Feb 21, 2017
House of Marley. That Marley.
The legendary name is beginning to develop a bit of a following in the audiophile sphere. What’s not to like? Great construction, wireless options and beautiful sound.
Our wishlist is demanding.
This is what the new-ish Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headphones have to live up to.
The review package HOM sent us reflected the piece in its retail housing; in the box, there is the headphones themselves, audio cable (hint, hint) and a nifty fabric carrying bag.
The headphones are a solid fit in hand, but not hefty. The band is framed in metal, but with soft leather on the interior; the insides of the cups are framed similarly. Said cups are attached to the frames by a jointed assembly held together by screws, and there are fabric and wooden accents sprinkled throughout.
The one cup houses the controls — power, volume, skip, pair/phone — as well as audio input and microphone. On the other, there is input for micro-USB charging.
Trying the set on revealed a more-or-less comfortable pair; the band is wide, and also has a sliding mechanism for adjustments. The unit can also fold up, making it easier to put it in the carrying bag.
Pairing it to an audio bluetooth source is intuitive; as soon as we got that, we were able to test the sound quality. Like other HOM pairs, the sound is crisp, even at reasonable distance. In fact, we were notable to ascertain much of a difference between the wired (yes, it can do that) output and wireless output.
It also worked well as the answering end of a phone.
One big gripe for me is the construction. After a fortnight of consistent use, I found that the screws which secure the ear cup to the frame were loosened; sure enough, they fell out completely shortly thereafter, leaving the cup to dangle uselessly from the main band by only cable.
Replacing them seems to delay the inevitable, as it happened again.
This issue (which seems to be a design flaw) mars what is otherwise one of the best sounding, comfortable headphones we have looked at. We’ll update with HOM’s response to this; hopefully, we received a bum review unit.