House of Marley Exodus Page 2

Sound Quality
Wow! These were a huge surprise. The sound quality is shockingly good. I'd say right up with best of $150 sealed on-ear headphones --- especially when viewed from the perspective of the intended audience. I auditioned them comparing with the V-Moda V-80, Skullcandy Roc Nation Aviators, Quincy Jones Q460, and Beats Solo. To my ears they fairly easily bested all but the V-Moda, and there it was surprisingly close.

The bass is well extended, punchy and powerful, but not overly exaggerated. It does have a little bloom in the mid-bass, but not to the point of being murky. The mids have a nice natural timbre and are well integrated into the whole. The treble has a little trouble by being moderately recessed and a little indistinct giving a slightly muffled sounding presentation. But a laid back sound also gives the impression of a somewhat bass heavy headphone that the kids like, and it tames the nasties from lossy mp3 rips and bad recordings. I really don't mind laid back highs at all for a rock, pop, rap, and/or dubstep portable headphone.

The dynamic punch of the Exodus is very satisfying, they can punch hard without being bloated or brash. The imaging leaves quite a bit to be desired, though. The recessed and somewhat indistinct treble prevent a coherent image from developing. Headphones of this type rarely have good imaging, so I'd say they're about average in this regard.

Measurements

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Raw frequency response measurements (FR lower traces) indicate difficulties getting a seal for reliable bass response. The Exodus earpads are a little stiff and the dummy head's ears are a little harder than real ears. I heard the actual bass performance in listening tests as somewhat better than that measured.

Spatially averaged and compensated frequency response (FR upper traces) are remarkably flat and artifact free to 1kHz. The general downward trend from there to 5kHz is about right for a neutral sound, though interrupted by two minor bumps at 1kHz and 3.5kHz. Up to 5kHz, this is a very good result. The somewhat undesirable treble peak between 8kHz and 10kHz exists on almost all headphones in one form or another. In this case it may be advantageous as it gives a little sparkle to compensate for the very low in response top octave between 10kHz and 20kHz.

Unfortunately, these treble difficulties also show up as a distinct ring on the leading edge of the 300Hz square wave and impulse response. I'm slowly coming to think it is these ringing leading edges that inhibit imaging, and blur the natural character of treble instrument sounds like cymbals. The Exodus didn't do either very well.

High bass distortion in the THD+noise plot tends to indicate a poor seal and/or murky bass response. But the 300Hz square wave on the right channel showed the potential for these cans to deliver a straight line. As I mentioned above, it may largely be due to getting a poor seal when measured. I heard the bass as fairly tight and lots of fun; I think the cans seal and deliver bass better than measured.

Isolation is good but not great at -11dB broadband. These will isolate you from outside noise well enough for most uses, but if you're looking for a really good isolating can for heavy use on subways, planes, and in other loud environments, look elsewhere.

With 29mVrms needed to achieve 90dBSPL, and impedance and phase response showing a 32 Ohm headphone with modest reactive characteristics, the Exodus will play well and loud from portable devices.

Summary
I tell you what, I think The House of Marley has put a whole lotta Love into these headphones, and man can you feel it. Natural mystic for sure ... I love 'em.

With casual styling, decent isolation, loud play from portables, great sound, and a nice carry pouch, the only thing stopping me from an over-the-top recommendation is the overly tight headband tension. Fortunately, that can easily be fixed with a stapler.

So, I'm down with the Love from The House of Marley Exodus headphones and will heartily recommend them for those wanting a good sounding headphone to go with your easy skanking lifestyle. I'll let Bob have the last word before the video. Do you think he was thinkin' about headphones?

"The power of philosophy floats through my head, light like a feather, heavy as lead." - Bob Marley

Resources
House of Marley home page and Exodus product page.

COMPANY INFO
House of Marley
3000 Pontiac Trail
Commerce Township, MI 48390
1-888-251-1076
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
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!

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