EM-JH010-RA - Positive Vibration On Ear Headphones - Rasta

General Information

Capture every nuance of your music with the Marley Jammin' Positive Vibration headphones. They feature clear sound reproduction thanks to a 50mm dynamic moving coil speaker, recyclable aluminum components, a tangle-resistant and durable fabric cord, and 3.5-millimeter gold-plated connector. Features: Comfortable, over- the-ear design/20Hz-20+kHz frequency response and 50-millimeter dynamic moving coil speaker for clear frequency response and sound reinforcement/Right-angled, 3.5-millimeter gold-plated connector fits with most devices/ Recyclable aluminum components packaging/52 inch fabric cord. Jammin’ - Fun meets form and function here. Jammin’ is the base line for the Marley brand, but don’t let that fool you. These stylish and fashion-forward headphones scream character in every model. The tiny buds certainly do pack a punch, and hey, they’re made out of real wood, who wouldn’t dig that?

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Pros: Balanced, Some detail, Warm and Smooth sounding
Cons: Uncomfortable for long periods, sluggish driver if unamped
So, I had the House of Marley Roar for a while, and I liked the bassy sound but it was missing the clarity. I tried the Revolution, they sounded muffled and bassier. I tried the Liberate, and they sound a bit better than the Roar. Then there was that one headphone from the brand, and it really caught my eye. It looked like something from the 80's mixed with the nice youth style. I tried them out, and It was really good for the low price of £20. I had to buy these, and these will remain with me until they fail.

Before I get to the review, I have to mention the version of my headphone does not have an inline mic or a pouch. The style I brought was Dubwise.
 
*Specifications:

Wearing Style: Supra-aural
Style: Dubwise
Frequency Response: 17 - 20+KHz
Driver Size: 50mm

*I can't really find much of the specs around the House of Marley's website or other websites.
 
Build Quality:

This is the my first ever metal headphones I have owned. The driver housing is made of recycled aluminium. The headband is made of a canvas material with a thin plastic inside. The extension system was the retro, aluminium rod that slides seamlessly up and down. The aluminium driver housing does sometimes have little bit of tarnish smears which can easily be rubbed off, depending on the colour, with the rasta/pulse style being the least noticeable. The cable is thin and is braided, which I like. It terminates in a right angle 3.5mm gold plated audio jack. The headphone also fold up nicely into an almost circular shape.

As an everyday backpack headphone, they do handle quite some abuse when it is squashed in my bag. I use the Skullcandy pouch and the aluminium driver housing don't suffer from as much abrasion when sliding around my bag. I have dropped it a couple of times and also snagged the un-detachable cable and it hasn't developed a fault. The quality of the materials used is pretty amazing for the priced I paid for them.

The problem with the build quality is the un-detachable cable and the extensions, as I think these are the weak points. If the cable gets damaged, it's game over for the headphones.

Comfort:

This is where the headphone disappoint me. Even though the materials feels nice when wearing them, I feel like there is a higher clamping force then what I am used to. They sure press onto your ears quite hard. I cannot wear these for longer than 30 minutes out of the box. The ear pads were rock solid and I have to work them in order for them to become softer. This extended my wearing period to 2 hours, which is good, but not good enough. The dreaded clamping force is still there and could be very fatiguing for people with bigger than average heads. This is a no-no if you want to wear these for hours on end. The good thing about the comfort is the headband padding, which is okay. The ear pads are removable and can be swapped with better ones.

Isolation:

Isolation is pretty average. It does muffle the outside noise. When music is playing, the isolation does get better. Not much to say.

Sound Quality:

My source was my Samsung Galaxy S4 phone and my Stone NT303 laptop with a Creative SoundBlaster E3 Portable DAC Amplifier. I listened to 192 - 320Kbps MP3s, 24 Bit 44.1k FLACs and 32 Bit 44.1k WAVs using Foobar2000 and Neutron Player.

The bass is more on the warmer side than neutral but it is not overpowering. The bass works is almost any genre, from Dubstep, to Classical. It does have a bit of a mid-bass hump which makes the kicks of electronic music fun to listen to, but the mid-bass hump doesn't disturb the linear gradient from sub-bass to low mids too much, sometimes almost unnoticeable. The sub-bass is rolled off, as the sub-bass is not as present as my Philips SHP2000, but it can reach some of the low notes quite good.

The mids are good and has body, but when there is a lot happening in the mids, it becomes muddy. The driver cannot keep up, making fast paced music difficult to play on this headphone, like Metal. Otherwise, vocals sound amazing. It has some life to satisfy vocal listeners and has a bit of a upper mid bump to emphasise vocals further, though I don't prefer mid colouration.  I prefer the mids to be neutral but a bit of a upper mid hump won't put me off.

The highs is what makes this headphone separated from the rest of the House of Marley headphones. It's silky smooth and none fatiguing which is good for longer listening sessions. It does have some detail and has crisp but it's not as good as my Sennheiser HD 202. This headphone is also forgiving as poor quality music or poorly master music isn't revealed too much. Out of the box, the highs are sharper but after a few days, the highs smooth out. There is some detail that I have heard but they are not as pronounced as my other headphones I own.

The soundstage is average for a closed back pair of headphones. It is slightly improved with a DAC Amplifier. I do sometimes head sounds outside the headphones but it doesn't go far out.
The imaging is better than what I have heard from other House of Marley headphones. It's still not pretty accurate but it does briefly give you a sense of where the instrument or sound is coming from in the audio track.

Without an amp, the driver is sluggish on the mids. It will sound fine with bass-driven music or music that doesn't have too much going on in the mids. But when listening to fast paced music, it becomes muddy. With a DAC Amplifier, it sure speeds up and does have more control over the mids, but the mids only have a tiny bit of muddiness which you won't notice when there is other stuff happening on the whole spectrum.

Conclusion:

I have to say that this is the best House of Marley Headphone I have ever tried for it's price. It might be warm sounding with just a bit of colouring in the bass and mids but it shouldn't hurt the overall balanced of this great sounding headphone.

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