The Sound Intone CX-05 are sturdy, budget on-ear headphones with a mediocre-at-best sound. They have a durable design, especially compared to other on-ears in their price range they're also sufficiently stable for a light jog but won't be the ideal sports headphones. Unfortunately, they don't block a lot of noise, and their sound quality might be a deal breaker even for casual listeners.
- Above-average build quality.
- Minimal leakage.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Mediocre-at-best audio reproduction.
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
The CX-05 have a straightforward on-ear design that feels sturdy and looks decently high-end for their price range. They have small but well-padded ear cups that feel moderately comfortable and a sturdy headband that's reinforced with a durable metal frame. They're also stable enough to jog with, and their foldable build makes them somewhat easier to carry on your person. Unfortunately, the on-ear fit may not be comfortable for everyone. They do not come with a case, and they have a limited control scheme which is a little disappointing.
The Sound Intone CX-05 have a simple design with a sturdy utilitarian appeal. They have a relatively thick headband and dense plastic ear cups with a faux leather padding that feels decently high-end especially in their price range. They're not the sleekest headphones and do not feel particularly premium but they still stand out in a crowd thanks to their silver accents, compact design and the stitched, fabric coating on the headband.
The CX-05 are moderately comfortable on-ear headphones. The on-ear cups are decently well padded but a bit small and shallow. Unfortunately, they're somewhat heavy for an on-ear design and the lack of thicker padding on the headband slightly reduces their comfort level.
The CX-05 have a pretty limited control scheme with only one small multi-purpose button on the in-line remote for calls/music options. Since there is only one button for this controls scheme, it's fairly easy to use even if you're not paying attention. Unfortunately, feedback is not the best and the lack of more control options is a little disappointing.
These headphones have a decently stable fit. They stay in place during casual listening sessions, and they're tight enough to jog with. However, they're not the best headphones for high-intensity sports or workouts as they will often sway and may slip off your ears during more strenuous exercises. On the upside, they have a detachable audio cable that will disconnect from the ear cups fairly easily if it accidentally gets hooked by something.
These headphones have a moderately portable design. They fold up for easier transport and take up less space. However, they are on the larger side for on-ear headphones, and although they would fit relatively comfortably in a backpack or handbag, they will not fit in most pockets.
The CX-05 have a good build quality. They have a solid metal frame and dense ear cups. They also have a relatively thick and braided audio cable. Although they don't use the most premium materials in the build quality their design feels durable and capable of withstanding a couple of drops with getting damaged. The hinges and the exposed cables leading to the headband are the most susceptible points to wear and tear in an otherwise sturdy design.
The Sound Intone CX-05 are a below-average sounding pair of closed-back on-ear headphones. They have an extended and deep Bass, and performed decently under our distortion test. However, their Bass tends to be inconsistent and boomy, their Mid Range is muddy and overpowering, and they lack presence and detail in the Treble Range. Additionally, our test unit's drivers were very poorly matched, resulting in a noticeably skewed Stereo Image and Soundstage.
Good Bass Range performance. The response is extended and relatively flat, but consistently over our target by more than 3dB. This makes these headphones noticeably bass-heavy and boomy.
Poor Mid Range performance. Low-mid is overemphasized by more than 6dB, making the sound of these headphones muddy and cluttered. Mid and high-mid are also quite overemphasized, shifting the overall tonal balance towards the Mid Range.
Poor Treble Range performance. The entire range is under our target and relatively inconsistent. The dip around 5KHz hurts the clarity and detail on vocals/leads, and the underemphasized high-treble makes the Treble on these headphones lifeless and close-up. On the plus side, these headphones won't sound sibilant and sharp.
Mediocre consistency performance. Our test unit showed less consistency on the Left cup than the Right cup on our human subjects. This could be due to poor ergonomics or poor manufacturing tolerance. The amount of consistency in the Treble Range is also below average for an on-ear design.
Poor Soundstage performance. Due to the on-ear design, these headphones won't interact with the pinna like loudspeakers do, and therefore, their Soundstage may be perceived to be located inside the listener's head as opposed to in-front. Also, due to their closed-back design, they isolate the listener from their environment and won't sound very spacious and open.
Poor Imaging performance. Phase error is relatively high, but won't be audible to most. However, the L/R drivers of our test unit showed more than 3dB of amplitude mistmach, 11dB of frequency response mismatch, and more than 160 degree of overall phase mismatch which results in quite a poor stereo image. It should be noted that this could either be an isolated issue related to our test unit, or a marker for poor manufacturing tolerance.
Average Harmonic distortion performance. The Left driver of our test unit shows considerably more distortion than the Right driver, especially in the Bass Range. However, the overall performance in the Mid and Treble Ranges are within acceptable limits and not heavily dependent on the level.
The CX-05 do not leak much, which makes them a good option to use in quieter settings. Unfortunately, they also do not block a lot of noise so they won't be the ideal headphones to use in loud environments. They will let the low-frequency rumbles of public transit seep into your audio and even if your playing music at relatively high volumes you will still be able to hear some of the conversations around you most of the time.
Poor Isolation performance. These headphones do not isolate below 300Hz. Between 300Hz and 2KHz they achieve about 5dB of isolation which is poor. In the Treble, they also perform poorly by averaging around 21dB of reduction.
Very good Leakage performance. The significant portion of leakage is spread between 500Hz and 5KHz which is a relatively broad range, however, the overall level of the leakage is quite low.
- 100% SpNR
No active features
No compatible app.
In the box
- Sound Intone CX-05 Headphones
- Audio cable (x2)