Superlux – HD381F Mini Review.

I bought the Superlux HDF381F for 13€ on Gearbest. I’ll try my best to give an honest opinion about the gear.

Introduction
Superlux is known for making professional audio equipment on the cheap, they have several acclaimed models inspired by famous mainstream headphones like Beyerdynamic, AKG or Sennheiser.
The HD381F is no different, being compared directly by the brand to the now discontinued Sony MDR-EX90LP.

Testing rig
As a typical portable rig, I’ll be using my Sony L1 (G3311) smartphone and Spotify on the higher quality setting without any EQ, normalization or any other gimmick. I also might use my Fiio uBTR Bluetooth receiver via aptX if necessary.

My daily driver will be an uncapped Sony Walkman A-45, with both lossy 320kbps Mp3’s and lossless 16-Bit 44.1Khz Flac music files, I might use higher resolution if necessary.

I won’t be reviewing the interaction of all sources with the in-ear for obvious reasons, so for simplicity sake, the review below will use the Sony Walkman A-45 to drive the in-ears unless stated otherwise.

Built quality & specifications
The overall build quality feels cheap, from the cable to the plugs everything screams low quality at you. The only positive thing is the fact the plugs have strain reliefs.
The cable is rather short at 60cm, an extension cord is offered if you need more cable.
You can’t change the cable, but at this price, nobody really cares about that.

Everyone likes specifications so here are some I could find:
– Dynamic driver, 13.5 mm
– Frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz
– Sensitivity: 103dB
– Impedance: 16Ω

Daily use
These are so lightweight you can forget you have them on, environment isolation is almost zero.
The short cable is nice if you have a Bluetooth receiver, besides that using an extension cord feels kind strange with this kind of in-ears.

Sound
The HD381F is mainly a flat in-ear, being a very cheap model I was rather surprised at the dynamic and tonal balance it has over a broad audio spectrum.
The bass is consistent and presented without overpowering the mids. It has a decent impact and extension for this price range.
As for the mids, I found them very slightly recessed.
The treble is not aggressive, has enough detail, just don’t expect these to make you say “wow” because they won’t, even so they are good enough for their price range.

A little modification can be done to these in-ears, If you remove the nozzle filters some extra detail will be gained, slight thing but beats having filters full of glue impairing the sound.

If you need to find out what songs I used to make this review please visit this page.

The good & the ugly
Good tuning makes these cheap in-ears a great cheap intro to the hobby (if you buy them for 13€).

Very cheap construction, pretty awful cable.

Notes
Yes, I don’t write about “soundstage” or imaging, refer to this entry for more explanations on that.

This is a mini-review with less than 600 words when possible, I have lot’s of cheap in-ears I want to review but I don’t want to lose lot’s of time with them, plus I don’t have the original boxes or accessories.