Since the introduction of Beats, many companies have tried to follow in the footsteps by upping the ante when it came to design aspects of headphones. Many new companies have emerged touting their solutions to Beats. Sounding the same, they always say something along the lines of: “We offer audiophile quality sound with a stylist’s quality of design”. With it have emerged many new companies, each with their distinct sound trying to draw in the public with shiny new designs. Soundtrack of Life Republic, or SOL republic for short, has become one of these companies. I must say though, that the headphones do offer good sound quality with a spectacular design. Read on for the full review:
Like many audio-enthusiasts, SOL Republic doesn’t believe in releasing technical specifications. They are right to do so since they give little to no insight on how a pair of headphones sound.
In the Box
- SOL Republic Tracks
- Detachable cable
SOL republic definitely screams style when it comes to the really shiny, look-at-me design they have on these. They just gleam with beauty with the glossy black finish on the individual earpieces. Each earpiece has the SOL logo drawn on them. Going around the headband, you’ll get a really nice matte finish headband with your color choice or black, red, white. If you choose to, you can even remove the actual earpieces and apply a different headband to the headphones if you wish.
If listeners don’t like the color selection they are given, they have the option to go and use Colorware to fully customize their headphones. Unlike most products, this customization is supported by SOL Republic. They can change just about every aspect of the on-ears; from the headband all the way down to the logo color on the exterior. The downside to this option is that it increases the price 2-fold.
The Tracks have a really shiny design to them that make eyes pop and can really turn heads as they just look gorgeous. The aesthetically pleasing on-ears really deserve this five they are given; there is no less score I would be willing to give.
Design only goes so far when it comes to headphones. To some big-time audiophiles, design means absolutely nothing. That is, they are willing to listen to butt-ugly headphones as long as they sound good. Long story short, these headphones aren’t built for audiophiles; instead, they are targeted at more of the general public. Even through this, the headphones still hold their own when it comes to quality with their really low-key, pleasing sound signature.
The bass is definitely the one big thing that shines here. Most headphones with big bass will overdue it causing the sound of the headphones to be completely garbage. The Tracks, however, do differently, they are able to keep really powerful, deep bass while allowing many of the mids to come through as well. Now, like many bass heavy headphones, these can still be a little much when it comes to quantity. However, the quality is still there. The texture on these is really splendid allowing you to really feel the sub-bass slithering in the background. The low-end does have a slight boomy sound though, which isn’t entirely all that bad if that’s what you like to hear. One strong suite, that also becomes a weak suite, of the Tracks is the bass presence. The bass body really comes into play here to allow this happen. However, at times this large body can backfire and muddle the lows a bit.
The Tracks sport mids that aren’t all the best, but definitely aren’t the worst either. Starting at the goods, the mids have really great clarity and details despite being somewhat veiled. However, the goodness of the mids stops there. The mids really did lack in timbre along with overall dynamics. The mids could easily be described as: laid back, relaxed, and even calm. They really didn’t have too much life to them, but still were able to give ample details and have a certain amount of clarity to them. Overall, the warm mids were actually quite enjoyable and musical.
The high end is similar to the mid-range in the fact that they can really be dominated by the bass body. They too sound a little veiled. They have good sparkle, and are never sibilant, which really makes the treble enjoyable overall. The sufficient sparkle does give some life back to the headphones. The high-end was clear as long as the detail was reproduced by the Tracks. Detailing was good overall, but still not the best as you did lose many details in the treble. Like the mids, the treble also continues with the really ‘laxed sound.
These headphones don’t entirely seal, so isolation isn’t the best. They isolate decently, but definitely shouldn’t be used for that purpose. There is no seal, and no active isolating system built in. They will work fine for home listening, or even short commutes, but if you just had a stressful day at work, and had to take the train home… Don’t count on these to drown out everyone else.
These cables can become slightly microphonic at times. However, on a short walk, or just sitting, you really don’t have much to deal with. This type of headphone really isn’t recommended to be used as active-ware, and I really couldn’t imagine any person using on-ears like these for running.
SOL Republic really did a nice job on these overall. They do sound enjoyable overall. Despite having a few inaccuracies here and there, the Tracks really turned out to be really musical and can make many songs enjoyable to listen to with its non-straining, relaxing signature you can listen for hours without end.
One thing about on-ear headphones that have really stunning quality is that build can suffer at times. SOL was kind of expecting their headphones to get rough-housed, so they built it with build in mind. Although they did forget one thing: a case. For a 100 dollar model, a case is a no-brainer and should be included. Nonetheless, the rest of the build is splendid.
The headphone jack is composed of very thick rubber that not only feels strong, it is strong. It is also designed with a 90 degree angle, which does help the cable when it comes to stress. However, the entire jack is missing a strain relief, that is, the direct cable connection looks exposed.
As you leave the headphone jack and run up the cable, you’ll find out that it is detachable. This is a huge plus for build quality. Many times, once the cable goes, so do the headphones. With detachable cables, you can replace the cable if it goes bad saving you from replacing the entire headphone unit. The cable utilizes 2.5mm jacks to connect to each earpiece. The actual material used on the cables is just really strong being not only very thick, but it also has the solid feel to it. The cable is definitely built to last, but can be replaced if it doesn’t.
The drivers are well protected with strong, but stylish, plastic coverings. Now, plastic normally sounds brittle and weak, but it really isn’t the case with these headphones. They can stand strong on their own and will be able to do their job. The earpieces are, like the cables, detachable as well. So if the headband goes bad, you don’t have to replace the entire headset.
Like the earpieces, the headband is also made out of a really strong plastic. SOL Republic says that these are extremely hard to break; they were right to say this too. Although they seem to be constructed out of some plastic material, snapping them really seems impossible to do. Even under heavy stress, the headband was just not possible to even warp, let alone snap. The headband on these are build like steal; it’s really amazing.
Although it looks like an ordinary plastic headband, this headband is built like steal.
The build quality on these is just dead perfect. SOL really hit the bull on the eye here with the way these are built. Everything is really manufactured with quality in mind. If only they included a case and added a strain relief to the headphone jack, they would have a perfect score.
This is another place where the Tracks excel greatly. For starters, the Tracks do have large pleather earpads that allow the headphones to sit comfortably on your ears. The headband doesn’t really clamp your head too much, but it doesn’t do it too little either. This does two things: it ensures the headphones will stay on your ears and will allow you to wear them for hours on end. Simply put, these on-ears are quite comfortable in their own way and I had no problems wearing them for long periods of times.
The SOL Republic Tracks are priced in a really competitive market being just about 100 dollars. This well-populated price range will be hard for SOL to tackle, but they have a really quality headphone here. The design is just gorgeous to look at and demands attention. The headphones may not be the greatest quality audio-wise, but they still keep a really musical aspect to them that allow everyone to enjoy them making up for this. They sound great, especially knowing how bass-heavy they are. These on-ears are built like a rock with an almost indestructible headband. To complete the package, they are comfortable. SOL also includes a remote and mic on the cable for convenience. There is no other way to explain it; if you’re looking for a bass-heavy headphone with great design and package altogether, this is it right here.
I’m not one that normally likes really bass-heavy headphones, but I actually did enjoy using these on-ears while I tested them and used them in everyday life. They had a signature to them that I was just able to enjoy. I can’t put my finger on why, but SOL Republic does show that audio quality isn’t all about timbre, dynamics, and massive details. Having a good sound matters, and that is what they did here. The SOL Republic Tracks are a well-packaged on-ear at an affordable price, and there is just nothing more one can really ask for in a headphone.
I’d like to thank SOL Republic for the product sample.