• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

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

Tks

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 1, 2019
Messages
3,068
Likes
4,972
It's hard to be tough on something so inexpensive, but that THD plot is a bit much. IEM's shouldn't be distorting this bad in the modern day. Distorting highs and lows? Come on..
 

headwhacker

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
163
Likes
218
I wish Amir started early in measuring IEMs. It would have saved me a lot of time/money and making my iem collection way smaller than it is now.

From the few iem reviews that Amir have reviewed/mesaure so far, it tells me that distortion is more important measurement than FR. As long as your player/source has a decent PEQ an iem with low distortion can be easily be tuned to anyone's liking.

I guess the holy grail is finding the cheapest iem with low enough distortion and tracks the harman curve as close as possible.
 

Robbo99999

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
3,873
Likes
3,370
Location
UK
I wish Amir started early in measuring IEMs. It would have saved me a lot of time/money and making my iem collection way smaller than it is now.

From the few iem reviews that Amir have reviewed/mesaure so far, it tells me that distortion is more important measurement than FR. As long as your player/source has a decent PEQ an iem with low distortion can be easily be tuned to anyone's liking.

I guess the holy grail is finding the cheapest iem with low enough distortion and tracks the harman curve as close as possible.
I would think unit to unit variation would be the key variable if you were gonna make that point. If there is high unit to unit variation then EQ's you find on the interwebs won't really get you close to where you want to be.....and in that context frequency response is on balance more important than distortion. It is hard to guage unit to unit variation.....you can go off brand reputation in that area, as well as look at how closely the two channels are matched as an indication, and of course if a reviewer or people have measured more than one unit then you can start to see the spread.
 

MediumRare

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 17, 2019
Messages
1,612
Likes
1,880
Location
Chicago
@amirm This is a perfect example where the misalignment of the frequency response curve in comparison to the Harmon curve has pulled you in a bad direction. Could I suggest if you slid the frequency response curve up about five Db you would have a very different target for what the EQ would be. In fact I think all you would need is a boost at 7KHz and then you can pull down the broad bloat in upper bass. Would you mind giving that a try and showing how the graphs look? I suspect it would also help the distortion quite a lot to EQ it that way.
 

acbarn

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
1,814
Likes
4,383
Location
California
I think spending 20 usd for the Moondrop Chu makes more sense.

Below measured against the Harman curve.

index.php


This.
 

Robbo99999

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
3,873
Likes
3,370
Location
UK
@amirm This is a perfect example where the misalignment of the frequency response curve in comparison to the Harmon curve has pulled you in a bad direction. Could I suggest if you slid the frequency response curve up about five Db you would have a very different target for what the EQ would be. In fact I think all you would need is a boost at 7KHz and then you can pull down the broad bloat in upper bass. Would you mind giving that a try and showing how the graphs look? I suspect it would also help the distortion quite a lot to EQ it that way.
I think that would have improved the treble, perhaps even with improvements up to "20kHz". It's harder to EQ the treble, so I find sometimes it's useful to align the measurement so the treble is right, but it depends from frequency response to frequency response which is the best approach for me. It wouldn't help distortion though as you "always end up at the same place" no matter how you align the target on the frequency response....assuming you EQ all the same areas to comply with the target.....(just that in this case with this IEM aligning the Target lower on the frequency response would have meant possibly a better experience in the treble and up to "20kHz", because he didn't EQ the higher parts of that area).
 

pianolover

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2022
Messages
2
Likes
0
I ordered the Superlux HD381F (f=flat) a few days ago from AliExpress for $22, free shipping to US. The reviews have been positive for a flat signature IEM. I hope Amir reviews this one, too.
 

pianolover

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2022
Messages
2
Likes
0
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.
How do you compare HD381 to HD387 review here?
 

beagleman

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Sep 24, 2020
Messages
611
Likes
694
For the price, I put Great!

The Frequency response is actually quite good, as Amir has the divisions at 2db, not the typical 5db/.

The distortion....hmmm.....for this price, still quite good.
 

SuicideSquid

Active Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Messages
122
Likes
179
For the price, I put Great!

The Frequency response is actually quite good, as Amir has the divisions at 2db, not the typical 5db/.

The distortion....hmmm.....for this price, still quite good.
Given that the 94dB is loud enough to permanently damage your ears with extended listening, and 114dB is loud enough to permanently damage your hearing in minutes, I'd say it's totally acceptable.
 

Robbo99999

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
3,873
Likes
3,370
Location
UK
Given that the 94dB is loud enough to permanently damage your ears with extended listening, and 114dB is loud enough to permanently damage your hearing in minutes, I'd say it's totally acceptable.
The relevance of those distortion graphs is mainly in bass EQ. I've recorded 0dBFS sine sweeps of my headphones on my miniDSP EARS after setting amp levels towards the upper end of my normal playback levels and it's around 84dB at 1kHz, but then with nearly +10dB bass boost EQ that would pull the relevance of Amir's distortion graphs up to around 94dB in the bass - so for me I just make sure that the 94dB distortion line would be clean in the bass and hopefully no glaring problems higher up in the frequency range at that same 94dB - but you won't really be listening to music at 94dB except in the bass so you can probably assume your actual experienced distortion level is lower than the 94dB line everywhere on the frequency response except in the bass. That would be valid for me at my listening levels. I suppose if you listen ultra loud at times then you'd want to push that up to the 104dB line in the bass and start giving the 94dB measured level a bit more relevance in the areas above the bass. But you won't be damaging your ears by listening to comparitively high levels in the bass - that's why H&S Guidance is based around measuring noise that has been A-weighted - ie reducing the contribution of the bass to the measured dB level. So it's not as simple as just saying that 94dB or 104dB is enough to make you damage you ears, because it depends on where in the frequency range you're referencing that measured dB level.....and besides the 94 & 104dB levels you're quoting are Amir's distortion graphs which is referenced to those values at 400Hz, and the rest of the frequency range of that headphone that he's measured sits relative to that.....so you'd have to work it back from that where your EQ boosts would place you for various parts of the frequency range for that headphone.....it's a bit hard to explain, but it's not as simple as saying "94 & 104dB will make you go deaf". I think it would be useful if Amir additionally included an 84dB measured level of distortion in his headphone reviews - that would be more relevant for me (& probably others) for distortion levels I'd see in areas above the bass....due to the mechanisms I've tried to explain in this post.

So for me, if I reference the IEM in this review, then I think I'd be ok with the distortion levels as it's just the blue line that is relevant (for me):
index.php

And given that in the frequency response for the headphone that the 20Hz point in the bass is actually above the 1kHz point, then you don't need to boost the bass (so you don't have to worry too much about the higher distortion seen in the bass in this IEM as it's not gonna be boosted):
Superlux HD387 Measurement Frequency Response Budget IEM.png
The 2kHz peak in distortion also doesn't need to be EQ'd up in that area either, and given that we know we don't really listen to 2kHz at 94dB anyway, then this will be lower than the 1% distortion at that point. That is the worst part of the distortion graph, but given what I've been saying in this post, I don't think distortion would be a problem for me with this IEM. (would be cool to see an 84dB distortion line measured).

(Yes, the target has been placed too high on the frequency response which makes it seem that the frequency response EQ points I'm bringing up don't make sense, but it's more easy to understand my points if you lower the target by around 3 or 4 dB so that it's aligned at 1kHz)
 
Last edited:

digicidal

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
1,768
Likes
3,839
Location
Sin City, NV
@amirm - I wish I could give your review an additional like for the use of Cousin Dupree as the test material.

Such an uncomfortably great song. :D
 

bennybbbx

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
559
Likes
102
Location
germany
I find after test all headphone models in Morphit from tonebooster vst plugin that the Beyerdnynamic DT 990 pro also have such a around 200 hz bass boost. but DT 990 have more high and begin above 1.5 khz increase. I set Eq so it increase half of DT 990 above 1.5 khz and lwet the 200 hz boost in. i think sound nicer when not make own music.

about the hearing curves i find this. updatet sept 2021 https://www.headphonesty.com/2020/04/harman-target-curves-part-3/
 

lewdish

Member
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
57
Likes
22
Someone should send in a Moondrop Chu as well, for $20 its nutty value
 
Top Bottom