Sunday 10 March 2013

SOL-d Out

I'll be honest in telling you that most of the merchandise I receive ends up in the hands of my readers. That's not to say that I don't cherry-pick some stuff like the books that publishers send me or a few stickers here and there, but I generally live by an unwritten rule that if I receive something from any company, it's because of the popularity of this blog made possible by my readership. In saying this, though, I am breaking my own rule and cherry-picking the latest merchandise sent my way simply because of how great it is.

I received an email a week or so ago from a Sarah P. Sarah works for Sol Republic in San Francisco, and Sol Republic makes high-quality headphones. Sarah wrote,

At CES in January we unveiled our first over-ear headphone, SOL REPUBLIC Master Tracks ( to critical acclaim from attendees. I now have Master Tracks available for review and I thought about you and wanted to see if you would be interested in giving them a spin.

Master Tracks are the first interchangeable over-ear headphones to deliver incredible sound, design, and performance. Whether you listen to EDM, country or hip-hop, Master Tracks are engineered to deliver true sound you can feel. Our newly developed X3 Sound Engines deliver an immersive music experience balanced with powerful bass, clear highs and vocal accuracy. My favorite part about them is how amazingly comfortable they are - the cushion is oh-so-soft!
Because I enjoy listening to out-of-market games via the internet and because I have a ton of movies and music on iTunes, I thought I'd give these headphones a shot. I have a pair of headphones, but I'm all about having a better sound experience when listening to my chosen media.

Upon opening the box that was sent to me, I was a little shocked to find the headphones in pieces. There was the over-the-head headband, two over-ear earphones, a small package with cabling, the manuals and paper info, and a SOL-branded bag. This was a little strange because I had never received or bought headphones that were already pre-assembled. In saying this, however, the packaging was slick, and the headphones were together in a matter of mere minutes.

It's at this point that I want to point out a couple of things. Nothing is snapped in, screwed down, interlocked, or locked, so the ability to interchange parts is high. SOL Republic has colored headbands and cables to allow one to personalize their headphones. The cables are also detachable! If you're working out, this makes the annoying "cable yank" when you run out of cable impossible as the cable will detach rather than giving you whiplash. For a guy like me, that's a good thing as I tend to forget about the cables. Thumbs-up from me on that feature.

The key with any set of headphones are the sound. I have to say that the SOL REPUBLIC Master Tracks headphones are amazing. They may be the old over-the-head headphones, but the air-cushioned earphones are comfortable, the headphones are amazing lightweight for their size, and they have better much, much better sound quality than my earbuds and my regular headphones. How much better? Imagine listening to a symphony performance on cassette. Now imagine listening to the same symphony in the front row listening to the New York Philharmonic or the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Yeah, HUGE difference.

That may seem like hyperbole, but it was true for me. Now, maybe my earbuds and headphones that I currently use are garbage in terms of their sound quality, and that may be the reason for my audio awakening. But if there is that much of a difference in my listening experience, maybe there will be a better listening in your world too.

Of course, you could also be saying, "Teebz, all you're doing is writing an article to get more free stuff". I appreciate this thought, and it has certainly crossed my my mind that people can say this about any product I feature or any book I review. But that's the key: if it's bad, why would I recommend it to you? I'm a consumer like all of you, and I hate it when someone recommends something to me that is awful. So if someone sends me something great, I'd like others to know about it. I receive no payment other than a free product, and most of them are made available to my readers after I've tested them. If I like it, I pass it on and let others know. It's how the cream rises to the top, and I happen to like these SOL REPUBLIC Master Tracks headphones.

I enjoy listening to out-of-market games via the internet and radio, especially being a Penguins fan. Today, I had the pleasure of listening to Mike Lange's call of the Penguins-Islanders game via the internet. I just lied on my bed with my eyes closed, listening to Lange paint a picture of hockey as Crosby and Kunitz laid waste to the Islanders. It sounded great, the headphones were comfy, and I enjoyed my hockey audio experience greatly. If I couldn't be there, it was like sitting with Mike Lange listening to his thoughts on the game in crystal-clear quality. This was due to the SOL REPUBLIC Master Tracks headphones.

I highly recommend these headphones. While the price tag checks in at around $200 - a little pricey for the casual listener or someone needing a quick pair or headphones for a bus ride or airplane trip - there's no denying that one will use the SOL REPUBLIC Master Tracks headphones over and over again due to their comfort, their weightlessness, and their incredible sound quality. If you're a music lover, are often on trips, or just looking for an incredible pair of headphones that provide excellent audio quality, the SOL REPUBLIC Master Tracks headphones are worth the investment. In saying this, SOL Republic has found me as a new listener.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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