I have to say that i like the direction House of Marley has taken with their latest headphone range, including the Liberate on-ear model that is covered in this review. The design is still strongly influenced by the company’s earth friendly ethos and their Jamaican heritage, but at the same time they are less ‘in your face’ compared to some of the earlier models.
House of Marley Liberate on-ear is the mid-range model from their 2013/14 range, taking them into competition with the likes of Beats by Dre Solo and the likes, but at a lower price point, as you can get your hands on the Liberate model at under £80 at the moment, and personally i prefer the looks of the HoM Liberate as well.
The model tested was the denim styled version of the Liberate, which is also available in a darker midnight color and the lighter grey and brown saddle model (my personal favourite). All of them feature the same earth friendly, largely recycled materials. From the steel finished headband to the wooden outer earcups with the House of Marley logo engraved, the build quality of the Liberate feels very good, in fact, I would go as far as saying it’s one of the better built headphones in its class.
While I have found previously tested House of Marley over-ear headphones to be a bit tight fitting and uncomfortable over extended periods of use, the Liberate model felt both light and comfortable. The headband is not very padded, but i did not find that to be an issue. I actually prefer it over some of the heavily padded headphones that make them look bigger than they actually are. The earpads are comfortable, I did not suffer from the ears getting sweaty over longer periods of use, which is a big plus.
House of Marley have always stayed true to their heritage, which is reflected in the sound produced by their headphones as well, bringing a warm sound with an emphasis on the bass performance. Where some other bass-heavy headphones fall into the trap of being one dimensional, the Liberate is dynamic and with good definition. Yes, they do deliver plenty of bass, but they have not forgotten about the treble or the overall balance. A very enjoyable listening experience.
- Great build quality and comfortable fit
- Earth friendly, using recycled materials where possible
- More understated compared to earlier models
- Plenty of bass without becoming one dimensional. A fun and dynamic sound.
- Not much negative to say really at this price point. If anything, the audio could do with a bit more definition
- A foldable design would be helpful
The House of Marley Liberate on-ear headphones provided a very enjoyable listening experience. They are lively both in sound and looks, and the fact that they are built using largely recycled or earth friendly materials is a bonus in my book. While design wise they may be more attractive for the younger crowds, you will struggle to find much better headphones in this price range.