If we don't have room for beauty in our lives, what are we living for?
That's the message I took away from the new Marley line of headphones, earbuds and media player docks. Most quality audio products today tend to have two things in common- high prices and a slick, super-futuristic design. Some, like the Skullcandy line, go for a punked out industrial design. Either way, they tend to look like they just rolled off of a giant assembly line.
But the Jammin', Freedom and Destiny product lines from Marley look like they were cobbled together by some street musician in Montego bay, out of hemp rope and driftwood.
The whole company was founded by kin of the late, great Bob Marley. Ziggy Marley was even at CES to launch the new line. I didn't realize it was him- I figured the company had found some dude with amazing dreads to make their PR seem more legit. I didn't make the connection until I got back home and saw his picture on the USB drive.
Anyway- the products. My favorite thing about the Marley line is how wide it is. They've got eco-friendly, wood and hemp earbuds for teens that start at just $29. And they also have high-end $299 professional grade headsets- plus a giant $499 media player dock that looks like a huge, shiny wooden wall with speakers built into it. Gorgeous.
I only got to try the $149 Stir It Up headphones, but the sound was tremendous. I'm not an audiophile, but they didn't sound any different from my fancy Sennheiser headphones (I won't give the price) and they were made of polished wood, with fabric-braided cords. But my favorite product in their line isn't a headset...
The $249 Roots Rock dock looks like a wood-bodied boom box wrapped up in a canvas sack. Complete with pockets. This thing looks great, operates off of battery power, and drives enough bass with its 4" speakers and 1" tweeters to make itself known. I can't speak to durability or battery life, but it looked and sounded fine.
For the low-down on the rest of this stuff, visit The House of Marley.