We had a flurry of Soul products a while back, mostly earphones and generally, very impressed. In fact, the SOUL S-Fit earbuds are still my go-to when cycling as they’re so secure and comfy. Moving forward, they sent over their latest pair of headphones, the Emotion Max. Let’s take a look.
- Active noise cancellation
- 24hr battery with ANC on, 38hr with ANC off.
- Quick charge, 10 mins gives 1.5hrs playback
- Blue tooth 5.0
- Dynamic 40mm drivers
- Wired or wireless connection
The headphones come in either matte black, blue or beige and they retail for $119 or circa £99, which I’ll bear in mind while reviewing. Out the box, a nice looking, subtle pair of headphones. Lightweight, portable, plenty of flex but only to the headband, not the cups. The headband is adjustable and the cups do fold in on themselves to put into the provided carry case. Plastic casing, some metal within the headband and overall, it’s a nice finish.
All the controls are located on the left cup. We’ve got a power on button, which is also used for pairing and play/pause. Below that is a switch, turning the ANC on and off, then below that is plus/minus, used for volume and content control. Then at the very bottom, a small indicator light, USB C port and aux port as well. Microphone, yes, looks to be just one small hole on the left cup but Soul are stating there are a total of four mics, so these might be via the bass ports on either cup, not quite sure but the quality of the calls will be the decider.
In the box you get the headphones, two pairs of cushions, protein leather or mesh which is a nice touch, USB C cable for charging, 3.5mm aux lead for wired connection and a carry pouch.
Overall audio performance was pretty good, given the retail price, specification and compared with what else is available on the market right now. A slightly muddied sound, ample bass, but it just needs a little more in the mids and highs to really give a well-rounded experience. There are no EQ options available unless it is on the smart device you’re connected to.
As for ANC, the headphones include Qualcomm cVc 8.0, which like many others, uses built-in mics and cancels out unwanted ambient sounds. Performance-wise, it was ok, turning the ANC on did help reduce external sounds a little bit but I’ve heard better, which is disappointing. There is also a noticeable reduction in bass when the ANC is turned on. There is a crackle when switching between ANC on and off, which is a little off-putting.
Microphone performance was very good. I made several calls while wearing them and feedback from the other end of the call was positive. No complaints there. There is also an option to pair the headphones to two Bluetooth devices at once, with a quick swap between them. I paired them to both my iPhone and my iPad and I was able to switch between the two.
The headphones are very lightweight, secure on your head and there is plenty of padding to offer a comfortable fit, for a long duration. I tested these over several uses, up to maybe an hour or so each time and at no point, did I feel the need to remove them due to discomfort.
Battery performance every good, charged once, gone through at least once full charge. The quick charge works and is nice to have if you pick them up, they’re dead and need a quick boost before leaving the house for the day.
To summarise, the SOUL Emotion Max headphones fell slightly short where they needed to perform. Audio performance was pleasant, acceptable for the price tag but the ANC did fall short and I have heard better in the $100 range. Otherwise, battery life was good, microphone performance good, comfortable and the contents provided was good as well.
For more info and to purchase, head over to the official SOUL website.