A week with: Sol Republic Tracks HD and Master Tracks

After a bit of light DIY, some seamless sounds

Price: £99.99/£169.99 from Apple stores, John Lewis and Dixons
Compatability: devices with a 3.5mm jack

What are they?

Ever since Beats by Dr Dre was launched six years ago, its big, brash headphones have appeared on ears everywhere. But having joined the masses, I was stung three times with pairs of Beats 'phones and their – in my experience – disappointing build quality. Sure, they looked great and sounded good at first, but after a few months of listening (and jogging, commuting, working and chilling) they buckled.

Not only that, but I'd felt that their wow factor was on the wane, what with huge bunches of knock-off versions festooning every other stall in the market near my house. So when I was sent two pairs of headphones to test from newish kid on the block Sol Republic – whose chief executive Kevin is the son of Monster (the brand behind Beats) founder Noel Lee, and used to work on the Dre 'phones – I was intrigued. How different could these cans be?

First up was the cheaper Tracks HD and, right from opening the box, they caught me off guard. You need to do some light DIY to get them going because what you get are two separate ear pieces, a cable and a thick plastic strip. This strip, made from Sol Republic's "FlexTech" polymer, is the headpiece on to which you have to slide the ear bits. The idea is two-fold. Firstly, it means you can customise your Tracks with different colour bands (and leads) and, secondly, the headpiece is so sturdy (the brand call it "virtually indestructible" and offers a 1,000-day guarantee) that it should withstand almost everything you throw at it.

Sol Republic's most recent release, the Master Tracks , are an even sturdier beast. Over-ear and kitted out in a Mastermind chair's worth of black leather, they're the company's top-of-the-range offering. The changeable band is still a feature, as is a three-button remote on the cable.

Do they work?

When it comes to headphones, sound is hugely important to me. Not so much the quality (I spend my days listening to, at best, Daft Punk, and at worst, Carly Rae Jepsen), but the amount that leaks out. I loathe hearing other people's tunes and I would hate myself if I polluted anyone else's commute with the tinny hiss of "Get Lucky".

I'd read that the Tracks HD, by nature of their on-ear design, were prone to some sound leakage, but despite testing them at varying volumes at close proximity to friends and family – "CAN YOU HEAR IT NOW?" – no one reported a whisper. The Master Tracks were so superbly solid, I had no qualms in cranking up the volume. Soundwise, Jepsen's repertoire might not have been the greatest test, but both pairs offered balanced, immersive sound.

Are they worth the money?

Neither pair is cheap, despite Sol Republic's intention to bring affordable audio to all. But I was impressed by the look, sound, fit and sturdiness of these sets. My favourites were the Tracks HD, but for a pair of forever 'phones, you could do a lot worse than those Mastermind-style Master Tracks.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Java Developer

    £30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all