The House of Marley’s business model minimizes its environmental impact by using sustainable and recycled materials. Positive Vibration XL headphones, which are over-ear, use reclaimed aluminum, plastic, and steel to produce great sound. The hardware won’t end up in a landfill. House of Marley has more information about the materials used.
House of Marley Design and features
Each Positive Vibration XL is available in three color combinations: all-black; blue and black; and copper and white. Each one costs $100. Black-on-black is not a combination unless you include the FSC certified wood inserts that are included in the cups bearing the House of Marley logo. All three designs are appealing and thoughtfully bling-free, regardless of the literary license.
Packaging is minimalist as well, without any of those plastic protective sheets that can be removed. This makes me question the morality of corporations and raise questions about humanity’s sanity. The included audio cable, as well as the USB Type-A and Type-C charging cables, are all tied with recyclable string.
On the right-hand earcup, you’ll find multipurpose controls: power/answer/play/pause; next/up; previous/down. A tiny reset button and microphone are also available. This information is not included in the documentation. On the left-hand cup, you will find the USB-C port as well as an audio jack.
Positive Vibration XL features Bluetooth 5.0 but not aptX and aptX HD. These would allow for higher-resolution wireless streaming, as well as lower latency TV use (assuming your TV supports it). As an aside, some TVs are more expensive and compensate for Bluetooth lag.
Sound and comfort
If a product fails to perform, eco-friendly is meaningless. I found the Positive Vibration XL headphones to be very good. The listening experience at lower volumes was excellent, but once I turned up the volume, the mid-range became a little too crowded. This made it harder to distinguish instruments and added a graininess to some materials. A second listener didn’t notice any of this.
Otherwise, the balance between bass, midrange and treble is largely perfect. This is unless you want that extra low-end boost that many listeners love. Although the Positive Vibration XL mixes are more accurate than the original mixes, the bump is only available in the standard degree.
The Positive Vibration XL was very comfortable for me to wear, even more than the sonically superior (and slightly more expensive) Cleer Enduro100. It is not as comfortable as Sony’s higher-end products. The cup pads of the Positive Vibration XL are more deep than the Enduro 100’s, and the additional padding in the top of each band is very welcome. The Positive Vibration XL is as comfortable as your conscience.
The battery life was excellent, around the same as the 24 hours House of Marley claims for a full charge. A 10 minute charge was enough for almost two hours of use, again as House of Marley claims.
Although the Positive Vibration XL headphones are excellent for their price, I would like House of Marley to improve their sonic quality to show that being environmentally friendly does not mean sounding average. These headphones are worth a lot more than average listeners if they have that extra 10%.
However, I would demand that all companies market sustainable products if they were king. One simple reason I give for this is that we all live on the same planet. Don’t litter your living spaces. House of Marley, you’re very welcome.
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