Thank you to SOL Republic for providing a complimentary product sample for us to base this review upon and for providing a second product for our contest prize. All opinions expressed are my own.
Warning: This article contains blatant gushing and adoration for my new headphones. You have been warned. I do promise however, to disclose a few imperfections to help this review be as objective as possible!
I was recently sent a pair of SOL Republic Master Tracks over-ear headphones. I already own a pair of SOL Republic Tracks HD Anthem on-ear headphones (which I love) and was very excited to try the Master Tracks. Because I love my old pair so much, my expectations were very high . . . the Master Tracks had better be good. I will cut to the chase and say that the Master Tracks not only met my expectations, they exceeded them.
I will start by saying my new Master Tracks are stunning in appearance. I chose the Electro Blue color with black and dark metal trim. They are fantastic looking. I really can't stand so many of the larger over-ear headphones on the market. It is as if they are trying to be as big and gaudy as possible. SOL Republic went the other way. The Master Tracks are sleek, yet small for over-ear headphones, and somewhat conservative. They suit my tastes perfectly.
The first thing you will notice about your Master Track headphones is that they are modular. They break up into components for easier carrying when not in use (in an included nylon case). You can also mix and match parts (available to be purchased separately) to create a truly custom set of headphones.
The second thing you will note about your Master Tracks (or any SOL Republic headphones) is that the cable is thick and rubbery. At first it feels a little odd, but you quickly realize why they do it: They simply do not tangle. By adding the thick rubber coating, the cables are springy and repel being bent together. Such a simple and effective way to solve a problem everybody has with earbuds and headphones. Amazing! The cable also has a mic and controls for use with your phone.
The Master Tracks are mostly plastic with a metal cap over each ear. The headband is wonderfully springy and keeps just the right amount of tension on your noggin. I found my Master Tracks to be comfortable even after long sessions. One of the reasons why I wanted to try an over-ear headphone was for this very reason. Using headphones while wearing glasses sometimes is uncomfortable for on-ear models. The Master Tracks spread the pressure out nicely and provide a much more comfortable experience.
But how do the Master Tracks sound? Well, I loved my Anthems as they sounded great, but the Master Tracks sounded even better. The larger earcup and extra cushion did an excellent job of covering external noise (a little too well if you ask my wife). You should be warned that SOL Republic likes a deeper bass sound in their headphones and the Master Tracks were no exception. This is not to say the audio range is limited, because it isn’t. SOL Republic wants you to feel the music through the bass. They manage to do this well without sacrificing the quality of the rest of the range.
So what didn't I like about my Master Tracks? The list of cons is very small, just two things and one of them may even end up being a benefit in disguise. Although the Master Tracks are technically over-ear headphones, they really do not go over your ear, or around your ear rather, like you would expect. My set still rests on my ears. If you are looking for true around the ear headphones, these won't fit your needs. BUT, they are large enough and have enough cushion to block out everything and are quite comfortable. They are a great deal smaller than their peers, which may be a benefit to you (it is for me). They would not be out of place at all on a walk or at the gym.
The second issue I have is that the cord is not overly long. I don’t think it’s too short at all, and is perfect for use with mobile devices. But when plugged into your PC or stereo, you will wish they were a bit longer. I need room to bust a move after all!
I drank my SOL Republic kool-aid when I fell in love with my Anthems, but now the Master Tracks have earned my soul. I would HIGHLY recommend them to anybody considering a competitor's set. At the very least, give them a try before making your purchase. I promise you will not be disappointed. I know this coming Father's Day I will be rocking out enjoying some quiet time with my Master Tracks!
The SOL Republic Master Tracks retail for $199.99 and can be purchased in White, Gunmetal, or Electro Blue on solrepublic.com, Amazon.com, Best Buy, and other major electronics retailers.
Good luck in the drawing!