In the same ballpark as the hideously expensive but high quality Dr Dre models, the fashion-led Skullcandy brand, and the previously-reviewed sharply styled Aerial7 offerings, the Wicked Audio Solus Headphones are designed for street and for DJing, and specially for folk who don’t mind making a point of wearing them.
They’ve got DJ features alongside the urban feel – but in the case of the Wicked Audio Solus, they also have another desirable feature: A low price. So they question is, at this price point, are they good enough for the job?
First impressions and unboxing
The box itself feels very Beats by Dr Dre – lots of pseudo-revolutionary graffiti leanings in the styling – but once you’re inside it’s less Beats, more Skullcandy territory.
The first thing you think is “chunky”, with a thick, two-colour (red and black) padded headband and oversized padded ear padding. Thew second thing you think is “plastic” – they are undeniably a plasticky design, with the hinges, Y-attachments and earcups themselves unadulterated plastic.
The (hardwired) cable is braided in red material, which is a nice touch, and has an inline volume control with a mono/stereo switch (I have no idea why the latter). Bear in mind this is just an analogue control; it doesn’t have transport for smartphones etc built in.
It’s quite a short cable and would be fine for street use / close-quarters DJing, but there’s also a thin, quite long extension cable provided which I struggled to think of a real use for – in DJing, you really want a coiled cable if it’s long, as otherwise it’ll get under your feet. Still, extra cables shouldn’t be sniffed at. There’s a soft, cheap carry bag and an 1/8″ to 1/4″ jack adaptor too.
The earcups swivel close to 180 degrees up/down and out/in in classic DJ headphone style, meaning one.eared cueing however you like to do it is not going to be an issue with these.
They’re reasonably comfortable to wear, although the faux leather padding doesn’t do an amazing job of cutting out background noise. Having said that, it’s no worse than al lot of headphone at this price.
I reckon after a while they’re going to become a bit uncomfortable (depending on your head size) as they exerted quite a grip on my head, but I have the added complication of wearing glasses too. As always with headphones, it’s worth trying them for yourself if you can.
The sound quality was actually quite impressive from the relatively modest 40mm drivers.
The sound quality was actually quite impressive from the relatively modest (for the size of the things, anyway) 40mm drivers. I found the bass to be taut, punchy and useful, and the highs pleasingly clear without becoming hash. The midrange didn’t fare so well, being somewhat indistinct and muddle compared ot the (far more expensive, it has to be said) Ultrasone DJ1 Pro that I tested them against as a reference point.
But overall, the sound quality was plenty good enough for DJing, and pleasing enough for extended listening too.
As street-style headphones, they are better sounding than most of the Skullcandy models I’ve tried, but nowhere near the quality of, for instance, the aforementioned (and very expensive) Beats Solo HD.
I do have reliability concerns with them, finding them not as well made as the other recently looked at street/DJ phone, the Aerial7. My main cause for concern here is the extremely plasticky hinges, which seem to be hi¡eld together by tiny screws. I am not one to break headphones to see how strong they are, but All I’d say is be careful if you choose to go for these – I suspect this is where they’ll fail first.
But overall, these are good for the money. I mean, for under 50 dollars (they’re around 50 quid in the UK, sigh at the lack of value), you’ve got a good sounding headphone that – presuming you like the styling – is at least a bit of a head-turner. They won’t last you forever I wouldn’t imagine, and one day you’ll hanker after something a step up the ladder from these, but in the meantime, you do get quite a lot of headphone for your money here.
- Surprisingly good sound quality
- Quite a lot of headphone for your money
- Braided cable looks and feels good
We don’t like:
- Inline volume doesn’t have smart phone remote characteristics
- Potentially weak hinges
What do you think?
Do you own these, or have you considered buying them? Are they a good deal for the price, or is it worth spending a little more? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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