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Superlux HD387 Review (Budget IEM)

Rate this IEM:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 15 13.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 67 58.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 27 23.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 5 4.4%

  • Total voters
    114

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Superlux HD387 IEM. It was kindly purchased by a member in Europe and shipped to me. It costs US $15.90.
Superlux HD387 Review Budget IEM.jpg


As you see, it has a two piece mount with the standard silicone tip and the spiral one to hold it steady. It comes with three sets of those (I have mixed and matched them and hence the color difference). It stayed in my ears and is more stable than just the silicone tip.

Superlux HD387 Measurements
As usual, we start with the frequency response measurement using GRAS system:
Superlux HD387 Measurement Frequency Response Budget IEM.png


I thought the droop in low frequency should not be there and tried may techniques to improve seal but it never changed. There is not much compliance with our curve but a different reference may make that visual point better. For example if we shifted the graph up, then it may be compliant from a few hundred hertz to 3 or 4 kHz. And than have a massive boost in the 200 Hz region. Going with what we have, the difference to be compensated using EQ has a complex curve with channel differential:

Superlux HD387 Measurement Relative EQ Frequency Response Budget IEM.png


Distortion is rather high especially for an IEM:

Superlux HD387 Measurement Relative THD Distortion Budget IEM.png

Superlux HD387 Measurement THD Distortion Budget IEM.png


Typical of most IEMs, group delay is not revealing other than telling us something is messy just above 2 kHz:

Superlux HD387 Measurement Group Delay Distortion Budget IEM.png


Impedance is low and flat:

Superlux HD387 Measurement Impedance Budget IEM.png


Finally, sensitivity is on the good side:
Most sensitive IEM.png


IEM Listening Tests
If you get a good seal -- a necessary condition with any IEM -- the sound is surprisingly good. It is not until you develop an EQ that you realize better sound can be had:


Superlux HD387 Equalization EQ Parametric Filter Budget IEM.png


As I noted, it is hard to develop a filter set by eye. But what I put together did the job, reducing a bit of stuffiness from the upper bass exaggeration and opening the sound up with the broad filter. I initially filled in the hole around 6.6 kHz but as you see, I disabled it. It just sounded too bright.

Sound was detailed now with very good fidelity. I just found the highs a bit too rough at times. Deep bass is not there even with my boost. Cranking the volume gradually increases the distortion and sort of self-limits. So is really best to use for normal to somewhat loud listening.

Conclusions
Frequency response is clearly flawed here but visually it seems far worse than it sounds. Out of the box the tonality is good enough to use. Boosting the upper bass is a standard technique for lack of deeper bass so it works in that regard. While difficult to develop manual, as usual EQ improves the performance good bit putting high fidelity sound within your reach for the price of a couple of fast food meals! Amazing what you can do when all you have to do is move a tiny, tiny amount of air inside your ear drum!

I am going to marginally recommend the Superlux HD387 IEM with EQ.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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  • Superlux HD387 Frequency Response Measurement.zip
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phoenixsong

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Have always heard about Superlux headphones, interesting to see an IEM of theirs measured. Wonder how it will fair against the other *super budget IEM go-tos now
 

Vict0r

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Superlux' products used to be bargain gems, mostly available only to people living in Europe (and I guess Asia) back in the day, since Thomann sold them for chips. I bought a bunch of their stuff many years ago (about a decade ago); HD668b, HD669, HD662, HD651 (these were €5!) and the HD381 IEMs. I also picked up some of their accessories, like a DSLR microphone mount and god knows what else. The market moved on a bit, but cool to see they're still around.
 
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Robbo99999

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Well, it's cheap isn't it - can't be too hard on this IEM for the money! Uninspiring overall, but indeed inspiring for the money!

EDIT: I like the Elvis hair-do! (IEM-do)
 
Last edited:

GWolfman

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Wonder how an IEM can distort so badly; must've been their price-target compromise.

Thanks!
 
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anphex

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How can people not give this a "Great" considering the performance to price value. It's 16$! And delivers partially better performance than some 200 $ headphones!
 

Matias

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I think spending 20 usd for the Moondrop Chu makes more sense.

Below measured against the Harman curve.

index.php


 
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Vict0r

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How can people not give this a "Great" considering the performance to price value. It's 16$! And delivers partially better performance than some 200 $ headphones!
Buy them, try them and see if you still think they're great. ;)

Also, there are solid performers at $20 from brands like Moondrop, KZ, QKZ, Tanchjim, TRN and even Sony.
 

Lambda

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Uh. they are certainly not happy playing loud!

I wonder how much this (in general) changes by slightly different ear channel size/volume or or by how hard/deep you insert IMEs in the ear.
After all the air volume in the Ear can change significant by insertion depth.

but for <16€ they are worth a try.
 

bennybbbx

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I have the 387 and i like them, because they are open. this mean when plug in the phones in ear this give no pain in eardrum. with other IEM when i plug in the phone i get pressure in eardrum. because of that open design maybe give the reduced low bass. They fit very good because of the ear hook. whats a little disapointing i not notice in hear but see on measure is that left and right channel of the 387 are much diffrent. And the 2 khz resonance. a resonance i hear before the test. it sound a little boxy but in FR measure can not see a boost at 2 khz. I have a superlux HD681 evo and the 387 sound fuller wider and with more clarity.

the 200 hz boost let then the 387 sound fuller and it is intresting that i find the sound good and not muddy. on speakers 200 hz i always find muddy(also when very near on speaker, so no room reverb problem) so i need reduce . this 387 test help me alot. seem i should do burst measure of a single sine wavecycle and compare at 200 hz with speaker if the diffrence is the reason. I notice in burst measure 1 cm away that low freq 200 hz on speakers get more undershoot and overshoots as higher freq (1 khz) at same volume.
 

nyxnyxnyx

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I think in order to better judge if this product is "great" or not we need to define our standard:
If great means it follows a certain target with good credibility then it's NOT good.
If great means compare it to other offerings back when it was first released on the market then it's a maybe (due to my lack of data)
If great means compare it to similarly priced IEMs we can have nowadays.... Then even on the surface, now we already have many more attractive competitions.

This looks like it's an alright product for typical consumers. I know a dude who kinda prefer his music to be overly boomy with a hint of distortion, maybe this can be a viable option for people with that kind of liking.
 

bennybbbx

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because the distortion is above 94 db much increase this is also a hear protect headphone to not hear too loud. :)with 100 db hear loss can happen in 30 min - 1 hour unreparable. best is hear with max 85 db average.

Headphones and Hearing Loss​


Data shows that under 35s are more likely to listen to music using mobile devices than other age demographics. Of those, WHO suggests 50% are listening to music while wearing headphones that are too loud. Many young people are blasting out their music at maximum volume. Figures show they do this at a much higher rate than older individuals. Loud music through headphones can damage the inner ear and cause hearing loss.


On an Apple iPhone, the maximum volume while wearing headphones is equal to 102 decibels. This means that hearing damage can occur after listening to just a few songs at this range. Even at lower ranges, it’s easy to be within unsafe levels.
WHO is not alone in their concerns. A study in 2010 by Harvard Medical School in the US found that the rise in popularity of headphones has significantly increased the rate of hearing loss diagnosis in individuals under the age of 20. There is no doubt that the improper use of headphone or earphone technology causes lifelong hearing problems for people.
 

Jim Shaw

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I am going to marginally recommend the Superlux HD387 IEM with EQ.
I checked their current prices via their "USA" website. Regrettably, the shipping is twice the cost of these IEMs. So I'm looking at $47, not $15.
So, I didn't buy them.
 

bennybbbx

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beagleman

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Superlux HD387 IEM. It was kindly purchased by a member in Europe and shipped to me. It costs US $15.90.
View attachment 201321

Conclusions
Frequency response is clearly flawed here but visually it seems far worse than it sounds.
Out of the box the tonality is good enough to use. Boosting the upper bass is a standard technique for lack of deeper bass so it works in that regard. While difficult to develop manual, as usual EQ improves the performance good bit putting high fidelity sound within your reach for the price of a couple of fast food meals! Amazing what you can do when all you have to do is move a tiny, tiny amount of air inside your ear drum!

I am going to marginally recommend the Superlux HD387 IEM with EQ.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
These type of comments are helpful to me.
He sets out and measures it, and then applies actual listening to determine if or how the sound is.
 

Gio

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I Hope to see how It is the CCA CRA in the same price range. I find them great as many, but what about scientific measures?
 

SuicideSquid

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I'd be very curious to see a review of these super cheap Skullcandy IEMs:

They're my go-to gym buds - I go through a set about every six months as I wear them for workouts and long-distance running, and eventually sweat destroys them, but they're surprisingly decent-sounding. I expect they'd measure quite similarly to these Superlux buds, with no true low-frequency, a midbass hump, pretty flat midrange, and not super accurate but not terrible treble.
 

DonR

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Seems if you are not into bass-heavy or high SPL listening these would be absolutely fine, especially given the price.

Caveat on price. CAD$60 shipped on AliExpress... makes it less tempting.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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I wonder how much this (in general) changes by slightly different ear channel size/volume or or by how hard/deep you insert IMEs in the ear.
You have two samples already in that graph. I moved them around, change tip, etc. and it made almost no difference in measurements.
 
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