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Sol Republic Master Tracks XC Studio - Tuned by Calvin Harris - Page 2

post #16 of 29
I own both the Master Tracks and the XC model. Whether or not the XCs are worth the extra outlay really depends on what you are looking for from these cans. The XC's sound signature is much more neutral, clean, natural and less nuanced than the more mass market sound of the original Master Tracks. It's still got a slightly exciting, quick edge to its sound, something that works well with a lot of genres, but frankly, it's actually not ideal for music like dubstep and bass heavy EDM - ironic given the association with Calvin Harris. Having said that, it's actually quite responsive to tweaking with an eq or an amp - some headphones retain their nuanced sound no matter how much you work the EQs, my main criticism of the original Master tracks was that no matter how much you played with the eq bands, they always leaned on the bass. The originals had really strong distinctive bass, that tended to overwhelm in some tracks, this is where the XCs really trump them to be honest - the bass is not as intense, but the mids and particularly the vocals and higher registers sound a lot better than what many headphones at this price point should be expected to. The relatively flat sound signature also sits inside a slightly more spacious sound stage than the original Master Tracks, so with the better clarity, you also get better separation which actually led me to conclude that I liked the XCs for classical, jazz, rock, fast electronic and vocals much more than the originals, but would probably lean towards the originals for dubstep and EDM - ironic, isn't it? Nevertheless, for those who want a set of everyday cans that can double as decent monitors, the XCs are a great option.
They seem to me a lot closer to what would happen if you try to take an audiophile type headphone and make it suitable for life on the road.

I do think the Calvin Harris tie-up will worry some people, and it might actually pull in the wrong people - those expecting that over the top bass feeling you get at EDM performances will actually be a little disappointed unless they have a good amp to push up the bass, everyone else who isn't a banstead will find them absolutely superb out of the box and even better when fed a good source.

By the way, the "pro cable" that it comes with is a very very good accessory, the design is rugged yet elegant and thankfully everything bar the drivers themselves is replaceable - something that many other companies would do well to learn from.

They might seem a tad pricey, but it's the first multi-tasking headphone that might actually make audiophiles smile.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by XCJP View Post

I own both the Master Tracks and the XC model. Whether or not the XCs are worth the extra outlay really depends on what you are looking for from these cans. The XC's sound signature is much more neutral, clean, natural and less nuanced than the more mass market sound of the original Master Tracks. It's still got a slightly exciting, quick edge to its sound, something that works well with a lot of genres, but frankly, it's actually not ideal for music like dubstep and bass heavy EDM - ironic given the association with Calvin Harris. Having said that, it's actually quite responsive to tweaking with an eq or an amp - some headphones retain their nuanced sound no matter how much you work the EQs, my main criticism of the original Master tracks was that no matter how much you played with the eq bands, they always leaned on the bass. The originals had really strong distinctive bass, that tended to overwhelm in some tracks, this is where the XCs really trump them to be honest - the bass is not as intense, but the mids and particularly the vocals and higher registers sound a lot better than what many headphones at this price point should be expected to. The relatively flat sound signature also sits inside a slightly more spacious sound stage than the original Master Tracks, so with the better clarity, you also get better separation which actually led me to conclude that I liked the XCs for classical, jazz, rock, fast electronic and vocals much more than the originals, but would probably lean towards the originals for dubstep and EDM - ironic, isn't it? Nevertheless, for those who want a set of everyday cans that can double as decent monitors, the XCs are a great option.
They seem to me a lot closer to what would happen if you try to take an audiophile type headphone and make it suitable for life on the road.

I do think the Calvin Harris tie-up will worry some people, and it might actually pull in the wrong people - those expecting that over the top bass feeling you get at EDM performances will actually be a little disappointed unless they have a good amp to push up the bass, everyone else who isn't a banstead will find them absolutely superb out of the box and even better when fed a good source.

By the way, the "pro cable" that it comes with is a very very good accessory, the design is rugged yet elegant and thankfully everything bar the drivers themselves is replaceable - something that many other companies would do well to learn from.

They might seem a tad pricey, but it's the first multi-tasking headphone that might actually make audiophiles smile.

 

All consumer lines, it seems, tend to balance out the bass more as the price goes up.  This goes for Skullcandy, Beats, and even SOL Republic...  It's odd, but true. 

post #18 of 29

Okay dude, bought these. Just for background I've owned ATH-PRO700MK2 and the ATH-M50s and also Ultrasones HFI-580 (loved those). 
Let me just say that to me personally, these are absolutely the best headphones I've owned. The clarity seems somehow to be a step above any of the aforementioned and the bass is actually more (I know you all think PRO700MK2 are so bassy) than any of them as well. I don't EQ these Headphones. These are out of the box amazing. I feel like I can hear EVERYTHING when I listen to music. The lows do NOT interfere with other parts of the music. (like I found they did with PRO700MK2)
Granted with the ATH-M50s and HFI-580s I felt like I can hear every part of the song as well. Yet I promise you these are so much more controlled and clear, it's hard to explain.
Also want to add that the comfort of these alone would sell me, and is a huge part of why I'm loving them so much.
I know I know I'm just raving to justify a 250$ purchase and you have that psychology behind my opinion, but I did feel compelled to come make this post to hopefully encourage others to give them a shot. Have fun guys! Special thanks to the OP and also Minarats, I found this off a google search and bought cause a 500+ poster (Minarats) seemed to like them. That and I was feeling compulsive. Very happy with them.

post #19 of 29
Wow. Glad to hear you like them. Awesome thoughts. They sound darn good to me as well. Enjoy the listening.
post #20 of 29

I purchased some Sol Republic Master Tracks for my son. We both thought they really sounded great. They have so much more bass than my SkullCandy Aviators and the vocals and highs in the tracks were separated nicely. So anyways, I thought they sounded so good I wanted to get some for myself to replace my aviators. When I went to he store however, they had those headphones and the Sol Republic Master Tracks XC Studio - Tuned by Calvin Harris model. I decided to get the XC's because I read that they were more balanced than even the Sol Republic Master Tracks. So I bought the XC's went home and unpackaged them, plugged them into my ipod and listened to some music. Right away, I noticed the vocals sounded more muddy than my sons regular Sol Republic Master Tracks. I tried song after song and every song the vocals sounded clearer and brighter on the Sol Republic Master Tracks rather than the Sol Republic Master Tracks XC Studio - Tuned by Calvin Harris. Even though I spent an extra $75 for the Studios, I think the highs on the Sol Republic Master Tracks sound better and more clear than the Studios. Bass sounds good on both but the highs sound better on the regular master tracks to me. Strange? Did I get a bad Studios maybe?

post #21 of 29

UPDATE: I emailed Sol Republic support and they told me to try my sons cable for his Master Tracks with my XC's. So I tried that but it sounded the same. Still muddy. After that I went ahead and took them back to Target and exchanged them for another pair of XC's. And guess what!? The new ones sound right! They have the highs now! Plus they have the mids, lows... of course. They are no longer muddy. Now I know what they are supposed to sound like. Apparently the other ones were defective some how. Now I prefer the XC's over the regular Master Tracks. They sound amazing!

post #22 of 29
Awesome. I was surprised by tour first post. Muddy wouldn't have been how I would describe the XC model. Glad you like then now you got a good pair. They are comfy and durable.
post #23 of 29

I actually just bought a pair of these out of curiosity after a quick demo in the store. I've listened to them for about an hour now and feel like I can give some first impressions.

 

These are big sounding, dynamic cans. They are noticeably not neutral, and seemed to be specifically tuned to have the treble rolled off to get a smoother sound. As a result, stringed instruments and female vocals in particular sound fairly muffled. At the same time though the rest of the signature is quite tight and admirably well controlled. The bass in particular is visceral and pretty immensely satisfying.

 

I'm feeling pretty positive about these headphones but this is definitely still one of those headphones which will please people after a particular signature. It seems like a good headphone for anyone allergic to treble sibilance.

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post

I actually just bought a pair of these out of curiosity after a quick demo in the store. I've listened to them for about an hour now and feel like I can give some first impressions.

These are big sounding, dynamic cans. They are noticeably not neutral, and seemed to be specifically tuned to have the treble rolled off to get a smoother sound. As a result, stringed instruments and female vocals in particular sound fairly muffled. At the same time though the rest of the signature is quite tight and admirably well controlled. The bass in particular is visceral and pretty immensely satisfying.

I'm feeling pretty positive about these headphones but this is definitely still one of those headphones which will please people after a particular signature. It seems like a good headphone for anyone allergic to treble sibilance.
I would assume that if these are decent for $250(us) then $125(us) on clearance at Target here in the states would be awesome. Do you think these would make a good first "high-end" headphone purchase for someone that might listen to just about anything?
post #25 of 29
I would say yes. Are they on sale at all Targets? That seems like a great deal.
post #26 of 29
I don't know if it is all Targets or just that one but they are "out of stock" online.
post #27 of 29

Just got a pair in the mail today and after a good hour of listening on them I'd have to say that so far i'm not that impressed, Yes they are more balanced than the regular master tracks but once again they've rolled the treble off like they seem to have done on every other sol republic model i've tried. Without any top end sparkle they just don't make music very fun for me. I quite enjoy the bass though, its not overpowering, has decent definition and seems to extend down fairly deep. Comfort and isolation are good and should get better as the pads wear in. I guess i'll let them burn in for a few days and see if anything improves, if not its back to the shop they go.

 

On a side note they do seem to be excellent for portable use, plugged into my Samsung Galaxy S4 i only have the volume set to 5/15 and its easily loud enough Sub bass doesn't seem to be quite as good but they still deliver a good thump in the low end.


Edited by chailee80 - 3/25/14 at 4:42am
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by chailee80 View Post

Just got a pair in the mail today and after a good hour of listening on them I'd have to say that so far i'm not that impressed, Yes they are more balanced than the regular master tracks but once again they've rolled the treble off like they seem to have done on every other sol republic model i've tried. Without any top end sparkle they just don't make music very fun for me. I quite enjoy the bass though, its not overpowering, has decent definition and seems to extend down fairly deep. Comfort and isolation are good and should get better as the pads wear in. I guess i'll let them burn in for a few days and see if anything improves, if not its back to the shop they go.

On a side note they do seem to be excellent for portable use, plugged into my Samsung Galaxy S4 i only have the volume set to 5/15 and its easily loud enough Sub bass doesn't seem to be quite as good but they still deliver a good thump in the low end.
+1
post #29 of 29
Hmmm I just bought the original master tracks here in Australia for $99 at Officeworks. I must say I'm using these with a $600 portable class A headphone amp , the Just Audio (Justin Harris from the UK) AHA 120's and I find them to be perfect for my tastes. Bass impact and slam is there when called for but polite and controlled when there's no need for it. Mids are Not recessed for me at all. The Amp makes sure of that. It's liquid and syrupy. Kind of reminds me of my Audio Technica ATH ESW9 but improved in every way. I don't like sibilance, but I do appreciate a nice airy high end with sparkle and crispness. Again these these hit. The sweet spot for me. I'm pretty sure it's the amp that makes these headphones behave very well. I can see what everybody is talking about when plugged directly into my HTC One or the iPad, I touch and iPhones. This had led me to believe that these scale up very well with better amps and better file quality songs. I do notice however these cans sound better the more power is fed to it. These are not for. Low level listening volumes! And they are indeed the most comfy headphones I wore for a long time. They are so light! I might now need to buy the Calvin Harris version to see if it synergises with the AHA 120's.
Edited by Xtralglactic - 5/6/14 at 2:02am
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