Do you have $100 to spend on a new pair of headphones? Do you want a lot of creature comforts and superb sound?
Status Audio CB-1 Headphone Performance
While the Grado SR-80e is the clear winner for sound under $100, those headphones are open back and so can’t be used as a direct comparison. Instead, two headphones, the Noontec Zoro HD and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, come to mind for under $100. On the sound front, the Status Audio outperforms both of them.
For all intents and purposes, the Status Audio CB-1 is a rather neutral-sounding headphone. For under $100, they manage to extract a surprising lot of detail, and the low end can actually go fairly deep when the music demands it.
The treble is gleaming, exposing a great deal of detail and intensity in the song. The top performs admirably with jazz and classical music, which is surprising given how poorly so many cheap headphones perform in this respect.
The mids are clean and responsive, akin to what you’d expect from Audio Technica’s more expensive ATH-M50x headphones. We had no trouble placing instruments in live recordings because the imagery was excellent. Perhaps just a smidgeon of warmth and a small reversal from the lows, but stunning nonetheless.
The low end was quick, tight, and precise. The bass did extend quite far down, but the CB-1 is hardly a basshead’s headset.
The soundstage was average, with more depth than wide, but nothing particularly noteworthy. The OB-1 should be seriously considered by those who seek a larger soundstage.
Isolation was average at best, which was unexpected given the size and weight of these headphones. The poor plastic is most likely to blame, and we discovered that the CB-1 allowed in quite a bit of outside noise. As a result, we don’t advocate commuting, although they should be OK in less populated areas.
Status Audio CB-1 Headphone Design
The Status Audio CB-1’s build quality is a bit of a mixed bag. When you consider the price, it’s impressive, and it has a few functions that you’d expect to find on more costly headphones. On the other hand, there are several locations where better material selection would have been beneficial.
Let’s begin with the overall atmosphere. While nothing on the CB-1 appears to be flimsy, there are still a lot of cheap plastics in the construction. The earcups, and to a lesser extent, the headband slider, are exceedingly flimsy. For added piece of mind, we would have preferred to see a metal headband slider, as we did with the Status Audio OB-1. In reality, the materials used had no effect on usability, and we were still able to adjust and maintain positions as expected, but they do seem cheap in several locations.
The excellent stuff is when the CB-1 begins to shine above its similarly priced competitors. The headband itself is ridiculously adjustable. We could twist and bend it to our hearts’ content, and it always returned to its original shape. The CB-1 is also very well padded, making it very pleasant to wear on the head for long listening sessions.
When it comes to convenience, Do you notice the gigantic pads? Swapping out the pads is one of the first things I do with cheap headphones. The CB-1s are wrapped with substantial memory foam and soft, breathable protein leather, unlike most, which have thin, unpleasant plastic cushions. They’re a great addition that will be appreciated by all-day listeners.
The CB-1 has a single detachable entry cable, of which two are included in the box. Both cables are of exceptional quality. One 5ft straight wire and one coiled cable are included for portability. The jacking points are outstanding, both strong and sturdy, with excellent strain relief spring mechanisms that should extend the life of the headphones.
Due of their sheer weight and size, both of these cables are better suited for household use. Getting this fantastic V-Moda Speakeasy cable was a simple way to make the headphones more portable. We discovered that it significantly reduces weight and, thanks to the inbuilt microphone, converts the headphones into a headset. The CB-1 may now receive and make calls.
The package is simple but attractive. It does a good job of protecting the headphones inside. There are no extras other than the headphones and two wires with a 1/4 inch Jack adaptor on the inside.
One final point to notice about the design is that Status Audio has chosen not to brand the headphones in any way. This does make them look a little generic in our opinion, but it saves money in the end, so we’re okay with the trade-off. The company’s concept is to provide non-branded headphones without the use of sponsors or aggressive marketing in order to pass savings directly to the customer.
Status Audio CB-1 Headphone Value
There are few flawless headphones under $100, and while the Status Audio CB-1 has some drawbacks, they have to be rated among the best on the market.
Although we would want to see better material choices in the future, there is no better-closed headphone at this price point in terms of sound and comfort, as well as some nicer higher-end features like cables and pads.
Status’s ability to obtain genuinely superb OEM gear continues to astound us, and it simply goes to show how many headphones you can purchase without breaking the bank.
It’s a good pick if you’re searching for a pair of closed-back headphones for under $100 right now.
The Status Audio CB-1 is a closed-back, circumaural headphone that looks like a mix of the Audio Technica ATH M40x, M50/50x, and Sony MDR V6/7506.
The fold and mechanism that retains the ear cup appear to be identical to those of the 40x and Sony models. Also, interestingly enough, the headphones have no branding at all, which I thought was interesting.