The new Exodus ANC is House of Marley’s first foray into active noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones. The over-ear cans are the company’s flagship design, and will set you back $250 USD. This makes them about $30 cheaper than the top-shelf ANC designs from Bose and Sony. So let’s find out of House of Marley can compete with the big names in ANC headphones.
Who is the House of Marley Exodus ANC for?
The Exodus ANC, which runs on Bluetooth 5.0, is a serious bit of kit. It has 28 hours battery life with active noise cancellation (80 hours without ANC), ANC monitor mode, a broad frequency response of 20Hz-20KHz and 50mm high definition drivers. House of Marley cans usually have a bit more of a ‘fun’ vibe, but the Exodus ANC is all business, with matte stainless steel earcups and a restrained, classy look. It’s definitely aimed at high-end buyers who like to travel. It seems designed to compete with flagship ANC designs like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II or Sony WH1000XM3. It’d be perfect for flights, long commutes or shutting out noise during work or study.
Big bottom-end punch
The Exodus ANC offers thick and punchy audio with a phat bottom-end. With ANC on the bass response is huge, almost to the point of being too much. With ANC off the bass is present and punchy, but sits more naturally in the mix. The sound is reasonably consistent between the wired and wireless modes, with wired offering a bit more detail in the mid and high end. My favourite mode is wired with ANC off, as it offers the most detailed, flat response. Those who love huge bass will no doubt prefer to listen with ANC on though.
The boosted bass and treble response the Exodus headphones seem perfectly tuned to pump modern chart and electronic music. It also works for guitar-based styles, although the boosted lows can get a bit much for rock music. While ANC is on the huge low-end squashes the midrange and makes the guitars lose their place in the mix somewhat. However, when you turn ANC off this issue disappears and the headphones sound more at home with guitar-based music.
Good active noise cancellation performance
The ANC performance is good, and while it’s on and music is playing, basically all vehicle engine noise while travelling is removed. Pleasingly there’s no headache inducing feeling of pressure that plagues some ANC designs. There is some noise cancellation hiss, although it’s only present when the music is paused. The only gripe I have is that turning the ANC off produces a loud click. The jarring sound interrupts an otherwise very pleasant listening experience.
Tough cables, not so tough case
The Exodus ANC ships with a 130cm headphone cable (with a single button remote), 95cm charging cable and a travel pouch. I like the long cables, which are built tough. The travel pouch however, I’m not such a big fan of. It’s slightly more robust than the pouches they normally use, but I wouldn’t want to take a $250 headphone on a holiday without a hardcase to protect it. You can always buy a case of course, but that brings the total outlay up to almost as much as the Bose and Sony designs.
House of Marley present a sublimely comfortable wear with the Exodus ANC, with the roomy earpieces and memory foam earcups. All this makes it a breeze to wear over long sessions. I can’t fault anything in the comfort department, and I am very, very picky in that area. The control scheme, which is based around buttons on the rear of both earcups, is pretty straight-forward and covers everything you need. House of Marley has included an ANC monitor mode, accessible by a button on the right earpiece. This mode, designed for when you need to hear clearly, heavily reduces the ANC and also cuts the music level by about 90%. It’s pretty handy to have for talking to co-workers or crossing a hectic street during rush hour.
The House of Marley Exodus ANC verdict
House of Marley have stepped up to the plate and delivered a great active noise cancelling headphone for their ANC debut. It’s comfortable for long sessions, provides punchy audio and has good ANC performance. The Exodus has a big bass boost so definitely shop with that in mind. If you want an audiophile-friendly ANC headphone, you’d be better off going with the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT. The Exodus is cheaper than the competing models from Bose and Sony, so if you don’t mind the absence of the hardcase, the Exodus could be a great way to get the features of the competition while saving a bit of cash.
House of Marley Exodus ANC Bluetooth headphones review
The Exodus ANC is a superbly comfortable wear that pumps bass-driven sound and is a tad cheaper than the competition.
Reader Rating3 Votes
Comfortable with plenty of padding
Good ANC performance
Cheaper than comparable models from the competition
Big bass response will be too much for some listeners