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Sol Republic Master Tracks XC Studio - Tuned by Calvin Harris

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I was out shopping this weekend and noticed a new set of Sol Republic Master Tracks over-the-ear headphones available - the Master Tracks XC Studio tuned by Calvin Harris.

 

The promo material on the Sol Republic site along with the video with Calvin Harris indicate the Master Tracks XC was reengineered and re-tuned to make them for use in a Music Production setting.

 

http://www.solrepublic.com/mastertracksxc

 

I briefly had the Master Tracks and enjoyed how light and comfortable they were.....probably one of the most comfortable headphones I've encountered due to the memory foam ear pads. However, the sound for me was incredibly over-tuned for bass and just a muddy/dark headphone with recessed mid's and a flat treble sound. The best I could describe the sound would be like listening to club music from outside the club. All you heard was the pounding bass with everything else being muffled.

 

I came across an early review online that was fairly positive on the improved sound of the XC. 

 

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/tech/342931/EXCLUSIVE-First-review-of-Sol-Republic-s-Master-Tracks-XC

 

Just curious if anyone got a chance to listen to these new cans and maybe compare them to the original Master Tracks.

post #2 of 29

Has anyone auditioned these? All the reviews I've read have been positive so far. I'd be interested in using these for music production.

post #3 of 29

I am very interested in these too. 

post #4 of 29

yeah, not much info on these as far as music production goes. The closest I've seen is Laid Back Luke on twitter saying he's going to use them for production. But this could be biased as he is sponsored by SOL Republic.

 

https://twitter.com/LaidbackLuke/status/386937069668294656

post #5 of 29
I listened to these today and was amazed. I had no expectations though so that may have had something to do with it. Both the regular master tracks and xc sounded good, with the xc sounding a little better, less bass heavy and more neutral
post #6 of 29

I received mine in the post yesterday. They are great. I think they will go someway to giving this brand a better reputation. They're comfy as hell, and sound way better than any Beats hp I've heard. They compare favourably with any hp I own. Bass is tight and goes deep with great definition and the mids and highs are very good as well. They're not an "airy" sounding can , but they punch very well, and excel with electronic and dance styles.

post #7 of 29
I need to hear these with my music. What I heard was the display and its music. I am interested in these now though. Comfy, lightweight, durable, sounds great.
post #8 of 29
I'm actually surprised these don't get more play here on head-fi. I guess I shouldn't though. The Sol Republic brand I'm sure scares most away, but they should try them. Very surprised myself.
post #9 of 29

hi minarets,

 

i've been trying for ages to find a comparison between the regular master tracks (x3) and the calvin harris sponsored ones (xc). so far i've come up short. i even tried emailing sol republic and contacting them on their facebook page but alas no reply.

 

i tried the regular master tracks in hmv the other day. i found them maybe a little bit too bassy for my own tastes. i listen to a wide range; house, drum & bass, classic rock, heavy rock, metal, bit of pop, orchestral film scores. calvin harris' own music sounded great through them but some older metal (iron maiden) was a bit overwhelmed by the bass. i should also note i will use these mainly with an iphone. so far i've converted all my songs to 128kbps (don't crucify me) for space reasons, but am thinking if i get some decent headphones i should probably feed them with something better (mostly 320 kbps in my itunes).

 

yours is the only comment i've seen regarding the two different master tracks. can i pester you for any other thoughts on them? what music did you test them out with? they were in a display, right? how were the mids? do you think there's an appreciable difference between them, enough to justify a £60 price increase!?

 

i truly love the design of these. if anything i prefer the matte gunmetal of the regular ones, but i suppose i can put up with some (muted red) colour if the calvin harris xcs really sound that much better...

 

thanks for any info you can provide :)

 

Quote:
I listened to these today and was amazed. I had no expectations though so that may have had something to do with it. Both the regular master tracks and xc sounded good, with the xc sounding a little better, less bass heavy and more neutral
post #10 of 29
Yes man, the XC were $50 better to me. They seemed more neutral, but still had good bass impact and great clarity. I didn't get to use them with my own music, however. It was the sample music so I, too, am looking for more reviews of the XC, or a place to sample them


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post #11 of 29
hi, thanks very much for that! it's frustrating when hmv won't let me try the xcs. i even asked what their returns policy was; i was thinking about buying them and trying them in the shop, then asking for a refund if i didn't like them, but they said they can't do refunds on electrical goods (i'm sure that's against the law but couldn't be bothered to argue)...

i'm happy to take a risk on them now, knowing at least that they aren't so bass-heavy as the regular master tracks. now where to find them...

i don't want to pay £230 for them in hmv. to me that's ridiculous. hmv sells the regular master tracks for £170. calvin harris' own website sells the xcs for £170! but as i found out yesterday, shipping is a crazy £37 (i reckon this includes an assumed import/customs fee from usa). any on ebay also come to the same total, specifying ~£10 for shipping and ~$60 for customs. any other ideas? maybe it will be hmv after all, paying an extra £20 to have them on the day might be better than a possible couple of weeks waiting for delivery...

thanks for replying
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minarets View Post

Yes man, the XC were $50 better to me. They seemed more neutral, but still had good bass impact and great clarity. I didn't get to use them with my own music, however. It was the sample music so I, too, am looking for more reviews of the XC, or a place to sample them


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
post #12 of 29
I'd love to hear your review when you get them. I'm still on the door step trying to decide if I want them too. I was thinking ATH M50 but really like the in store demo. I just don't trust that without listening to my music.

Please let me know what you think when they arrive.
post #13 of 29
so i bought them last weekend; very happy with them. got the master tracks xc, the red ones "tuned by calvin harris" (though i wonder how involved he was - could have just slapped his name & face on it after it was tuned by anyone else who recognised the regular master tracks are too muddy & bassy).

 

anyway, they definitely are much better than the regular master tracks. i still wasn't allowed to sample the xcs in store (hmv), so spent a good 25 minutes sampling the regular ones with my own music; basically to confirm for myself where i thought they were lacking (or consider whether i'd been too harsh on them the first time). i don't know much about headphones but i've had a few sound systems in cars, and the regular ones sounded like a cheap 12" sub-woofer in the boot. very capable bass, but totally drowns out everything else. it seems like the one token attempt to compensate was simply whacking up a simple "treble" dial by a few degrees. the mids get lost, and vocals often came out a bit tinny.

 

the xcs on the other hand, sound like a decent 10" sub (in my car analogy). perhaps can't reach the impressive rumble-the-windows-of-kfc-as-you-slowly-drive-by but they've had a much more pleasing (to me) punchiness with all the genres i've thrown at them so far. i'm coming from cheap in-ear ones so i'm more than happy to have any bass at all. 

 

the mids are great. in comparison with the regular master tracks, the mids are actually there. of course they sound great with anything electronic, dance music, but i'm so relieved they capture everything in all the rock music i listen to. anything produced with half-way decent production values in the studio sound great, but i'm more impressed with what the xcs found in slightly-crappier-produced music. oasis' first album was not made with the biggest budget and has always sounded 'less' than their later work, but these headphones made it sound way better. bass was there, rhythm guitars were crunchy and clear, and the vocals stood out plenty. very impressive.

 

earlier stuff like iron maiden, kiss, david bowie; all sounded great, although the albums of theirs i have have all been remastered at some point, so already had a head-start. can't complain though, 30 year old classics sounding like they were recorded yesterday :)

 

the first music i put through them was dutifully calvin harris' last album. predictably sounded great. like i said, anything electronic sounds amazing. drum & bass was punchy, dub step (don't shoot me) was suitably distinctive, mixing deep rumbly bass with high-pitched effects and screeching. pendulum was great, mixing a lot of heavily produced drums and bass with guitar work standing out clearly. hip hop & rap very enjoyable, though with rap i still reckon the treble could be boosted a tiny bit more (mainly for vocals) but to be honest i can tolerate the effort to set an eq setting somewhere in itunes for that.

 

quiet piano was fine, if not brilliant. ludovico einaudi, christopher o'riley, both mix piano with a bit of light orchestra, with the latter often starting delicate and light, and ending up thundering up and down the piano with a big epic sound, which the xcs coped very well with. the lighter moments could be a bit less muddy, but again i don't mind fiddling with the odd eq setting here and there. i reckon i can't complain considering how good i find them elsewhere.

 

big orchestra: movie/game soundtrack sound fantastic. i reckon the best genre i've thrown at them (slightly odd considering they're supposedly tuned for electronic dance producers, but thanks anyway calvin harris!). harry potter scores, lord of the rings & the hobbit, halo 4, all presented perfectly, from tiny moments of hovering violins to massive explosions of full strings, brass, with plenty of percussion. i feel like an idiot gushing about them but it did occur to me that i felt like i could hear every instrument.

 

well worth £60 over the regular master tracks. wouldn't even consider those. they just don't work, unless you want your bass to flood out over everything else. these are more neutral but way better balanced, which means they suit a huge range of music.

 

i prefer the matte gunmetal grey finish of the regular ones over the subtle red xcs, but they still look fantastic nonetheless. no tacky branding other than the sleek sol republic logo on the cans (calvin harris written on the inside of the headband, nice touch). two cables to plug in (one each per can) which i understand is less preferable to djs, but that doesn't bother me. i used to hate accidentally tugging on the cables of my in-ear phones; as i like to run the cable inside any coat or jacket. the cables attach to the xcs' cans very securely; you'd never tug them out, and for that, they're infinitely better and more comfortable.

 

i had them on for a good hour yesterday each way into town and back, and they were very comfortable. apart from a slightly sweaty ear (are my ears unhealthy? do i need to go to an ear gym?) they were perfect.

 

one thing: because of the way they sit on the headband, if you take them off your ears to hang around your neck, the band naturally tightens so the cans don't sit on your collarbone, they bunch up right under your chin. they're not small cans either, so i felt a bit uncomfortable, but i didn't buy them to be a necklace, i bought them to sound good. which they do. hooray.

 

most expensive thing i've ever bought without trying, but i hope this helps anyone else thinking about these.

post #14 of 29
Awesome! Thanks so much. I sure do wish I could hear these with my music before buying them. Great review. So my ears didn't deceive me, the master tracks XC def were more neutral than the original master tracks which had lots more bass, from what I remember from the sample music. I really am torn on my next purchase.
post #15 of 29
Rickjames,

Checking in...you still like them? Any more thoughts? Have they changed any with some burn in?
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