I was able to try out the new SOL Republic headphones for a few weeks right after it officially launched in the Philippines at the Pismo Digital Lifestyle Store in EDSA Shangri-la Plaza mid-May this year. SOL (abbreviation for Soundtrack of Life) Republic is a new brand that mostly focuses on its fashionable urban designs while maintaining incredible sound. We’ll find out if these products live up to their promise. Here, I give my insights on the SOL Republic Tracks HD V10 Tokidoki Edition.
Build and Design
One thing that I really loved about this pair of headphones is its design. In fact, I was instantly hooked by the Tokidoki partnership. This pair would instantly attract the younger generation because of the really cute graphics. It took me a few minutes getting lost and just appreciating the design. 😛 The headphones comes with a pouch so you can properly carry and store them and also a cute collectible toy.
The next thing I noticed upon unboxing is how the on-ear headphones are detached from the headband and cable. You heard it right, detached from the headband and cable. This is the first time I had encountered such and it did pique my interest.
The headband is made of sturdy, flexible plastic with the Tokidoki design in pink base color laminated on it. It has a cushion right at the crown of the headband to provide some comfort. The detachable headphones is about 6.5 cm in diameter and 2 cm thick. It’s got the SOL logo imprinted in violet on the outer side.
The white Y-cable is thick and sturdy too; one that I always consider when buying earphones/headphones. The thickness of the wire also makes it less prone to the dreaded cable tangles. You just need to match the corresponding plug into the port as indicated. The point where the Y-cable meet are the microphone and volume controls, which unfortunately are only iOS compatible. The 3-mm plug does not look flimsy. It’s well-coated with high quality rubber – nothing like the ones that I’ve tested before.
I am no audiophile to be able to professionally describe the output but as a music enthusiast, I loved the overall sound quality of the SOL Republic Tracks HD V10. When playing songs, I noticed that the volume is louder than my AudioTechnika ATH SJ-11 and Bose OE2.
I also used an app called the Decibel 10th to get the average decibel of each headphone at maximum volume for benchmarking purposes. I played the first half of Safe and Sound by Capital Cities to measure and while there may have potential human errors in the test that I have conducted, the SOL Republic got average of 90 decibels (compared to the average of 85 decibels for both AudioTechnika and Bose headphones).
The Tracks HD V10 excels in bass. Royals by Lorde and Lose Yourself to Dance by Daft Punk did sound great. If you’re the type who enjoys a bassy mix, then you’ll love the Tracks HD V10 for sure. The highs and mids are great too, although they tend to be overpowered by the bass most of the time. Songs of Empire of the Sun like Alive and Ice on the Dune were still enjoyable but would definitely sound better in headphones with a more flat bass. I guess there are its takeaways and it really depends on your preference. Let me add that live/concert songs also sound great with the Tracks HD V10. The naturalness of the sound makes the soundstage palpable. The vocals sound just a little bit muffled though, like it is covered with a thin blanket.
When buying headphones, one of the things I personally consider is the comfort after long hours of use. This is something we can’t really tell at face value. So reviews like this may come in handy. The reason that I am not a fan of headphones is because they tend to put too much pressure on my ears. The earcups of the Tracks HD V10 has soft leatherette cushion for extra comfort. The natural shape of the headband, however, forces the earcups to push against the temple tips of my glasses, which gives some discomfort when using it. Without my glasses, the earphones are comfortable to wear .
I am truly impressed with the design and the fashion factor that the SOL Republic Tracks HD V10 flaunts, especially this Tokidoki edition. If you wish, you may interchange the headbands and cables to fit your OOTD. Given the bassy nature of the output that the SOL Republic Tracks HD V10 produces, you will enjoy thick and full sound with great definition. You will hear even the most subtle details in a song and personally, definition and balance has more weight in terms of sound quality.
The only thing that could instantly bring you down is when you find out that the SOL Republic Track HD V10 Tokidoki edition costs a whopping PHP 9,500. If the target audience is the younger music enthusiasts, as proven by how my 17-year old cousin and my 24-year old (youngest) brother reacted when they first saw them, the price is too much, unfortunately. It would be hard to compete with other decent and way cheaper headphones. Other than the pricing, I think this is an awesome pair of headphones!