Tuesday October 15, 2013 11:30 pm
SOL Republic Master Tracks review
The fashion headphone market has grown exponentially over the past five years, and SOL Republic has carved its niche into the game with headphones that are incredibly customizable and focused on great sound for your dollar. The company started with the Tracks on-ears and Amps in-ears, and over time, has added new models that offer better an increase in sound fidelity and features.
The SOL Republic Master Tracks are the first over-ear headphones from the company, matched up with the new "X3 Sound Engine" ear cups, all of which are backwards-compatible with the other SOL Republic headbands. Are the good enough to warrant your attention? Read on for our full SOL Republic Master Tracks review for the answer.
When removing the SOL Republic Master Tracks from the box, you find the FlexTech Sound Track headband in the color you chose (gunmetal, white, or blue,) along with ear cups of a matching accent color. It's a premium look, and all components feel solid. Case in point: the headband. It's got stitched leather with the SOL REPUBLIC logo engraved into the top. It looks great.
The ear cups are pillowy ovals that fit over the ear to provide a seal from the noise of the outside world. The audio cable is a separate piece that's 4 feet long, forked at the end to connect to each ear cup individually.
In the box:
- X3 Sound Engines with SonicSoft speaker pads
- Audio cable with built-in three-button remote control
- Sound Track headband
- Slim-fit carrying case
USING THE SOL REPUBLIC MASTER TRACKS
Just like the Tracks HD, all of the elements of the Master Tracks are separate pieces and can quickly be customized, swapped out, or replaced. Putting the headphones together takes about a minute--super easy--and then you're ready to start bumping your music.
For the price, the Master Tracks have a nice, powerful sound profile, particularly in the low end and midrange. You also get a nice sense of everything being spread out, as they create a nice stereo image of the music, most noticeable to me when listening to music with lots of instruments and effects, like Daft Punk.
Bass response is big with the Master Tracks, which I personally enjoy in some of my favorite hip-hop tracks, but in other genres, can be a bit heavy-handed. In those instances, I go with bass reduction EQ, and things balance themselves back out again. Not a big complaint, but something to think about if you prefer listening to classical music, new age, or other similar styles.
Gallery: SOL Republic Master Tracks
The Master Tracks are one of the most comfortable pairs of headphones I have ever tested. To start, the entire headphone is very light for a full around the ear design. The padding on the headband and speakers is a soft, plush memory foam style cushion covered in very soft charcoal grey leatherette. There is also a bit of articulation with the speakers so that you can achieve a comfortable fit, unlike the Tracks HD which are very rigid and press heavily against the ear.
Due to its light weight and incredibly comfortable padding, the Master Tracks are one of the few pairs of headphones I've encountered that you can actually forget you're wearing. The only other full-size around the ear headphones I've encountered a similar feeling with are the Bose AE2, an equally light and comfortable set of headphones. SOL Republic did a phenomenal job creating a comfortable set of headphones that can be worn for hours at a stretch without the need to constantly re-adjust.
We like what SOL Republic has put together here with the Master Tracks. After the release of the Tracks HD, we expected the follow-up to impress, and the Master Tracks do. They aren't delivering the best sound you've ever heard, but at under $200 (they're currently under $150 on Amazon!), we'd argue that it's the best within that price range. They look great, they're tough, they're customizable. A great buy for lovers of modern music.
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