David Solomon – Headphones.com
Stir It Up – Positive Vibrations
Celebrity-endorsed headphones seem to be all the rage right now. One of the most unique brands to come out of this craze is House of Marley. Their cosmetic design seems less concerned with impressive bling and flash, and more concerned with honoring the ideals of the music legend whose name the headphones proudly boast. The entire House of Marley line is designed with special cosmetic touches which look and feel environmentally friendly. In fact, most of the materials used to build and package the headphone are either recycled or recyclable. The product line possesses a sincere charm and humanness about them – they come off as something which I would think Bob himself would have been proud to put his name on. In particular, I thought that the cloth-sleeved-Rastafarian-colorized cable which can be found on each and every model thus far was a nice touch from both a utilitarian perspective and the perspective of paying respect and homage to a world-beloved musical and social figure.
The Fit and Finish
The first model which I unboxed was the House of Marley Positive Vibration Roots. This model comes in two versions: one with and one without Apple controls and microphone. In this review I will be focusing on the one without these added features – EM-JH010-RT which retails for $59.99. The first thing I noticed about the headphone was its rugged canvas headband. The headband’s dominant olive green color was very appealing to me. Somehow, the whole look and feel gives off a retro vibe without at all looking antique. The headphone features stitching all across the headband and ear pads in the red, green and yellow colors of the Rastafarian movement. The ear cups themselves are circular and rest gently on the ear. The padding itself is fairly plush and is covered in a thin faux leather layer. While the ear cups do not swivel, they do fold up compactly. The ear cups also feature an easily adjustable dual rod system. The cable is connected to left side and extends approximately 5 feet to a right angle mini-plug.
All About The Sound
The sound of the Positive Vibration headphones is punchy and warm and well-suited for Reggae, R&B, Hip Hop and Pop music. There is a clear emphasis on bass here which adds a fair amount of weight and impact to the overall sound.
The overall tonality is very good at this price point. One of the strengths of the sound quality is that is one of the least fatiguing and least sibilant headphones I’ve used. On the flipside, one thing I do not love about the sound is that vocals appear recessed within the mix, immersed within the soundscape more so than in a forward position. There appears to be a significant treble roll-off which explains much of this headphones ability to allow the listener to withstand hours of listening without fatigue. However, treble roll-off can sometimes detract from the clarity of sound and I feel that the clarity is affected here slightly. Yet at the price point, the Positive Vibration is an overall success for sure.
OK, I have to do it….I have to try out a Wailers tune with these headphones. “Stir It Up” sounds just so slammin’ with these. The bass is just thumping its way to my heart – my feet are tapping – and then Bob’s voice pops in… leaving little doubt that the House Of Marley headphones
are the ultimate way to listen to my reggae through the iPod. It possesses a very authoritative tonal balance for this purpose.
I really enjoy how these headphones
render percussion instruments in particular. Listening to Fiona Apple’s “Please Please Please,” I was delighted by the impact of the kick and snare. In this regard it had an almost speaker-like impact. The excessive cymbal work did not hurt my ears, as often it can with brighter headphones. The vocals sat nicely within the mix. I personally prefer the vocals to be a little bit more forward. I find the rendering of sound to lack a little depth and definition between instruments.
Switching to Jay Z’s Hard Knock Life, I was really surprised with the House of Marley EM-JH010-RT
. These headphones handle hip hop as well as they handle Reggae and they cost much less than many other celebrity endorsed competitors.
While the House Of Marley Positive Vibrations
are the most versatile headphones, their appeal is undeniable: They look like something with a spirit. They sound like something meant to warm your spirits. They sound very very good with the percussive music right out of the iPod! I’m happy to have had the chance to review them.
Rating Chart at Price-Point
|Design & Features