SuperEQ S2 Review On Ear Noise-Canceling Headphones

Friday, October 16, 2020

Competition between brands is a healthy win-win situation for all, especially buyers! Not only does competition sparks creativity and narrows the gap between budget and expensive, it also means as a buyer you get more bang for your money. 
Take for instance, the SuperEQ S2 - a relatively unknown and very affordable pair of on ear headphones with a flagship spec sheet that includes memory foam earpads, metal band, USB-C charging and active noise cancellation (ANC), as well as Bluetooth audio and wired audio functionality.
The USB-C port on the headset is just for charging and cannot receive an audio signal; hence you can only use the 3.5mm input for listening to wired audio. When connecting to a computer, the SuperEQ S2 headset gets automatically recognized by the computer's audio manager. 
You can listen to wired audio and charge the SuperEQ S2 at the same time. The SuperEQ S2 headset microphone and the control buttons do not work in wired mode. The microphone is located next to the recessed 3.5mm port and integrates CVC noise cancelling, picking up voice loud and clear.
The SuperEQ S2 has an active audio port, which gets disabled when the headset battery runs out. With wired-only headsets, this is obviously not a problem and neither is a problem with some bluetooth/wired headsets which have a passive 3.5mm audio port instead, letting you listen to wired audio without battery input. 
Feedforward ANC is used on most budget ANC headphones, including SuperEQ S2; hence the ANC microphone picks up noise from the outside of the earcup. The ANC works well at suppressing bassy/rumbling sounds, which are constant. Because of the feedforward ANC setup, the SuperEQ S2 headset isn't able to handle higher frequency variable noise like people talking or a baby crying.
The SuperEQ S2 buttons are embedded inside a circular rocker plate that has the four-sided seesaw configuration of a cross. The buttons are physical so, they do require pressing down, which is easy making a subtle click noise in the process. The button rocker plate is made of plastic and features chrome accent raised grooves and a small status light that blinks during audio playback. 
The volume buttons also control the skipping of tracks, while you get a dedicated ANC button (and led) and another multi-functional button that controls play/pause and call handling (answer/hang up). SuperEQ S2's Bluetooth 5.0 chip does not support multiport pairing; hence you cannot connect the headset to multiple devices at the same time. You can pair two devices though but, you will have to disconnect one of them.
Since the 3.5mm auxiliary port requires power, it will also drain the headset battery in wired mode, which is not ideal but, it does have an upside and that is better fidelity because the internal headset amp also receives power. When battery is low, you will see the status led flash red and also hear a low battery voice prompt.
The SuperEQ S2 internal battery has a 500mAh capacity, which is similar in size to the battery of a lot of true wireless charging cases. The S2 battery can receive a maximum 5V/360mA input, taking 2 hours charging time. Runtime is about 17 hours when listening to audio with ANC turned on and 50% volume. When listening to audio with ANC turned off, you can get 24 hours of battery life. You can also keep the ANC turned on without listening to any audio (battery life is about 45 hours)
The SuperEQ S2 ANC function can be used with the headset powered off, which is nice since it allows you to use active noise cancellation without audio. Like most ANC headphones though, the SuperEQ S2's ANC function will drain the battery if you forget to turn it off or if the ANC button gets accidentally pressed, which can easily happen during transportation. A thick leathery drawstring pouch is included but, it's better if you use a hardshell carry case to prevent the ANC turning on by accident. SuperEQ S2's ANC runtime without audio is an impressive 44 hours. The ANC performance is up to 25dB noise reduction, which is a similar rating you get with ear protection earplugs.
In terms of audio sound performance, the SuperEQ S2 are equipped with highly sensitive 40mm drivers (same as the S1 headphones) and a good amp that doesn't require a lot of power to drive; hence you can crank the volume pretty high whether hardwired connection or Bluetooth. There is very good bass response, which becomes even deeper when ANC is turned on. The SuperEQ S2 drivers deliver clean treble and clear midrange so, you get good instrument separation.
An audible beep is generated when max volume is reached but no beep when ANC is enabled. There is some sound leakage when playing audio at 100% volume, which is expected with on-ear headphones. The SuperEQ S2 has a sleak black/chrome color scheme with a quirky coffee cup design and a cylindrical metal band that connects the plastic headphone frame to the earcups, which are made of matte plastic. 
There is a slight play between the earpads and earcups, which allows a little bit of earcup tilt up and down, although there isn't an actual tilting mechanism since the SuperEQ S2 doesn't have a hinged yoke design, although there is a folding plastic hinge that allows the earcups to fold inwards.
Being on-ear, the SuperEQ S2 earpads are smaller in size than over-ear. The shape of the earpads is perfectly round with a small 3.5cm diameter hole opening, 6.5cm outer diameter and 1cm depth to the driver. The drivers are covered by a thick padded layer of fabric. The earpads have soft material covering the memory foam padding, which is 2cm thick and cushiony.
As far as the underside of the headband, it is very thinly padded with what feels like a rubbery band material. Despite this, the S2 headset is comfortable, in part, to the earcups, which can swivel flat one way, allowing the earpads to rest flush against a surface. The headset is also ultra low weight, at just 213 grams weight (and 223 grams with the audio cable). The included audio cable weighs 10 grams and measures 80cm long. The charging cable measures 42cm long. You can buy the SuperEQ S2 headset on amazon. If you prefer over-ear style, check out the review of OneOdio's Studio Hifi headset and the OneOdio A30 ANC headphones, OneOdio Studio Wireless C Y80B headphones.

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