By Todd Bernhard on Wed, 02/01/2012
At a certain point, probably around $100, any set of headphones is going to be just fine for the majority of listeners. So at that point, it comes down to quality, comfort, style, colors, and branding. And if the House of Marley, founded by the legendary Bob Marley's family, has anything to say about it, a manufacturer's ecological footprint and philanthropic efforts should also be considered.
To begin with, the House of Marley headphones and earbuds ship in minimalist cardboard boxes. Sales of their products support 1Love.org, the Marley's own charitable organization that supports youth, the planet, and peace. Their goals reflect the late great Bob Marley's own focus on equality, unity, and sustainability.
The Revolution headphones, which is the model I tried, utilize recycled and/or recyclable materials (plastic and aluminum) where possible. At $90, these aren't the cheapest nor most expensive set of headphones that Marley offers, but above that you're looking at luxuries like genuine wood refinements.
From a quality standpoint, I appreciate the tangle-free, durable fabric cord. My only wish is that they made it a one-sided cord. The headphones work great with an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad and include an integrated microphone with three button remote so you can control the volume and pause or play without fumbling for your phone. You can also launch and converse with Siri directly from that built-in microphone and remote!
I found the headphones to offer great sound, at low or high volume. Indeed at the higher volumes, your ear doctor would probably tell you to turn it down a notch! They aren't noise canceling, but the closed and comfortable ear cushions do a good job of blocking out external sounds. I found the quality of the materials chosen (steel, aluminum, canvas) reminded me of a great set of headphones I had during my DJ days back in the early 1980's! I thought they didn't make them like they used to.
I also like how the Marley Revolution headphones fold up rather compactly. Thanks to that tangle-free fabric cord, I won't mind throwing these in my travel bag. I think they'll fit in nicely with my upcoming cruise to Cabo San Lucas! I think Bob Marley would approve!