SOUL by Ludacris SL150 Headphone Review

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SOUL by Ludacris SL150 Headphone Review

David Solomon – Headphones.com

The Fit and Finish

As a reviewer, I attempt to put myself in the shoes of a consumer who just spent their hard-earned money on a new pair of headphones and is unboxing their new pair of headphones for the first time.  There is a degree of excitement when opening a nicely packaged, sleek and stylish headphone.  The Soul SL150BW fit the bill here!  The SL150CB is the black version of this model.  I have to admit, due to the rarity of white headphone models, I’m a sucker for white-colored headphones.  Those who enjoy thoughtful stylish details will also enjoy the stitching on the inner-side of the headband.  This slick-looking cosmetic embellishment is featured on all Soul full size and on-ear models. The SOUL by Ludacris SL150 come with a hard nylon carrying case.  The headphones themselves fold up compactly to fit inside the case.  The cable connects to and detaches from the left ear cup and terminates to a right-angle miniplug – always my preference since it puts less stress on the headphone jack.  I find that the connector works well with the variety of iPhone cases I have tried.  The microphone/Apple remote is embedded into the cable approximately at where one’s neck would be.  The call quality both on the receiving and speaking end showed to be quite good.  Voices come through clear on both ends. The isolation here is very verygood considering that these are passive rather than active noise canceling.  The pads fit comfortably on the ear and feel very secure.  While there is a fair amount of pressure sustaining from the clamp of the headband, the soft and plush quality of the pads make the fit very comfortable for me even for long listening sessions.

All About The Sound…

The sound here is going to appeal to those who like their bass full bloom and in front.  As was my expectation, the headphone sounds best with Pop Music, R&B, Reggae and Hip-Hop.  The sound demonstrates a significant bass hump which I personally feel does add a bit of clutter to the overall sound, especially when listening to non-percussion heavy music. A bass hump emulating a powerful subwoofer has become the standard practice with headphones designed for the Soul’s intended demographic.  For Rock, Jazz and Classical music listening, I would prefer a number of headphones over the SL150.  For a further examination of this headphone’s sound quality, please find my comparisons to Beats by Dre’s $200 model below.

Which Is The Better $200 Headphone: Beats Solo HD vs Soul SL150

Both models offer Apple controls and a mic for the iPhone, both implemented into the cable at an approximate chin-level.  Both models fold up for easy transport and come with a hard carrying case.  Both models have an easily removable/replaceable cable which conveniently terminates to a right angle miniplug and can be used with most iPhone cases and skins.  The microphone and speech quality on the SL150 is superior by a small margin. The SL150 are noticeably larger than the Beats Solo HD, and may be more cumbersome to wear around the neck.  If you prefer the looks of the Soul line (as I do) but the size of the SL150 is of concern to you, Soul By Ludacris offers the SL100 – a similarly-sized model as the Beats Solo HD but for $50 less.  If I were picking between the Beats Solo HD and Soul SL150 in terms of sound, the SL150 wins by significant margin.  While both models offer a raised bass response (which at times feels loose and untamed) the SL150 offers far greater detail, and much purer sounding treble response. With every song I threw at it, the SL150 showed to be the better sounding headphone.  I listened to Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” on both headphones.  *I think the original CD pressing of Thriller is a very good demonstration and evaluation CD.  The maracas on “Human nature” sound almost entirely veiled on the Beats Solo HD, and the overall mix feels murky and cluttered.  By comparison the Soul SL150 sounds remarkably better.  The bass is still ever-present and robust, but the mix sounds far more natural as more of the audio spectrum is present. Listening to Kanye West’s “Stronger” it was equally as evident just how much better sounding the Soul SL150 were when compared to the Beats Solo HD:  The bass thumped with more definition, but the voice was more audible, the words clearer, and the slick production had greater spatial definition.  I would consider the Soul SL150 a top contender for rap music at its price point.

Last Word

In terms of price, the Soul SL150 competes with Beats Solo HD.  I see very little reason, if any at all, that I would prefer the Beats Solo HD.  The Souls are undeniably better sounding, provide better call quality, and in my opinion are more attractive.  With this in mind, I don’t think it’s “Ludacris” to consider the SL150 a phenomenal offering.

Rating Chart for Price Point & Demographic

Sound 8 (bass emphasis)
Design & Features 9.5
Portability 8
Isolation 7 (passive)
Value 8.5/10
SOUL by Ludacris SL150 Headphone Review
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54 thoughts on “SOUL by Ludacris SL150 Headphone Review

    • Thanks for the comment. I agree, they do look great and sound as good as they look, especially for the hip hop genre. Keep an eye on the blog because we’ll be reviewing other SOUL by Ludacris headphones in the coming weeks!

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    • For these genres, I highly recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-WS50BK and the Sennheiser HD280 Pro. The ATH-WS50BK is a bit louder directly out of a portable device, while the HD280 offers superior noise isolation. The ATH-WS50BK has more bass impact, while the HD280PRO has deeper bass extension. The HD280PRO has been used consistently in recording studio live rooms for its ability to render a variety of genres effectively and not block out outside sound passively. In terms of noise cancelling headphones, the Soul SL300 is a great choice for Hip Hop and R&B, and offers extremely good active noise cancellation. The SL300 fare well with rock, but it is bassier than some rock fans may appreciate.

      If one is looking for the best of the best however at any cost, I feel that the Denon AH-D7000 is the headphone which will achieve the best sound for Hip Hop, R&B and Rock. The transducers in these combined with the wood enclosures produce a very natural and impactful sound that can only be described as amazing!

      • Thank you for all your advice. I have one more question now if I was to get the SL150 instead of the SL300 would I get the same quality because all I would be using them for would be running on a treadmill or lite jog in an in-closed area. Also is there a big size difference between the two. Thank you again.

      • Thank you for the advice. I have a few other questions regarding the soul SL300 and the SL150 now as far as sound is there a huge difference for the genres I listed and also I would like to know if the size of them are a big difference between the two. I would be using these for running indoors and outdoors in a closed track of course so if I was looking at in in that stand point which of the two would be best for me. Thank you again for the advice oh and the money thing is what has got me settling between the two because they are a very attractive and they are by one of my favorite artists.

        • The SL150 and SL300 sound a bit alike. The most significant differences are the size and fit and the Noise Cancelling inclusion of the SL300. For the $100 savings which it offers, the SL150 is my favorite offering in the Soul by Ludacris line. For your purposes I think the SL150 will be a great choice. The size difference is about 15% maybe. The SL150 are more of an on-ear model but they’re very comfortable. The SL150 also have a slightly more forward bass response. I hope this helps you come to a decision. If you still need more help, feel free to give me a call at 1-800-352-6140!

    • These are closed back headphones so they will not leak like an open back headphone, but like most headphones, if you play it loud enough, people will hear some music. The SL150 can get to decent listening volumes without people around you hearing what you are listening to.

  2. How is SL100 compared to SL 150. Is there a huge difference in sound quality?
    And also beats solo hd and SL 100. how do they compare each other?

    • The SL150 is a significant improvement over the SL100. The SL150 has more bass impact but also a finer overall sound and just makes the music sound much more alive. The SL150 is also more comfortable, but are a tad larger.

      The SL100 compared to the Beats Solo are about equal, I may prefer the SL100 by a hair. When compared with the Solo HD, the SL100 may just be slightly edged out by the Beats, but it’s not as obvious as the SL150’s total supremacy between these respective models.

        • Hi Lee,

          Thanks for the question! The SL150 is approximately the same size as the Studios. The SL100 is about the same as the Beats Solos. If you need further help don’t hesitate to give me a buzz at 1-800-352-6140.

          -David

  3. Hi, how do these headphones match up to the Beats in terms of construction? I know the beats have very shoddy construction quality and I’m wondering if these would be better. Also, do these leak any sound? I will be listening to these sometimes in a quiet classroom so I don’t want there to be too much sound leakage. Thanks!

    • Hey Kevin,

      Though the SOUL by Ludacris SL150 headphone is made of plastic like most Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, I haven’t yet experienced the shake along the hinge that I have seen in some reviews. They do hinge, so it may happen over prolonged use, but I have not had a customer bring this to my attention, not have I seen it on any of the SL150s that have passed through my hands.

      As far as sound leakage is concerned, they do leak a little at high volumes, but they actually fit over my ear (even though they are ‘on ear’ headphones) and make a pretty nice seal. This gives you the ability to reach comfortable listening levels without an extreme amount of sound leakage.

      Hope this helps. Feel free to call in if you have any more questions or if you are interested in making a purchase!

      -Dave

  4. Hi, i was wondering if these headphones would be recommended for music genres such as pop-punk or alternative? If they’re not, what would you suggest? ( i am also a little shallow on the looks of headphones; i prefer them to be pretty :) Sorry for asking so much.

    • I agree that the SL150 is an awesome looking headphone! I think it would be a very complimentary headphones to genres which you named so long as you enjoy an impactful bass response. One headphone I would also recommend considering is the Denon AH-D1100. It may not look quite as awesome as the Soul, but I think they sound amazing and I think you will enjoy them:)
      Here is a link to both:
      SL150
      AH-D1100

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  6. Hi. i was wondering how the Soul sl150 compare to the Soul sl300 size wise with the ear coverage. Like i read how you said the Sl150 covered your ears when you put then on but is that a guarantee with most people or is it a better bet to go with the Sl300 because they will actually cover your ears cuz it says that they will. Im looking for the Headphone with the best ear coverage to block out noise for the best price, so which one should i rather choose?

    Please return my question,
    thank you

    • The SL300 has a bit more room for your ear to fit. Some coworkers can fit their entire ear inside the SL150, even though it is considered an ON EAR headphone. The SL300 does have more room, so if you want a comfortable fit over your entire ear, the SL300 is the way to go. Thanks for the question, Bret!

  7. Hi, great thanks for such nice review!
    I’m looking for headphones for listen at home (with PC or notebook) or on my outdoor walking with mp3 player. I likes the style of SL100 (the small size and nice design) but becoming more favorable to SL150 (thanks to your review).
    What would you recommend between SL150 vs Sennheiser HD 25-1 II? (or may be any other option up to 250$)
    Thank you.

    • The SL150 are my clear choice between the two Soul models you mention. If we bring the Sennheisers into the equation, the choice becomes tougher. The SL150 are more comfortable being that they have larger, more cushy pads. The HD25-1-II is for me, more balanced in sound. They are not nearly as bassy as the 150s. If you know that you prefer an impactful bass response, the 150s will definitely be your preference, however if you are looking for something that is more neutral and more of a reference which many musicians would find appealing in a studio setting, then the HD25-1-II would be my preference. Please make sure if you choose the HD25 that you purchase the HD25-1-II and not the HD25SP as the latter is, in my opinion, an inferior model.

      The Denon AH-D1100 would be my absolute preference in this price category. This headphone, for me, is a clear winner in the sense that it has an impactful bass but significantly more detail than the Soul’s and more impactful sound than the Sennheisers. They are however just slightly larger than the Souls and obviously a bit larger than the Sennheisers, but I can’t think of a better headphone for your purposes. It is still a very portable and comfortable option.

      I hope this helps :)

    • Well by “in every kind of way”, let’s start with price just to be clear. The Beats Studio are 100 dollars more and compare more directly with the SL300.

      The SL150 are on ear; the Studios are around the ear
      The SL150 offers good passive noise isolation; the studios offer active noise cancellation (battery required for this feature)
      The call quality is about equal
      They both sound very good: the Studios showcase a little bit more range of the frequency spectrum, but it’s almost like splitting hairs. The SL150 may have a tad more bass impact.
      The SL150 is a bit smaller
      Both have detachable cables
      The SL150 are, in my opinion, more attractive
      SL150s are endorsed by Ludacris; Studios are endorsed by Dr Dre :)

      I hope this helps you in coming to your decision! Feel free to ring if you need more help with your decision

  8. Hello, I’m looking for a good pair of headphones. I’m debating getting a pair of beats at a similar price to the SL150s. what headphones would you suggest i get? i like bass, but i dont want a pair that shakes with bass. I listen to all types of music, rock, rap, metal, ect. what would you suggest?

  9. Hi,
    I’m really looking forward to buy some new Headphones, but there is one Problem. I don’t know which ones. Beats Studio, SL150 or SL300. What do you think?? Which one of these would you choose? Please answer :) thanks and have a nice day ;)

  10. Hi,
    My boyfriend is a music producer and does a lot of mixing (rap and r&b). I want to get him a good pair of headphones in the $300 dollar range, what do you suggest? Are the dre and ludacris headphones just for general consumer use?
    Thanks for the help!!

    • If he is working within the realms of a studio, or something in that nature, then I would recommend a more revealing headphone. While Soul by Ludacris makes hip and R&B shine, from the production standpoint, I would consider it not revealing enough to demonstrate mixing imperfections and blemishes with pro-audio engineers would want to hear while producing. If this description fits your boyfriend, then I would highly recommend the Beyerdynamic DT770 http://www.headphones.com/compare_items.html?itemlist=56712|56713|56704| This headphone is still highly boosted in the bass which I think your boyfriend would prefer because of the music which he works on, but the sound will be much more revealing and allow him to have better overall scope over what is going on in the music. If he is plugging into an amplifier or mixing console, I recommend the 250 ohm version. If he will be connecting to a dedicated headphone amplifier, then the 600 Ohm version will be preferred. If he is plugging into a computer directly or a device which will likely not have too much power, then the 32 Ohm version will be the preferred choice.

      If you can extend slightly past your allotted budget, I feel the Denon AH-D2000 would be ideal. http://www.headphones.com/Headphones/Denon-AH-D2000-High-Performance-Closed-Back-Over-Ear-Headphones-AH-D2000-68150.html These headphones differ from the Beyerdynamic model because the sound is just a little more focused on the midrange, which brings vocals a tad more forward. In hip hop music, this part of the frequency spectrum is important during mixing, more so than the bass. The Denon’s also will likely be the best sounding headphones your boyfriend has ever heard, because it is extremely accurate, but very nicely weighted in the bass.

  11. Hi… i am looking foward to buying the sl150’s but do not want any (well not really any) sound leakage… the previous heaphones i have owned were the skullcandy gi rastas and man! everyone could DEFINITLEY hear my music…i have heard some rumors about the leakage in the sl150’s but i dont want to belive it

    • You may experience some leakage with the SL150, however the amount is proportionate to the volume of the music. If you like to hear your music ‘thump” then people close by may be able to hear your audio. If you listen at a mild level, you will likely not disturb anyone.

  12. Hi, I was wondering which headphones I should choose considering the prie and also the quality. I’m thinking about buy the Soul by Ludacris SL100 Headphones for 134.99 or SOL Republic – SOL Republic Tracks HD On-Ear Headphones for 129.99 or Fanny Wang 1001 Headphone – Pink for 84.97. I usually listen to R&B, Hip Hop, Rap, and Pop. Please help & Thank You :)

  13. Tough decision. I can not decide between the sl150 or the sol republic tracks. I like the soul look much more but I have heard the sol construction is far higher. I want look AND durability…how is the SL150 durability?

    • We have been rotating a pair of SL150s around the office for over a year now. Never an issue in terms of durability with our pair and a VERY low rate of issues with our customers as well.

  14. Are the sl150 compatible with the iPhone 5? I only am able to see that they are compatible up to the iPhone 4s

  15. Hello. Thank you for the good review. I am very interested in this headphone and my intended use is for daily commuting, i.e., riding the bus/train everyday to work. You mentioned the pronounced bass on the SL150. Can this be controlled by the EQ on the player? And what effect would that have on the overall sound. I mostly listen to hard rock, some hip-hop, jazz. Thanks.

    • For many listeners, a pronounced bass will add to the music and you may find that EQing it is not necessary. However yes, a bass reducer OR treble boost will reduce the bass.

  16. The headphone is bad! BAD BAD! I receive it as a birthday gift, last for 4 months than the right ear play no sound. I got the warranty, they replaced me a new one, I was happy. 4 days later the right ears volume is drop significantly. I replaced another new one and I began to doubt about how long will it last… and now, the 3rd day I’m using it, the left ear doesn’t play… I’m tired of going to the store and replace…

  17. What headphone would you recommend for rap, r&b, hip-hop, Techno and dubset? I had the SL150s and loved them, but I want more bass. The beats studios are a mess though. I would only play them out of a phone, iPod, tablet or computer … not amped. So would the SL300 be a good enough upgrade for bass? Or do the M50s have bass like people say? What would you recommend?

    Thank you for your time.

    • The SL300 have a bigger bass response, so I think you would be happy with these. It maintains much of the SL150’s goodness though :)

  18. I recently bought a pair for my girl at xmas, They lasted 3 weeks then the input jack fell inTO the headset. I registered my warranty info completely and then pitched the reciept thinking i was all set. I was told by their service tech THE WARRANTY REGISTRATION IS FOR MARKETING PURPOSES THEY ARE SELLING YOUR INFO. DONT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY FIRST THEY OVERCHARGE FOR THEIR PRODUCT THEN MAKE MORE MONEY BY SELLING YOUR INFO TO MARKETERS BEWARE

  19. i’ve recently brought my headphones from best buy with no warranty and now no sound comes from the right ear cups…. what do i do??

    • Eek, that stinks. Sorry to hear about your issues with these headphones. Unfortunately, since you purchased them at Best Buy, instead of through us at Headphones.com, there is nothing we can do.
      I suggest you try contacting the manufacturer to see if they can repair or replace for you.
      Good Luck!

    • Hi David,

      That’s hard to say. Like any other product, the knock-off versions are generally worse in terms of performance. How much worse is totally a matter of opinion. If it means anything to ya, we’ve heard knock-off Beats by Dre that were laughably bad. It’s a matter of opinion. I feel it is always best to buy the real deal from an authorized dealer.

    • It should be compatible, although we haven’t had the resources to test it with every smartphone, so will work with which phone unless the manufacturer specifies. Perhaps, it is best to consult them to be sure.

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