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.
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
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.
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.
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!
Edited by keanex - 8/17/11 at 8:32am