We review the celebrity-branded Exodus On-Ear Headphones
It's fair to say that Bob Marley had little say in the range of headphones and speakers that now bear his name, given that he died in 1981. But turning iconic musicians into brands is big business, and the dead can't claim a slice.
That's not to say that celebrity-branded products can't be impressive. The Beats line of headphones from US rapper and music producer Dr Dre have delivered in both sound quality and good looks.
The Exodus On-Ear Headphones are in the middle of the House of Marley price range, and are exceptionally stylish, with a wooden headband inset with embossed metal rivets, soft leather headstrap and fabric-wrapped cord to prevent tangling.
The cord is flecked with red, yellow and green stripes to represent the traditional colours of the Ethiopian flag, symbolic of Bob Marley's links with the Rastafari movement.
No expense has been spared on the materials, many of which are recycled, although more thought on design would have been welcome. The earcups are covered in soft leather but the tension from the elasticated soft-leather headstrap pulls uncomfortable at the ears.
If wearing glasses (or sunglasses) we found this tension pulled at the arms, making them rise from the bridge of the nose. This could have been avoided altogether by using a traditional adjustable headband, but then that probably wouldn't have looked as stylish.
The smaller earcup size means the pressure from the grip presses the ears into the side of the head more so than a larger cup. Also residents of the office with a larger hat-size found the grip distinctly uncomfortable.
The House of Marley website is not shy about its commitment to ensuring the quality of bass frequencies and we're pleased to say there was no distortion even at high volume levels. Mid- to high-end frequencies fare reasonably well although music where there is little bass to reproduce sounded a little sharp, edging towards tinny when listening to classical music. For most of the genres we listened to, from reggae to rock, sound quality was pretty good.
The cord has an built-in volume and pause/play control that works only with Apple devices, which also a microphone so you can talk on the phone without removing the headphones. This control has been placed much higher on the cable than on many headphones we've seen, making it a little uncomfortable to use. A good-quality canvass carry-case is also provided.
It's worth noting that not all Android devices will work with these headphones – the HTC Desire handset rejected them with the error message 'device not suported'.
If style and bass reproduction are your most valued qualities in a set of headphones, then the House of Marley Exodus On-Ear Headphones are an option, but we'd advice you to test them in-store alongside a set of Dr Dre Beats before parting with £100, particularly as the comfort of fit is dependent on head size and shape. The suggested retail price is £99.99 but we found them online from about £75.
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Not as comfortable as the quality of materials would suggest and definitely geared for bass
Excellent bass reproduction
Can be uncomfortable to wear, and do not sit well alongside glasses
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