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Reviewed on Jul 13, 2017

Sound Intone CX-05
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
5.7
Mixed Usage
6.0
Critical Listening
5.4
Commute/Travel
6.0
Sports/Fitness
5.6
Office
5.4
TV
6.0
Gaming
Type : On-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

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.

Test Results
Design 6.4
Sound 5.8
Isolation 5.9
Microphone 6.6
Active Features 0
Connectivity 5.5
Pros
  • Above-average build quality.
  • Minimal leakage.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Mediocre-at-best audio reproduction.
  • Bass delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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6.4

Design

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.

Style

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.

6.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.8 lbs

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.

5.2 Controls
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Subpar
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

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.

7.0 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 4 C
6.1 Portability
L : 5 "
W : 6.3 "
H : 3 "
Volume : 95 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

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.

0 Case
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A
7.0 Build Quality

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.

7.0 Stability

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.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

Comes with two audio cables. A 1/8" TRRS audio cable with an inline remote and a 1/8" TRS plain audio cable.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
5.8

Sound

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.

7.9 Bass
Std. Err.
:
3.09 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
2.38 dB
Mid-Bass
:
3.33 dB
High-Bass
:
3.94 dB

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. Also, their bass delivery varies noticeably across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

5.9 Mid
Std. Err.
:
5.52 dB
Low-Mid
:
6.76 dB
Mid-Mid
:
5.52 dB
High-Mid
:
2.6 dB

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.

4.2 Treble
Std. Err.
:
6.68 dB
Low-Treble
:
-4.56 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-5.65 dB
High-Treble
:
-14.41 dB

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.

6.4 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.8 dB

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.

3.8 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.21
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
3.35
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
11.23
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
31.19
5.2 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
2.76 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
1.75 dB
PRTF Distance
:
10.24 dB
Openness
:
5.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
1.9
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB
7.1 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
1.598
Weighted THD @ 100
:
5.419

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.

5.9

Isolation

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.

4.6 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-8.45 dB
Bass
:
1.06 dB
Mid
:
-5.17 dB
Treble
:
-21.67 dB
Self-Noise
:
0 dB

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.

8.4 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
31.74 dB

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.

6.6

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
6.7 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
486.43 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
2.77 dB
HFE
:
10093.19 Hz
Weighted THD
:
0.498
Gain
:
24.17 dB
6.5 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
17.05 dB
0

Active Features

No active features

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

5.5

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
9.1 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
0 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
10 Latency
Default Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

In the box

  • Sound Intone CX-05 Headphones
  • Audio cable (x2)
  • Manuals.

Conclusion
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

5.7 Mixed Usage
The CX-05 are below-average mixed usage headphones. They have a sturdy and durable build quality and a somewhat portable design. Unfortunately, they do not block enough noise for commuting and they have a sub-par sound quality that's barely passable for casual listeners.
6.0 Critical Listening
Below-average for Critical Listening. They have an overly Mid Range heavy sound that makes most tracks sound a bit honky. They also push instruments to the front of the mix but due to their lackluster treble performance, the instruments and vocals lack detail and clarity. Unfortunately, they also have a poor Soundstage because of their small closed back ear cups.
5.4 Commute/Travel
Poor isolation performance for noisy commutes. They're fairly portable and somewhat comfortable but won't block much ambient noise.
6.0 Sports/Fitness
Mediocre for sports use. They're moderately comfortable and stable enough for a light jog. However, they get a bit hot for an on-ear design because of the faux leather pads and they do not have the most efficient control scheme.
5.6 Office
Mediocre for office use. They don't block a lot of noise but they barely leak even at high volumes so you won't distract your colleagues in quieter settings.
5.4 TV
Decent for home theater. They have a wired connection so they have no latency when watching videos. Unfortunately, they do not have the best sound, comfort and you might need an aux extension if you want to use the headphones with your TV since they have a relatively short audio cable.

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