CES 2012: House of Marley
On the surface, House of Marley is just another celebrity headphone company. Dig a little deeper, and you find a company that claims to be eco-friendly, charitable, and loving. Meh, marketeers are good with words, and many claims are just lip service. But the more I experience this company and its wares, the more I come to believe they really are different. You can feel it.
I circled through their booth testing out all their on-ear and around-the-ear headphones. A couple were poor performers, but most sounded quite good. All of them, however, looked and felt just awesome. Headphones made almost completely out of recycled and natural materials is something you just don't see. The feel of real wood, leather, aluminum (recycled), and natural fiber materials is unmistakably different from the ubiquitous plastic and pleather products from most makers. Holding and wearing a House of Marley headphone is an organic and natural experience. Just like Bob would have wanted, I reckon.
I spent a good bit of time speaking with a couple of the engineers on the design team. They were well aware of InnerFidelity and my review of their Exodus, and were quick to admit I was correct in pointing out the flaws in the headband. They have since fixed the headband and even added the feature of being able to snap the earpiece into one of three snaps on either side of the headphones for course size adjustment, while the headband elasticity provided the fine tuning. I played around with these cans for a bit and found their changes to work quite well.
Their top-of-the-line TTR Destiny noise-canceling headphone was available for a listen. I found it to be somewhat better than average for a noise canceling headphone --- the noise canceling was okay, and the sound fairly good. I felt it was significantly better than the Beats or Ludacris noise cancelers. Also in the booth were a hefty handfull of boombox and iPod dock products, all having the same friendly and natural feel.
One product that really caught my eye was their new "Little Bird" headphone. I think these headphones would be a great present for a 10-15 year old girl. It just seems to me its casual look and natural feel is such a departure from the cheap pastic junk kids typically confront that it might be especially treasured by a young music lover. I'll let Tony Ostrom fill you in.