Soul may not be the first company when you think of high-quality headphones, but after reviewing a few of their products — like the Soul SS19 and Soul X-Shock — it’s clear that the company has a lot to offer. Now, it’s time to take a look at the company’s over-ear headphones — the Soul X-Tra over-ear headphones, which are designed specifically for sports use.
But few on-ear and over-ear sports headphones live up to their promises. After all, it’s much harder to build a pair of headphones that can stay on your head during intense workouts, while still being lightweight and offering a good sound quality. Can the Soul X-Tra over-ear headphones deliver? We put them to the test to find out.
The Soul X-Tra over-ear headphones are clearly built for sport — as can be seen by their design. The headphones are available in a few different colors — black, and black with blue accents. We’re reviewing the headphones with blue accents.
Soul has made a few design decisions that makes it clear these headphones are built for sport. For example, the headband has holes in it, which not only lends itself to that sporty look, but also helps with the air flow while you’re working out.
One feature that these headphones have over others is that it has four “safety lights,” which you can turn on when you’re running at night, for example. The lights are all found on the back of the ear cups, and we think including them is an excellent idea. To turn them on, you simply hit the volume up and volume down buttons at the same time. While we had to read the instructions to figure that out, it’s easy to remember, which is nice.
The left ear cup is relatively basic, but on the right ear cup you’ll find a series of controls and ports. There’s a central control button, which is used for power and playback, and two large volume controls. It’s nice that the buttons are so big, as it makes it easy to control the headphones while you’re working out. The right ear cup is also where you’ll find a MicroUSB charging port, and an aux port.
In the box, apart from the headphones, you’ll find a MicroUSB cable, aux cable, and a really nice hard case that should keep your headphones nice and protected when they’re in a bag or purse. That case also has a small carabineer attached to it — but we wouldn’t recommend using it for more than hanging your headphones for things, as it’s built from plastic.
The Soul X-Tra headphones are thankfully relatively comfortable, which is good news for those that want to take them running or to the gym. That’s despite the lack of padding in the headband — we found that the headphones were light enough for that not to matter too much.
The Soul X-Tra headphones are only barely over-ear headphones — they can fit around the outer ear, but they also press on some parts of the ear. It’s not a big deal, but it is something to keep in mind.
One thing we did find was that the headphones didn’t have enough clamp to stay on the head in all situations. They certainly will stay on during running and most upright exercises at the gym, but we found that in exercises where you might have to lie down — like stomach crunches — they almost fell off a few times.
When it comes to sports headphones, you might find comfort just as important as sound quality — or perhaps even more so. Still, that doesn’t mean that sound isn’t important at all. So how do the Soul X-Tra headphones do when it comes to sound quality? Not bad, but they won’t break any records.
Let’s start with the bass, which is relatively heavy, but not quite as extensive as it could be. There’s a lot of bass, to be sure, but it could have a little more extension.
The mid range is interestingly tuned. In general, the headphones seem very mid heavy. There’s plenty of low mids, giving the sound a ton of warmth — and sometimes a bit of mud too. The high mids are a little over the top. These headphones could definitely have benefited from a slight high-mid cut.
The highs are decently tuned, but like the bass we could have used a bit more high-end extension. The highs that are there seem nice and bright, which is good, but there isn’t quite the clarity and detail we would have liked.
In general, the sound quality isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either. The headphones certainly have better high-end response than many other headphones, and while the bass doesn’t extend as low as it could, the bass that is there is nice and thick.
When it comes to performance, the Soul X-Tra headphones connect to your listening device through Bluetooth 4.0, meaning you should get a listening range of 10 meters, or 33 feet. We didn’t experience any real skips or jumps during playback.
The battery life of the headphones is actually really quite good. It comes in at 24 hours of listening on a single charge, which is excellent for their size. If you turn the safety light on, you’ll only get 8 hours — but that’s not a big deal.
So are the Soul X-Tra sports headphones the way to go? Well, they have a lot to offer. They’re well-designed and relatively comfortable — but the don’t have the best sound-quality and suffer from some comfort issues.
Still, there isn’t much over-ear sports headphone competition. If you’re looking for a great pair of over-ear headphones and like the idea of safety lights then these are an excellent pair of headphones to go for. Of course, you’ll have to deal with the idea of them falling off during some exercises, and the slightly sub-par sound-quality.
Because of their quality, we’ve awarded the Soul X-Tra headphones the Headphone Review Bronze Medal.
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20kHz||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||40mm||Noise attenuation||No|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||24 Hours|
|Maximum input power
||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
||Bluetooth 4.0||Cable length||1.2m (4ft)|
||Yes||Case type||Hard case|
|Weight||198g (7.0oz)||Colors||Black, black and blue|