After having gone on about quite how much better the last Bose headphones are at noise cancelling, we're happy to report that the House of Marley Destiny TTR do sound better, at least in some respects. They offer a nice wide sound for a closed-back pair and a detailed, well-resolved treble that's a little more insightful and better-defined than the Bose.
At £250 they won't challenge the best on-ear headphones around at the price, but this has become something you simply need to accept when looking for a noise cancelling headphone. With most musical styles, they sound great, handling music that might tend towards harshness and sibilance and supplying scale we always long to hear in full-size over-ears headphones.
However, the sonic complaint we raised about the TTR's series siblings, the People Get Ready and Zion Mist, crop up here too. There's often simply too much bass, ramped-up to a level that's out of proportion with the rest of the sound. It's not fast or taut enough to avoid booming out in more low-end-heavy music, spoiling what's an otherwise very pleasant sound signature. It's this that once again demonstrates that these headphones are primarily an alternative to the noise-cancelling Beats by Dr Dre model - which are comparable in price at £280, and pretty bassy.
It may sound as if we're bass-dodging fun haters, but the truth is quite the opposite. Some of our favourite sets of the past year have been thunderous basshead pairs, such as the Sennheiser IE8i and Grado PS1000, but a poorly-controlled low-end will ruin the pace and slam that the bass is there to supply. And, unfortunately, it sounds as though the big booty dial has been turned a notch or two too far here, unsettling the sonic balance. This becomes most prominent in dance, rock and - sure - reggae, which is an issue as these are likely to be favoured genres of the House of Marley demographic.
If sound quality is your only concern, then, we can't say that these headphones represent cracking value for money - but then the same is true of most of their direct competitors. Bose, Beats and Sony's bass-heavy MDR-XB700 all trade style, "marketing" or sheer bass volume for sonic fidelity. And that's why none of them received our recommended stamp. And it's also why we can't give one to the Destiny TTR. They're certainly not without merit, though. The materials used to make them are top-notch, building quality is impressive, and while they're heavier than most, the leather earpads make them comfortable to wear for long periods.
Eye-catching and immensely well-built, the House of Marley Destiny TTR offer a pretty alluring alternative to the £280 Beats by Dr. Dre noise cancelling model. They won't worry the best over-ears pairs at the price on sound, with bass that's at times overblown and less than perfectly controlled, but if you can't bear the thought of wearing boring old black headphones, there's no denying these are some of the most interesting-looking over-ears cans around.