The battle for headphone supremacy is heating up. Sol Republic unveiled the Sol Republic Master Tracks over-ear headphone at CES 2013. We went hands-on (ears-on) with the cans to hear how the Master Tracks held up against the competition.
The first thing we noticed about the Master Tracks is the revamped designed. Going for a more high-end look, Sol Republic wrapped the top of the headband in attractive gunmetal leather. The Sol Republic insignia is delicately embossed onto the top of the band, while the leather hides a small band of foam that ensures a comfortable fit. The band itself is made from the company's FlexTech material, a propietary alloy that delivers the ultra-durability Tracks users have come to expect. Despite our rigorous bending and twisting, the band snapped back into shape unscathed. Similar to other Sol Republic headphones, bands on the Master Tracks are interchangable for those who aren't fans of gunmetal.
The Master Tracks are sporting larger cans than the Tracks HD and Track Ultra. The exterior of the cans are capped off with a dark gray aluminum. The body of the cans are made of plastic, which holds a large black leather ear cup that easily fit over our ears. The cups are nice and soft, which made it possible to wear for long times with little to no discomfort. The large cups also helped to create a tight seal that cut out a lot of background ambient sound.
During our listening session with the Master Tracks, we appreciated the depth and clarity of the bass on songs such as French Montana's "Pop That." The cans also delivered the goods when it came to highs and mids. Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why" was a crisp mix of sweet, soft vocals and clear piano cords. When we listened to INXS's "I Need You Tonight," we heard a rich bass line and energetic guitar. Michael Hutchence's seductive vocal was front and center trying the track together.
Overall, the Sol Republic Master Tracks manage to improve upon both design and audio without jacking up the price. The $199 Master Tracks are a good choice for music lovers who want a nice-looking headset with good sound.