Genuine House of Marley Rebel wireless headphones are more environmentally friendly than a regular pair of wireless headphones, and the design is made of durable materials. Unfortunately, for $ 129.99 little stands out in these headphones. They have a sculptural sound signature with powerful bass and amplified highs, with just two equalizer modes that don’t allow for enough tuning. And the earbuds are unpleasant, especially because they do not have a play button. I hate stuffing a product with a sustainable design, but in the end it’s just not enough to break into such a crowded market. A simple fact: you can get a much better pair of headphones for the same price or less.
Environmentally friendly design
Rebel True wireless headphones are available in black or white with bamboo accents paired with recycled plastic and wood fiber composite. Even the braided material of the charger cable is environmentally friendly. The headphone has a stem design, bamboo panels on the outside. Channel editing is safe, but to some users it may seem a little inconvenient during long listening sessions. Headphones come with three sizes of headphones – small, medium and large.
The headphones are a bit messy. First, there is no playback / pause control, and I first encountered this after checking out hundreds of pairs of genuine wireless headphones. The instructions tell you to just remove or replace the headphone to play or pause the music, and while it works, it’s a feature that many people (including me) find unpleasant. I don’t want the music to sound in my ear after I insert the headphone, and most manufacturers have figured it out, and thus made it an additional feature that can be turned on or off in the app. But there’s no app here, so you can’t turn off the auto-detect feature, which is a moonlight as a playback control. Otherwise, the earbuds are sensitive to touch, and various presses or holdings will control everything from track navigation to volume. The touchpads work, but working with it can be insulting — I’ve had a few misfires when trying to skip tracks or adjust the volume.
The IPX5 rating means that the headphones can withstand splashes and water emitted from any direction, but not severe water pressure, so sweat and light rain should not cause problems. The waterproof rating only applies to headphones, not charging, so make sure the headphones are completely dry before docking them.
The case has a hinged lid and status LEDs on the front. On the bottom panel is a USB-C port for the USB-A-to-USB-C charging cable included. The bottom panel also has a pairing button, and the case can be charged wirelessly on Qi-compatible chargers.
The headphones are compatible with Bluetooth 5.0. There are two built-in equalizer modes (you switch between them by pressing three times), including Lower Frequencies and Lower Bass (my names, not theirs because the modes aren’t called anywhere I see on the product page or in the manual). We will discuss this in the next section.
What is missing? An app with a real equalizer or at least a screen view of the equalizer modes (instead of tapping the headphones three times to switch back and forth) would be good – and for that price is not ruled out.
House of Marley estimates the battery life is about 8 hours, another 24 hours – on charge, but your results will vary depending on the volume level.
Rebel True Wireless Sound Quality
Let’s quickly discuss the equalizer modes, which are actually, as I mentioned, – these are lower or lower bass. None of these modes are perfect. More Bass mode adds an equation to seriously elevated lows in a way that can make things sound unnatural. So we tested the tracks below in lower bass mode, but know that we also listened in lower frequency mode, and the result was too many low beats, with very little clarity in the high frequencies.
Tracks with intense subbass content, such as The Knife’s “Quiet Scream,” sound loud and loud in both modes, and at maximum volume the lows are not distorted.
See how we check the headphones
Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less bass depths in the mix, gives us a better sense of the overall sound feature. The drums still sound pretty full and with a bass boost in what we call Less Bass mode, but they don’t dominate the mix like in another mode. Callahan’s vocals sound rich in the mids and distinct in the highs. The highs are sculpted, and the lows are pushed forward, but to a reasonable degree. It is a sculptural, with bass, bright sound signature.
In Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the drum cycle gets less high and medium presences than we usually hear, muffling it. The vinyl hiss and crackle in the background is slightly pushed forward, so amplification at higher frequencies is not universal. The cycle is amplified by an extra low level, and the synthetic subbass hits that separate the bit are delivered with serious power — even in lower bass mode these headphones are very bass. The vocals on this track are given with pure clarity and don’t make much noise, but the low scores sometimes beat the mix and focus on the vocalists.
Orchestral tracks, for example, are the first scene from a John Adams film The Gospel according to another Mary, too heavy for both modes. Instruments with a lower register move forward in the mix, and this will upset the balance, even if the brass from the upper register, strings and vocals retain their brightness.
The microphone offers decent clarity. Using the Voice Memos app on the iPhone 8, we were able to understand every word recorded. The microphone signal is relatively strong, even if the mix still has typical Bluetooth distortion.
Steady but not great
Something in the Rebel True wireless headphones seems like a beta product that requires apps so you can adjust the equalizer, turn off auto-detection, and eliminate the lack of a proper play / pause button. good, not great, and eco-friendly materials are good, but if you make a product that falls short of competitors in its price range, buyers are more likely to replace it with another option, making it somewhat less environmentally friendly. Simply put, for $ 150 or less in the real wireless world there are many better options, including JBL Live 300TWS, Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro and Jabra Elite 3, all of which sound better and easier to use than the rebels.
How is what you read?
Subscribe to Laboratory report to get the latest reviews and best product tips delivered to you by email.