House of Marley Exodus

House of Marley Exodus ($149)
The unbelievable number of new headphone brands on the market is the bane of my existence. There are just too many and there is just no way I can listen to them all. But there is something great about having all these new makers: they all want to differentiate themselves from each other, and as a consequence we get to see all sorts of cool ideas about what a headphone is.

The House of Marley Exodus is an intriguing headphone with a very different vibe, indeed. It is a strong and well integrated expression of a corporate ethic adopted by The House of Marley. From their website:

Love of people, love of the Earth. Bob's ideals and principles centered around one thing, love. And now we're turning his principles into products.

I take that kinda stuff from marketers with a grain of salt mostly, but in this case it fairly radiates from the product. Right from the start, unboxing these headphones wasn't the ostentatious affair it often is these days. The House of Marley packaging was a breath of fresh air with its post-consumer cardboard packaging and lack of gaudy glossy graphics. It was almost as if you could feel the care and love they put into it as you opened it up. It was sort of was like they were personally handing it to you ... I kid you not.

The Exodus headphone has a very organic and natural look. The band is a simple piece of bent laminate wood with a medium-brown satin finish. Three metal buttons reminiscent of a Levis jeans button, but here with Marley logos, adorn the ends of the headband, and act as attachments for the decorative leather accent on the outside and the leather headpad and metal earcups on the inside. If you like to wear jeans, sneakers, and flannel shirts, these headphones will fit right in.

The ergonomics are a bit of a mess, however. The biggest problem is the elastic on the headband delivers quite a bit of force and I found them climbing up my head all the time. Very irritating. This is early on in their production, I bet they'll change this soon. I figured out how much extension I needed on the band and then stapled through it near the ends of the pad so it wouldn't move any more. (See video at article end for instruction.) It worked fine after that and was fairly comfortable.

Editor's Note: As of Jan 2012 the problems with the headband have been fixed. I tried a pair out at CES and am pleased to say the new headband works MUCH better then the old one, and now the earpieces snap into the three different positions on the headband. Thanks House of Marley!

The earpieces swivels to meet flat against your ear nicely, but the leather earpads are not very pliant and deliver only average comfort for a headphone of this type --- which isn't all that great. The earpieces also spin around unencumbered on their single attachment point causing some cable problems, and having you fumble a bit as you pick them up and align the earcups with both cables downward before putting them on.

The headphones come with a sturdy and simple medium-brown canvas carry pouch with a snap closure and leather logo patch. The headphones don't fold or collapse in any way so the pouch is rather large as these things go. But it works well, and will look right at home in a backpack full of folf Frisbees and hacky sacks.

Now to the really good bit, let's have a listen ...

House of Marley
3000 Pontiac Trail
Commerce Township, MI 48390

donunus's picture

Looks nice. I'm sure my rasta friends are gonna want one :)

RudeWolf's picture

Judging from the measurements alone I frankly couldn't guess that they go for only 149$.

AGB's picture

Voted EXODUS the Best Album of the Century.

Not bad. Ya mon?

flatmap's picture

Really looked good and one of the most interesting things on the shelf there. I didn't get the chance to listen, but I'll make a point of it next time.

Gil G.'s picture

i really like that look, i will put this ones on my wish list! the style of the puch is nice, too bad they were not designed to fold, i would have been a great portable headphone if they put that option,but well, sound first.

Spencejam's picture

Celebrity headphones for decent prices, good sound, recycled materials AND donates money to their charity? You can count me in as of today, just picked up the entry-level Positive Vibrations and I'm having a blast breaking them in!

jazzfan's picture

Very good review. Covered all the bases, both the good and the bad. Looks like a good holiday gift for someone who has been nice this past year.

fearnsy's picture

First off, thanks for the helpful reviews, consequently I got these for christmas, however I have a quick query. I have a Blackberry Bold 9780, used to use my Sennheiser CX400 II in it, then bought the Marley's, but I plug it in and it still plays music from the phones speaker, I looked at both of the jacks and the Marley's seem to have three little black rings rather than the Sennheisers two, my question is how can I get these to work on my blackberry?

fearnsy's picture

Turned out it just needed a bit of jiggery pokery.

Spencejam's picture

After reading through many reviews on Marley headphones on the net, I've come to rant a bit about people's opinion on these. Why, oh why, do people compare these to Beats by Dr. Dre? They are NOT benchmark headphones that all others should be compared to. Any time I read a review where the reviewer compares the headphones in question to any of the Beats models, their credibility goes out the window. Don't understand it.

olun's picture

I heard the great review of these cans from the "This week in Home Theater" podcast and the major flaw was the headband design which Tyll said was fixed at CES 2012. I just bought a pair from Amazon last week and I still notice the problem he was talking about. I don't see the three snap positions on this one so I'm guessing I got an old stock item. Is there a model number or date of manufacture I should look for?

kristinachilds's picture

my pair arrived today and i must say, i'm a bit disappointed. the bass response is lacking and while they look great, the leather on the earpads are left raw which starts cutting into my ear after a mere 15 minutes. they fit tight, but the small size + tight fit makes for some serious ear fatigue after about 30 minutes.

i hope these things will change once they're broken in a bit. i may keep them around a shoebox for a few weeks to try and loosen them up a bit, and will probably hit the leather edge with a fine grit sandpaper to soften up the edges. but really, for $150 should i have to? good thing itunes has an eq so i can boost the bass to make up for what the phones lack. my $17 2XL earbuds have better bass than these do.

…but they look awesome, and as a designer that's really why i bought them.

gibtg's picture

Any thoughts on replacing the ear pads on these? Any ear pads available that will work? Are they able to be replaced easily? Thanks!