Forbes just named Marley one of the top earning dead celebrities of 2015, with his estate raking in $21 million dollars. A large part of those profits were generated by the family’s line of audio tech products from House of Marley. Besides being a serious money-maker, the family-owned company aims to carry on its namesake’s legacy by making sustainable, green products, donating to charity and crafting everything to look, sound and feel like the singer’s famous warm voice and spirit. We asked Sam Vanderveer, Senior Vice President of the “House Of Marley” what the difference is between their products and anyone else’s. So they gave us two products to try, the “Liberate XL” headphones and the “Get Up Stand Up” bluetooth speakers.
Vanderveer said that this is where technology meets the natural world, and “Mother Earth is not just a problem for scientists.” He worked for Best Buy Canada for 20 years, and became familiar with all the brands there. He was tired of uninspired design, and struggled with the idea that a lot of the plastic used in the materials would end up in the garbage. When he left Best Buy to start working with House of Marley, he was excited about the idea of using more natural materials and organic, simple controls. “Simplicity is beautiful,” he explained.
They use cotton, bamboo, canvas textiles and a fabric called “REWIND™,” which is a combination of hemp and upcycled water bottles as well as Forest Stewardship Council certified wood, which is authenticity regulated. The goal is to create products that are more in tune with the natural world, and yet still be cutting edge. So their speakers feature bluetooth and the Qualcomm AllPlay smart media platform that allows multiple devices to be connected.
Vanderveer said that Marley’s children are key to the development of the sound and design of the products. They are heavily involved in all aspects of the business, and give back to their 1Love project, supporting things like Charity Water, whose mission is bring clean drinking water to every person on the planet.
So far so good, but how do these products really sound? We put the “Get Up Stand Up” speakers in an 800 square foot room as well as the back yard to try the bluetooth connectivity with an apple iPhone and a macbook pro. The iPhone was a bit of a challenge until I realized I had the sound on the phone turned down too low on the phone and too high on the speaker. After a bit of adjustment, it sounded great, with a heavy, resonant bass and deep good mid to high range. And they can definitely get LOUD. No problems with the syncing of the speakers and the computer.
In conclusion, the speaker is solid and pleasing aesthetically to look at and most importantly super easy to use, with minimalistic controls. It blew my Bose Soundlink Mini away, but that might be an unfair comparison, those only cost $199, and the “Get Up Stand Up” is a bigger and more powerful speaker set at $329.
As for the Liberate XL headphones, even though they are intended for recreational use they were more than adequate for our video editor Chris Thompson to use while adjusting sound for video. He said that they’re comfortable, and compare well with the more expensive ones he uses for production. He did say that he would have preferred to try the Liberate XLBT to check out the bluetooth variety.
House of Marley: Liberate™ XL and XLBT®
- 50mm dynamic moving coil driver with neodymium magnet
- Stereo 3.5mm connectors provide secure and static-free connections
- AAC and APTX Bluetooth® version available, high-quality audio
- Bluetooth® version includes detachable one-button cord with in-line mic; XL version includes in-line mic with three-button controller for hands-free calls and easy music control
- Soft ear cushions with durable fabric-braided cables for tangle-free cords
- Features FSC™-certified walnut and birch wood frame with House of Marley logo for a stylish touch
- Features exclusive REWIND™ cover made from 30% hemp, 30% organic cotton and 40% recycled plastic bottles
- Stainless steel headband collapses for easy storage with included REWIND™ carry bag
- Available in Saddle, Midnight, Blue Hemp and Tan
House of Marley: Get Up Stand Up Bluetooth® Audio System
- 4.5” high-output woofers, 1” high-definition tweeters and a power amplifier provide room-filling bass and realistic mids and highs
- Custom-bent front panel made from FSC-certified birch wood and walnut veneer with recycled plastic enclosure
- Compatible with hundreds of Bluetooth®-enabled devices as well as AUX and RCA inputs
- Dark-walnut finish provides stunning aesthetics to fit any décor or style
- Each speaker comes standard with a remote control for easy set up and playback features
- Powered by a universal 100-240VAC