Hey folks, Valkor here. And I'm still reeling from the effects of The Avengers. I mean if you haven't seen it yet, then waste no more time and go see this amazing film. I've already watched it two more times and I'm still blown away. OK, enough of that, let's dip into some tech as we welcome back the folks at House of Marley into the Val-Cave. Last round we gave the Revolution headphones a go round, scoring them at 4.5 on the TOV 5 star scale. Up next on the TOV chopping block, we'll take a look at House of Marley's latest eco-friendly headsets, the "Stir It Up" over-ear headphones, which are a part of the HOM Freedom Collection.
Let's kick things off by checking out the set up for the Stir It Up headphones. Right off the bat, the Stir It Ups are a bit smaller than the Revolutions. And yet HOM keeps the same eco-friendly construction, having the headphones mostly built from recyclable materials (you can even recycle the box). The headband is padded, with a canvas cloth outer lining. The ear pads are also soft-padded made with a leather that fully encapsulates your ears, blocking out most outer noises; great for your commute (if you use mass transit such as I) and air travel. Finally, The rear of the ear pads features a nice beechwood plate with the House of Marley logo branded into it, lined with the red/green/gold Rastafarian colors. Now for this style of headphones, I wouldn't normally expect a microphone feature. However, the Stir It Ups does have a three-button mic/volume control that works with iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Finishing up the features and much like its bigger brother, the Stir It Ups has a 52" tangle-free, cloth cable with that nice Rastafarian color scheme.
Oh, and before I forget, the package comes complete with a canvass cloth travel case, which can fit into most messengers and backpacks (and maybe a large purse), with no problem. Now with that out of the way, let's see how these babies compare to other headphones we've featured here @ TOV.
Vs. HOM Revolution – The Revolution headphones feature a stronger, thumping bass no matter what song you play. The same can be said for the Stir It Ups. However, pop and some rock songs aren't as clear as they should be, while rap/dance/hip-hop shines.
Vs. V-Moda Vibrato – The Vibrato earphones still come out on top with a strong bass and clearer sound. Again, given the right song, the Stir It Up can hold its own with the bass, but lacks in clarity.
Comparisons aside, I'm sure you guys wanna know how well these headphones stand on their own. And to get those answers, we need only look at the TOV Breakdown.
I really dig the Stir It Up headphones; they have a nice hold on your head, maybe a bit too tight, but not completely discomforting as I've gone two complete hours wearing them with no real issue. The sounds it produces are solid, with crisp vocals and a strong bass. The quality of sound is most noticeable when you're playing rap/dance/hip-hop tracks; 50 Cents "Candy Shop", Tu Pac's "Gangsta Party", or Tiesto vs. Diplo featuring Busta Rhymes "Catch Em By Surprise" are some of my favorite tracks to play through these headphones, because the bass kicks in nicely. While it doesn't thump like the Vibratos's or the Revolutions, it still rocks. The inclusion of a 3 button mic/volume control is a nice touch, allowing you to take a call without reaching for your device. Or if you're an iPad user, you're ready for some Skype action. While it's still a bit muted, I found chatting on the Stir It Up headphones to be a much better experience than using the Vibratos. Overall, it's an impressive outing for House of Marley. And the Stir It Up headphones are a definite winner.
While the strength of the Stir It Up headphones may be in its bass, it does lack in detail when it comes to the instrumentals, which gets pushed into the background. And they seem to collide with one another; for instance, I chose Carly Rae Jensen's "Call me Maybe" and Owl City's "Deer in the Headlights" with the Stir It Ups, using the Vibrato headphones for comparison; with the Vibratos, you can really make out the difference instruments used in the songs, while with the Stir It Up, it's not as prominent. This might turn off serious audiophiles, while mid to newcomers might appreciate the sound quality of these headphones.
In the end, it would seem House of Marley has survived another stint in the Val-Cave; while the Stir It Up headphones has its shortcomings, it's strong when it comes to overall sound quality and design. And that's key in my book, making these headphones worth the purchase. So out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving the Stir It Up Over-Ear Headphones a solid 4. And they've been Valkor tested, and TOV Approved.