Since its inception, House of Marley has strived to provide its customers with high-quality design, construction, and audio quality. Not only do they use sustainable materials, but they also donate a portion of their profits to the Marley 1Love Family Charitable Foundation. The Marley in-ear headphones are right at the top of the affordable headphones from House of Marley.
Compared to their entry-level offers, the Marley in-ear headphones offer high-quality materials in their workmanship and have an appealing aesthetic with more natural materials and less plastic. They are among the Best In-Ear Headphones available online.
What Is Inside the Box?
The packaging of the Marley in-ear headphones is very simple. The product is clearly visible in the packaging so that the customer can see which of the bright colors they are buying.
For people with smaller ears, a smaller replacement ear gel material is included so it shouldn’t be difficult to find the right fit. But for people with bigger ears, need to look for alternatives to ear fitting.
Marley In-Ear Headphones Reviews
Build and Design
High-quality materials are used in the Marley in-ear headphones. They feature real aluminum for the case (not just chrome-plated plastic), FSC ™ certified wood that surrounds the cases with the accented House of Marley logo, tangle-resistant braided cable, and soft plastic.
The R’s and L’s are slightly raised but barely noticeable and you can actually have to look for them twice to be able to stick the right bud into the right ear. The only place that seemed a little cheap was the audio controls and the inline microphone, which is made of hard, smooth plastic and a brightly colored play/pause button with the House of Marley logo in the center.
All models have wooden ear cups certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Usually, they are darker wood, but the gray end cap/white cable option has a lighter tone. The aluminum cable end is also made of recyclable aluminum. It’s hard to say that electronic devices are truly environmentally friendly, but it’s refreshing to see a company trying to use environmentally friendly materials.
A built-in one-button remote control and microphone allow play/pause and answer/end calls and press them multiple times to scroll through tracks. However, there is no volume control.
On tracks with high sub-bass, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout”, the Marley in-ear headphones deliver a lot of thunder. The bass is certainly exaggerated but does not distort even at the highest, very dangerous listening levels. For $ 20 headphones, that’s impressive. However, the bass is boosted to a point that purists and even those seeking a sense of nominal balance may not appreciate.
Bill Callahan’s “Drover”, a track with very little deep bass, for example, sounds pretty heavy thanks to Smile Jamaica. The drums have some serious low-end throttle, rather than the sustained mid-range knocking that they often sound like through other headphones.
Callahan’s baritone singing gets an extra and unnecessary spoon of presence in the low, middle, and low frequencies, making them much harder than they already are. There’s enough presence in the high mids in the mix to contour the vocals and keep things from sounding really mushy, but it’s a heavily weighted sound signature towards the bass.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild” the generally very nervous attack of the bass drum loop in the high mids is overlaid by the increased presence of the loop in the deep mids and lows. The sub-bass synth hits on this track sound like a club sound system, but the vocals and upper register elements of the mix could use a little more brightness and contour.
Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene of John Adams‘ The Gospel According to Other Mary, still sound pretty crisp and bright through Smile Jamaica, mainly because they were recorded seamlessly to naturally attract attention at these frequencies.
However, under the overwhelming presence of strings, brass, and vocals in the upper register, we get a really man-made massive bass sound that makes the instrumentation of the lower registers much more important in the mix than it usually is. Purists won’t appreciate this, but it certainly adds an element of excitement to the procedure.
Marley’s sound describes what is commonly referred to as Equal Intensity Contour, or ELC, in which the listener perceives a “constant volume” across the entire frequency spectrum from the deepest bass to the highest treble. This may not be desirable in some cases, especially for studio-level sound engineering or home EQ, but it’s a trend that the cheaper headsets in the mass market are following.
Pros and Cons of Marley In-Ear Headphones
- Powerful, clean audio for bass enthusiasts.
- Green materials such as FSC-certified wood and recyclable aluminum.
- The massive bass presence dominates the upper mids and highs.
Most people have pretty low expectations for their $ 20 headphones. Fortunately, these Marley in-ear headphones are sort of salvation for cheap in-ear headphones everywhere; they are not for audiophiles, but they are exceptional performers for this price range.
When we test headphones, we usually find that they fall into one of two camps: flat studio headphones that don’t raise or lower any part of the frequency range, and easy-to-use headphones that slightly increase the bass for rich and clear highs.
The Marley in-ear headphones, like most low-cost headphones, go for the latter. They’re slightly lower than most, but follow an even volume contour to match your ear’s natural sensitivity to the mids and highs.