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.

Sound Quality
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!

On to the measurements, summary, and video ...

Signeo USA, LLC
1025 Greenwood Blvd
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Gil G.'s picture

i just wonder, are they comfortable? looks like they hace plenty of cushion, but i dont really want my ears to sweat too much, just looking for some options on portable headphone (that look good and sound good)

thanks a million for the review Tyll!

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Keep your eye out for a review coming soon in this series. Less than a week.
koroshikeiv's picture

i currently have the ultrasone dj1 pro, so is the sl 150 worth it as my next headphones?

primadio's picture

Hello my name nigel
I get confused on choosing a good headphone between soul sl150, sl300, beats studio. Can you give me a recommendation of the best one?

It's better you reply it to my email
I need a solution of this hahaha, I have thinking of this problem a week but I don't know which is the best.

Thanks before :D

Tyll Hertsens's picture
The SL150 is the best of the bunch. You can also go look at the "Wall of Fame." Link at the top of the page.
primadio's picture

is akg that the price is around 200$-300$ better than soul sl150? and what is the type?

Tyll Hertsens's picture
The AKG K550? It's WAY better then the Soul SL150. Full-size sealed.
primadio's picture

Thanks a lot for your recommedation Tyll :D

LucasSA97's picture

Tyll, i want cool, good sounding and sounding headphones, im almost sure about the souls sl150s because they are very nice looking!and i don't have a lot of budget, and i also have a friend that can sell me new sl150s for $140!
I want to buy good and long lasting headphones that are worth the money

awake's picture

Thanks for doing a very balanced review that attempts to connect with the target market for this product. It is not geared at "old school" audiophiles or those that prefer industrial looks for headphones.

I was an audiophile. Now I am a "mid-fi" guy that has different needs for my gear: style, internet/mobile integration, etc.

I have purchased several pairs of "hi-mid-fi" headphones in the past only to break them  (including bose, shure, etc.)... So I wanted a product that is inexpensive, sounds decent, has good build quality, and looks decent. (These days headphones are an expression of style, just like clothes, cars, etc.)

Most of my listening is rap, pop, rock, audio books, and movies. (Once upon a time, I listened to classical and jazz but that has changed as I have aged...weird. I know.)

I bought the Soul headphones based upon your review. I paid $99 for them, so I feel like I came out ahead. They are a good product if you have my listening interests. If you are into other types of music then maybe they arent a good fit. It is important to realize that recordings for classical music have a different intent. synthetic music recordings dont have a lot soundstage. They are really about transfering the energy of the music with intense sounds (often high or low).

Hi Fidelity had to "move over" a bit to accomodate Home Theater. It is time for Hi Fidelity to "warm" up to rap. It isnt going away and two whole generations of Americas (at least) are now fans...

BusterBitz's picture

Which one is better in sound quality? The SL 150s or  the Skullcandy Aviators??

Ineedgoodheadphones's picture

when you said that these headphones were better than the beats. did you mean like just the solos or a few of them. and do you have any recommendations for me. i am looking for a headphone under 200$ that provides good sound, pure bass, and noise canceling.