House of Marley Exodus ANC Review Wood Headphones

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Connecting with people's minds 50 years later, Bob Marley was ahead of his time. Every song he made was empowering in some way or enlightening like the song Exodus, which depicts the current times we are living now! As well as being the ninth studio album by Bob Marley and the Wailers, Exodus is also House Of Marley's first ANC headphones. Compared to a lot of other headphones on the market, the Exodus ANC have a nice unique styling that makes them stand out from the rest.
The Exodus ANC headphones support quick charge; hence you can get a couple of hours runtime from a 15 minute recharge. A full charge takes around 3 hours, giving you up to 28 hours of runtime with ANC switched on and 50% volume. With ANC switched off, the Exodus ANC headphones manage a massive 78 hours of battery life. The Exodus ANC support SBC and AAC codecs; hence no aptX support, which minimizes latency on Android devices. Despite the lack of aptX, there is no perceivable latency when watching videos on YouTube.
The Exodus ANC earcups have a smooth (non-creaky) folding mechanism and can be rotated flat. There is no tilting mechanism though; hence the Exodus ANC earcups cannot be moved up and down. The Exodus ANC headband has a nifty mechanism for adjusting the height of the headband. 
Instead of using a traditional ratchet sliding band, like on the Positive Vibration XL headphones, the Exodus ANC uses a metal rod lifting design, which provides a gradual and secure adjustment at different levels. The headband, essentially, slides up and down these rods, staying securely in place via friction. The headband does not slide all the way down the bottom of the rod; hence you can only physically low the headset half way through.
The House of Marley Exodus ANC uses 1.5cm thick memory foam padding, which is rounded with a slightly squarish shape so, the earpads aren't completely circular. The inner hole dimensions are 5.5 cm high and 4.5cm wide, while the outer dimensions are 9.5cm high and 8.5cm wide. The earcup depth to the driver is 1.5cm high. 
The earpad padding is covered with artificial leather, which is very soft so, it feels very nice on the ears. Being artificial leather though, you can expect the ears to naturally heat up, which is a plus on cold days! The Exodus ANC earcups don't get overly sweaty though, and that could be due to the mesh fabric layering the drivers. Wood earcups don't provide the highest level of passive isolation either so, you can expect some sound leakage at higher volume. When maxing out the volume, you will hear an audible beep warning.
On the left earcup, there is a recessed audio port and an ANC switch with good resistance, which is good to prevent the ANC button from accidentally turning on and draining the battery. There is also four small pinholes - three for the battery status and the other pinhole for the ANC status led, which lights up solid green. Next to the battery leds, there is a power button. All the buttons on the Exodus ANC headphones are sturdy and appear to be made of some type of alloy metal.
On the right earcup, there are three additional buttons for controlling the play/pause, calls (accept/end calls) and volume. There is also a USB-C charging port and a Monitor mode button, which works similarly to Ambient/transparency mode but, instead of letting external sound into the earcups it dips everything down so, you can hear outside noise. The standalone Monitor mode button is unconventional but, it works better since you don't have to toggle between functions, making it faster to activate.
House Of Marley branding can be seen on the front of the earcups with a House Of Marley logo carved in to the wood. It's not clear whether the wooden earcups have been stained or painted on, although both ways provide protection. Wood stain treatment is more durable though, since it soaks into the wood; whereas paint sits on the surface.
The front of the earcups have been styled with an aluminium ring accent and feature a small mesh vent opening housing the outer ANC microphone. There are a total of two ANC microphones per earcup, one inside the earcup and the other on the outer of the earcup; hence the House of Marley Exodus uses a hybrid ANC system. 
Most budget ANC headphones tend to use feedback ANC or feedback ANC. Hybrid ANC is best of both and, it has been implemented well, allowing the Exodus ANC headphones to block out external noises. Comparing performance to current top-tier of ANC headphones, the Exodus ANC is 85% as good.
The 50mm drivers inside the Exodus ANC earcups provide a good bass extension that is nicely balanced with the midrange and treble, which is punchy and detailed. The bass is deep but not bass heavy. Like with most ANC headphones, the Exodus ANC function doubles as a bass booster mode that you can use to get more bass out of a song. There is no companion app support though; hence the Exodus ANC headphones aren't as versatile as headphones that do come with a mobile app to let you tweak the sound signature and control the ANC to your liking.
The House of Marley Exodus ANC cannot be charged while playing audio via Bluetooth but, they can be used in wired mode while charging. The Exodus ANC audio port is passive; hence you can use them in wired mode with an empty battery, which is something you cannot do with some bluetooth headphones because they have an active audio port. ANC mode also works in wired mode and can be used without any audio playing. There is no multipoint pairing support; hence the Exodus ANC headphones cannot be connected to multiple devices at the same time.
The underside of the Exodus ANC headband is also memory foam padded with a notch in the centre that helps minimize hot spot. At 335 grams, the Exodus ANC is more than 100 grams heavier than the new Positive Vibration Frequency headphones. Because of the relatively low weight, the Exodus ANC clamping force is not too high, which means the earcups don't press on uncomfortably. The headband foam padding does not extend all the way around, although it should be sufficiently long to cover most people's heads. The headband is very sturdy, thanks to the stainless steel metal frame.
The included cloth pouch weighs 41 grams and measures 18cm high and 20cm wide. The cloth pouch has a coarse fabric knitting, as well as a heat printed logo of House Of Marley. The pouch zip opens up via a single metal slider. The zip has a reverse coil design, which is better at resisting water/dust ingress, although there is no mention whether the the cloth pouch has a water resistant coat.
There is a discreet Rastafarian flag sewn on the side of the pouch. The audio cable angle connector also has Rastafarian color styling. More styling can be seen via the exposed cabling running out of the earcups, which is made of fabric material and has enough length to prevent tugging when the headband height is adjusted fully. There is a large Marley etching on top of the Exodus ANC headband too.
The audio cable included weighs 15 grams and integrates a 3.5mm right angle plug and a single button remote with microphone. The audio cable is of high quality and made similarly to all other House Of Marley branded cables, which consists of a fabric outer sheath, rubber terminal plugs and built-in strain reliefs.
The cable measures 1.2 meters long while the remote microphone box is located 20cm up the cable, which means the microphone hangs at chest level. This does not cause an issue during calls but it's always better when the microphone is located higher up the cable, at jaw level, closer to the mouth. That said, there is another microphone for calls built-in to the left earcup, which is designed for taking calls in bluetooth mode. 
Compared to the inline cable microphone, the earcup microphone sounds better during calls. You can buy the Exodus ANC headphones from amazon. Check out more reviews from House Of Marley: Redemption ANC earbuds and Smile Jamaica Wireless 2 wireless earphones..

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