Superlux HD661 Review – Best Sounding Budget Portable Headphones?

Spread the love

Just a quick note: there are a few affiliate links below and your support by shopping through these links helps us create more awesome content. This comes at no extra cost to you. So a big thanks in advance, we appreciate you!


superlux hd661 boxProduct: Superlux HD661
Type: Closed Circumaural Headphones
Preferred Use: Portable / DJ / Studio
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Warranty: 1 Year Warranty
Our Rating: (74%)


Superlux HD661, Product Overview

The Superlux HD661 is a portable closed over-ear headphone that honestly blew me away the first time I put it on. Superlux is a company that is known for making good sounding headphones for a relatively small budget, but I didn’t expect the HD661 to be THAT good.

Let me tell you how I came to order these…

Superlux HD661 Review

IN A HURRY? READ THE CONCLUSION!

An Unexpected Buy

Two weeks ago I was browsing Youtube when I saw a video clip of a cover made from Adele’s song “Hello“. Honestly, I don’t like this song, because I grew tiresome from hearing it 5 times a day on the radio at work 🙂 This cover was made by a group called The Piano Guys and surprisingly I really liked their cover. So I checked their website and noticed they covered a lot of well-known songs.

I went over to Tidal and started listening to the album The Piano Guys – Wonders. I listened with my Sennheiser HD650 and although their covers were great, they sounded a little bit too closed in and congested. When a lot of instruments were playing at the same time, the music drowned a bit and I couldn’t separate the instruments very well. So I looked up the dynamic range of the album and to my surprise, most songs DR value was around 5 and 6. There was even a song with a DR value of 4. That is very compressed! Especially for instrumental songs.

So I pretty much gave up on the album, but then I noticed they were selling a headphone in their webshop. Yep, you guessed it, the Superlux HD661. This is what they have to say about the HD661:

SuperLux HD661 Headphones

The above statement got me intrigued and I ordered a pair on Amazon. A week later they arrived in the mail.

A Word on Dynamic Range (DR)

To explain it simply and understandable, the DR value gives an indication of how much compression has been done on a particular song. Not to confuse with compression as with mp3 files or other lossy formats.

Music with a low DR value (1-6) sounds like all instruments are coming from the same space. It’s like they crammed a music band in a very small room and let them play. This gives no breathing space for the music and therefore, the music sounds congested.

Music with a high DR value (+10) gives breathing room to all the instruments and voices and is more enjoyable to listen to.

Design and Comfort

Although Superlux makes great sounding headphones, there build quality was never their forté. I’m glad to say they did a great job with the HD661. It’s completely built out of plastic, but it’s very rugged. I did not notice any squeaks or cracks. The paint job is completely glossy which gives it a nice look, but this makes it prone to fingerprints!

superlux hd661 review
The Superlux HD661 Wing System. Not ideal for narrow heads!

I’m not a big fan of the wing system because this meant I couldn’t adjust the headband size. And the headphones are frankly too big to fit on my head. Not by much, though, but it’s enough so that the earcups are hanging on the top of my ears. Not very comfortable. I don’t wanna make a big issue out of this since I got a rather narrow head. So I’m confident that most adults will have no issue with the fit whatsoever. Just don’t buy these for younger kids 🙂

The earcups are made out of pleather. They’re not very thick, but the size is pretty big for a portable headphone. I did not feel any discomfort and my ears – contrary to my head – are average in size. The cups fitted perfect. Do keep in mind that over longer listening periods they can build up a little heat. This is because of the closed design and the fact that these pleather pads don’t breath.

superlux hd661 earpads
The pleather earpads aren’t thick but they are comfortable and big enough to fit most ears.

Superlux includes a 1.2m and a 3m straight cable, which can be plugged in the 3.5mm plug that’s on the left earcup. The cable itself is nicely thick and doesn’t get coiled up over time.

The HD661 is also pretty light weighing only 190gr.

Sound Quality

The sound coming out of these cans is simply amazing for a headphone in this price range! I can’t really explain it but the HD661 does not sound like a closed headphone at all. Instead, it sounds very open.

Remember when I said that The Piano Guys – Wonders sounded a bit congested on my Sennheiser HD650? Well, this was not the case with the Superlux HD661! Instead, the music sounded perfectly open and spacious. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s like these headphones doubled the dynamic range value of this album… Not in the literal sense of course 🙂

So I tried several songs in different genres with low DR values and I could clearly notice an improvement in dynamics compared to all other headphones I’ve tried to date. A lot of congested songs now sounded very alive!

Despite an impedance of 68 Ohms, these cans do not need a dedicated amp. Your portable device should be sufficient enough to drive these to high volumes without missing out on any details.

superlux hd661 headphones
Another view on the wing system.

Lows

The bass on the HD661 is excellent and is clean and tight, although a bit elevated. Mid and upper bass is very good. However, Sub bass is a bit lacking in my opinion. While listening to James Horner – Up is Down from the Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End soundtrack, I noticed myself wanting a bit more rumble.  Just a little bit. But it wasn’t there completely.

Still, I can’t really complain here because on pretty most all music the bass is amazing and a slightly less sub bass is not going to ruin the party!

The HD661 offers some punchy bass!
The HD661 offers some punchy bass!

Mids and Highs

The HD661 has clear and present mids, but – depending on the recording – can sound a bit bright and harsh in the upper mids. It provides great detail and instrument separation, though. Furthermore, the highs can be a bit too much for some people since they are slightly aggressive. But thanks to the excellent bass it still gives most music the necessary body without sounding too thin.

Listening to Counting Crows – Colorblind is a real joy! The piano has just the right amount of body while Adam Duritz voice sounds crisp and crystal clear. The harpsichord which comes in at 1m43 gives a bit of a bright touch to the song, together with the celesta.

On the other hand, listening to Pearl Jam – Alive is less than enjoyable. While the bass still has body, it cannot compensate for the overall bright and thin sound while listening to this song.

All by all, I found the HD661 a very revealing headphone without becoming too much of a so-called treble can. It has a fun way of presenting the music without becoming unrealistic.

superlux hd661 headphones
Probably not the right headphone for people who prefer a more dark and mellow sound. Over longer listening periods the HD661 can become somewhat fatiguing.

Extras

Don’t expect too many extras for this price, but I like the fact that Superlux provides two excellent cables. Also, in the box is a 6.3mm jack if you want to plug your HD661 into your AV receiver. Lastly, there’s a nice red bag included for putting your headphones in. It will not provide much protection, though!

superlux hd661 extras
What’s in the box.

Conclusion

The Superlux HD661 is THE best sounding headphone I’ve heard so far for under $40. Available in different colors there’s something for everyone’s style and they can handle quite the abuse. It’s perfect for modern compressed music as in most cases it makes them sound alive and spacious. I feel that this is what Superlux tried to achieve and boy they did!

As of today, the Superlux HD661 is my recommendation numero uno for people looking for an inexpensive but great sounding pair of headphones. The rich and spacious sound you get for under $40 really makes these cans a no brainer.

If only the sound isolation/leakage was a little bit better. If you’re gonna use these a lot around other people, you might first want to test these…

VIEW ON AMAZON

So that’s it guys for my personal opinion on the HD661. As always, if you liked this review or you think I’ve missed something or anything else, let me know in the comments below.


Our Rating:
  • Sound Quality - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Comfort & Design - 7/10
    7/10
  • Build Quality - 7/10
    7/10
  • Sound Leakage - 6/10
    6/10
  • Noise Isolation - 6/10
    6/10
  • Price/Value - 10/10
    10/10
7.4/10

Summary

Great sound for a small price! My recommendation for the budget conscience music lover.

18 thoughts on “Superlux HD661 Review – Best Sounding Budget Portable Headphones?”

  1. As a musician, I’m pretty headphone illiterate, ironically! I don’t know much at all except for the awesome sounding headphones that I had that broke after only a couple of months. They are a name brand and they came with very nice cables, but the earpiece broke off the band, leaving one side dangling by a wire, which left them virtually useless. I was extremely frustrated and disappointed that this happened. No way to fix it.
    I would be willing to give some of these a try, especially since the budget headphones are durable. I compose music on my computer and I need good headphones to get all the effects. Thanks for the great review!

  2. Wow, this is a great review! I absolutely adore The Piano Guys, but I have always noticed that my cheap Sony earbuds never really let me hear everything I wanted. I’d resort to just playing the songs really loud to get a sense of all the instruments. But these seem really reasonable and within my price range!

  3. Awesome site! I actually started my first site as a headphone site because I love music so much and was on a mission to find the greatest headphones on the internet to promote. I switched my focus a bit, but I really like the idea of the fact that some else has taken the reins for headphones! keep it up!!

  4. I’ve never heard of Superlux before – are they a big player in the headphone market or a relative newcomer?

    These do sound really good for the price – I’ve always assumed anything at the budget end of the market was pretty sub-standard but to produce superior sound quality than the HD650s is impressive indeed!

    1. Hi Luke,

      I wouldn’t compare them with giants like Sony or Sennheiser, but they’re also not a newcomer. Superlux is well regarded in the headphone community as far as budget-friendly headphones go. They have a real fanbase.

      I wouldn’t go as far as saying they have superior sound quality over the Sennheiser HD 650. The HD 650 is in a different class overall. But the Superlux HD661 is more fun to listen to. Especially with modern compressed music, and especially with the album from The Piano Guys. But yeah, those guys used the HD661 to master their album, so it’s made to sound good on those cans.

      Cheers!
      Jurgen

  5. Great website, with many good headphones! I liked that page because I like headphones and electronics. One thing I liked about your page is that you want to help other to find the great headphones for themselves. Good articles, and nice pictures! I missing some videos. It would be great to watch a video about the headphones.

    1. Hi Dan, yeah you are right. I don’t include a lot of videos, but I’m playing with the thought of doing some personal unboxing videos in the future! Thanks for the reminder and glad you like the site!

      Cheers!
      Jurgen

  6. Hello, Jurgen

    That Superlux HD661 headphone looks really great.

    The keen ear needs something well built for musical apreciation.

    I remember the time when music was analog and gave a great 3 dimension sensation even tho the it was just stereo.

    I have a big problem with headphones. I find them to heavy and annoying on the head.

    I’m going to check this one; you description and analysis is compelling.

    Cheers!

  7. I use Dre Beats right now, the cordless ones that really help me for working out at there is no cable hanging in the way to get snagged. I’ve heard some good things about the HD661, I may switch over as I have been traveling by train a lot and they seem like they would block out a lot of the background noise. Cool article my friend.

    chris

    1. Hi Chris, glad you liked the article. Since these are closed headphones they would indeed be able to block most of the outside noise on the train. If you’re interested in a headphone with active noise cancellation, then head over to my recent review of the JBL Everest Elite 700.

      Cheers!
      Jurgen

  8. Hi Jurgen

    Thank you for the very detailed and thorough review. I am in the market for a headset but unfortunately I haven’t a clue about the technical aspects let alone comfort!

    From your review I can see that Superlux is a trusted brand in the industry. I listen to a lot of podcasts and I too am learning Spanish this year, will these headphones be my best choice?

    Kind Regards

    Michelle

    1. Hi Michelle, as I said in my review, I would recommend these to anyone who’s in the market for an inexpensive but solid headphone. The one problematic thing could be the fit if you have a narrow head, but for $40 its well worth the risk and you can always return them.

      Cheers!
      Jurgen

  9. Hi,

    These headphones seem great. I’m very into language learning and obviously listening practice is really important for that. Any idea how these headphones hold up in this regard compared to others? I’m looking for something to allow me to hear the subtleties in intonation and tone in spoken language.
    Thanks in advance!
    Dave

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top