Reviewed on Oct 24, 2017

Superlux HD 681 EVO HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
5.9
Mixed Usage
7.5
Critical Listening
4.8
Commute/Travel
5.5
Sports/Fitness
5.4
Office
5.8
TV
5.7
Gaming
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Semi-Open
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

The Superlux HD 681 EVO are a slightly better-designed version of the HD 681. They sound about the same although the EVO has a bit more bass. They're also budget and affordable headphones for the quality of audio reproduction they deliver. Unfortunately, they don't have the best build quality. They feel cheap and flimsy, and the semi-open design means they won't be suitable for all environments.

Test Results
Design 6.2
Sound 7.7
Isolation 4.0
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 4.8
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Lightweight design.
Cons
  • Plasticky build quality.
  • Sensitive to noisy environments, by design.
  1. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.

Check Price

6.2

Design

The Superlux HD 681 EVO are a somewhat improved version of the HD 681 with a detachable cable. The headband design is slightly different but is still as comfortable HD 681 and better than the HD 668B. Unfortunately, they don't have the best build quality. They're flimsy, plasticky and feel a bit cheap. They also have a bulky design that's impractical and bit too cumbersome for sports or outdoor use. They won't be suitable to run with, they have no control scheme, and they're not portable.

Style

The HD 681 EVO are decent-looking but plasticky headphones. They have a completely different ear cup design to the HD 681 and 668. They're still semi-open ear cups, but the vents are slightly hidden giving these headphones a more closed-back look. The headband strap is also a bit different but has the same fit and comfort level as the original HD 681. However, unlike the other Superlux headphones these come in two color schemes. An understated and glossy black finish and a more flashy white that will stand out but may not be for everyone. They're also a bit bulky and cumbersome to wear and use outdoors.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.61 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.2 lbs

The Superlux HD 681 EVO have the same strap design as the HD 681 which makes them more comfortable than the HD 668B. They're a bit tighter on the head than the original 681, but the large ear cups and self-adjusting headband fits comfortably for most. They may get a little tiring during long listening sessions, but they're lightweight and come with additional softer pads that feel better on the skin thanks to the microfiber coating.

0 Controls
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A
6.6 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5.2 C
5.5 Portability
L : 7.5 "
W : 7.2 "
H : 3.5 "
Volume : 189 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The HD 681 EVO are bulky, cumbersome headphones that do not fold into a more compact format. The ear cups do not lay flat either which makes them difficult to carry around on your person without a bag.

5.5 Case
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

Comes with a somewhat, rugged pouch that will shield the headphones from scratches and minor water exposure. However, it will not protect your headphones against drops and impacts.

6.0 Build Quality

The HD 681 EVO like the HD 681 and HD 668B feel cheaply made and plasticky. They're budget headphones which show in their build quality. They're almost entirely made out of plastic that doesn't feel dense or durable. They won't break if you accidentally drop them once or twice, and they have a detachable cable that you can replace, but their overall build quality isn't particularly sturdy.

6.5 Stability

The HD 681 EVO are as tight on the head as the HD 668 but also have a detachable cable. This makes them moderately stable, especially under casual conditions. However, they're not designed or meant for sports. They will quickly fall if you use them while doing any physical activities and won't be good headphones to work out with or to take to the gym.

Cable
Detachable :
Length : 8.4 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

Comes with two 1/8" TRS audio cables.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.7

Sound

The Superlux HD 681 EVO are a good sounding pair of semi-open over-ear headphones. They have a deep and powerful bass, a balanced mid range, and a good treble. They also image well and have an average soundstage. However, their bass delivery can vary from person to person, their mid range is slightly recessed, and their treble could sound a bit too sharp on overly bright tracks.

8.5 Bass
Std. Err.
:
2.2 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
2.94 dB
Mid-Bass
:
2.55 dB
High-Bass
:
0.35 dB

Great bass range performance. Low-bass, which is responsible for rumble and thump is extended down to 10Hz. Additionally, both low-bass and bass are overemphasized by about 2.5dB, making these headphones slightly bass-heavy.

8.4 Mid
Std. Err.
:
2.19 dB
Low-Mid
:
-1.76 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-2.3 dB
High-Mid
:
-1.33 dB

Very good mid range performance. The response is mostly flat, but underemphasized by an average of 2dB. This results in an even but recessed mid range which could be slightly overpowered by the bass range.

7.8 Treble
Std. Err.
:
3.66 dB
Low-Treble
:
-1.71 dB
Mid-Treble
:
0.5 dB
High-Treble
:
-0.45 dB

Good treble range performance. The narrow 5dB dip centered around 4KHz will have a small negative effect on detail and presence of vocals/leads. The peak around 10KHz could make S and T sounds a bit sharp and piercing on overly bright tracks.

7.3 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.54 dB

Decent consistency. The HD HD 681 EVO shows good consistency in its treble range, with the maximum deviation of +/-3dB below 10KHz. In the bass range however, the 681 EVO is less consistent in its bass delivery across different humans, and could even be affected by wearing glasses..

8.9 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.27
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.35
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.5
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
3.58
6.2 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
4.2 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
4.53 dB
PRTF Distance
:
8.46 dB
Openness
:
5.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
7.5
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB
6.8 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
2.401
Weighted THD @ 100
:
18.554

Average harmonic distortion performance. The amount of harmonic distortion in the bass range is elevated, however humans are less sensitive to low frequency harmonic distortion. On the other hand, the peaks around 1.5KHz and 4KHz could have a negative effect on the treble of these headphones by making it sound a bit harsh and brittle.

4.0

Isolation

The HD 681 EVO are not designed to block ambient noise. They have semi-open ear cups that create a more immersive soundstage but also leaks and lets noise seep into whatever you're listening to. This makes the HD 681 EVO not suitable for commuting or other loud environments although their isolation performance is a bit better than the HD 668B or the original 681. Also since they leak quite a bit they won't be ideal for use in quieter settings if you don't want to distract those around you.

4.2 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-8.72 dB
Bass
:
-0.18 dB
Mid
:
-1.93 dB
Treble
:
-23.91 dB
Self-Noise
:
0 dB

Poor isolation. These headphones don't have active noise cancellation, and are also semi-open. Therefore, they don't isolate below 1KHz. Above that, they achieve about 24dB of isolation, which is about average.

3.5 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
56.05 dB

Poor leakage performance. The significant portion of the leakage sits between 400Hz and 20KHz which is quite a broad range. The overall level of leakage is also loud.

0

Microphone

Integrated
:
N/A
In-line
:
N/A
Boom
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
0 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
N/A
LFE
:
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
:
N/A
HFE
:
N/A
Weighted THD
:
N/A
Gain
:
N/A
0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
:
N/A
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

4.8

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
7.2 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
:
Audio Only
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
0 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
10 Latency
Default Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

Wired connection negligible latency.

In the box

  • Superlux HD681 EVO Headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • Carrying pouch
  • Audio Cables (x2)
  • Manual

5.9 Mixed Usage

The Superlux HD 681 EVO are budget critical listening headphones that won't be versatile enough for all use cases. They sound surprisingly good for their price, and they're comfortable enough to wear for extended listening sessions without any fatigue. Unfortunately, they're bulky, cumbersome headphones that are not portable or stable enough for sports. They also barely isolate so they won't be ideal for commuting or to use in loud environments.

7.5 Critical Listening

The Superlux HD 681 EVO like the HD 681 are a good and budget option for critical listening. They deliver a slightly more powerful bass than the HD 681. They also do well reproducing instruments and vocals that aren't overshadowed by the stronger bass. However, although semi-open they do not have the most spacious soundstage and their bass varies a bit due to positioning. This makes them slightly inconsistent but overall their sound quality is good enough even for more critical listeners.

4.8 Commute/Travel

Poor for commuting. They're not made for this use case. They have a semi-open design that doesn't block a lot of ambient noise and they're a bit of hassle to carry around on your person without a bag.

5.5 Sports/Fitness

Not made for sports. They're bulky and impractical to use outdoors. They're a bit more comfortable than the HD 668B but they're less stable and won't be ideal to use while doing physical activities. They also they don't have any controls, which makes controlling your music source while exercising a bit more of a hassle.

5.4 Office

Subpar for office use. They let a lot of noise seep into your audio and also leak a lot which might be distracting to your colleagues.

5.8 TV

Average for home theater use. They have a good audio reproduction and no latency since they're wired. They're a suitable option to watch movies especially on a tablet or PC since the length of the cable won't be an issue. However, for a home theater set up, you will most likely need an aux extension cord.

5.7 Gaming

Below average for gaming. They have a good sound an comfortable design. they also wired so they have no latency. However, they also have no mic so they won't be ideal for gaming especially for multiplayer games online.

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