House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless – Design and comfort
The House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless are on-ear headphones. They’re a good choice if you don’t want headphones that look too large, as full-size over-ear pairs often can.
House of Marley often packs its headphones full of textures and colours, but this pair is relatively sober. Just a few little Marley-style touches remain.
A curled cable joining the cups to the headband uses two-tone fabric, and a disc of wood sits on the back of each cup. If you want a bolder look, the House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless also come in “denim” blue and silver.
There are some higher-end touches, too. The cups are aluminium, not plastic, and the headband padding is topped with fabric rather than synthetic leather or plastic. This is a classic Marley tactic, using materials with a bit more texture than most.
The House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless’s actual frame isn’t anything flash, however. These are light headphones with a thin metal skeleton, and a plastic hinge that enables the earcups to fold inwards, thereby taking up less space.
Comfort is similar to that of a fairly well-designed on-ear pair of headphones. The Positive Vibration 2 Wireless’s headband is mid-level firm to help them stay on your head, and the padding consists of a couple of inches of leatherette-topped foam.
I’m a glasses-wearer much of the time, and I found that these headphones did cause a bit of earache after a while of having them in place. This will vary a little depending on the thickness of your glasses’ stems, though.
Passive isolation is only fair, as with most on-ear sets. On a few occasions, I wore the House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless on the London Underground. They struggled with the noise level.
House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless – Features
The House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless are a conventional pair of wireless headphones. They use Bluetooth, but don’t have the higher-quality aptX streaming standard or active noise cancellation. At this price, it would be surprising if they did.
You do get a reasonable 12-hour battery life, although it’s far off the 40 hours of the Beats Solo 3 Wireless. A micro-USB port on the left cup recharges the battery. If they run out of juice, you can simply plug in the included 3.5mm cable.
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There are controls on the cups, too. A standard three-button array lets you alter volume, the track and play/pause – and all are within easy reach with the House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless on your head.
An integrated mic even lets you make hands-free calls.
House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless – Sound quality
The House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless sound perfectly good. For the price, every element is solid. They’re not thin, not boomy, lo-fi or soft.
It isn’t often that I hear a pair of wireless headphones this affordable and think, “these headphones sound pretty good.” As long as you can get to that level, you know you’ll likely be happy with a pair.
The House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless aren’t harsh, and while their treble is a little on the safe side, they’re neither blunt nor muffled. The width of the soundstage is solid, too. While you don’t get the sense of separation and airiness of more expensive pairs, their scale is good for the price.
The main issue is competition. Side-by-side with the AKG Y50BT and Urbanista Seattle, the House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless are less dynamic, less detailed and have far less well-textured and contoured upper=mids. Their presentation of music therefore seems flatter, less fun and involving.
Bass is better in those other pairs, too. The House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless aren’t bass-light, but they don’t have the low-end impact of a set that can really start a party.
These comparisons aren’t entirely fair, of course. The AKG Y50BT are twice the price. However, shop around online and you can on occasion find the Urbanista set for just a little more. However, if you find the Positive Vibration 2 for £50, available at the time of review, you’ve found yourself a good deal.
Why buy the House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless?
The House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless are some of the best on-ear headphones you’ll find at the price.
They have the recognisable design that many search for in a street headphone, but without going overboard with colour and the Rastafari flag designs seen in some early House of Marley products.
Sound quality doesn’t quite match the best sub-£100 Bluetooth headphones, but if you find these at the £50 price they were selling for at the time of review, they’re an exceptional deal.