House of Marley Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headphones review

There's a lot going on aesthetically with these headphones, but all together they look great and should fit comfortably over the ears of most users. After about a week's worth of rocking out with these puppies, there are some aspects that stand out — both good and not so good. Whether you've seen the Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headphones before or not, our review should give you more detail on the build quality and how they sound, mon.

What's included

Along with the Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headphones you get a 53" braided and detachable 1 button-mic cable that plugs into the 3.5mm auxiliary port, 40" microUSB charging cable, and a soft carry bag with pull strings that hold the headphones while collapsed.

Marley Liberate XLBT Headphones


Right off the bat, you can't help but notice the stainless steel headband that features a series of holes that adds to its unique appearance. Underneath is a soft band that has a leather-like material, including enough padding to keep things comfortable while worn. Both ear cups are able to be folded for a compact fit in the included carry bag, providing an audible snap when completely closed or opened. A braided cable reaches out from both sides of the headband into the ear cups, which actually doesn't look too bad since it matches the theme of the entire headset, but I'd prefer it to be hidden rather than rubbing against my head.

Marley Liberate XLBT Headphones

The ear cushions are made from the same soft, padded material as the underside of the headband. When worn initially, they felt a little stiff, but eventually conformed around the ears. After a couple hours they start to get uncomfortable, causing me to constantly adjust them around my ears to relieve the pressure. The exterior of the ear cups feature the same FSC certified wood that we saw on the Grain Audio PWS.01 Wireless Speaker with a Marley logo engraved on both sides. A silver plastic trim surrounds the rest, leaving open access to the microUSB charging port and 3.5mm auxiliary port at the bottom.

Pairing and music control

On the exterior right headphone are 6 buttons that allow you to manage volume levels, skip tracks, play and pause, answer calls, pair with Bluetooth devices, and of course power the headset on/off. The in-line microphone is also featured at the bottom of this same headphone. Although the Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headphones don't offer NFC pairing, connecting to any Bluetooth device is pretty straightforward. Holding the Bluetooth button for 3 seconds puts the headset into pairing mode, changing the LED's to a solid blue once connected to your device.

Marley Liberate XLBT Headphones

The included auxiliary cable features a single button on the cable, but can still be used for skipping tracks, play/pause music, or even manage calls. Pressing the button once will answer an incoming call or play/pause a track, 2 taps skips forward, and 3 taps goes back a track. Simple enough to use in case you need to roll with a direct connection.

Sound quality

These headphones boast about the advanced APTX and AAC wireless technology that provide wired sound quality through a wireless connection, along with 50mm dynamic coil drivers and neodymium magnets for excellent bass quality. It's all there, but for what it packs — it could sound better. Compared to other headsets like the Samsung Level On Headphones, the sound just isn't as rich, leaving more to be desired for a wireless headset in this price range. That's not to say they're horrible by any means, because they definitely deliver acceptable quality, just not anything that leaves me saying "WOW".

For managing calls, the sound quality was spot-on. Both ends were able to hear perfectly without any noise or static. No complaints there.

Final Thoughts

House of Marley has a decent pair of wireless headphones here, and the design suits the name quite well. While the comfort level will vary for each user, I think the ear cushions aren't ideal for me during long sessions. The build quality is certainly top-notch and the wood finish outside the headphones add a cool look that you don't normally see. For $149, they're worth considering if you're after a wireless audio experience that adds style over the norm.

Buy the Liberate XLBT Wireless Headphones

Brent Zaniewski