The great thing about being in the Pro-Audio and Lighting business is that you sometimes are asked to review a certain product for a manufacturer and run it thru the proverbial ringer to see if it performs up to or exceeds standards and will hold up to the rigors of everyday real world use.
I like to push gear to the limits so when I was asked by Avlex to test out the new Superlux HD-685 Headphones I jumped at the chance to see what kind of mayhem I could put them through. And as usual I gave them a beating.
Let’s look at the features and specs before I go into detail of the tests I performed.
THE BENCH TESTING PHASE
I started my testing by using the sweep generator at http://onlinetonegenerator.com/frequency-sweep-generator.html. With a continuous Sine Wave Sweep over 30 second increments at 25% volume level from 10Hz to 22Khz for a duration of 2 hours to burn in the headphones. I then moved to 50% volume for another 2 hours and worked my way to 100% in 8 hours of test time.
From there I moved on digital music using the MIXXX DJ’s version 1.11 Auto DJ feature at a 50% volume level for 2.5 hours of burn in time using various types of music. Electronic, Rock, Classic Rock, Country, Hip Hop and Classical. www.mixxx.org I then did the same music for 2.5 hours at 100% volume level.
For the real world testing I broke out the trusty old HeathKit IG-37 FM Stereo Generator and ran the full gamut of frequencies on both left and right channels for about an hour.
Finally I loaded up some music on both my PC and some old vinyl on my Polk Audio rig for 2 hours of listening to some of my favorite musical artists. From the PC I pulled artists such as Popa Chubby, Buddy Guy, The Crystal Method and Tool. On the vinyl side I listened to Pink Floyd, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and some Alan Parsons.
Opening up the stylish black box I was greeted with a very sexy set of black stealthy looking pair of headphones that were displayed quite nicely. These are packaged beautifully for retail sales, I might add. After pulling them out of the box I noticed that the construction was very well thought-out and they looked as if they could take some abuse. And yes they do handle abuse – I accidently dropped them from about 4.5 feet onto a hard concrete floor before I even got to plug them in.
The sound quality is amazing. Deep rich bass tones and highs that are subtle and crisp. Using a 32 band EQ with these will bring out even more sound than you can imagine with your recordings. I found that Popa Chubby’s Electric Chubby Land album (blues) was spectacular through these headphones. The fit on my head was so comfortable that I was able to wear them for 3 continuous hours without getting a headache.
I think that with the proper burn in time these headphones are a must have for any studio or live audio engineer. These are a great addition to the expanding line of Superlux headphones and I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone. For the audiophile there is no need to go out and spend excessive amounts of money on headphones when you can get great sound from the HD-685 headphones at a very decent price.