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House of Marley Freedom Zion Mist review

Andrew Williams

By

Reviewed:

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House of Marley Freedom Zion Mist
  • House of Marley Freedom Zion Mist
  • House of Marley Freedom Zion Mist
  • House of Marley Freedom Zion Mist
  • House of Marley Freedom Zion Mist
  • House of Marley Freedom Zion Mist
  • House of Marley Freedom Zion Mist
  • House of Marley Freedom Zion Mist

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Pros

  • Tough build
  • Powerful bass
  • Very comfortable

Cons

  • Better sound available for less
  • Coarse mids

Key Features

  • Metal/wood construction
  • 9mm dynamic drivers
  • Mic/remote housing
  • Braided cable
  • Right-angle jack
  • Manufacturer: House of Marley
  • Review Price: £99.99

Attaching big names to audio products has become a popular trend. The Dr Dre-endorsed Monster Beats headphones are now some of the most popular around - even Lady Gaga has leant her name to a pair. Now it's Bob Marley's turn. House of Marley's new range of earphones and headphones is huge, and the Freedom Zion Mist sits at the top of the in-ear line.

While the Zion Mist earphones have audiophile aspirations, part of the House of Marley image has little to do with sound quality. Wherever possible, they are made from recyclable materials, and the packaging they come in is itself recycled.

Zion 3

The earbuds are made using a mix of aluminium and wood, in line with the "natural" leanings of the brand image. The back bit is aluminium, while a ring of wood sits near the end, softening the look of these earphones. This wood appears to be sonically inert, there for the look rather than to colour the sound.

We think this wooded approach works better in the black version of the Zion Mist, where the wood is stained dark. In the light silver version we reviewed, it has something of the flavour of a piece of pine furniture from Ikea. It is a proper little bit of wood though, with natural grain visible - and House of Marley says they are FSC-certified too, meaning the wood used been reaped in a sustainable manner. A cynical mind might question the need for this wood when it, as far as we can tell, is just there for the look.Zion

The darker edition looks pretty moody

This dual-material construction works extremely well in use, turning the part most susceptible to wear into the strongest. The back is ergonomically moulded to your finger grip, making taking them in and out of your ears feel that little bit better. It's a pity the cable is not removable - a very desirable feature in an expensive earphone - but the quality of construction is excellent.

Zion 2

Common to all the House of Marley headphones, the 52in cable is braided and daubed with the colours of the Rastafari movement, yellow, green and red. This is the only part of the Zion Mist that is aggressively Marley-themed - this model is classier than most of the range, although the whole Freedom line-up is rather more mature-looking than the deliberately outlandish Jammin' models. Still, the design is unusual enough to stand out among other sets a similar price, such as the Shure SE215 and Phonak PFE 012.

Looks aside, the Freedom Zion Mist earphones are pretty standard fare, spec-wise. They use single 9mm dynamic drivers claiming a 20Hz-20,000Hz frequency response. At this price, many manufacturers start to use balanced armature drivers rather than the dynamic type. Although one doesn't necessarily offer better sound quality than the other, armature drivers tend to have a higher precision sound though with less bass. However they are better-suited to the demands of the high-end headphone buyer.

Zion 5

They come bundled with a selection of single- and dual-flanged rubber tips. No foam tips are included, but we found the supplied tips extremely comfortable. Getting a fit with these earphones is blissfully simple - unlike some other pairs you can simply bung 'em in. This is likely because of the tiny holes bored into the underside of each earbud, which act as an escape route for the onrush of air caused when inserted into your ears.

Zion 4

House of Marley also includes a handsfree and remote housing, designed to work with iOS devices, and a carry pouch. In keeping with the eco-friendly vibe, it's made from hemp and leather. Much nicer than the average, but not in itself a reason to buy.

BMaz

November 3, 2011, 8:09 pm

"...the 52in cable is braided and daubed with the colours of the Jamaican flag, yellow, green and red." No these are not the colours of the Jamaican flag, the colours of the Jamaican flag are: Black, Green and Yellow.
The colours on the cable has more to do with Bob's Rastafarian faith.

Jasonpmsmith

November 4, 2011, 5:27 am

"Common to all the House of Marley headphones, the 52in cable is braided and daubed with the colours of the Jamaican flag, yellow, green and red - because Bob Marley was Jamaican, 'natch. This is the only part of the Zion Mist that is aggressively Marley-themed - this model is classier than most of the range, although the whole Freedom line-up is rather more mature-looking than the deliberately outlandish Jammin models. "

Where to start with this piece. Firstly as BMaz has pointed out the colours of the Jamaican National flag are black, green and GOLD (not yellow BMaz), there is certainly no red! Black, green, gold and red are the colours of the flag of the Rastafari and have particular relevance to the faith. That said there is nothing "aggressive" about the theme, it symbolises the faith of a man who said his message was truth, peace and love and music and livity. 'Natch?!! I don't think so. There's not a being alive who doesn't know Bob Marley was Jamaican and to get something so wrong but then not check the facts of the piece and then compound it all by the use of such an offhand term, signifies lazy journalism and consequently makes one wonder what credence can be given to the site anymore. Oh and "Jammin" should have an (') to denote the missing "g".

Andrew_TR

November 4, 2011, 2:23 pm

Hi Jason,

My bad on the colours, but it doesn't really affect whether this is a good product or not. The Jammin's ' was left off as it's how they are being identified in the UK where they're sold. That's HMV's issue though, so I've added it in.

The aggressiveness referred to was the manner in which the theme is applied, not the theme itself - just because these products come from the House of Marley doesn't necessarily mean they're automatically imbued with a Rastafari spirit.

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