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High-End Features With a Low Price? The Soul Emotion Max Headphones Are It


The Soul Emotion Max headphones are great for listening to music and have lots of handy features, but that’s not what makes them worth buying. In this case, it’s that their sound and features come in at a retail price of around $120, making them an exceptional value. Sometimes you just need a new pair of headphones, for whatever reason, and you need them not to come with a premium price. Regardless of your personal audio preferences, these are a great deal, even when they’re not on sale.

Beyond active noise cancellation and simultaneous, multidevice Bluetooth pairing, these headphones also come with two sets of earcups: one in protein leather and the other in mesh fabric. There’s a lot to like here, even before considering the sound, but the sound is solid, too.

The Soul Emotion Max aren’t perfect, of course. There are some very obvious ways that elements of the headphones are less than premium. But they do work well enough that most people should have a positive experience.

TL;DR

Pros:

  • Comes with two sets of earcups
  • Comfortable for long listening periods
  • Solid, respectable sound quality

Cons:

  • Plastic material presents a durability question over time
  • No ear detection

Buy at Amazon.

Soul Emotion Max Fit and Feel

Soul Emotion Max
Soul Emotion Max claim 38 hours of battery life with ANC off and 24 hours with it on.
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The Soul Emotion Max headphones come with protein leather earcups attached. They’re plush and match the material on the top headband. The earcup material is notable because if you do want to change it, there are mesh earcups included in the box. This is a rare feature.

Plenty of headphones feature removal earcups, but very few include extras with your initial purchase. Even Apple‘s AirPods Max, which retail for more than $500, don’t include additional earcups.

Personally, I don’t care for the mesh earcups. To me, they feel a little scratchy and provide a little less space for my ears to fit inside. They are probably best for use during times of sweating, like sports and fitness. Either way, both materials should cover a spectrum of personal preferences, and most people should be happy with at least one of the options.

In terms of overall fit, I was pleasantly surprised by how long I could wear these headphones without noticing any discomfort. They have a light weight thanks to their plastic frame. The squishy foam in the top headband is pleasant. The headphones don’t feel overly tight, but they also aren’t loose. I can be picky about fit, but these passed the test. After all, who cares how headphones sound if they hurt your head to wear?

To complement their extended wearability is a stated 38 hours of battery life—without ANC on. If you do need the noise blocking feature, the battery still lasts a respectable 24 hours. I had a hard time wearing the battery down in my testing because, frankly, I don’t want to wear any headphones for longer than 3 or 4 hours at a time.

Soul Emotion Max Drawbacks

Soul Emotion Max
The left earcup includes physical media controls and a USB-C port for recharging the battery.
TYLER HAYES

The Soul Emotion Max do have their drawbacks. Even though they offer plenty of features, some of those come with limitations, usually around quality.

It’s nice that there are two sets of earcups, but removing them can be challenging. They are held in place with tight plastic clips. I almost ripped the material around the padding trying to pull one off the first time.

The physical buttons are convenient for controlling media playback. The power button is overloaded with responsibility, however, as it’s used for play and pause, on and off, and pairing and voice assistant activation.

The headphones are lightweight and fold up for portability, but the plastic frame does have minor imperfections, and the durability over time is a question.

Completely absent is an ear detection feature that could pause audio when the headphones are taken off your head.

These types of drawbacks are fairly common across low-cost consumer headphones. If price is a big part of your purchasing decision then be prepared for some compromises. Still, the sound quality is also a substantial reason why these are worth their modest price.

Soul Headphones Sound

Soul Emotion Max
The Soul Emotion Max headphones come in three colors, including this blue.
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The sound quality of speakers wrapped around your head is the most important thing, right? It’s certainly a key component, but if you’re really concerned with sound quality you’ll need to spend more than $120.

From my time using these to listen to a range of music, I think they easily clear the bar for good quality sound. Joni Mitchell? Neil Young? Each of the artists comes through as intended. Across a variety of genres, instruments are distinct and vocals are clear. The low-end bass is impactful while the treble frequencies are present.

There’s nothing distracting about listening to music on these headphones. In fact, I think most casual listeners will be thoroughly impressed.

The Emotion Max features 40 millimeter drivers. The larger the size, the more air and detail that can be pushed out of the speakers, and the result should be a richer and fuller music experience. I think people who appreciate deep and punchy bass will especially enjoy these headphones. The default sound profile doesn’t hold back in this regard.

Even the midrange sound is well represented. The melodic guitars and keys from Yumi Zouma‘s excellent new pop-rock album Present Tense don’t get muddied. The album is stacked with great songs that sound vibrant on these headphones.

One area of concern I have is around the level of ANC these headphones provide. Compared to other headphones, and even some earbuds, it’s not very strong. Without music playing, they didn’t do a great job blocking white noise and other test sounds that I played on a speaker in my living room.

On the other hand, the headphones themselves with the protein leather earcups provide a high level of passive noise reduction. With ANC off and music around a 30 percent volume level, it can be tough to hear people talk while wearing them.

It is nice that you can switch on ANC without actually pairing these headphones to a device. I just wish the ANC was a little stronger or tuned differently to better block annoying sounds people encounter regularly.

Soul Emotion Max
Soul Emotion Max fold up for better portability.
TYLER HAYES

Should You Buy the Soul Emotion Max?

The Soul Emotion Max are a great value. The $119.99 price is more than fair for headphones that have this level of sound quality. And if that was the only consideration they would still likely be worth buying.

In addition to their sound quality, the Emotion Max offer ANC, pairing with multiple devices at once, long battery life and two pairs of earcups. That is, they definitely give purchasers a lot of bang for their buck.

Buy at Amazon for $119.99.

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