House of Marley offers Bluetooth technology with their latest on-ear headphones dubbed Rebel BT. Having long prided themselves on honouring reggae music with strong bass and pleasing acoustics across their product line, the Rebel BT is undeniably Marley. Before going too deep into how they perform, let’s consider the major shift underway in the headphone market.
The Rebel BT is fully wireless
Very few companies possess the power to permanently alter a market by updating a decade-old product. Apple is one of those companies. In a demonstration of its clout, the launch of the iPhone 7 declared to the world that wired headphones are about to go the way of the fax machine.
By eliminating the headphone jack on the latest iPhone, Bluetooth headphones are on their way to becoming the standard. This will leave wired cans as something used by DJs and jocks, producers and broadcasters. For the vast majority of consumers, we are on notice. Chances are the next smartphone you upgrade to may require a fancy new pair of headphones, free from the shackles of a three foot cable you never knew was such a burden. That is until you’ve freed yourself from it. Then you may wonder why you hadn’t made the leap earlier.
Rebel BT has a lithium ion battery
The Rebel BT incorporates a lithium ion battery, the gold standard of the rechargeable realm. There is nothing worse than a battery that dies so fast it becomes a burden to constantly recharge. Or a battery that loses its staying power because you began charging it before it was completely drained. Lithium ion takes care of it all. No recharge memory, charge it whenever you want, as often as you want, and there is no negative impact to the life of the battery. Leave it for a couple months, and lithium ion holds its charge. When making a purchase I will always choose a lithium ion product over one with a standard rechargeable battery.
Marley advertises 8 hours of playback without needing a charge, which completes in just over 2 hours. I’m convinced I got closer to 12 hours out of my first full charge. Simply put, you won’t be disappointed in this battery.
Rebel BT is unbelievably comfortable to wear
The first time I put these headphones on, I had an epiphany. I had never experienced engineering like this before. A solution so simple, yet so powerful that it will forever influence how I buy headphones. House of Marley has recognized that our heads are not flat; they have a natural curvature to them. The result of their designing around this fact is a headphone that incorporates an angle to the cans, sloping the front of headphone inwards to match the angle of our head. The Rebel BT stands alone as the most comfortable on-ear headphone I have ever worn.
I wear glasses, and with most on-ear and over-ear headphones, the pressure becomes noticeable within an hour. I can wear the Rebel BT all day without an ounce of discomfort. This is what progress feels like.
How do they sound?
I listen for balance and clarity in all audio products I test or purchase. Balance across the musical spectrum, and clarity throughout. In the interest of full disclosure, I had never put on a pair of Marley headphones before these arrived at my door. I had never been motivated to listen to them and made some assumptions based on the relatively low price points of their products. I had no preconceptions of the tone the Rebels would offer, and I did not check the retail price of them to minimize any further bias. That said, I did not go in with high expectations.
That’s a lot of bass!
Within seconds I noticed the powerful bass, and honestly, I was a little disappointed. I generally despise products that artificially boost the bass and sacrifice the remainder of the spectrum because there is a market that only cares about that one element of music. I’m glad it didn’t taint me.
I kept listening and I pushed these across the range of music that I listen to, and while the bass was always overtly present, my ears adjusted and it didn’t take away from the rest of the music. The treble was clear without being piercing and the strong bass didn’t overshadow the midrange. If you don’t appreciate bass, these probably aren’t for you. If you crave a powerful bass line, you are going to love these cans.
What comes with the Rebel BT
In the package you’ll find a standard USB charging cable and a male-to-male headphone cable to operate outside of the wireless mode. The Rebel BT has a built in microphone so they can be used to make and take calls in Bluetooth mode, which I did while testing and I never once had the person on the other end of the call comment on the quality, or lack-thereof, of the connection.
I was seriously impressed with this product, and although I find the bass a little distracting at times, there are countless listeners who crave that in a headphone. If you are firmly in the bass-lover camp, the Rebel BT deserve a listen and can be found at Best Buy. When combined with the undeniable comfort and extraordinary battery life, it’s possible these may in fact amaze.