Published on December 6th, 2012 | by Greg0
Marley Exodus: Freedom From In-Ear Headphones
Celebrities have pounced on personal audio gear, with everyone from Lady Gaga to Quincy Jones and even Justin Bieber putting their name and label on a set of headphones or earbuds. We’ve checked out some of the top contenders- a solid set by 50 Cent for example- and enjoy the added flair we’ve seen push style into a category formerly dominated by boring black and metal pairs.
One of the brands that has really pushed hard, offering dozens of models across not just headphones but other audio options, is the House of Marley. They always put on a good show at conventions like CES, and we’ve liked some of their reasonably-priced gear in the past. Today’s set is from their Freedom line, and though we couldn’t find it on their website at press time, they have a wide lineup. Join us as we examine the Marley Exodus On-Ear headphones.
Distinctive style? Check. Sub-$100 pricing? FSC-certified birch wood, recycled aluminum, natural leather and hemp materials? Decent audio quality? Check to all of the above. We threw on tracks including those of Master Marley himself, but also listened to much of our upcoming “Best of 2012″ playlist as well as last month’s audio finds (Spotify users, check it out here). In general, the audio response was warm, with fairly heavy bass. The soundstage and depth can’t quite reach those of audiophile quality cans, but most everyone found the audio quality good to excellent. Tracks like “Important” from Way Yes sparkled, and vocals were solid and balanced.
These are a lifestyle brand, though, and the fashion statement matters. For those looking to show off an organic appearance, these are perfect- the overall appearance is classy and even classic, blending wood and metal. We liked the fabric-wrapped cabling as well, which generally is more durable. These offer a three-button Apple-compatible remote scheme with decent if unexceptional controls, and smartphone users will enjoy the built-in microphone- though we should note that it’s quite mediocre, and no better (perhaps worse for noise canceling) than the typical earbud set.
The only major downside we faced with these was comfort. The two-part headband is an awkward compromise- the lower part sits fairly tight against your head but stretches, and the upper part adds stability. But when you move, they bounce and bump audibly and the tension (and fairly poor ear padding) leads to some discomfort even when sitting still. These aren’t the right set for active use, and for those aiming for long listening sessions on the subway, comfort is probably a priority and you may want to give these a pass. But others will enjoy the solid performance and value offered by Marley’s audio lineup. Available now, for around $90.