Celebrities and DJs often lend their name to the headphones that will be associated with their abilities and status. Dr. Dre is the proof that it works. His Beats headphones has gone from 0 to 100 in just a few years and is now one of the world's most famous and copied headphone brands.
Beats began as a partnership with Monster, which no longer is in the picture and making their own headphones. Kevin Lee, son of Monster founder Noel Lee, started SOL Republic when the partnership between Monster and Beats ceased, and of course also has celebrities in his stable.
For example, the Scottish DJ Calvin Harris. He not only lent his name to the headphones we test here, it is also said that he has been involved with the fine tuning of the sound.
That means he is very much responsible for the sound of the Master Tracks XC. The headphones are well built, with removable, sealed covers. The headband is easy to replace if you should be unlucky and crack the solid yoke structure (not very likely) or want one in a different color (more likely). The cables must be attached in a Y to each of the cups and have remote control for iPhone. It includes a 6.3-mm adapter and coiled cord for home use, as well as a case.
The ear cups are so small that they rest on the ear instead of enclosing it. On my head, which is of normal size, the pads pressed so hard that it felt uncomfortable after only half an hour. So try them before you buy to make sure you´re ok with this.
Listen to them as well. This is no headphone you just buy without listening to them first. As long as one does not like a warm, mellow, dark tone, rather than a well-balanced and more neutral sound stage, that is. Calvin Harris has not given priority to an open, transparent and detailed soundstage. The treble is markedly retracted, there is not much 'color' in the sound and the midrange does not convey much detail.
SOL Republic Master Tracks XC sounds like a typical celebrity headphone. With more emphasis on the bass and dynamics than finesse and musicality. From this perspective, it has a limited repertoire and doesn´t do well at all with classical music. Rap, pop and dance music works well, however, and if that´s your thing it is possible that Calvin Harris is on the right track.
- LISTEN LIKE A PRO
Made for professional music creators, studio-tuned by Calvin Harris
XC sound engines are sonically accurate for music creation. Precise, punchy bass with extended low frequencies - incredibly clear and present vocals with a powerful dynamic range
- STUDIO INSPIRED DESIGN
Premium stitched fabric and spun metal finishes reflects the luxury of a professional studio
- LONG LISTENING COMFORT
Ultra light and extra large around ear cushions makes it easy to listen for hours.
- PROFESSIONAL CABLE
6-foot long coiled pro cable with detachable “never lose” 1/4-inch adapter
- MIC + MUSIC CONTROL CABLE
Additional cable with mic + 3 button remote lets you answer/hang-up calls, adjust the volume, and pause/resume/skip your music
- VIRTUALLY INDESTRUCTIBLE
Flextech™ headband, tough enough for the road