Buying a sound system is one thing. Whether it’s for a car, a living room, or a bona fide home theater, the differences often come down to how well the system in question handles various environmental setups and whether or not it distorts at higher or lower volumes. However, since the ’70s, another market has emerged in the form of headphones and their related paraphernalia. Anyone who experienced the joy of consumer headphones back in the day will agree that they’ve come a long way in terms of quality and comfort, but the decision of what headphones, or earphones, to buy nowadays can be a tough one to make.
Almost every major retail outlet from Wal-Mart to Sears to college campus stores offers a rack of headphones and earphones. Most of the time, it’s the likely suspects: Logitech, Sony, Skullcandy, and the like. But recently, a new contender has emerged into the market. Sol Republic and its following of so-called Soldiers of Sound stand strong in the face of established opposition, arms crossed, confident, and ready to stake their claim in the world of durable, affordable, quality headphones. A relative infant with its 2011 founding when compared to timeless giants like Logitech and Sony, Sol Republic touts its mission statement as one of bringing sound to the masses at prices that the masses can afford. It offers both the standard over-ear headphones as well as in-canal earphones.
When considering its headphones, one thing definitely worth noting is the proprietary FlexTech Sol Republic uses to construct the overhead bridge. All too often, it happens that a consumer buys a new pair of headphones only to have the bridge snap or crack a month or two later, at best requiring some electrical tape and at worst completely totaling the unit. The Sol Republic has done away with this worry.
With their FlexTech bridges, Sol Republic headphones can be bent and twisted into ridiculous positions without fear of breaking. Sound quality from Sol Republic headphones and earphones alike has been largely praised by the audio community for its fullness and clarity at both high and low volume levels.
At the forefront of its features is Sol Republic’s focus on bass, with some critics claiming that they even had to tune the volume down on certain tracks to keep the headphones from shaking on their heads. Likewise, Sol Republic earphones deliver similar quality and bass levels, making them ideal choices at their price points for consumers primarily interested in bass-heavy genres like electronic, hip-hop, and popular music. Sol Republic headphones also lend themselves to part replacement and customization. Where most headphones are connected by sets of wires, Sol Republic versions can be taken apart and swapped out.
The Not So Great
The Sol Republic has a lot going for it considering its sound quality and its price, but it is not without its flaws. Common complaints among critics regarding its headphones often involve a lack of comfort with the overhead design over prolonged listening periods. Another complaint is the amount of bass boosting present in all Sol Republic products. Ideal for listeners chiefly concerned with the lower frequencies, the bass is sometimes cited as overpowering in genres like classical, rock, and acoustic. Also occasionally mentioned is the slide-adjusting design of the headphones, which differs from the norm in that each speaker can be adjusted independently and, in fact, can even be slipped off entirely if the user slides it too far down. Although that complaint is uncommon, some critics do report it being relatively easy to adjust one speaker more than the other, leading to an unbalanced appearance.
The Bottom Dollar
When it comes to headphones and earphones, trying before buying isn’t always an option. Research is a great tool in making the right choice. With regard to the Sol Republic specifically, for the audiophile interested in true, flat sound, it probably isn’t the right choice. For bass-lovers, however, there really isn’t anything better for the price than the Sol Republic.