House of Marley (HoM) is an audio brand that has made a name for itself by standing out in several ways. The first is its audio tuning — the Marley “Signature Sound” — that draws inspiration from the legacy of musician Bob Marley. That means energy and a lot of basses. The second is a laudable commitment to sustainability. The third is a supporting design style that ends up snagging a lot of buyers who may not necessarily know about the first two: a unique look that frequently makes use of natural materials like wood.
House of Marley’s new flagship headphones is the $199.99 Exodus Wireless. Do these over-ear, Bluetooth headphones sound as good as they look? The company sent me a pair to try out…
Strong Visual Impression
Open the recycled paper box and the House Of Marley Exodus wireless headphones make an immediate impression.
There’s virtually no plastic in sight — just the buttons and maybe a trim piece. They look sleek and modern, with a thin headband made of black stainless steel. The ear cups are securely mounted to black stainless steel posts, with exposed, braided cloth wires. The ear cups are covered with lightly finished wood, each discretely branded with the HoM logo. Ear cushions are generously padded with memory foam and covered with supple black leather. Real leather, not the fake stuff.
The look is premium, modern and unique. The headphones feel solidly constructed — even the hinges
There are buttons on each of the ear cups. The left has power/Bluetooth and the USB-C charge port. The right has a rocker switch for volume control, with a multifunction button (answering phone calls or invoking a virtual assistant) and a 3.5mm AUX port for physically connecting to a device.
I found the headphones quite comfortable for extended listening sessions. The well-padded ear cups fit over my ears nicely and while they lack active noise cancellation, they did a decent job of blocking background noise. The headband isn’t padded — there’s just a strip of leather suspended beneath the stainless steel band — but I didn’t miss the padding, and the design adds to the sleek look of these headphones. Buttons on each of the ear cups are easy to find by feel.
The headphones also fold up for travel, and HoM includes a cloth stash bag to store them along with the included USB-C charge cable and 3.5mm AUX cable.
House Of Marley’s Exodus wireless headphones is definitely aimed at those who enjoy powerful bass in their music. The 50mm Hi-Definition drivers do a great job of adding low-end oomph. The overall listening experience is energetic with plenty going on in the low end. This effect can also add warmth to vocal tracks, but high-frequency sound can be sacrificed. The overall effect is going to vary by the type of music you listen to — it’s pretty awesome on dance tracks that benefit from that thumping bass — but classic rock tunes may seem a little on the dull side and somewhat lacking in detail.
It’s worth noting that the Exodus headphones lack support for the higher quality aptX Bluetooth codec.
Battery life is rated at up to 30 hours on a charge. Your mileage will vary according to the volume you listen to, but in my experience (usually listening at 50% or under), 30 hours is definitely in the ballpark.
Why spike out a separate section for wired performance from a set of wireless headphones? The reason is with these headphones the two connectivity methods offered very different sound signatures.
Plug in the braided cloth, tangle-free auxiliary cable and the House of Marley Exodus headphones sound like a different set of cans. There’s still plenty of bass on tap, but the mid-range and high frequencies are much more noticeable. Switching back and forth between wired and wireless, the headphones sound much crisper when plugged in, while warmer, more bass-heavy and slightly muddy in comparison when using Bluetooth.
Personally, I preferred the wired sound over the wireless, but my music listening preferences lean more toward studio audio than booming bass.
Green Cred (More Than a Nod to Sustainability)
The Exodus headphones aptly reflect one of the foundations of House of Marley: environmental sustainability. The headphones aren’t just good looking, comfortable and solidly built, they make extensive use of materials that support the goal of being environmentally responsible. This includes use of natural leather, FSC certified sustainably harvested wood, stainless steel and recyclable aluminium. The carry bag is made from the company’s REWIND fabric — 30% reclaimed organic cotton, 30% reclaimed hemp and 40% recycled PET. And the packaging is recycled paper.
In addition, HoM supports the non-profit organization One Tree Planted. House of Marley’s donations to date have resulted in 186,000 trees being planted as part of the organization’s global reforestation efforts.
The least green thing about these headphones is the battery, but at least it’s rechargeable.
Should You Buy Them?
There are really three target demographics for the HoM Exodus headphones (corresponding to those three distinguishing features I pointed out at the start of this review). If you’re looking for headphones that stand out from the pack of shiny plastic, you enjoy energetic and bass-heavy music, and/or you want headphones with some serious green cred, then you should be checking out the House of Marley Exodus.
Add a fourth demographic to that. Those who want a good pair of over-ear wireless headphones, don’t care about extras like active noise cancellation and aren’t prepared to shell out $350 for options like Beats Studio3.
House of Marley’s Exodus over-ear wireless headphones aren’t perfect, but there’s a lot to like about them, especially at that $199.99 price.