Status Audio continues to move up the ranks quite quickly as their studio headphones make a name for themselves, and were given a pair of their popular CB-1 closed-back headphones for a fair and honest review here today. The ‘headphones’ category is probably one of the most saturated of the entire consumer electronics market in this day and age, even more so as brands continue to throw around that ‘studio headphones’ term we’ve all become familiar with. Keeping that mind, with how many pairs of headphones we’ve tried on our heads in this year alone, we have a decent gauge for what’s even worth looking at — and the CB-1 is definitely a pair to add to our favorites, especially with the quality it brings at such a low price-tag.
Features of the Status Audio CB-1
- Over-ear, closed-back headphones design
- Suitable uses: Recording, producing, leisure listening
- Overstuffed, swiveling ear cups
- Adjustable and foldable headband
- Detachable cables (2 types in the box)
- Driver: 50mm
- Frequency response: 15 Hz – 30 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Weight: 13.2 ounces
The Status Audio CB-1’s build
First and foremost, our biggest love of this build are the extra thick ear pads. They aren’t necessarily leather here, but are a very soft plush cushion (about an entire inch thick) that feel like pillows on our ears. It of course comes down to personal preference, but to our subjective listening preferences, the bigger the ear cups, the better (especially in the studio). Especially with closed-back, over-ear headphones, you never want to sacrifice at least even a slight amount of sound leakage (yes, we’ve had some ‘over-ear’ headphones that still weren’t quite “over our ears” for lack of a better term).
We used the CB-1 for numerous hours for multiple days while writing this up and felt no pain with these whatsoever. The over-ear size fit just snug enough to cover our entire ears well, and they felt very snug on our heads as a whole. The adjustable headband was a big plus for this custom fit, and the padding itself around the headband is the same material as the ear cups with smaller, mesh-like holes to allow for some air flow. Although not necessarily as thick up top, it still gets the job done in the comfort and feel department.
The overall casing of these studio headphones is of a higher quality plastic, and although no signs of any metal such as steel or aluminum (you’ll at times get some aluminium with higher-end headphones, in particular the headband for some flexibility and stability since that part is usually the first to go), feel this will be great in the longevity department if you take proper care of them. The reason many higher-end headphones (and we’re talking $200+ range, almost triple the price of this), in particular the adjustable headband pieces, is to allow for flexibility in case you sit on them or bend them awkwardly (you’d be surprised what recording artists do to headphones in that booth), so with the Status Audio CB-1 we would just be careful when it comes to bending the headband and adjustable sliders. We’ve never seen signs of metal in a price-point like this, and feel the CB-1’s plastic casing is sturdy and stable overall with nothing lacking in the build department considering the price.
We’re always a fan of detachable cables in all types of headphones, and we’re happy Status Audio included this feature here. They also provide us with two cables in the box — one coiled and one straight (3 meters), while both lock into place with a twist-lock mechanism to ensure they don’t fall out in the middle of an important recording session. We recommend coiled cables for producing or recording, while the straight cable is long enough to even go from your bed to TV if you happen to be watching a show or movie and need some privacy. To add on to versatility, these headphones will also be great for DJ’s or on-the-go musicians since they not only fold but have some of the most versatile ear cups we’ve seen — they swivel 90 degrees but can also move around freely even when folded.
Sound quality of the Status Audio CB-1
The CB-1 definitely have a warm sound to them. At this price-point many become skeptical of the ‘sound quality’ since you can only get so technical and advanced with drivers, and although there aren’t any fancy ‘terms’ or ‘phrases’ about built-in sound processing or technology in general, feel these more than pass the ears test. The lows and highs were definitely prevalent in the mix, but we did feel a presence of the mids as well. The panning and overall frequency distribution wasn’t saturated in our experience, especially in the lower-end. We’re ones to watch out for boosted lower-ends (yes, even in studio headphones unfortunately), as some brands for whatever reason think this makes audio ‘sound better’ (it may, to an average consumer or somebody who isn’t concerned with making music with their headphones, but then again, why go the ‘studio’ route?).
Testing different genres ranging from smooth jazz to some heavy bass EDM, we didn’t feel or hear any sacrifice in the mixes. Ear fatigue also wasn’t prevalent, although towards the end we did start to feel it (this after about 6 hours with just a break to eat), but we’ve felt ear fatigue with just about ever single pair of closed-back headphones we’ve ever reviewed, eventually. The technical specs here also back up our confidence in the sound. The frequency response passes the test and brings us a range that’s better than average (we won’t look at pairs that aren’t at least 20 to 20 kHz), and although bigger isn’t necessarily better, the 50 mm driver is a plus at this price as well. Overall, a very neutral sound here, and that’s backed up by not only some of the tech specs, but our own listening experience as well.
Lastly, the over-ear headphones design was great for sound isolation here, perfect for both recording environments as well as private listening. While playing music, we didn’t hear ourselves typing, and also opened up our office window for the busy street test and could barely hear anything but the music. This will be exceptional for recording as no sound will leak out into the mic and ruin the mix, especially with those huge ear cups. You can also definitely wear these in public spaces without disrupting those around you, such as on the train, a plane, in the library, etc. No, mixing and mastering won’t be effective here since we recommend open-back headphones for that. They do have an open-back pair available if you’d like to check them out — the Status Audio OB-1.
Concluding the Status Audio CB-1 review
A huge highlight we’d like to point out before we conclude is Status Audio’s humble approach to headphones. Some may consider these ‘plain’ since there aren’t any ‘brand’ logos, artist designs or even celebrity sponsorships, but do you really want a pair of headphones that are priced to justify their marketing costs and “status” in society? We see the symbolism in that brand name, Status Audio — this isn’t about how we look in regards to societal status, but how it sound and feels (well, we actually prefer the slick and minimalist design of these as opposed to a over-branded pair of cans, but everybody is different). At the same time, we need to be careful buying some of those random brand names on Amazon that most of the time seem like “knock-offs” (and yes, some definitely are). The CB-1’s aren’t anywhere near knock off as compared to many no-namers that flood the electronics market.
We have a simple, slick black design with silver outlines of the ear cups and nothing more. Even better, we think Status Audio is on to something when it comes to selling directly to consumers. Instead of a middle-man with an online retail store involved to up the price even more, they sell directly to the consumer (both on their site as well as Amazon), which we think is where online retail is headed in general, especially as online shopping continues to evolve. This strategy helps them save cost (no need to wholesale and double the price by retailers) to benefit the most important individual of the buying process as a whole, us listeners and musicians.
Overall, these are solid studio headphones. We actually just included them in our headphones under $100 guide after this review, but if you’d like, you can compare and contrast these with competitors over there, albeit not all are ‘studio’ worthy. Again, although not necessarily a “big name brand” like Bose, Sennheiser or Audio-Technica, we’re realizing more and more that brands are just a name, and may even entail for some to steer away since headphones are like cars — you’re getting what you pay for at times, but otherwise some just want the name and pay extra for this. If you want the name, that’s fine, we don’t want to tell you what should be important to you. But in our experience, we don’t care who made them or wears the headphones in commercials — we need accurate sound quality and a comfortable fit in the studio at an affordable price. The Status Audio CB-1 do just that.