The Superflux HD681 combines quality sound performance with an affordable price tag that should have those higher-priced competitors quaking in their boots!
The design inspirations of these HD681 headphones were most likely rooted in the AKG K240 MkII. In fact, the HD681 is a close relative of that inspirational model..
The aesthetic similarities are probably intentional here which, combined with the solid reputation of the manufacturer behind them, puts the HD681 in good stead with an expectation of quality. Certainly, first impressions are pretty strong.
The HD681 is a well-built and robust headphone made from a more affordable choice of materials. Essentially, this headphone model features a metallic headband that’s been coated in black plastic, providing the necessary support for the earpieces, but without the cost of a more expensive finish. The cushions found on the inside of the earpieces are covered in an inexpensive artificial leather, while the overall construction is simple and unadorned. This simplistic approach means the headphones will hold their position when worn, but the penny-pinching does reveal a few shortcuts in the overall quality of these headphones.
On an aesthetic level, there’s a few nagging points that immediately struck me. For one, the artificial leather doesn’t leave a good impression, with seam edges that are too sharp for it to win any prizes for comfort.
The contact pressure is moderate. In all fairness, these headphones can be worn for a few hours without any notable levels of discomfort rearing their ugly head.
More current music productions that pack proper pressure in the lower ranges, with supposedly built-in loudness levels convince the listener right off the bat. Amazingly, these headphones also reveal an impressively wide stereo, thanks in part to the half-open construction of this model. A pretty nifty stereo stage can be enjoyed here.
The HD671 reproduces bass well enough when it comes to transients, with these headphones mapping them well. Kicks are well represented in the lower ranges, while hi-hats enjoy plenty of bite in the highs. However, they can get a little too sharp for my liking in the higher volume ranges.
To get a better assessment of the HD681 and its dynamics, I switch to modern jazz productions. The dimensionality of the traditional jazz set-up of double bass, piano, drums and vocals is drawn beautifully here. There’s a stunning breadth to the playback, opening up the performance with a refined resolution and depth of detail.
It’s only the singing vocals that suffer a little from exaggeration here, with the highs in particular becoming grating when tracks are played at louder volumes.
Lots to Love for a Low Price
The HD681 is well suited for those new to the audio world, with a rich sound and solid manufacturing making for a pair of headphones that are great on the go. What took me aback in particular about these headphones was the surprisingly impressive stereo image. It can handle almost any genre of music for the most part, while the comfort levels and adjustment potential of these headphones also went down well with me.
Unfortunately, that plastic-coated exterior has a tendency to spotlight grease smears and moisture marks. That cheap artificial leather is also a drawback of the earpieces.
The headphone cable is firmly anchored to the left earpiece, while a 6.3mm input adapter is also included for convenience.
Despite a few shortcomings, I can fully recommend the Superlux HD681 as a headphone contender for those seeking something that won’t break the bank, yet doesn’t ditch the fundamentals of good sound and user-friendly features.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Frequency response (headphones)10 - 30.000 Hz
- Impedance31,95 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)99,04 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head575,5 g
- Weight with cable278 g
- Weight without cable230 g
- Cable length250 cm
What's in the box
- 6.35 mm stereo jack
- Carrying pouch