Lifestyle audio maker SOL Republic has launched a brand new headphone mannequin as a part of its Sountrack sequence. The $200 Soundtrack Pro ANC is an over-the-ear wi-fi headphone with lively noise-cancelling expertise and Bluetooth 5.0 on board.
The Soundtrack Pro ANC (a similar model without ANC can be obtainable at Amazon for $170) is available in three colours: black, grey, and champagne. The acoustically clear coloured cloth overlaying the drivers modifications relying on which headphone coloration you select. My evaluation pair occurred to be black.
This evaluation is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best headphones, the place you will discover evaluations of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must contemplate when buying.
Generous battery life
Like its latest competitors, the Soundtrack Pro ANC delivers sufficient battery to final greater than a full day. Its 500mAh battery is rated to ship 32 hours of wi-fi playback. Thanks to fast charging expertise, you’ll get a full cost in about 3.5 hours.
You can cost the headphones with the included USB-A to USB-C charging cable, which plugs into the underside of the precise ear cup. I discovered the cable tight to suit because of the protruding flange from the underside of the earcup. Five LED lights on the highest of the precise ear cup provide you with a visible indication of the charging standing.
The headphones fold for simple journey, however SOL Republic ought to have included a carrying case—a pouch, a minimum of—for the worth level. Most patrons contemplating noise-cancelling headphones, in any case, are probably planning to take them on the street. Speaking of which, there’s no airline adapter or 1/4-inch adapter included, both.
Traditional three-button controls are positioned on the highest of the precise ear cup. The pause/play button has a particular protrusion, and the buttons are pretty simple to tell apart 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. Manufacturers ought to make all management buttons tactile-friendly. I favor the extra overt button distinctions you’ll discover on V-Moda, AKG, and Bowers & Wilkins headphones.
Plastic is the dominant materials within the Soundtrack Pro ANC’s building, with a click-adjustable steel headband as the only real exception. I didn’t like the headscarf, discovering it tougher than common to regulate. In truth, I discovered every part about this headphone’s design to be stiff or tight. If you favor tight-fitting headphones, you’ll love the Soundtrack Pro ANC.
Take the ear cups, for instance: Despite being smooth but capable of maintain their form to create a secure listening cavity round my ears, they by no means felt snug. B&W’s barely more-expensive PX headphones create an analogous stability with their earcups, however they’re far more pliable.
Consequently, the SOL Republic Sountrack Pro headphones don’t rank amongst my record of prime performers for lengthy listening classes. The headphones turned mildly uncomfortable and I felt relieved once I took them off. The headphones actually exhibited a better than common clamping stress on my head. While that offers you a way of safety that they received’t fall off, the tradeoff is consolation.
I in contrast the SOL Repubic Soundtrack Pro with the Bowers & Wilkins PX wi-fi headphones and the Bose Quiet Comfort 35. Those headphones even have a strong clamp, however their headbands are way more versatile and forgiving, and every has a lot softer ear pads. With any luck, SOL Republic’s cans will loosen up after an prolonged break-in interval, however I can’t say that for sure.
Active noise-cancelling efficiency
The SOL Republic Sountrack Pro ANC, like different noise-cancelling headphones, work their magic through the use of microphones mounted exterior 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, blended with the music, to masks the noise.
Alas, with stay-at-home orders and New York City 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 methods or on an airplane. I needed to improvise.
For instance, I’ve an air air purifier that, when set to “high,” 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.
The Soundtrack Pro ANC did a good job of taking the sting off the air air purifier’s fan noise—with the very best efficiency concentrated primarily within the midband—but it surely couldn’t fairly compete with the Bose QC35. Bose and Sony reign supreme in the case of lively noise discount.
SOL Republic’s ANC headphones additionally characteristic an ambient-aware mode that allows you to hear the surface world round you while not having to take your headphones off. To allow this mode, merely press the facility button twice and also you’ll end up in monitor mode. The Soundtrack Pro ANC did a great job other than one obvious disadvantage: The headphones in monitor mode generated a lot hiss I assumed I used to be close to a waterfall. But to be truthful, even some actually huge headphone manufacturers have gotten this characteristic terribly unsuitable.
I examined SOL Republic’s Soundtrack Pro ANC headphones with an iPhone XS and an Astell&Kern SA700 hi-res DAP. Source materials got here from the Tidal music-streaming service and numerous high-res audio information. I performed the headphones primarily over Bluetooth, which is what I believe the tartget viewers will do. On the subject of Bluetooth, I’m dissatisfied 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 Pro ANC will do double obligation as a hands-free headset in your calls, they usually delivered glorious ends in my restricted testing environments. Callers may hear me clearly and I, in flip, may hear them. You’ll get about 30 toes 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 Pro 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 Live, for instance, the Sountrack Pro ANC didn’t convey the sense of depth and breadth on tracks comparable to “World on Fire.” Turning ANC on and off didn’t make a giant distinction in that sensation. The prime finish was likewise reserved and rolled in wi-fi mode. These headphones usually are not what I’d describe as sonic overachievers.
The Soundtrack Pro ANC’s wired efficiency—performed by way of an Astell&Kern SA700 moveable digital audio participant—was considerably higher, with that veil largely lifted. The midrange cleared up considerably and the highest finish was higher, too. Playing the 24-bit/48kHz model of Michael Jackson’s Bad, 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.
Lukewarm or simply proper?
The SOL Republic Soundtrack Pro ANC wi-fi headphones are a median set of cans for the asking value. 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’d say they’re unfit of a $200 invoice.
If you want their design, battery life. and have set, they usually verify all the opposite packing containers you’re searching for in headphones at this value vary, I’d say order a pair and audition them for your self.