Cygnett Sonic review

The Cygnett Sonic sound-isolation headphones retail for £39.95, which is quite affordable. And that’s probably just as well, because while the sound-isolating job is handled with aplomb, the audio fidelity is straight out of the bargain bucket.

The Sonics have a certain style. Part club DJ, part Del Boy listening to The Who waving a conductor’s baton, the black faux leather and plastic trim is nicely complemented by a discreet orange trim. At 165g, weight is not an issue, and they also feel well constructed. The over-ear pads are comfy and there’s enough give in the adjustable head strap to make the cans sit snugly.

At almost 1.3m, the cable is certainly long enough. It’s also covered in synthetic material, making it feel more like a shoelace than a rubber cord. This feels infinitely more robust, and gives us hope that the Cygnett Sonic will last longer than many comparable headsets: it’s almost always the cord that goes first.

Sold on the basis of their sound-isolating qualities, we’re happy to report that in this the Cygnett Sonic cans are successful. Even on high volume, our neighbours couldn’t hear anything.

Which brings us to the audio quality. Frankly, regardless of the quality of recording or music playing device, the sound produced by the Cygnett Sonic headphones is cheap. It’s all mid-tones with little depth of bass or accurate high end.

And over everything lies a faintly discernible hiss – mildly irritating when The Black Keys are pumping out Detroit blues rock, it’s excruciating during Fleetwood Mac’s more contemplative moments. Male vocals sound nasal, what bass there is sounds muddy and ill-defined. It all combines to give an audio experience that’s something akin to a single speaker on an old, and cheap, single speaker analogue TV.

When asked to price the Sonic on performance alone, our resident audiophile guessed at £25, which seems about right. This is a shame, because everything else about this headset is bang on. If audio quality is less important than build, style, comfort and noise-isolation, these cans are perfect for you.

OUR VERDICT

Something of a curate’s egg. We like the build, style and comfort of the Cygnett Sonic headset, but at this price, the audio performance is just not good enough.

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