Portable Basshead: Superlux HD651

For a while I hesitated if I should use the word “cheap” on the HD651 due to the negative connotations that comes with the word. I’m not saying cheap in the negative, crappy, sense. I’m saying cheap, because the HD651’s price level is very low in the overall headphone scene. I probably won’t buy it if it wasn’t priced so low, roughly $30 locally, but the price may be higher where you live. The HD651 is a cheap, portable, basshead headphone. And yet, it’s very fun sounding, even in the midst of the HD800, the Omega2, and the Edition10 that I happen to have laying around. You know, people accuse Headfonia for being limited to high end, expensive cans. Well, I tell them that we only do reviews on stuff that we have on hand, and in this case, it’s the HD651. After all, this hobby shouldn’t always be limited to hundred dollar headphones and all the serious tone that come with it. At the end of the day, it’s about musical enjoyment.

The build won’t impress you with any high end, luxurious material. It’s a plain plastic build that feels very solid for throwing around during commuting. And yes, if you noticed, the housing design borrows heavily from Panasonic’s RP-HTX7 retro designed headphone. With the semi supra-aural cups clamping hard on my head, I can’t seem to stop listening to the magic combination of the Superlux HD651 with Massive Attack’s Mezzanine.

The Superlux HD651 certainly has an awesome bass for a portable headphone. The bass is punchy, full and tight. It may not be the most articulate bass, but none is expecting articulate and punchy bass at this price range either. Both low bass rumble and upper bass beats is played pretty well by the HD651, and there is something about the presentation that makes it perfect for Massive Attack and other music like it. It has a small soundstage, but for these music, the small soundstage works really well to focus all the energy, making every beat of the bass really counts. The treble is attenuated, hence the HD651 would probably not work with instrumentals or Jazz or anything like that. But again, the dark presentation really puts you into focus with the bass beats. Treble detail sort of lingers in the background, though the electronic voice does get a good presence within the small soundscape.

Unlike the bigger brother, the HD668B, the HD651 is less ambitious. It’s far from a giant killer. Its attenuated treble and the overall closed-in feeling of the sound won’t win too many fans. For me, the HD651 is about a refreshing dose of fun bass at an entry level price. Technically, I’d even place it below the Sennheiser HD202. But the HD202, though being quite bass heavy, did not quite have the bass punch that I find on the Superlux HD651.

The tonal balance is very dark, even darker than the HD202 Sennheiser. But it matches the mood of the Mezzanine album, Chemical Brother’s Dig Your Own Hole, or Armin Van Buuren’s Imagine very well. If you listen to those music, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If your music is any different, then the HD651 may not make a lot of sense. In a word, fast paced, dark, electronic music needing strong beats, the HD651 truly delivers. The hard clamping force is not very comfortable for long term listening, but it really helps to get you in the mood for the music in public places with all their noises.

Though an amplifier improves the bass tightness to a certain degree, I mostly use the HD651 direct to the Ipod, volume level fixed at roughly 90%. I think one of the selling point about the HD651 is its simplicity. Single sided cord that runs quite short, 1.5meters roughly. A fairly hard clamping force that stays put when you’re wearing it. It truly works for injecting short doses of bass energy when you’re outside in the move. So, in one hand, I’m writing about a very specialized headphone. In another hand, it’s a lot of fun and it serves it purpose very well. I certainly never had the experience of enjoying music in public place the same way I get with the HD651.

Gosh, this headphone is a lot of fun!

The overall view.

Unlike on the bigger HD668B headphone, the HD651’s headband is quite uncofortable when new as it presses hard against your skull from the top. Try bending it a few times, I eventually got used to it.

The pads cover the ear and clamps pretty hard. It isolates noise VERY well, though it’s not the most comfortable pads around.

3.7/5 - (11 votes)


  • Reply January 26, 2011


    People in the US may have difficulty obtaining the HD651. I feel bad for you guys. :p

  • Reply January 26, 2011


    They're not very good about their international distribution. Even in its native Taiwan, I'm still looking for a dealer that carries their 551 series… those look promising as portables, but I think they're currently only available in China.

    • Reply January 26, 2011


      What a pity for this promising brand. Anyway, thanks for the info Tom.

  • Reply January 26, 2011

    Erik Negakinu

    I bought the Superlux HD668b here in Holland at a music instruments store and absolutely love it! I own the ATH-AD700 as well but keep grabbing the HD668b. It's pretty hot in the trebles though. Screams at you before properly burned-in. It's not as balanced as I imagined it would be.

    • Reply January 26, 2011


      Thanks for sharing your impression Erik. 🙂

      How much did the store sell it for?

    • Reply May 28, 2019

      Éanna Doyle

      Thanks for the informative review!

      I’ve been looking for an affordable pair of light and portable beater over-ears for listening to electronic music in public.

      I happened to try these on in a gallery here in Dublin for listening to a film. I enjoyed the fit, comfort and build so I made note of the model number.

      I’m delighted that they appear to suit the kind of music I enjoy listening to so I think I’ll be looking to buy a pair now. 🙂

  • Reply January 26, 2011

    Erik Negakinu

    I bought mine for 25 euro ($34) at a store called Feedback.nl, they have several different Superlux headphones as well as their budget recording gear like microphones.

    Silly thing is, I love how I can just hook up my Sansa Clip+ to the Hd668b's super short 3.5mm cable and have an ultra portable full sized headphone solution. No jangly cables! Looks a bit weird though but it sounds stellar! I own a lot of more expensive headphones (HD25-1 II, SR225i, AD700, DT880) and the Superlux are quite the value. Still, the treble is something you have to get used to. It's so hot it's almost piercing at first, even compared to my Grados. It settles after a while though. Love the site btw! Check it regularly and read every article! 🙂

    • Reply January 26, 2011


      That is a good price for the HD668B!

      The 668B has a bit agressive treble and a little thin mids. I can imagine it would pair beautifully with the warm and full mids Clip+.

      Love it when people enjoy their gear. 😀

    • Reply January 26, 2011


      Do check if they have the HD651.

      It won't give you the resolution or clarity of the HD668B, but if you like bass and you listen to rock, I have a feeling you'll like it. Use it with an Ipod though as it helps to bring out the treble unlike the Clip+.

  • Reply January 26, 2011

    Erik Negakinu

    I just checked with them and they only sell the HD668b ($34), HD681 ($27,50), HD662 ($26), HD669 ($41) and HD381 ($13). Too bad no HD651! 🙂

    • Reply January 26, 2011


      Awesome. The HD381 looks interesting. Wonder what that is.

      • Reply February 13, 2011


        Only around$16.5 for HD-651 in Hong Kong, they shipped to US as well by adding delivery cost.

        • Reply February 14, 2011


          Very nice! Got an online store?

        • Reply February 20, 2011


          Where can I order these? I want to get some right now LOL

  • Reply March 23, 2011

    Erik Wijnands

    For anyone interested in these. Feedback.nl now ships these across Europe. I am not affiliated with this store btw. http://www.feedback.nl/shop/product/100005989/118029

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Erik Wijnands

    This’ll be the last time I post on this article, I swear. 🙂 Superlux HD651 is now $7 at Feedback.nl

    • Reply May 25, 2011


      Wow! That’s crazy! Thanks for posting, Erik!

  • Reply May 29, 2011


    @facebook-100000005570945:disqus wait till friday then it is 5 😉

  • Reply June 1, 2011


    Does feedback.nl ship to Canada?

    And if so approx how much?

    • Reply June 2, 2011


      Sorry, no idea Alex, as we are not related to them. Try sending them an


  • Reply July 26, 2011


    Hi u know if this is sold in batam?

    • Reply July 26, 2011


      No idea, sorry.

  • Reply July 29, 2011


    one thing that i didnt understand is that in some places people write that this headphones are wireless and here i see that do have a wire, so are they wireless or not?

    • Reply August 1, 2011


      Definitely not wireless, as far as I know.

  • Reply August 10, 2011


    I’ve tested and bought it just yesterday. Since it’s on my price range, I cannot complain on lacks of the sounding things, but really, there’s small to complain when this headset works well with generally any music. I mean well, not super or anything, but it was satisfying.

    • Reply August 11, 2011


      Yes, it was nice right. Not super technical or anything, but just nice.

  • Reply September 16, 2011


    i read this article and i bought this head phone and used it with my system i tell u that its very nice . its bass is very good its price is also very risen able and its sound is fantastic 
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  • Reply October 26, 2011

    Stephan Bouwman

    Got these in today, from feedback.nl, for 12 Euros only. Had to get some cables and a new mixer as well so no shipping costs involved either.

    Took it out of the box expecting nothing special, but WOW! I own several high end Sennheiser and Sony headphones and I wouldn’t recommend the HD651 for in studio use, but for somebody who loves bass and loves electronic music but is short on cash; get them! Dre Beats is 15 times the price.

    I’m missing a little on the high end to be honest, but listening back my radio broadcasts and Jamie Woon stuff is amazing on these. Fun headphones indeed, thanks for the tip!

    • Reply October 26, 2011

      Lieven V

      Glad you like them. Too bad that site doesn’t ship to Belgium, I can’t find them over here.

  • Reply December 10, 2011


    Just bought one hd651 for just 5 euro at Feedback musicstore Rotterdam…sound great!

  • Reply December 30, 2011


    Those are so terrible compared to the HD668B. They sound like you put a pillow next to them and try to listen through. The bass is ok but not superb. 

    They are also damn uncomfortable, I can’t use them for 30mins longer without getting headache for one week. 

    Don’t get them, if you don’t get them for really cheap (10€ shipped or less)

    • Reply December 30, 2011


      They are different than the HD668B. You need to understand that they are designed more for general pop/dance music with strong beats. The HD668B would be too bright for that.
      Yes the comfort can be improved though.

  • Reply January 13, 2012

    Truthfull Teller

    So bad; youll probably give em away!

    Every good point you make about these headphones is a badly veiled flaw. Plus the music you’re on about listening to has many interesting subtle and often transient highs and huge ambient soundscapes; which these headphones, you admit, are shite at!

  • Reply March 19, 2012

    Joonatan Kamarainen

    hi what would be good superlux headphones for listening wu tang and bass type music

  • Reply November 11, 2013

    nipas lapikanont

    HD681EVO New basshead Superlux with more quality sound

  • Reply November 5, 2015


    Never EVER buy this shit, it hurts you ear so bad you cant use it for more than 10 minutes, i think they didnt ever tested it on people

    • Reply November 5, 2015


      Different people, different tastes

      • Reply November 5, 2015


        Yeah, sadomasochistics maybe like

      • Reply November 5, 2015


        look how mine got after some months of use, 3 I think


        the pads are made from a solid like material that get smashed and thinner with time until a point there is no more space for the ear

        • Reply November 5, 2015


          Good to have replacement pads. My Sennheiser pads for several PX series, they disintegrate. The Senn HD280 pro pads are terrible and destruct after a while. There are headphones below $100 that are better made, but this one is no worse than some Sennheisers

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