Sol Republic Master Tracks Headphones First Listen: A Noticeable Upgrade

Illustration for article titled Sol Republic Master Tracks Headphones First Listen: A Noticeable Upgrade

Sol Republic's new Master Tracks headphones promise the big sound and distinctive style of fancy, fashionable headphones for a not-so fancy price. It's basically the same formula behind the company's successful $100 Tracks headphones, but at double the price. After trying out the new cans, we can say that they're absolutely better than the $100 model. We're still not convinced you should buy them—yet.

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The Master Tracks are over-ear headphones (the Tracks were on-ear headphones). Where the Tracks would start to pinch and feel uncomfortable after a while, the super-soft earpads on the Master Tracks cocoon your ears so you can wear them longer. In a nice design touch, the earcups are fitted onto the earpads on a hinge so that they swivel to fit to your head.

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Illustration for article titled Sol Republic Master Tracks Headphones First Listen: A Noticeable Upgrade

As for the sound, the on-ear design provides a lot more isolation from the outside world, and the sealed chamber inside sounds full. We've only listened to these cans for a few minutes, but so far, they're solid performers. The low-end response is hearty without killing the higher frequencies. Still, overall, the headphones aren't ultra-clear across all frequencies. That's not always a bad thing. Without a doubt, these headphones sound better than the older, cheaper model.

Illustration for article titled Sol Republic Master Tracks Headphones First Listen: A Noticeable Upgrade
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The big question, though, is whether these headphones have improved enough to cost $200. Sol Republic is pretty open about the fact that they're not out to please audiophiles so much as self-styled audiophiles. In other words, they're headphones that make people look like they care what the cans actually sound like.

And at $100, that formula works. The Tracks are a great value. Something that's good, that you can feel good about, that doesn't cost too much. Win, win, win. But at $200, the Master Tracks are competing with some very serious gear. We'll let you know if they're worth the extra money when we run our full review soon. [Sol Republic]

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DISCUSSION

i have tracks HD and they sound absolutely amazing. But i really like the idea of bigger ear cups on the masters. might be the sol take on beats studios. Being $200 might set some people off, but beats over and on ear are all in that price range. if sol continues to be sol, we all might have some great headphones on our hands. Look out beats(=.