Although not featuring the ultramodern sound circuitry that you often find in top-of-the end models, the CB-1 headphones still exceed sonic expectations. They come with great stereo imaging, and they’re the kind of headphones that you can wear to listen to any kind of music on any media platform.
On the music pieces requiring an emphasis on the low notes, the 50mm drivers are capable of recreating the impactful bass. This will get your head banging on the rhythm in no time. When listening to songs with such ample bass you might expect the vocals to get lost in the background, but that doesn’t happen with these headphones. The highs are articulate and crisp.
Even in songs where the sound is distorted, you can still hear everything fine, and you are able to hear the lyrics as you should. When it comes to emulating stringed instruments like electric guitars or drum patterns, the sound is still decent and pleasing. Taking advantage of spacious stereo imaging, the headphones will give you the feeling of listening to a live performance.
The CB-1 model is capable of reproducing room acoustics with accuracy and can make you feel you’re in a theater listening to a live concert.Buy from Amazon.com for ($69)
While the bass and treble of these headphones are great, the midrange suffers a bit. The model is forced to trade a wide soundstage for a lackluster midrange. If you’re listening to a piece of musing for many times you start to hear that midrange resonance coupled with bloat appear and cause some not-so-pleasing sounds when certain frequencies combinations appear in the music.
This makes for the vocals to hardly separate from other midrange elements. Furthermore, the overall result is a muddy sound, where you’re sometimes not capable to hear every instrument that plays in the midrange.
Main features explained
The brand has recently started using bigger and softer ear pads for their newest line of headphones, and they’re proud of that. There are some new pads showcased on their website and those are ergonomic, and they’re built at an angle, with the front side being curved down a bit and the back side constructed to follow the curve of the ear.
However, you won’t be finding the same pads on the CB-1, as the older ones don’t have them. The older pads are wider and more circular, but they come with their advantages. The bigger pads feel softer, and they offer enough comfort and room for your ears. Because they come with a circular outer shape and they don’t have an ergonomic design, they will be harder to place on your head.
With some work, however, you can find a comfortable spot for them on your head. When looking at the headband, the design can’t be considered a minimal one. The whole band pad runs all-across the full length of the headband, and that should be comfortable, although making the headphones bulkier.
On the bright side, the angle of the headband has been thought to make it be in contact with a larger surface on top of your head, so the headphones sit there well. The best fit for most people is when wearing the headphones fully extended, so if you have a larger head they might not be large enough for you.
If you are wearing glasses you will, fortunately, be safe with these headphones – they don’t press on them and don’t create additional unwanted pressure on your head. Even if you are going to wear them for many hours, they won’t leave any hotspots on your skin. From a comfort point of view, the headphones do really well.
When it comes to the overall sound of these headphones, they’re a model that can deliver very neutral sounds, which is always a good thing for monitor headphones, as you would expect them to allow you to listen to truthful notes at all times. Despite this, however, the area whey they excel is the sound scale and how wide their frequencies can get.
Thanks to the wide soundstage and the great stereo imaging, the CB-1 headphones can even feel like they are open-back headphones taking into account their airiness. You can’t expect top-notch performance from them at all times, but for their class, they deliver an impressively neutral tone.
These are the kind of headphones that would do great in home studios, for people that are just starting to record. Their disadvantage is that the mids are recessed in some parts, and they lack in texture, more than the highs and the lows. Certain parts of some songs can get “washed out” because of this. This is the kind of thing that will become apparent to you only after you have used them for a while.
Compared to professional headphones, these ones don’t offer proper sound separation, but they still work decently in silent rooms. The problems appear when you listen to male singers trying to sing louder than acoustic instruments. They will often sound muted by the instruments.
Thinking of these headphones as good for beginners and those enthusiasts that are just starting will serve you well. Don’t raise your expectations too high, and don’t rely on them to give you everything you need. They do really well in certain aspects when it comes to sound, but they can do better in some others.
Don’t forget that they still offer good neutral bass, which is a great thing for monitor headphones.
When first looking at these headphones you see that there is no branding on them, which is a nice touch if you’re not the kind of person interested in bragging. Looking like usual studio headphones, they have a headband and ear cup that remind one of some classic models. You will feel the headband covered in soft leatherette, while the ear pads also feature the same texture.
Sadly, the padding inside is not memory foam, but it doesn’t get deformed with time and it feels nice on the ears. Looking at the backs of the ear cups, you can see they come with a fake gold metal finish that has been sprayed over plastic. From afar that looks great, and although it’s not an ideal sight from close range, it’s not bad.
Most of the outer components that make this pair of headphones are made of plastic, and you won’t find any metal on the carcass. That’s a pity because not even the sliding mechanisms found on the headband are made of plastic. This could lead to them being more fragile, especially if you need to constantly adjust the headphones.
The bright side of all-plastic headphones is the fact that they are so much lighter. Another advantage that describes this model is the fact that it is formed of modules and they can each be replaced with ease and at a reduced cost. If something breaks you don’t have to get a new pair of headphones – you just replace some parts.
Most of the other headphones in this category use metal as a form of reinforcing their structure, and metal makes them feel not so cheap. However, because the CB-1 has to cut corners somewhere, the manufacturers didn’t put that much emphasis on the design, but rather on the sound.
These headphones need to offer the sonic isolation needed for monitoring purposes, and they do a pretty good job of that, once you get them tightly around your ears. This is one of the points that need to be emphasized – they do take a while to adjust, but it’s worth it.
Headphones by themselves can be lackluster, especially if you don’t get the right connectivity with them. These ones come with two cables in the box, and that’s not that much, but it’s enough to serve multiple purposes. The first one of these cables is a 4 feet coiled one, while the other measures 10 feet and it’s straight.
Both of these cables have a 3.5mm tip plug, and they each have a plastic plug cover at the end to prevent damaging them when you’re transporting them. This is a nice touch that shows the brand pays attention to small details. The ends of the plugs are solid metal and have a spring-based strain relief. They feel good and solid to plug in the headphones.
When you insert them into the left cup they have a lock mechanism that is strong. Once you put them in they are actually difficult to pull out. That’s a good sign, as you don’t want them to disconnect randomly. Even if you’re using different cables, the hole should still work well and hold on tight to the cable.
Apart from the cables you also get a 6.3 mm adapter, and what’s neat is that they all come in a nicely-designed box. It features a good-looking foil printing appearing on a canvas material, and it opens nicely. The headphones are placed on a tray inside the box, and the whole thing gives the feeling that the product has been treated with care and it didn’t suffer any damage during transport.Buy from Amazon.com for ($69)