With the myriad of headphones available in the market, we’re often baffled by options. It becomes harder to make a purchase, especially without having tried out the models first-hand. Putting some of the market’s outstanding models to the test, we present a review that covers three categories: Look, Feel and Sound. This segment focuses on The House of Marley’s Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headphones, which have attracted attention for their soulful design without foregoing the latest technology. The House of Marley co-founder, Rohan Marley, seeks to bring the “vibes of the tropical ocean and the lush lands of Jamaica” to the listening experience. Staying true to his goal, the label serves both the eye and the ear in its designs created from sustainable values and a commitment to improving the end-users’ listening experience. All components come from earth-friendly materials: recycled plastics, metals, and woods and bamboos certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Yet, the best attribute thus far is the option of Bluetooth connectivity or wired listening. Users can stream sound using iDevices via AAC encoding or connect to listening devices with equally pristine sound quality.
The Liberate XLBT brings a charismatic image with its recycled materials. From the packaging to the headphones themselves, everything has been repurposed by what Marley describes as “upcycled” materials. A perforated aluminum headband is attached to the leather-foamed head-cushioning by colorful threads in Rasta hues. Rewind cotton trims – made from recycled cotton, plastic bottles and hemp – embellish the cushion’s exterior and complement the coffee-brown leather ear cups. Refined wooden panels with embossed logos round out this inspired design that blends modernity with a laid-back feel. The detachable cord is wrapped in braided fabric to exude a Beatnik look while reducing the possibility of entanglement. The headphones are lightweight, and for travel purposes can be easily collapsed to around half of their size.
The plush ear cushions are padded with thick memory foam and covered with soft leather that encapsulates the entire ear. The ear cups rest gently against the user’s head, and avoids the rigid constrictions often found in other headphones. The large surface of the over-ear cushions ensures that the speaker drives do not pinch the earlobes, while the soft leather exterior adds style. Users commonly remove their headphones between listens, but they won’t do so with the Liberate XLBT. A good indicator of comfort is whether you can keep them on throughout a whole film. The ultra soft cushion makes the wearing hardly noticeable.
The Liberate XLBT is engineered to present different genres of music while capturing the full energy and timbre of all tracks. The over-ear design is combined with 40mm high-performance drivers to pick up every detail. The cushioned cups also exclude unwanted noise, and keep a solid audio balance that permits identification of the slightest change in pitch. Isolating sound to give off a surround effect, the headphones can serve all types of music with deftness and precision.
For more information on stockists and availability head to The House of Marley webpage.