While roaming the halls of CES 2014, you couldn’t get very far without passing another booth showing off an assortment of Bluetooth speakers and/or headphones. Bright colors had been a recurring theme as well, with some products looking more like polished candy than pressed plastic.
Now I’m not one to pass judgment on quality based simply on looks, but I can see how some people could associate such styling as “cheap.” This is especially so, since many of the booths had their products stacked up as if they were “for sale” instead of “on display.” I certainly picked up on it.
I eventually wandered into the House of Marley booth, and I was struck with a very different vibe and atmosphere. If the layout were able to speak, it would have been saying, “come, touch, listen, feel, relax.” After the hours on my feet, it was good a time as any to indulge.
I’ve known of the House of Marley brand of audio products, though this was the first time I ever experienced them up-close and personal. After seeing so many other headphones that looked like the designers were on a perpetual sugar-rush, it was refreshing to see (and feel) something completely different.
I was approached by the lead designer (I think), who was excited to speak to me since I, too, get amped up over great audio products. He stepped me through the lineup, explaining some of the differences in form and technology. But he also pointed out the use of wood, cloth, and metal. These materials are recyclable and come from sustainable resources.
The design choices have a lot of character, and everyone of any age can wear a pair of House of Marley headphones without a second thought. If you’re over 24 and think you look cool wearing those Beats by Dre out on the street – think again.
(Sorry, Beats by Dre, but big bucks or not, you were considered the joke of headphone audio throughout the entirety of CES 2014 by pretty much every other major manufacturer out there. Just sayin’.)
Of course, looks only go so far. When I tried on a few different models of House of Marley headphones, I was pretty impressed at first blush. It wasn’t the most ideal listening environment. There was a DJ, social chatter, and other speakers being played nearby. But I liked what I heard.
Not many manufacturers (as a whole, across all industries) go out of their way for the sake of being green. House of Marley does, but they also want to make great audio products that are accessible and affordable too.
The team members have very tangible passion about what House of Marley is, does, and represents. Being well-versed in the realm of sales and pitches, I can confidently say it was refreshing to have a conversation without my BS meter going off. Just some good talk about listening to great music.