Money can’t buy you love, but 100 bucks will buy you a better set of headphones than we would have thought possible before we strapped Sol Republic’s Tracks to our noggin.
The Tracks feature a very unconventional design in which the ear cups slide up and down—or even completely off—a spring-plastic headband with a thick but short cushion at the top of its arc. The ear cups are large—nearly 1.5 inches thick—but generously padded. The design seems rugged enough, but it’s not very portable (even if you dismantle it, remove the cable, and stash the components inside your computer bag).
Celebrity endorsements provide no assurance of product quality; in fact, they too often signal that a product isn’t good enough to pass muster on its own merits. So we didn’t have the highest of expectations for these headphones endorsed by second-tier rapper Ludacris. After listening to a number of tracks from Accidental Powercut volumes 1 and 2, however, the Soul SL150 mostly won us over.
The acoustic tracks on these albums were recorded binaurally live at St. Barnabas Chapel, in the UK. Binaural recordings are typically made using microphones mounted inside a dummy head, and they’re produced specifically for headphone listening. The intent is to give the listener the sensation that he or she is in the room with the musicians.