This is my second review and it is of the Superlux HD681. Superlux is still a relatively small company but the name is starting to make waves around here with the great bang-for-the-buck headphones that they make.
Build Quality(7.5/10) – These headphones are built quite nicely and feel very sturdy. However, I can’t resist mentioning that they look a little cheap and plasticky (compared to the AKGs that they reflect). Looks aside, they feel very solid, the earcups swivel a little vertically to adjust to your head but they don’t feel flimsy. The slidewire headband works very well. One thing that I always like to note is the quality of the wire. The wire on the HD681 is fantastic, nice and thick and flexible at the same time (quite unlike the thin rubbery wire of the Sennheiser HD428 that I also reviewed).
Comfort(6/10) – I must admit that I am a bit disappointed by the comfort of these headphones, but take what I say with a grain of salt. I have a relatively large head and ears so when I first got this pair of headphones I found the clamp force to be a bit too much. I loosened the headphones over a stack of books which helped a little but I cannot wear them for prolonged periods without feeling discomfort. This is also my first experience with circular earpads which I find very nice because my ears fit comfortable inside. However, the padding on the earpads are very hard and not the most comfortable at all. However, many of you may find your case to be different.
Isolation(5/10) – Not fantastic considering that they are semi-open headphones. However, their very forward sound kind of makes up a little for the lack of isolation. Of course like all other semi-open and open headphones, this is not a pair of headphones you want to wear in a place like the library.
Sound(6.75/10) – When I first got these, I thought that they were fantastic but after a few weeks of listening, I’m having a few second thoughts.
The main problem that I’m having is that the highs, while clear and relatively crisp, are a bit too forward on some notes for my taste to the point where I almost wince a little when I listen to them now (granted I have been spoiled by my TF10s). High notes can almost a little shrill. The mids on the other hand are good, they are present but do not quite have the sweetness and smoothness of some other headphones. While it is crisp, it doesn’t feel quite as warm as I would like it to be. The strength of this headphone easily comes from its bass, which is quite boomy. I find the bass quite fun, it has good depth and has a good bit of kick to it.
The soundstage is a tad lacking in my opinion, a little more depth would be nice. Overall though, the sound is relatively wide and open sounding. The sound is pretty forward and direct, definitely a fun sound.
Value and Opinion(8.25/10) (Current price ~ $35-40) – These headphones are nice, they really are. They have great sound and are an amazing value. But a few small things prevent me from loving it. For me, the clamp force is too large. However, this can be remedied by stretching. My main problem is the overly forward highs which I find to be a bit shrill and even fatiguing at times. But if you are looking for a bit more bass with some good kick, good clarity, and a fun sound signature, the HD681 is a fantastic pair of cans. And personally, I love the intense look.
Edited by rushofmusic - 1/9/12 at 1:57pm