The winner of the Ultimate Value Headphone Smarthouse award has received one hell of an upgrade with the House of Marley Exodus over-ears adding active noise cancelling and up to 80 hours of playback time.
Available in Australia for $349.95 from JB Hi-Fi and the House of Marley website, the Exodus ANC headphones continue the sustainability trend with custom stained ash wood earcups, stainless steel hinges and recyclable aluminium for the exterior.
House of Marley Director of Product Development, Josh Poulsen expressed excitement over the addition of noise-cancellation ‘and a step up in comfort and performance’.
‘We anticipate the Exodus ANC to become a must-have for those looking for a sustainably designed alternative to over-ear ANC headphones without sacrificing superior quality’.
House of Marley is right on the money with that description as the Exodus ANC headphones sound absolutely terrific, and better yet, they look amazing as well.
Poulsen describes it as both ‘sleek and timeless,’ and we’re inclined to agree with him.
House of Marley’s combination of craftsmanship and sustainability has created and wonderfully stylish product that is both minimalistic and striking.
Subtle logos on the exterior of the ear cups hardly bring attention to themselves, and the braided cable attached to each ear look both durable and fashionable with their two-tone design.
The sliding mechanism for adjusting the headband, is very smooth and accurate, for a tight but comfortable fit.
‘A form-fitting memory foam earcups along with a padded headband’ has also been added to the headphones for ‘a more premium comfort experience’.
However, I would not recommend wearing these headphones for extended use, even with the massive 80-hour battery.
Due to the weight of headphones, they tended to get a little heavy after the two-hour mark.
Also considering how hot Sydney has been over the 2019/2020 Summer, the Exodus ANC, much like all over-ear headphones, do get a bit sweaty over prolonged use.
Featuring a hinge travel design, the headphones fold away neatly into the included felt carry bag.
In terms of functionality, these headphones really have all the bells and whistles.
Bluetooth 5.0 technology for seamless connectivity and pairing, quick charge over USB-C (which can net you 6 hours of playback after only 15 minutes of charge time), and monitor mode that allows users to reverse the ANC feature to better hear the world around them – perfect for when you need to be aware of your surroundings.
One improvement would be when initiating monitor mode the music should also, that way you won’t miss a beat when switching it off.
Another thing to note as well is that using the headphones with my mid-2011 iMac – which only supports Bluetooth 2.1 – there was a considerable latency when playing back video, though this is more an issue with old devices rather than the headphones themselves.
Plus there’s also an included 3.5mm headphone jack with in-line volume controls, just in case the battery dies.
In terms of battery life, in ANC mode the headphones will last 28-hours, or a full 80-hours with the function switched off.
The Exodus ANC headphones are supported by an array of onboard microphones, making call quality better than most, but unfortunately, as with most wireless headphones, you still tend to sound too far away.
That being said, voice assistant commands, were no trouble with Siri and Google both offering help immediately upon hearing the wake word.
Moving onto the good stuff – those 50mm Hi-Definition Drivers – just wow.
Comparable to Sennheiser in terms of audio quality, as well as Bose for ANC, these headphones are incredible for the price you pay.
Music playback is greatly improved when using ANC mode, though that depends on the ambient noise around you.
Switching on Michael Jackson’s Beat It was a real treat with these headphones.
The underlying bass synth along with the kick drum line, the Rock and Pop elements of the song shone through, with Van Halen’s guitar solo practically melting my face.
Changing gears to listen to Lose Yourself by Eminem – the tense, unrelenting guitar lick and thumping bass moved all around the impeccable sound stage of the Exodus ANC.
Playing the THX Sound System ‘Deep Note’ tone (my favourite audio test) blew me away.
Much like the parody scene from The Simpsons, I could feel the entire synthesised crescendo across the full frequency range – the audience was definitely listening.
House of Marley has knocked out of the park with the Exodus ANC.
When it comes to audio playback, these headphones punch well above their price point, hitting the likes of Sennheiser and Bose where it hurts.
From incredible active noise cancelling with an added monitor mode, makes these headphones a versatile audio device when commuting.
The use of sustainable materials ensures a comfortable fit, though it does depend on how long you wear them for.
With added functionality like USB-C fast charging, an 80-hour battery (with ANC off) and voice assistant compatibility, the Exodus ANC headphones can really do it all.