which has cause my listening sessions to be kept around 1 hour or so. The clamping isn't huge, but it's definitely apparent. Overall though they feel decent on the head, I'm simply used to open headphones, noticeably my Ad900 which are amazing in comfort.

 

Overall I feel like Superlux did a good job with obviously a small budget. They feel and look good for the price, but it's apparent they had to skimp somewhere when compared to my Audio Technica Ad900.

 

 

Sound Quality

 

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I really couldn't believe my ears for these. I let them burn in for 30 hours as Kevin at Superlux has informed me and put them on. "Wow, these cost how much?" Was my initial reaction. The sound is fantastically balanced with amazing clarity and a natural sound, that rivals my Ad900. While these are labeled as Studio Monitors don't let that fool you, I'm having a lot of pleasure listening to these, they aren't as music as my Ad900, but are more musical than my Ad700 and HD558. The bass extends well and has a nice full warm sound, it does lack impact though for electronic music such as drum and bass. The lows do leak a little into the mids a bit, but only so slightly as to make them sound a smudge recessed. The mids are full sounding with excellent clarity. They don't have the forwardness my Ad900 have, but they do a wonderful job for rock music regardless. The highs are a little tame, but they extend well. By tame I mean that they aren't piercing or overly bright. They still extend well with excellent clarity. The soundstage is great, it's not as big as my Ad900 or Ad700, but it definitely gives the music some room to breathe. Time to listen to some tunes!

 

Modest Mouse - Doin the Cockroach

 

While this song is admittedly lo-fi, I chose it because of it's quick pace and distorted guitars. The bass line is something I don't think I've ever heard properly, in-fact on my Ad900 it's barely noticeable. On these I hear it wonderfully, without it muddling the mids. The vocals and guitar sound wonderful. The vocals sound astoundingly natural, the guitar is able to be easily picked out through it's hazy distortion and sloppy playing. The headphones are able to keep up with the tempo no problem. Everything honestly sounds absolutely wonderful and natural on these.

 

James Blake - Limit To Your Love

 

The vocals and piano sound wonderful on these, absolutely wonderful. The notes ring out with a nice naturalness and clarity, nothing artificial sounding here. The heavy bass definitely extends well, but there's no rattling in my ears. I hear the bass and the headphones are able to keep up with the quick pace, but there's no feel of it. These definitely aren't for bass heads, but they do reproduce the lows wonderfully without muddling up the rest of the frequencies in this song.

 

Feist - I Feel It All

 

I chose this because it has a lot going on and is a nice sibilance check. The drums, acoustic guitar, tambourine, electric guitar and vocals all sound wonderfully natural. There's no hint of sibilance, which is fantastic. This song is a good test for sibilance and the HD668b pass. Feist's voice simply sounds wonderfully silky smooth.

 

High Contrast - Return of Forever

 

I chose this liquid DnB track to see how the Superlux would handle a fast paced song. The song has a nice balance in it. The repetitive bass line sounds right where it should be, the quick drum beat is sound as it should it doesn't feel slow or bloated and the miscellaneous sounds are easily apparent. I definitely like the HD668b for electronic, though I feel the Ad900 have a little more impact than the 668b making me choose them for dnb usually.

 

Rolling Stones - Sympathy for the Devil

 

This song has a lot going on in it, a lot of instruments. The various hand drums and shaker sound wonderful at any part of the song and remain a strong backbone for the rhythm of this song as the bass piano and vocals come in. The song sounds very natural and no instrument sounds more present than the next, at any point of this song I'm able to easily discern an instrument from the next. I'm very impressed for this song.

 

 

Conclusion

 

 

While the build quality and comfort isn't superb it's definitely more than average for the price from my experiences. The build quality is about on par with the Audio Technica Ad700, for instance. The looks are fantastic, I love the AKG/Audio Technica hybrid look. The detachable cable is also a very nice addition. The sound quality is superb with these, they easily rival $100 headphones and I find myself reaching for them over my Ad900 at times, they completely make my HD558 obsolete in my opinion, I'll never reach for them again. I also highly recommend an amp for these to reach their potential.

 

If you're looking for a cheap, good looking headphone with excellent sound quality to price ratio look no further. The only problem you'll run into is finding a place that stocks these.

 

Come check out more photos of the HD668b here!

 

Much thanks to kingoftown1 for adding a list of potential mods for the 668b and the 681! They can be found here.


Edited by keanex - 8/17/11 at 8:32am
post #2 of 132

Hmm....

 

I myself have not had the chance to try these and that makes me kinda of sad. But to compare them to $100 cans and then they need a amp, kinda of a let down.

 

Not to throw this off topic, but keanex, have you tried some T50RPs?

These are true giant beaters that I can place hand to hand with LCD-2

Review Here

 

Thanks for the nice, SPACIOUS review. I see a lot of "wall'o'text" with some reviews.

post #3 of 132
Thread Starter 

I have no tried the Fostex T50RP, though I hope to very much so. They sound absolutely wonderful and may be my first DIY project! Thanks for your excellent review, it makes them sound wonderful, I really should buy a pair soon.

 

As for the HD668b, yeah the necessary amping is unfortunate. To put things into perspective, I generally listen to my Ad900's through my E7 at a volume of 30-35 depending on the song. The HD668b I'm hitting 50 for some tracks. The E7 can power them fine, but it definitely gives it a run for its money, I would like to see how the E11 handles these. Also thanks for the compliment on my review!

 

A friend of mine, kingoftown1, has a pair of the HD681 and told me that the foam between your ear and driver is easily removed so I decided to try it. I did one ear at a time and sure enough I feel like the sound has become even more clear. There was also a sticker that said, "Acoustic Damper! Please do not remove!" so naturally I did anyway and didn't really notice a change in sound. The foam mod though has definitely made these a bit brighter, the mids are a bit more forward and the highs are wonderful, I am pleasantly pleased, results sound to my ears similar to what the foam mod on Sennheiser HD558/HD555 does. Here's two pics!

 

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Edited by keanex - 8/13/11 at 8:13pm
post #4 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by keanex View Post

I have no tried the Fostex T50RP, though I hope to very much so. They sound absolutely wonderful and may be my first DIY project! Thanks for your excellent review, it makes them sound wonderful, I really should buy a pair soon.

 

As for the HD668b, yeah the necessary amping is unfortunate. To put things into perspective, I generally listen to my Ad900's through my E7 at a volume of 30-35 depending on the song. The HD668b I'm hitting 50 for some tracks. The E7 can power them fine, but it definitely gives it a run for its money, I would like to see how the E11 handles these. Also thanks for the compliment on my review!

 

A friend of mine, kingoftown1, has a pair of the HD681 and told me that the foam between your ear and driver is easily removed so I decided to try it. I did one ear at a time and sure enough I feel like the sound has become even more clear. There was also a sticker that said, "Acoustic Damper! Please do not remove!" so naturally I did anyway and didn't really notice a change in sound. The foam mod though has definitely made these a bit brighter, the mids are a bit more forward and the highs are wonderful, I am pleasantly pleased, results sound to my ears similar to what the foam mod on Sennheiser HD558/HD555 does. Here's two pics!

 

 

 


My name is Kingoftown1 and I approve this message. 

 

Anyway, I've switched back and forth on this a couple times with the 681.  It definitely does bring out the mids and highs more.  However, I can't tell whether I'm losing a little bit of bass or if it just feels decreased relative to the new mid/high frequency volumes.  Since I have this headphone pretty much exclusively for bassier genres, I'm personally on the fence about it.  For a more balanced set like the 668b, I could definitely see it being an improvement.  I'm also curious as to whether anyone's ever removed the foam and replaced it with the fabric used in speaker screens (removing the foam has me worried about dust and hair getting in with the drivers).

 

post #5 of 132
Thread Starter 

Have you tried removing the dampening sticker? Other users have claimed a bit punchier bass when removed.

post #6 of 132

Scurrrrrred, I'll think about it.

post #7 of 132
Thread Starter 

The removal of the damper is definitely more "permanent" as it's a sticker and you could rip it while pulling it off or it could simply lose it's tack. I haven't heard a noticeable effect either way on my end though.

post #8 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by keanex View Post

The removal of the damper is definitely more "permanent" as it's a sticker and you could rip it while pulling it off or it could simply lose it's tack. I haven't heard a noticeable effect either way on my end though.



Question:

 

How are the pad removed? From the pics, it seems that they slid off, but then they also seem to be pulled into the headphone.

post #9 of 132

Great review. There are some audiophiles who claim these aren't even remotely worth the $50 price tag though. But as for me, such detail... such clarity...

post #10 of 132

I've been browsing the Rockgrotto thread again and saw that someone's replaced the foam with a layer of pantyhose.  Seems like a decent idea.

post #11 of 132
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BotByte View Post



Question:

 

How are the pad removed? From the pics, it seems that they slid off, but then they also seem to be pulled into the headphone.


Yeah they just slide off, I accidentally removed them and they were easy to get back on.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by crinacle View Post

Great review. There are some audiophiles who claim these aren't even remotely worth the $50 price tag though. But as for me, such detail... such clarity...


 

Whoever claims that is being jaded, these are certainly worth $50 easily. $100 would even be fair to me.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingoftown1 View Post

I've been browsing the Rockgrotto thread again and saw that someone's replaced the foam with a layer of pantyhose.  Seems like a decent idea.



Thanks, that should help with keeping hair out, good idea!

post #12 of 132

Great review. It's really nice to have more and more love with the hidden 668B. I think it's has wonderful sound quality for the price, beside the comfort and cheap looking ( It's ok for only 50$), the only down side is thin mid, vocal is very clear with so much clarity but it sounds quite boring sometime. You really need a warm source to make it sound the best, i'm using it with a cheap 60$ NOS Dac, which is said to be compareable with thoudsands dollar Dac out there, and it really make the 668B sing, Its mid range is no longer dry, it's so warm, smooth and musical beyersmile.png

post #13 of 132
Thread Starter 

I highly recommend trying the foam mod if you find it to be thin, it's easily, very easily, revertible. Worse case you have to take off the pads to put the foam back on, but they fit back on rather easily. My only concern with the foam mod is hair getting in the driver, which can be fixed with a thin fabric.

post #14 of 132

Great review!!

I will try the foam mod to see how it makes the sound change. Mids more forward are interesting to me...

post #15 of 132
Thread Starter 

Thanks for reading, let me know what you think about the foam mod!

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