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SOL Republic intros Amps and Tracks headphone lines, we go hands-on

SOL Republic intros Amps and Tracks headphone lines, we go hands-on
Joe Pollicino
Joe Pollicino|August 23, 2011 9:03 AM
Oh my is this interesting. Monster Cable's VP of marketing Kevin Lee (a key figure involved with its Beats by Dre headphone line) has co-founded a new headphone company dubbed Soundtrack Of Life Republic, and we were able to get a very brief hands-on with some handmade prototypes. It's no secret that we're not fans of Monster around these parts, but being that SOL Republic isn't directly tied to it -- and because the headphones bring with them some interesting features without being crazy expensive -- we've decided to give them a quick whirl. It's all detailed just past the break. %Gallery-131400%
The whole line-up consists of the $60 Amps in-ears and $100 Tracks on-ear headphones, which both also come in slightly souped-up and pricier HD variations at $100 and $130, respectively. To start, the Amps in-ears look fairly simple; the ear pieces are flat and circular, and moving down the cable you'll find an iPhone-compatible remote remote with mic along with a very sturdy feeling right angle jack. The HDs look nearly identically, but gain a tangle-proof flat cable, slight color change with clear accenting and most importantly -- we're told -- clearer sound, but we weren't able to give either a listen.

Moving along to the Tracks is where things get interesting. The standard version is finished in a glossy black with a matte headband, while the HD version goes for a brushed metal look with a shiny black / see-through headband; it also comes with a soft travel pouch. There's no denying that these headphones vaguely resemble Beats, but they definitely hold their own ground. The Tracks can essentially be pulled apart into 4 pieces as the iPhone-compatible cable, sliding earcups and headband are removable. SOL refers to the drivers as "sound engines" that will eventually give users options to swap up to a different voicing without buying a new completely new set of headphones. The company also claims that the plastic headband is "nearly indestructible", and we'd agree -- after bending the clear and matte versions aggressively they mostly went back to shape without a crack or blemish. Lastly, the remote's buttons didn't have a very responsive feel, but again, these aren't production versions.

Unlike the the in-ears, we were able to give the Tracks a listen -- while there's no way to make a definitive call on sound in a few minutes of ears-on time, both headphones seem to push out an exorbitant amount of bass. With the standard definition model, Hip-hop and dubstep tracks really got the cans thumping, but the mid-range and high-end sounded veiled especially with rock tracks. Graduating to the HDs things got a bit clearer: there was better extension in the highs and the mids were clearer, all with the same amount of bass. The comfort level of the headphones was passable at best due to a lack of articulation in the earcups mixed with slim amount of padding -- we doubt these would be suitable for extended periods. Overall, the headphones didn't seem terrible for the price and they do have some interesting design elements to them. They'll be available by the month's end in a variety of colors if you're interested in finding out just how sound they are for you and your budget.

New brand introduces the first affordable headphones that deliver high-definition sound,
fashion-forward style and nearly indestructible design

San Francisco, CA, August 23, 2011 – Committed to changing the world one listener at a time, SOL REPUBLIC launched today with a line of accessibly priced on-ear and in-ear headphones. The first music lifestyle company of its kind, SOL REPUBLIC is dedicated to delivering innovation in sound, style and durability, offering amazing headphones that are affordable for virtually all music fans.

Authentic Passion for Music & Sound
"Everyone at SOL REPUBLIC believes in the power of music. It touches us and moves us in profound ways," said Kevin Lee, co-founder and CEO. "SOL REPUBLIC is a group of music lovers who have a passion to deliver better music experiences to everyone. At our core, we believe that music is the soundtrack of everyone's life and when music sounds better, you feel better. We named the company SOL REPUBLIC after that belief, SOL is an acronym for Soundtrack Of Life because music provides the soundtrack for every memory and for the profound and everyday moments in your life. Today that means engineering great-sounding, fashionable headphones and creating a community dedicated to music experiences; however, our future will take us far beyond."

Breakthrough Innovation in Sound, Style and Durability
Inspired to enhance your music, SOL REPUBLIC created its one-of-a-kind headphones from the ground up. Assembling an industry-leading team, engaging top design houses, and developing advanced materials, SOL REPUBLIC is delivering headphones that offer unmatched sound, style and durability at accessible prices.

SOL REPUBLIC is obsessed with sound quality. Hand-picking a team of top audio engineers, SOL REPUBLIC created headphones that deliver the full-bass punch and clear highs of the most demanding music, without distortion.

Recognizing all music lovers have their own unique style, SOL REPUBLIC developed the first interchangeable on-ear headphone. Featuring swappable headbands, speakers and cables in various colors, designs and performance, SOL REPUBLIC on-ear Tracks headphones can be customized to match your style, music and desired performance.

Beyond great sound and style, SOL REPUBLIC also addresses one of the most common consumer complaints – headphones that break. SOL REPUBLIC conducted extensive materials research to create the ultimate on-ear headphone that can withstand any lifestyle. The result is a proprietary advanced new polymer called FlexTech™, which makes Tracks virtually indestructible.

"It's time for all music fans to own a headphone with great sound and style that can withstand the realities of everyday use. SOL REPUBLIC hits that mark," continued Lee. "After more than a year of development, we're thrilled to launch our innovative company and its unique headphones."
The Music Fanatics Behind SOL REPUBLIC

SOL REPUBLIC is comprised of die-hard music fans, including its three co-founders, Kevin Lee, Scott Hix and Seth Combs. All three are veterans of the consumer electronics industry, from development and design to marketing, sales and distribution. Their common bond is a passion for music and to create the best audio experience. Lee, SOL REPUBLIC's CEO, is a longtime senior executive of Monster Cable and credited for driving the widely popular Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ line of headphones at Monster. Hix, President and COO, is a longtime senior executive with more than two decades of experience running consumer and custom electronics companies. Combs, the company's CMO, is a passionate music aficionado with an extensive background working with a gamut of businesses, from Fortune 500 companies to Bay Area start-ups.
SOL REPUBLIC's Groundbreaking Headphones

Starting at $59.99, SOL REPUBLIC on-ear and in-ear headphones are offered in both standard and HD models. Each headphone features a unique sound signature, fashion-forward look and includes a remote and mic for today's music lover.

Offering signature sound, extra-wide ear cushions for comfort, and nearly indestructible construction, the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks on-ear headphones start at $99.99. All Tracks on-ear headphones have interchangeable headbands and cables and SOL REPUBLIC will offer different finishes, colors and designs for its Tracks and Tracks HD headphones.
SOL REPUBLIC's Amps in-ear headphones feature unique construction, signature sound and are offered in both standard and premium HD performance. Amps start at $59.99.

SOL REPUBLIC headphones and headsets will be available at nationwide consumer electronics and specialty retail stores late August 2011.


SOL REPUBLIC is a global electronics lifestyle company dedicated to enhancing people's lives through better-sounding headphones. Comprised of music lovers, SOL REPUBLIC develops its products from the ground up to make the best headphones that look, sound and feel unlike anything else in the market. SOL REPUBLIC has offices in California, Oregon and New York City and is developing an army of followers, fans and dreamers in its worldwide social media communities. For more information, please visit www.solrepublic.com.