We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Headphones Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Cygnett Sonic review

£39.95 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Cygnett

Our Rating: We rate this 2.5 out of 5

The Cygnett Sonic headset offers comfort, style and sound isolation, but little in the way of audio quality.

Sound-isolation headphones, the Cygnett Sonic headset retails for £39.95, putting it squarely in the bracket of not cheap but affordable. And that's probably just as well, because while the sound-isolating part of the Sonic's job spec is handled with aplomb, the audio fidelity is straight from the bargain bucket.

Let's start with the good stuff: the Cygnett Sonics have a certain style. Part young-person's-music-DJ, part Del-Boy-listening-to-The-Who waving a conductor's baton, the black faux leather and plastic finish is nicely complemented by a discreet orange trim. At 165g it is light enough for weight to be a non-issue, but the Cygnett Sonic headset feels well constructed. The over ear pads are comfy and there's enough give in the adjustable head strap to make the cans sit snugly on even this massive-noggined reviewer's luggs - albeit our ears only just fitted into the leather ring, so any big-eared BFGs may wish to look elsewhere. See also: Headphones: Xmas gift guide.

The cable is - at almost 1.3m - plenty long enough (not always a given at this price point). It's also covered in synthetic material, making it feel more like a shoelace than the usual rubber cord. This feels infinitely more robust, and gives us hope that the Cygnett Sonic headphones should last longer than many comparable headsets: it's almost always the cord that goes first, after all.

Sold on the basis of its sound-isolating qualities, we're happy to report that in this at least the Cygnett Sonic is successful. Even with music booming out none of my near neighbours could hear anything, and none of the daily hubbub of the PC Advisor office seeped in. Blissful relief.

Which brings us to the audio quality... hmm. Not so good. Frankly, and regardless of the quality of recording or music playing device, the sound produced by the Cygnett Sonic headphones is, well, cheap. It's all mid-tones with very little depth of bass, and no 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 excrutiating 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 is something akin to a single speaker on an old, and cheap, single speaker analogue TV. When asked to price the Cygnett 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. See all: Audio/music hardware reviews.

Test Centre: Group test: what are the best headphones?

Cygnett Sonic Expert Verdict »

165g
1.3m lead
3.5mm jack
pouch included
Dynamic sound quality
Sound-isolation technology
Compatible with iPod, iPhone, iPad, MP3 players & smartphones
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 5 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 4 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 5 of 10 overall

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.

  • Cygnett Micro review

    Cygnett Micro

    The Cygnett Micro is a re-chargeable portable speaker from Cygnett that can be used with iPods, MP3 players and mobile phones.

  • Sennheiser MM50 iP review

    Sennheiser MM50 iP

    The Sennheiser MM50 iP, Sennheiser's new iPhone headset, delivers excellent quality audio and hosts a push-to-talk microphone that, though bigger than some, is sensibly made so you can intuitively switch to take or make a call.

  • Audio-Technica ATH-WS99 review: headphones with good sound quality

    Audio-Technica ATH-WS99: headphones with good sound quality

    The Audio-Technica ATH-WS99 deliver pretty good sound quality but are a bit on the pricey side. Take a look at our Audio-Technica ATH-WS99 review to find out more.

  • MEE M9 Hi-Fi Sound Isolating Headphones review

    MEE M9 Hi-Fi Sound Isolating Headphones

    The MEE M9 Hi-Fi Sound Isolating Headphones are an entry-level pair of in-ear headphones that promise to offer a pleasing sound quality at an affordable price.

  • Bose Mobile In-Ear Headphones review

    Bose Mobile In-Ear Headphones

    Bose has a reputation for producing high quality headphones and it has now branched into the mobile space. The Bose Mobile In-Ear Headset is suitable for a range of mobile phones including the Apple iPhone. It produces outstanding bass and excellent sound quality, but doesn't have a strong seal and lets in more external noise than we liked.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

LED vs Halogen: Why now could be the right time to invest in LED bulbs

IDG UK Sites

Christmas' best ads: See great festive spots studios have created to promote themselves and clients

IDG UK Sites

Stop running out of cellular data on your iPhone, see which apps use the most data