I had the pleasure of attempting out Marley’s Exodus wi-fi over-ear headphones final Could. Regardless of not being the best-sounding cans I’ve ever used, they obtained loads of use merely due to how fashionable and comfy they’re.
The corporate has up to date that mannequin with energetic noise-canceling (ANC) chops, Bluetooth 5.Zero for higher wi-fi connectivity, a padded headband, and a glossy new black end. It additionally prices $50 bucks extra.
That pits the revamped Exodus headphones towards some formidable contenders. I spent the previous few weeks placing them by means of their paces to see how they held up. Right here’s what you may anticipate for $250.
The Exodus ANC cans look virtually the identical as their predecessors, with FSC licensed wooden formed into the ear cups, a steel headband, and adjustable steel batons supporting the ear items. Combining fashionable and old-school design parts, these are among the many most distinctively designed headphones available on the market as we speak — however they’re additionally snug and sensible in addition.
To that finish, the ear cushions and headband characteristic reminiscence foam padding, and the complete package deal is gentle sufficient — 280g — to put on for hours at a time. The buttons on each ear cups are simple to achieve and get used to in simply a few days. The padded headband, a welcome improve from the earlier mannequin, helps obtain a greater match across the high of your head.
It’s exhausting to say which of the 2 Exodus fashions look higher. The glossy black end hides the wooden grain a bit, whereas it shines by means of the pure end on the previous non-ANC Exodus. When you’re searching for one thing a bit extra conventional so far as audio gear goes, you’ll need the newer of the 2.
Whereas these headphones fold inward and flat — permitting them to be packed in a few alternative ways — they’re nonetheless a bit unwieldy to suit into their fabric carrying case, identical to the earlier mannequin. I want Marley had sorted this out on its second try.
The Exodus ANC gives loads of bang in your buck. There’s Bluetooth 5.Zero for fast pairing and dependable connectivity, quick-charging over USB-C that permits for six hours of playtime with simply 15 minutes of cost, the aforementioned ANC with a transparency mode, a delicate case, and braided USB-C and three.5mm cables.
As with many different fashions I’ve tried underneath $250, the ANC is fairly environment friendly at blocking out low-frequency ambient noise, and the seal of the ear cushions assist a good bit on this regard. It isn’t fairly up there with the Bose QC 35 II or the beloved Sony WH-1000XM3, however the distinction in efficiency isn’t a lot. It’s solely actually noticeable while you use the ANC by itself with out another audio taking part in by means of the headphones.
The Combined Monitor mode dials down the ANC and engages an exterior mic so you may hear what’s being mentioned round you with out having to take your headphones off. This works rather well, and it’s good to see it included at this worth.
Battery life is nice too. With a full cost in three hours, it’s attainable to get near 30 hours of play time with ANC on, and a whopping 80 hours with out ANC. You do, nevertheless, want to recollect to show ANC off as a way to preserve energy — there aren’t any sensors to detect whether or not you’ve obtained your headphones on or not.
These cans sound virtually the identical as the unique Exodus. They sound good when taking part in quite a lot of music genres, in addition to films and video games. Rock, pop, and hip-hop tracks are all gratifying sufficient for informal listening, with good bass copy. The general supply is highly effective and punchy, slightly than nuanced and delicate.
That mentioned, I didn’t discover myself reaching for these headphones after I wished to hear carefully to orchestral performances or revisit my favourite steel albums. There’s not sufficient element throughout the spectrum, the soundstage is rather small, and the highs can distort a bit while you flip up the amount. There’s additionally a bit extra sibilance than I’d like, notably on the subject of heavy rock and steel.
Oddly, I observed that while you change on ANC, the headphones additionally activate a quantity enhance, which I’m not a fan of. It’s a tad jarring, and in some cases pushed the excessive frequencies previous their consolation zone.
Do you have to purchase the Exodus ANC?
I consider that ANC is a must have in headphones nowadays — except you’re shopping for audiophile-grade tools to get pleasure from at house with a devoted amplifier. These up to date cans tick all of the containers for informal listeners, and look improbable whereas doing it.
There are additionally a number of considerate options and glorious battery life. And whereas they don’t high the charts on the subject of sound high quality, most folk will really feel proper at house listening to mainstream music with them.
There are different choices on this worth vary from Sony, Sennheiser, and Audio-Technica with comparable options. I haven’t tried all of them, so I can’t say precisely how carefully they compete on audio efficiency. However I can inform you that the Exodus ANC is much and away the perfect wanting of the lot within the sub-$500 class.
When you’re available in the market for headphones with a particular look, these are an effective way to go.
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Revealed January 17, 2020 — 14:10 UTC
ProductExodus ANC headphones by Marley