This new audio company is making some of the best headphones I've tried for under $100

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I’ve tried using studio monitors as day-to-day headphones a couple of times but it didn’t work. Until now.

The problem has always been that this style of headphone, by its very design, is big and bulky.

They’re meant to be used sitting down in front of a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) instead of being plugged into a phone.

Even Status Audio’s other studio monitors, which I like quite a bit, suffer from this. But these headphones are different, they’re still not as portable-device friendly as Bluetooth headphones or earbuds, but they’re closer.

The big reason is that unlike other studio monitors, these headphones don’t have a long, bulky cable. It’s still longer and bulkier than a standard headphone cable, but most of it is contained in a tight coil. This makes these headphones way easier to use when walking around.

With its biggest detractor gone, these end up being a really nice pair of over-ear headphones. They’re closed, unlike the other Status Audio monitors I tried, which means they won’t leak sound. That’s ideal if you like to listen to music loudly in enclosed spaces, like an office or a bus or a subway. These headphones did a good job of blocking out the noise of my commute, but that’s because of how loud I listened to my music, not because of noise cancelling.

Something I wish carried over from the Status Audio’s other headphones are the foam earpads. The leather pads on these headphones are incredibly comfortable and fit over my ear perfectly, but I liked the foam. It was a little firmer, but more importantly, it wasn’t as prone to sweatiness as leather is. It’s a minor complaint, and not something I’d have ever thought about had I not tried those other headphones recently.

Because they’re meant to be used when creating music, studio monitors tend to be pretty good-sounding and fairly neutral headphones. That’s true here, although I noticed a little bit of treble bias on a few tracks. While listening to music, I always felt like I was getting an accurate representation of the song. Instruments sounded correct and not overblown, and I could pick out certain different elements of a song if I focused on them.

Sony still owns the crown in the studio monitor category in terms of absolute sound quality with the MDR-7506 (they have been on the market for 21 years for a reason). But Status Audio’s CB-1’s best them in both comfort and portability, especially portability.

If you really care about sound quality and don’t mind carrying around slightly bulky headphones, the CB-1’s are the best headphones I’ve tried at this price in this category.

There are better options if you spend more, and better values if you’re looking to spend less, but these headphones are in a sweet spot between quality and price.

Buy Status Audio’s CB-1 Closed Back Studio Monitor Headphones for $A99.80 on Amazon or Status Audio’s site.

This article was originally published on 10/12/2016.

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