Great headphones at an affordable price can be a little difficult to come by, however that doesn’t prevent anyone from trying to make them anyway. One of the more recent attempts comes from a company called Sound Intone, with the Sound Intone CX-05’s.
But can the headphones offer a decent quality despite their low price? We put them to the test to find out whether or not paying the low price is worth it.
The first thing to notice about these cans is their design, and despite the low price they actually look pretty good. They have a simple black and metal industrial-type design with a stitched headband. They definitely look simple, but there’s also some nice attention to detail.
For example, rather than a simple plastic cord, the headphones feature a nice braided cable, which not only looks slick, but protects the cables a lot more than they would otherwise be protected. That’s not just true of the 3.5mm cable — the wire that connects the two earbuds has the same type of braiding.
Beyond the basic look of the headphones, there’s not much to speak of when it comes to design. The cans are on-ear, so they’re a little smaller than over-ear headphones which is great for portability. Unfortunately, they’re made less portable by the fact that in the box there’s no hard case nor carry bag. Instead, there’s only an extra cable, which is the same length as the one that comes already attached to the headphones.
When it comes to the Sound Intone CX-05’s, these headphones aren’t terrible, but they’re not great either. Because the headphones are on-ear, they require extra padding on the earcup in order to remain comfortable, and while there is some padding there could certainly be more. The same is true of the padding on the headband — it just gets a little uncomfortable up there after an hour or so of listening.
In general, we would have liked some more padding on both the earpads and the headband. Again, that’s not to say that they’re uncomfortable — just that they’re not as comfortable as they could be.
While the headphones look nice and are okay in the design department, at such a low price there has to be a trade-off. There is — sound.
When you see the specs of the headphones on paper, you’ll find that they don’t look bad at all. They deliver a standard 20Hz – 20kHz frequency range, and offer 40mm drivers that you would expect in headphones of this size.
Let’s start with the good thing about the sound of these headphones — the bass. There’s plenty of punch to the bass, and while a little more would certainly be welcome that’s really down to personal preference. It’s important to note that there is a roll-off of the super low frequencies, but it’s barely noticeable.
The mid-range is far more problematic. It seems as though the mid frequencies were boosted specifically where you wouldn’t want them to be boosted and cut where you wouldn’t want them to be cut. There is some clarity in the lower mids, but the higher you get, the worse the music sounds.
That carries over into the highs. The high frequencies sound seriously cut off, to the point where if we put a low-pass filter at around 12kHz — which cuts out everything above that — we could barely hear a difference. Vocals don’t shine through, cymbals have little to no sizzle, and everything else just sounds like it has no depth.
In general, the headphones don’t sound terrible, but they most certainly do not live up to their design, or even their lackluster comfort level.
If you’re looking for a $30 pair of headphones and don’t care too much about how good the music actually sounds, then these might be a decent pair for you, especially considering their price and build quality. If, however, you care about audio quality then you should probably steer clear of the Sound Intone CX-05’s and save up a bit more dough.
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20kHz||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Driver size||40mm||In-line controls||Yes|
|Rated impedance||32Ω||Earpad material||Foam|
|Total harmonic distortion||Unknown||Magnet material||Neodymium|
|Rated input power||Unknown||Water resistance||No|
|Maximum input power||Unknown||Battery life||N/A|
|Wireless connection||No||Wireless distance||N/A|
|Wired connection||Yes||Cable length||1.5m (5ft)|
|Detachable cable||Yes||Case type||N/A|
|Weight||Unknown||In-the-box||2 1.5m cables|
|Active noise cancellation||No||Colors||Black, brown, blue, green|