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Sol Republic Tracks Headphones (Black) review: Sol Republic Tracks Headphones (Black)

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Company reps made a point of showing us how that headband was bendable yet very strong and it looks like you won't have a problem with it ever breaking. We compared these with the more expensive Editors' Choice AiAiAi TMA1 that have some similarly rugged characteristics, and while I found that model more comfortable to wear over the long term, it's bulkier and designed with DJs in mind.

The Tracks review sample I tested had a glossy black finish on the outer part of the earphone, as well as on the integrated remote (you can skip tracks forward and back and adjust the volume up and down on Android and iOS smartphones), which makes them look flashy, but there's a downside: the finish attracts fingerprints and makes the headphones appear grubbier after extended use. That shortcoming aside, the Tracks have a distinct look and I generally liked their design.

The Tracks definitely have some kick to them, and as I said earlier, their sound leans toward the aggressive end of the spectrum, accentuating the bass and treble, stopping just short of being overbearing. They're going to sound their best with songs that have big, thumping bass, in genres like hip-hop, rap, and techno.

The start of Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind," has a thudding bass line--if you've heard the song, you know the one I mean. Well, with the Tracks, I had to turn down the volume because the earphones were literally vibrating on my head.

I also had to ratchet back Pitbull's "Give Me Everything," which had lots of punch, just not the most terribly refined punch. Switching to bands like The National, Kings of Leon, and Wilco, that lack of refinement becomes more apparent: you're just not going to get the detail, warmth, and presence that you get from higher-end headphones. But those headphones generally cost closer to $200, and like I said, the Tracks sound is tonally similar to the aforementioned AiAiAi TMA1, though the AiAiAi headphones are slightly more neutral.

For $99, you can't expect the world, and the Tracks don't deliver the world, but they certainly are quite decent headphones for the money. Alas, we didn't have the upcoming Tracks HD to compare them to, but that model is supposed to offer more detail and clarity with similar big bass.

These headphones are targeted at a certain type of listener, someone who's considering a model like the Beats Solo (or any Beats headphones) and doesn't want to pay the Beats premium. If that's the type of person you are, the Sol Republic Tracks are certainly worth a long listen. They largely deliver on their promise of offering good sound and durability for an affordable price.

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