SOL Republic Soundtrack Pro ANC headphone review: Good-enough features and performance for the price

Way of life audio maker SOL Republic has launched a brand new headphone mannequin as a part of its Sountrack sequence. The $200 Soundtrack Professional ANC is an over-the-ear wi-fi headphone with lively noise-cancelling expertise and Bluetooth 5.zero on board. 

The Soundtrack Professional ANC (an identical mannequin with out ANC can also be out there at Amazon for $170) is available in three colours: black, grey, and champagne. The acoustically clear coloured cloth protecting the drivers adjustments relying on which headphone shade you select. My assessment pair occurred to be black.

This assessment is a part of TechHive’s protection of the perfect headphones, the place you will discover evaluations of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options it is best to think about when purchasing.

Beneficiant battery life

Like its latest competitors, the Soundtrack Professional ANC delivers sufficient battery to final greater than a full day. Its 500mAh battery is rated to ship 32 hours of wi-fi playback. Because of fast charging expertise, you’ll get a full cost in about 3.5 hours. 

You may cost the headphones with the included USB-A to USB-C charging cable, which plugs into the underside of the suitable ear cup. I discovered the cable tight to suit as a result of protruding flange from the underside of the earcup. 5 LED lights on the highest of the suitable ear cup offer you a visible indication of the charging standing. 

Lights on the top of the right earcup let you know the charging status. Theo Nicolakis / IDG

Lights on the highest of the suitable earcup let you recognize the charging standing.

The headphones fold for simple journey, however SOL Republic ought to have included a carrying case—a pouch, no less than—for the value level. Most patrons contemplating noise-cancelling headphones, in spite of everything, are seemingly planning to take them on the highway. Talking of which, there’s no airline adapter or 1/4-inch adapter included, both.

[ Further reading: The best headphones you can buy ]

Ergonomics

Conventional three-button controls are situated on the highest of the suitable ear cup. The pause/play button has a particular protrusion, and the buttons are pretty straightforward to differentiate by contact. I wasn’t at all times assured, nevertheless, I had my finger on the right button and wanted to maneuver my finger from entrance to again to get oriented. Producers ought to make all management buttons tactile-friendly. I desire the extra overt button distinctions you’ll discover on V-Moda, AKG, and Bowers & Wilkins headphones.

Plastic is the dominant materials within the Soundtrack Professional ANC’s development, with a click-adjustable steel headband as the only real exception. I didn’t like the scarf, discovering it tougher than common to regulate. Actually, I discovered every part about this headphone’s design to be stiff or tight. Should you desire tight-fitting headphones, you’ll love the Soundtrack Professional ANC.

Side view of the Sol Republic headphones Theo Nicolakis / IDG

A aspect view of the SOL Republic Soundtrack Professional ANC headphones.

Take the ear cups, for instance: Regardless of being smooth but in a position to preserve their form to create a steady listening cavity round my ears, they by no means felt comfy. B&W’s barely more-expensive PX headphones create an identical stability with their earcups, however they’re way more pliable.

Consequently, the SOL Republic Sountrack Professional headphones don’t rank amongst my record of high performers for lengthy listening periods. The headphones grew to become mildly uncomfortable and I felt relieved after I took them off. The headphones definitely exhibited a better than common clamping stress on my head. Whereas that provides you a way of safety that they gained’t fall off, the tradeoff is consolation.

I in contrast the SOL Repubic Soundtrack Professional with the Bowers & Wilkins PX wi-fi headphones and the Bose Quiet Consolation 35. These headphones even have a stable clamp, however their headbands are much more versatile and forgiving, and every has a lot softer ear pads. Hopefully, SOL Republic’s cans will loosen up after an prolonged break-in interval, however I can’t say that for sure.

Sol Republic headphones Theo Nicolakis / IDG

The SOL Republic headphones are principally plastic with the click-adjustable headband a noticable exception.

Energetic noise-cancelling efficiency

The SOL Republic Sountrack Professional ANC, like different noise-cancelling headphones, work their magic through the use of microphones mounted outdoors its earcups to seize the waveform of ambient noise. The headphone then produces an inverse waveform on the identical frequency and amplitude and pipes this sound into its ear cups, combined with the music, to masks the noise.

Alas, with stay-at-home orders and New York Metropolis turning into the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, I didn’t have the standard alternatives to place the SOL Republic’s ANC efficiency to real-world check in noisy mass transit programs or on an airplane. I needed to improvise. 

For instance, I’ve an air air purifier that, when set to “excessive,” measures 84dB on my sound stress degree meter.  I’ve measured airplane cabins, against this, that may get as loud as 94dB, which is within the vary of everlasting listening to loss after extended publicity.

sol republic Theo Nicolakis / IDG

The colour of the acoustically clear materials contained in the SOL Republic Sountrack Professional ANCs’ every cups differs with the outer shade (black, grey, or champagne).

The Soundtrack Professional ANC did an honest job of taking the sting off the air air purifier’s fan noise—with the perfect efficiency concentrated primarily within the midband—but it surely couldn’t fairly compete with the Bose QC35. Bose and Sony reign supreme relating to lively noise discount.

SOL Republic’s ANC headphones additionally function an ambient-aware mode that permits you to hear the surface world round you without having to take your headphones off. To allow this mode, merely press the ability button twice and also you’ll end up in monitor mode. The Soundtrack Professional ANC did job aside from one evident disadvantage: The headphones in monitor mode generated a lot hiss I believed I used to be close to a waterfall. However to be honest, even some actually massive headphone manufacturers have gotten this function terribly unsuitable.

Actual-world assessments

I examined SOL Republic’s Soundtrack Professional ANC headphones with an iPhone XS and an Astell&Kern SA700 hi-res DAP. Supply materials got here from the Tidal music-streaming service and varied high-res audio recordsdata. I performed the headphones primarily over Bluetooth, which is what I feel the tartget viewers will do. On the subject of Bluetooth, I’m upset to report that these headphones don’t help both the aptX (close to CD-quality) or aptX HD (better-than-CD-quality) codecs, which might have resulted in higher-fidelity audio.

The Sountrack Professional ANC will do double responsibility as a hands-free headset to your calls, they usually delivered glorious leads to my restricted testing environments. Callers may hear me clearly and I, in flip, may hear them. You’ll get about 30 ft or so of wi-fi vary, simply bear in mind that partitions or different obstacles will cut back the gap you’ll be able to roam out of your cellphone.

Sonically, the Sountrack Professional ANC delivered punchy performances in each wired and wi-fi modes, with good midbass response. When performed wirelessly, nevertheless, the general sound was decidedly veiled. That’s not essentially uncommon at this price-point, but it surely was noticeable. On Sarah McLachlan’s Afterglow Dwell, for instance, the Sountrack Professional ANC did not convey the sense of depth and breadth on tracks reminiscent of “World on Hearth.” Turning ANC on and off didn’t make a giant distinction in that sensation. The highest finish was likewise reserved and rolled in wi-fi mode. These headphones usually are not what I’d describe as sonic overachievers.

Sol Republic Sountrack Pro SOL Republic

SOL Republic’s Sountrack Professional ANC headphones in white.

The Soundtrack Professional ANC’s wired efficiency—performed by way of an Astell&Kern SA700 transportable digital audio participant—was considerably higher, with that veil principally lifted. The midrange cleared up considerably and the highest finish was higher, too. Taking part in the 24-bit/48kHz model of Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, and the 24-bit/96kHz model of Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me showcased the drastic distinction between the headphone’s wired and wi-fi efficiency.

The headband has a soft, rubberized padding. The generously-sized ear cups maintain their shape well Theo Nicolakis / IDG

TheSoundtrack Professional ANC’s headband has a smooth, rubberized padding, and the generously sized ear cups keep their form effectively.

Lukewarm or simply proper?

The SOL Republic Soundtrack Professional ANC wi-fi headphones are a mean set of cans for the asking worth. I didn’t discover them to be an thrilling worth, however regardless of their stiff, tight match, they’re not so sonically poor that I would say they’re undeserving of a $200 invoice.

Should you like their design, battery life. and have set, they usually verify all the opposite packing containers you’re on the lookout for in headphones at this worth vary, I’d say order a pair and audition them for your self.

Notice: If you buy one thing after clicking hyperlinks in our articles, we could earn a small fee. Learn our affiliate hyperlink coverage for extra particulars.

About Theo Nicolakis

Check Also

Lhzmniy A9 review

If the model Lhzmniy is not acquainted, a 14in Home windows 10 laptop computer actually …

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.