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Soul Ultra Wireless Review | PCMag

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With such an emphasis on true wirless earbuds, we’re seeing fewer classic Bluetooth options, especially in the more affordable realm, so the $69 Soul Ultra Wireless headphones fill a niche. The bulky over-ears have a generously padded design and solid battery life, with drivers that deliver serious bass punch. They might appeal to lovers of mega-bass audio, but the overall sound signature leans too far toward the low frequencies and is in dire need of more crisp, high-mid presence. So while the headphones look good enough and fit comfortably, the sound quality just isn’t up to par.


The Soul Ultra Wireless headphones are available in blue-and-black, all-black, or silver-and-tan models, with a circumaural (over-ear) design and leatherette ear cups with generous padding. The underside of the headband is also nicely padded, and the fit is quite comfortable, even over long listening periods. Internally, 40mm neodymium dynamic drivers deliver a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz.

The headphones fold down at hinges above the earcups for easy stowing, and a nylon drawstring tote is included. Other than the tote, the only accessory is the micro USB charging cable that connects to the left earcup’s side panel. This same panel houses a 3.5mm connection, but no audio cable is included, which feels like an omission.

Alongside these inputs, there are buttons for power, pairing, and volume up/down. A multifunction button near the volume controls operates playback and call management, as well as voice assistance (when you also hold down the plus button). Unfortunately, track navigation is also assigned to the volume buttons, which makes it easy to accidentally skip tracks. That, and the need to press two buttons to summon your phone’s voice assitant, makes controlling audio less than ideal.

The headphones use Bluetooth 5.0 and support SBC only, so there’s no AAC or AptX compatibility.

Soul estimates battery life to be about 36 hours, which is a solid number, but your results will vary with your volume levels.


On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the headphones deliver a palpable thump. Lovers of a mega-bass sound signature will not be disappointed with the lows, but there’s not much high-frequency clarity to match them. The headphones can also get almost uncomfortably loud, but even at these unwise levels, the bass on this challenging track doesn’t distort.

Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the general sound signature. The drums here are slathered in added bass. They’d still sound thunderous (and over the top) if the bass were matched with any sense of high-mid definition, but as is, they sound like massive garbage cans being hit with soft mallets, all thump and resonance with no detail or clarity. It’s up there with the most unnatural bass depth I’ve heard in recent years, and this also applies to Callahan’s baritone vocals, which sound even deeper and richer than they already are, but lack the treble edge needed to keep the clarity and balance of the mix.

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop receives plenty of extra bass depth while its edgy attack seems to disappear due to lack of high-mid representation through the drivers. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are actually almost drowned out by the insanely overboosted drum loop, so can surmise that most of the gonzo boosting occurs more in the lows and low-mids, and not quite as predominantly in the sub-bass. It’s not as if the sub-bass is underrepresented, it’s simply overshadowed, like the rest of the frequency range. The vocals battle with the beat, and it doesn’t sound good—when we get a rare glimpse of high-frequency presence, it sounds pinched and filtered.

Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, don’t deserve the fate these headphones have in store for them. The lower-register instrumentation mutates into a new instrument, and in a way the resulting massive bass machine sounds kind of cool, but it ruins the mix, and once again, the highs (and the clarity they would bring) have been tossed out the window.

The mic offers mediocre intelligibility. Using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 8, we could understand every word we recorded, and there was some notable bass depth to the audio, but it sounded incredibly muffled, with a faint mic signal that also seemed to lack any treble presence. The audio also had typical Bluetooth distortion around the edges. If your reception is less than ideal, this mic could be trouble.


Even if you love bass, you owe it to yourself to buy headphones that match the low-frequency response you want with clarity in the highs. Brain-rattling bass isn’t good when the rest of the mix sounds like a muffled, low-bitrate sample, which is what you get with the Soul Ultra Wireless. The $100 Status Audio BT One, the $50 Skullcandy Riff Wireless, and the often-found-for-$100 JBL Live 500BT are all budget-friendly Bluetooth headphones that bring the bass, but manage to do so without forgetting the treble. Get one of these pairs instead.

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