Hot on the heels of its local debut, Pismo Digital sent us a SOL Republic Steve Aoki Tracks HD to take for a spin. And after spending a few days with it, we’re ready to share our thoughts to you guys about this sleek set of cans.
Before we dive in any deeper, it’s worth noting that unlike the Master Tracks XC, the difference between a Steve Aoki Tracks HD and an ordinary Tracks HD doesn’t go beyond the fancy paintjob on the headband and on the ear cups.
But despite of that, the “Special Edition” model actually costs twenty bucks (Php1,000 here) more than the not-so-special ones. So unless you’re really a fan of Aoki, deadmau5 and/or Michael Phelps, then you’re better off getting the plain Tracks HD. It’s slightly cheaper, yet you still get the same sound.
Alright now that’s straightened out, let’s get down to business. The Tracks HD, in a nutshell, is a miniaturized version of the Master Tracks XC. It has the same modular design which consists of a pair of removable ear cups which attaches to a “virtually indestructible” headband dubbed as the FlexTech, and a removable audio cable with an in-line microphone and a small control panel with three buttons for turning the volume up and down and pausing/playing your tunes on the fly.
However, unlike the Master Track XC, the Tracks HD is a supra-aural headphone which means that it sits on top of your ear rather than around it. Another thing worth noting here is that the latter has a more modest build than the Master Track XC which is evident on the materials used in making the Tracks HD.
The Tracks HD is billed as bass-heavy headphone, and let me tell you upfront, it does live up to that reputation. In fact, it pumps out so much bass that there’s already a noticeable spill-over on other parts of the sound spectrum, particularly on the highs. Furthermore, it drowns out most, if not all of the minute sound details on the tracks that we’ve listened to.
To its credit though, the vocals remained clear despite of the forceful bass. However, the snare drums were almost non-existent and the times that we did hear it, it sounded very unnatural.
(24 hours of burn-in was done prior to the actual test)
Device: 5th Generation iPod Classic 60GB
File format: Combination of .mp3 and ALAC (.m4a)
Track bitrate: 256Kbps and above
• Moves like Jagger – Maroon 5 (Best)
• If I could be like that – 3 Doors Down (Good)
• Love Generation – Bob Sinclair (Best)
• Bulls on parade – Rage Against the Machine (Poor)
• Drive – Ziggy Marley (Poor)
• Headlights – Eminem Ft. Nate Ruess (Best)
• Ho Hey – The Lumineers (Best)
• 68 Dr. Sixto Ave. – Eraserheads (Good)
• Procrastinator – Sandwich (Good)
• Around the World – Daft Punk (Best)
We had high hopes for the SOL Republic Tracks HD. Sadly though, it had a lot of shortcomings, particularly its inability to cater to a wider range of music genres, that hindered us from giving it our wholehearted approval.
This is not to say though that this headphone is rubbish through and through. Apart from its rather durable make and minimalist design, one of the things that’s going for the SOL Republic Tracks HD is its price tag. It’s by no means cheap compared to other on-ear headphones in the market, but if you compare it with the likes of the Beats Solo HD, this headphone is worth a second look.
What we liked about it:
Compact and lightweight design
Durable headband design
Comes in individual parts/replaceable cable
Comes with leather carrying case
What we didn’t like:
Cups doesn’t swivel or rotate
A bit pricey
The The SOL Republic Steve Aoki Tracks HD is available at Pismo Digital Lifestyle store located at the East Wing of Shangri-La Mall and is being retailed for Php9,500.