While I was down in Austin at SXSW, Sol Republic hooked it up with a fresh pair of their V8 Sound Engine Tracks headphones. My Urban Ears headphones recently died on me after a long year of wear and tear, and the $20 no-name headphones I bought on a whim really weren’t cutting it for me. Having used these bad boys for about a week now, I have to say I am seriously impressed. The company advertises the Tracks as virtually indestructible and interchangeable, which they really are. Let’s take a look:
For $100, you get yourself a nice pair of headphones, that in looks totally rival Beats By Dre in a way that doesn’t scream “I am a total fucking douchebag”. The Sol Republics come with all the basic needs including a mic and volume adjustment buttons on the cables, as well as a raised jack. The raised jack is more important than you’d think! I have found that headphone jacks that lie flush with your device (for me it’s an iPhone) don’t always fit properly when you’ve got a case on your phone/iPod.
If you use a Mophie Case for example (the ones with the extra battery), a lot of headphone jacks are too thick to fit through the case design above the headphone input, and require you to take part of your case off in order to listen to music.
In terms of sound quality, I am not the type of person that knows about decibel levels and wuff wuff sub woof stuff, but they sound great; better than my Urban Ears, and the padding around the earpieces keep out most exterior sound without being noise canceling. I personally am not a huge fan of noise canceling headphones, seeing that I’m already oblivious enough to the world, noise canceling headphones could be *too* good and totally get my ass hit by a car.
Now, on to the crazy part: the Tracks can be disassembled, meaning that both ear pieces can be slid on and off of the head piece, and the wires can be removed from the ear pieces.
This is my FAVORITE part about these headphones! Besides the fact that the individual manufacturing of each piece makes me feel like they’re a bit higher quality that my previous pair of headphones (this is probably just consumerism pumping through my veins), there is a huge convenience factor to this design.
First of all, when I am traveling to and from school/work/etc, I can pull out the wires and stuff them in my purse so that they don’t get caught on everything. Second of all, I give headphones a run for their money throughout their lifetime, and I can easily see myself getting wasted and chipping the side of the headpiece, or just being generally careless and somehow snapping it. If that happens, Sol Republic sells replacement headpieces in various colors for $30, which I would totally take over having to dish out $100 for a new pair. I had to retire my Urban Ears when the wire started to fall out of the jack, but if I had had a pair of Sol Republics, I could have just gone out and bought a new wire, rather than having to get an entirely new pair.
Generally speaking the Sol Republic Tracks totally rule, but there were a couple of things I wasn’t a fan of:
The main thing that bummed me out about the Tracks was the padding used on the top of the headpiece. Although it is pretty decent foam it is secured with adhesive, rather than seamlessly incorporated into the piece. I have long hair, and whenever I wear these around my neck, my hair always gets stuck in the glue and ripped out. Totally not fun.
The other thing that I wasn’t crazy about was the way the shininess of the earpieces wears. I’ve had these headphones for a little over a week now, and I’m already starting to see blatant scratches on them…not to mention they get super smudged with fingerprints (see pics above). I feel like if the earpieces had a matte finish, rather than the metallic high gloss finish they currently come with they might not get knicked up so quickly.
Overall though, I am totally thrilled with these! For the $100 or less price range, I would recommend Sol Republics simply based on the interchangeability of all of the pieces, making them a better long-term investment.