Soul by Ludacris SL100
Soul by Ludacris SL100 ($149)
The SL100 is a sealed, on-ear headphone. Generally, the advantage of a headphone of this type is its small, convenient size. The SL100 is one of the larger headphones of this type and I wonder if that's really a good idea. It seems to me Ludacris would have been better off producing a significantly smaller headphone to differentiate it more strongly from its only slightly larger big brother, the SL150 --- which I found quite satisfying.
The SL100 is gloss black on the outside with either a gloss red or blue accent color on the inside of the headband and around the earpiece, and has a nicely finished "Soul" logo brandishing the outside of each earpiece. Inside the headband is a fairly large tuck-and-roll pleather pad that provides ample cushion for the top of your head. Earpads are moderately sized for this type of headphone and provide a fairly good seal, but because these cans are fairly large they feel a bit clumsy and uncomfortable.
Most headphones of this type are lighter, and therefore somewhat more comfortable and secure on the head. For example, the SL100 weighs 212 grams; the AKG Q460 (a similar celebrity headphone) weighs 116 grams; the V-Moda V-80 weighs 182 grams; the Beyerdynamic DT1350 188 grams, and the Sennheiser PX 200IIi a mere 78 grams. The Soul by Ludacris SL150 weighs only a bit more than the SL100 at 245 grams. I like the look and build quality of these headphones, but the ergonomics leave something to be desired.
Included with the SL100 is a removable and nicely finished 48 inch flat profile cable with iPhone/iPod/iPad three-button remote. The cable is terminated at the ear with a straight 1/8" miniplug, and with a 90-degree angle 1/8" miniplug at the working end. This plug is a little short and may not reach fully to the jack on very heavy duty protective cases. It does fit on my Otterbox Defender case, but just barely. Also included with the SL100 is a simple but handsome soft-sided, padded case with zipper closure.
The previously reviewed SL150 was a fairly good sounding headphone in my opinion, but the SL100 is a bit disappointing. The bass is reasonably extended and tight, but the mids and highs are substantially recessed, giving these headphones a rather lackluster sound.
The mids I hear are a bit confused sounding; voices and instruments pile up on each other in a somewhat indecipherable wad. The treble is fairly articulate and natural sounding, but further recessed than the mids leaving me feeling the music lacked sparkle.
I wouldn't say these were the miserable fail the Beats Solo were for me, but there are many better sounding headphones in this class. The Skullcandy Roc Nation Aviators are excellent, for example. The House of Marley Exodus is surprisingly good sounding and has strong bass, though the ergonomics are a bit strange. If you're really interested in Ludacris cans, I highly suggest you save up the $50 more and get the SL150.
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