Gadgets for humans

House of Marley’s $200 headphones are as comfortable as they are stylish

More style for your buck than anything else at this price

Price $ 199.99 ProductExodus by House of Marley

I’m usually all about sound quality when it comes to headphones, but having reviewed several pairs over the years, I’ve come to realize that other attributes, like comfort and weight, are pretty important too. And House of Marley’s new Exodus over-ear wireless headphones check those boxes with aplomb.

They’re beautifully styled and appointed with premium materials, and they’re sure to warrant a second glance every time you pick them up. While I’m fortunate to have better-sounding headphones to pop on, I found myself frequently reaching for these while heading out, and to work. Here’s a look at what you get for your money.

Design and features

The Exodus, named after the ninth album from legendary reggae outfit Bob Marley and the Wailers from 1977, is made from stainless steel, aluminum, natural leather, and sustainably sourced wood in a gorgeous modern design.

The Exodus headphones feature sustainably sourced wood with a light finish, which looks distinctive without being overly loud
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
The Exodus headphones feature sustainably sourced wood with a light finish, which looks distinctive without being overly loud

The materials are beautifully finished, and there’s plenty of attention to detail in the way it’s been built. That’s apparent from thoughtful little touches like the earcups’ ability to fold inward and down flat, and in the way the metal batons slide with a bit of resistance when you adjust the earcups to fit your head comfortably.

Between the lightweight construction and the memory foam ear cushions, the Exodus is perhaps the most comfortable pair of headphones I’ve ever tried. They weigh nearly the same (279g) as these inexpensive noise cancelling over-ears from iTeknic that I reviewed in February, but they’re easier to wear for longer periods of time because they don’t fatigue me as much.

I also like how the controls are easy to reach, memorize, and use without having to look at them.  Unlike many other ambitiously designed cans, the Exodus’ buttons for playback, power, wireless pairing, and volume are laid out in a straightforward manner, along the sides of the earcups.

The buttons on the Exodus are easy to reach and press without looking
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
The buttons on the Exodus are easy to reach and press without looking

These headphones come with a cloth carrying case, as well as a tangle-free 3.5mm aux cable with a single playback control button and mic for use as a headset and when it’s out of power. You’ll also get a braided USB-C cable for relatively quick charging. Overall, it’s a well thought out package with little details that make them a delight to own.

The Exodus headphones come with a 3.5mm cable, a USB-C charging cable, and a cloth carrying case
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
The Exodus headphones come with a 3.5mm cable, a USB-C charging cable, and a cloth carrying case

Performance

Let’s talk about how these sound. The Exodus plays things safe for the most part, coloring the output with an emphasis on the low end. It delivers a little less treble and a looser bass response than I’d like. And as with most closed-back headphones, the soundstage isn’t very large, and so there isn’t a whole lot of separation between instruments.

As such, it’s tame, lacks a bit of bite, and is a little less exciting than some other headphones I’ve tried in this price range.

The Exodus headphones offer a bass-heavy sound that's tame on the details
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
The Exodus headphones offer a bass-heavy sound that’s tame on the details

That said, these are still enjoyable to use with most contemporary genres, from pop to folk to metal. Testing it with tracks by Kiev, Bruno Mars, Cleo Sol, Alfa Mist, Audioslave, Arctic Monkey, Mac Ayres, and No Honey, I had a fine time leaving behind the din of my co-working space over the past couple of weeks.

However, if I intended to meditate with some modern classical and jazz records from the likes of Philip Glass and Pat Metheny Group, I’d reach for Master & Dynamic’s MW50 to eke out a bit more detail and sound separation.

With a Bluetooth 4.2 chip on board, these headphones pair fairly quickly, but it would have been nice to have quicker connectivity with Bluetooth 5. The onboard mic isn’t great, so don’t expect to take calls while using these wirelessly. These aren’t deal-breakers for me, but I’d have been chuffed to use this for work chats as well. Plus, the long battery life (close to the advertised 30 hours) makes for a pretty sweet deal.

Who are these for?

If you’re in the market for headphones with a distinctive look, or need a pair that you can wear for hours on end, I’d happily recommend the Exodus.

At its asking price of $200, you can get nicer sounding cans like Audio-Technica’s M50XBT, but the alternatives within this range aren’t nearly as tastefully designed. It may seem shallow to judge headphones by looks for the most, but hey, you’re going to own these for years, and it doesn’t hurt to have pretty gear.

Find the House of Marley Exodus on Amazon US at $199.99, and on the company’s site.


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Published May 7, 2019 — 16:35 UTC

Price $ 199.99 ProductExodus by House of Marley