SonoCore is a Korean-based company that has expanded into the US since 2003. They are fairly new to the audio industry, but have some ideas with plenty of potential up their sleeves. All of their current headphones, the Bryan (COA-803) and Cindy (COA-805), not only look the same, but also are driven by the same driver. They use what they call a co-axial driver that is supposed to produce powerful bass but still have great mids and highs. The Cindys offer a pleasant design, good audio quality, decent build quality, amazing comfort, and a bang for your buck.
- Driver: Electro Dynamic Receiver
- Frequency Response: 16Hz – 20000Hz
- Impedance: 8ohms (Woofer) / 16ohms (Tweeter) @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 115 +/- 3dB @ 20Hz — 99 +/- 3 dB @ 1Hz
In the Box
- SonoCore Cindy (COA-805) headphones
- 3 sets of silicone ear tips
The box that the Cindy came in reminded me of the iPod Touch 1G box; it is really elegant and has a level of class to it
Lights, camera, action… Now what would that be doing in a headphone review? Well, the answer is quite simple, the individual earpieces vaguely take the shape of a video camera. The SonoCore Cindy headphones offer a really unique design that is pleasing to the eye.
The Cindy are composed of two pieces of plastic that cover the entire external shell of the headphones. Although plastic normally makes things feel cheap, this feels really thick and has a nice heft to it. These SonoCores are available to listeners in two colors, white/black and black/silver. They look really nice and have a unique design to them. Displayed prominently on each side is the CO-Axial label to tell you what kind of technology it uses. On the opposite side, it has the L and the R embossed to tell you which are the left and right earpieces respectively. On the ends opposite to the nozzles, the L and R are shown again in a silver color.
The cable itself is really well designed. It sports an adjustable Y-split for anyone who likes to use one of them and the cable really doesn’t tangle at all. The headphone jack is straight.
The design SonoCore decided to use is really unique and pleasing to the eye. Even the little things like powerful magnets come in handy, even if it wasn’t the intent. I liked the design of the Cindy and really couldn’t find anything wrong with it.
Upon putting them on after I unboxed them, I noticed many things about the sound. These things moved the air; I could feel the bass throbbing through my head with these headphones. The mids were smooth, but lacking a large amount of clarity. The highs were light and crispy, nothing special though. Even after burning them for even 10 hours, the difference was night and day. I ended up burning them in for at least 50 hours as I normally do for headphones.
Hm, how would I describe the bass? Well… Think subwoofers… In your ears! That would describe the bass very well. OK, maybe calling them subs are a little exaggerated, but they are still throbbing, deep, powerful, and impactful. There’s no doubt about it, the bass is forward. The infrasonic sound can be felt with these cans; they shake and rumble really roughly. Get the point? These would be able to satisfy a bass-head, at least I think it would. Somehow, in some mysterious way, SonoCore found a way to make it so this bass controlled. Amazingly, they don’t bleed into the mids, it’s astonishing to think about and hear. However, I’m not one to like overdone bass. Is it accurate? No. Can it be overwhelming at times? Yes. Even with all its powerful glory, the bass quality is still there.
The mids were really nice and smooth. The vocals had some really nice flow to them and sounded natural. You can hear each instrument individually as the separation was superb. Nothing in the mids are overly done, but they are underdone, sounding a little recessed to the bass. There were details here and there, but definitely could have used more. They can use a little more clarity though. This however is slightly due to the recessed nature of them. The mids were good, but overshadowed by the bass in a way.
The treble was recessed compared to the mids. The highs did tend to sound a tiny bit harsh every once in a while. It did, however, have some sparkle to it. The highs do need more extension in them as well. I found the treble to be crispy. They also did seem to lose focus every once in a while. I found the highs to clash into each other as well, blending into each other. Overall, SonoCore did try to make the treble more prevalent, but they could use much more work.
The SonoCore Cindy offer a design that fits nicely in the ear. They insert pretty deeply, but not too deeply. Their large size and deeper insertion allows them to isolation noise out a little better than average. You shouldn’t be able to hear most conversation around you, but it won’t completely drown out a bus.
Noise Isolation: ★★★★
These cables are really microphonic when worn down; there is no getting out of it. These headphones’ microphonics is unbearable when worn down. When worn up, they magically disappear. I suggest you wear these headphones over the ear instead of under as there is just about no microphonics when worn like this.
For those that like to brag about your headphones bass, listen to these cans. These are a fun pair of headphones, but they probably won’t cut it for an audiophile with their unbalanced signature that digs deep into the low end. The bass is the main story here: throbbing, deep, powerful, impactful.
Audio Quality: ★★★★
The Cindys will not be known for their subpar build quality. It has many problems associated with them and can use improvement all around.
Each earpiece is composed of plastic that is both durable and light. This plastic seems to be able to withstand damage and still look nice after it. The nozzles on the Cindy are also protected by a mesh piece that lets nothing by. I don’t know what it’s made of, but it seems to be enough protection for the driver. Each of the earpieces has a tiny strain relief that scare me out of my mind. They are tiny and look to offer little to no protection.
The cable feels very brittle. Both are very bad for build quality. To make matters even worse, the cable does have a mind of it’s own when it comes to winding up. It does have some thickness to it, but it just doesn’t seem good enough. The cable durability is really questionable as it doesn’t look like it can take the everyday torment that many headphones go through.
The cable ends at the headphone jack. The stiff jack has a small strain relief on it which helps out a little. However, it’s straight, and straight headphone jacks are much easier to break than angled ones. At least it’s gold plated, that’ll help a little.
Although the individual drivers are really well protected, there is little to no protection for the cable or headphone jack. This scares me as this is more likely to fail on any pair of headphones than the drivers themselves. SonoCore really needs to take another look at the way they protect their precious Cindy.
Build Quality: ★★★
The SonoCore Cindys are really comfortable to wear. Inserting them into the ear is really smooth and there is almost no discomfort whatsoever. They disappear after they are inserted into the ear. Their design also allows them to be worn over the ear, or worn down flawlessly. They may stick out a little further than most people are used to, but the comfort quality is still top notch on these headphones.
The SonoCore Cindy headphones can be worn up or down
Comfort Quality: ★★★★★
The Cindys go for about 90 dollars (without the box) and 100 dollars with a box. The box itself is nice, but definitely not worth the 10 dollars. The headphones do offer lots for 90 dollars, but also have reasons why they aren’t up to par with their price.
The headphones really lack build quality, and for 90 dollars, I was expecting much better build. The build quality is probably the main contribution to why they aren’t worth the money.
The sound signature also plays a roll into why someone would want to buy it though. I can see a bass-head really satisfied with the bass the Cindys offer. The deep powerful bass that is impactful, but controlled is really difficult to do, and gives them a unique flavor that is worth a try. Also the smooth mids really do a number for these things. That, and their comfort, is all they have going for them though.
At the end of the day, build quality matters. Overlooking that though, the comfort, design, and sound quality are all good, if not great. If they beef up the build quality, I can definitely see this being well worth the price.
Value for they Money: ★★★½
SonoCore has really pushed the envelope with their bass on the SonoCore Cindy headphones. They have mind-boggling bass that is mysteriously controlled so it doesn’t bleed into the rest of the audio spectrum. SonoCore really pushed the bass to its max, and they did that perfectly fine. However, these are definitely not an audiophile’s ‘phones, nor will they ever be. They lack build quality, but are fun and exciting.
- Design: ★★★★★
- Audio Quality: ★★★★
- Bass: ★★★★½
- Mids: ★★★★
- Highs: ★★★½
- Noise Isolation: ★★★★
- Microphonics: ★★★★
- Build Quality: ★★★
- Comfort Quality: ★★★★★
- Value: ★★★½
† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Overall scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory was received as a sample from SonoCore, thanks Mario!