Superlux HD 681 EVO Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Updated Oct 24, 2017 at 02:17 pm
Superlux HD 681 EVO Picture
5.6
Mixed Usage
7.8
Neutral Sound
5.0
Commute/Travel
5.5
Sports/Fitness
5.5
Office
4.6
Wireless Gaming
6.4
Wired Gaming
1.9
Phone Call
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.

Our Verdict

5.6 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.

Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Lightweight design.
Cons
  • Plasticky build quality.
  • Sensitive to noisy environments, by design.
7.8 Neutral Sound

The Superlux HD 681 EVO like the HD 681 are a good and budget option for neutral 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 neutral listeners.

5.0 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.

5.5 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.

4.6 Wireless 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.

6.4 Wired Gaming
1.9 Phone Call
  • 5.6 Mixed Usage
  • 7.8 Neutral Sound
  • 5.0 Commute/Travel
  • 5.5 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.5 Office
  • 4.6 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.4 Wired Gaming
  • 1.9 Phone Call
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.

Test Results

Design
Design
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
Design
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
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use N/A
Feedback N/A
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control N/A
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling Control N/A
Talk-Through
N/A
Additional Buttons N/A
6.7
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 5.2 C
5.5
Design
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
Design
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
Design
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
Design
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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

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

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
1.64 db
Treble Amount
0.42 db
7.3
Sound
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..

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.4
Sound
Bass Accuracy
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
Sound
Mid Accuracy
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
Sound
Treble Accuracy
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.

7.1
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.91 db
Dips
1.5 db
8.9
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.27
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.35
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.5
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.58
6.7
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
4.2 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
4.53 dB
PRTF Distance
8.46 dB
Openness
7.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
7.5
7.6
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.166
WHD @ 100
0.198
Isolation
3.2
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-8.72 dB
Bass
-0.18 dB
Mid
-1.93 dB
Treble
-23.91 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
Isolation
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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
N/A
In-line
N/A
Boom
N/A
Detachable Boom
N/A
0
Microphone
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
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A
Active Features
N/A
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving Feature
N/A
Audio While Charging
N/A
Passive Playback
N/A
Charging Port N/A
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name N/A
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS 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.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
N/A
NFC Pairing
N/A
Line of Sight Range
N/A
Default Latency
N/A
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A

Wired connection negligible latency.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable
Length 8.4 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Wired Latency
0 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
N/A
USB Input
N/A
Line In
N/A
Line Out
N/A
Optical Input
N/A
RCA Input
N/A
Dock Charging
N/A
Power Supply
N/A

Compared To Other Headphones

Superlux HD 681

While the Superlux HD 681 and the Superlux HD 681 EVO are similarly performing headphones, the HD 681 are better for neutral listening. They have a more balanced sound and a better passive soundstage. However, the HD 681 EVO have a slightly better build quality and they're a bit more stable on your head.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless

The Superlux HD 681 EVO and the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are two headphones at very different price points with different uses. The Superlux are entry-level audiophile headphones that have a fairly neutral sound profile and a semi-open back design to create a wider and more spacious passive soundstage. However, the Sony are more versatile. They're comfortable, their sound profile is also fairly balanced, and they have an integrated microphone, and they have a superb active noise cancelling feature. They're also wireless and their 27-hour battery should be more than enough to get you through a work day or commute.

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