I never doubted Superlux’s ability to make headphone drivers. From the time we posted the review of the HD668B, to my other exposure of Superlux headphones, including the HD662, HD662B, and the HD669, I’ve always been impressed at the quality of the sound you get for the price. After all, if you can make good microphones for Professional use, there is no reason why you can’t design a Pro-quality transducer for the headphone end.
Now, one of the reasons that I still hold back from making a wide recommendation of the Superlux headphones is that their tuning are mainly geared toward professional monitoring uses. From the HD662 to the HD669, all boasts great clarity and instrument separation, but mostly they have been too bright and too thin on the midrange section for good music listening purposes. Not so with these new generation Superluxes. The HD330, HD440, and the HD660 still boasts the same clear sound that you get on the other Superlux models, but with a tonal balance more suited for music listening.
The HD440 should step forward to be the all-rounder model of the three. Boasting a sweet and musical midrange that’s undoubtedly the best out of all the Superluxes, the HD440 is a headphone that’s hard to not like. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a midrange execution as good as what I’m hearing on the HD440 on any headphones perhaps the low side of the $200 mark. Very sweet and full midrange sound, and yet with the usual Superlux clarity behind it. Maybe I can likened it to a smooth sound like what you get on the Audio-Technica ESW-9, but it’s not overly thick as the ESW-9. It’s a very strong midrange performance, and people would be drawn to the HD440 just on the merit of the midrange alone.
The tonal balance of the HD440 is quite good as well. From the fairly relaxed but smooth treble, it extends down to a full bodied midrange, and down smoothly to the bass region. Clearly a mid-centric tonality, but not excessively so, as there are enough treble presence to keep the balance and with a good air. The only two complaints I have is that the bass punch is relatively weak, and that the vocal presence can feel recessed at times. The HD330 and the HD660, though not possesing the sweet midrange of the HD440, actually gives a much better vocal presence than the HD440 at most times. Quite a contradiction, but it’s true. The overall pace of the HD440 is quite moderate and slightly more to the laid-back presentation. It’s a musical headphone for sure, even considering the complaints I have with the vocal and the bass.
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