Soul by Ludacris SL150
Soul by Ludacris SL150 ($199)
Smack dab in the middle of Soul's line-up between the full-size, noise cancelling SL300, and the on-ear SL100, is the SL150. This is a fairly large headphone, but I have a hard time considering it a circumaural (around the ear) headphone as the ear pads are fairly small for its size, and they do rest on your ears.
Built almost entirely out of various plastic materials, the build quality appears to be fairly good. The SL150 is available in gloss white or black on the outside with logo badges on each earpiece. Inside the headband parts are black on both models. Hinges and sliding adjustments have metal parts and appear to be well constructed. The headband pad is tuck and roll pleather covered, which provides ample cushion for the top of your noggin. Earpads are pleather and rather small, but do seal effectively and are fairly comfortable.
The SL150 fits nicely on my head, and seems to provide a good range of adjustment. Sliders keep their position well once adjusted. I would say these headphones are moderately secure on the head --- they'll certainly keep their position well for normal home and office movement, but they wouldn't be secure enough for vigorous activity like running or exercise at the gym.
Included with the SL150 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 SL150 is a simple but handsome hard-sided clam-shell case with zipper closure and interior mesh pocket for the cable.
I fully expected these headphones to be disappointing. A middle of the line product in the "celebrity headphone" category doesn't promise much for an audiophile. Well ... that's what you get for thinking too much, these headphones are pretty good. I'd say very good among celebrity cans at this price, but also pretty good compared to all headphones at around $200. Certainly not a front runner, but also not a three-legged, sway back nag tarted up in gloss black and red a half a lap behind the pack in the sound quality race.
I like emphasized bass when it's tight and the emphasis occurs from 150Hz and below. The SL150 is essentially flat from 500Hz and below, which means they're not really as bass emphatic as they are warm tilted. The good news is that the bass is fairly tight sounding and has decent punch, unlike many bass-emphasized cans where the bass is loose and one-note sounding. But the broad emphasis does create a situation where the low mids and below can seem a bit overpowering and cluttered at times.
The midrange is likewise tilted down as it transitions into the treble and has body and warmth, though somewhat at the expense of presence and articulation. Highs are recessed, but are smooth, articulate, and fairly uncluttered.
I've heard a lot of uneven headphones in the past, and do not think these headphones fail in that way. My general impression of these headphones is that they're veiled or distant sounding, but overall the presentation is fairly coherent, again with the exception of the lower mids and bass, which can get a bit unruly at times. Imaging on the SL150 is moderately good, as are the dynamics. All in all, they are a good headphone for the price, and very good when considered in the field of "Celebrity Headphones."
Nice job, Ludacris!
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