Headphones Heads-Up: Rasta vs. Blackbelt

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House of Marley Exodus : $149.99; Bigr Audio Bruce Lee: $139

To help wade through the seemingly countless options on the market, two Discovery colleagues share their insights on 20 new and relevant headphones. Taking on a pair at a time, Scott Tharler and Alice Truong will each evaluate how these contemporary cans match up in a dueling series called Headphones Heads Up.

Dr. Dre tapped into a burgeoning market with Beats. Now every celebrity — and in the case of today’s face-off, even the dead ones — have a pair of headphones to schill.

Worlds apart, Bruce Lee and Bob Marley have a few commonalities. Both international stars died early, in their 30s — Lee in 1973 at the age of 32, Marley in 1981 at 36. Posthumously, both headline their own line of high-end headphones that aren’t pushed by the celebs themselves but those who own the likeness of each party. We take a look to see how Bigr Audio Bruce Lee and House of Marley Exodus headphones stack up.

Head over to Discovery.com for Alice Truong’s review of these cans.

These similarly priced on-ear headphones both focus heavily on branding and materials. But other than that, they’re materially different. In look, feel and sound, these products could no sooner be mistaken for each other than the world-renowned pop icons for whom they are respectively named. From their canvas satchel to the earth-conscious materials that comprise the headphones themselves, the Marleys are rooted in an intricately crafted blend of variously textured earth tones. Whereas the Bruce Lees are structurally minimalistic and metallic with black padding. They’re completely, visibly different, right down to their characteristic cords and cases; and those differences extend from the feel to their sound as well.

The Bruce Lees were simple and straightforward to put on, and comfortable to wear for a while. Contrary to my expectations, they delivered more low-end kick (thanks to bigger drivers), but they also cut off some of the upper treble. Conversely, I eventually grew to like the way the Marleys’ leather inner band stretched to cradle my noggin; but putting them on each session initially took a little more effort. And while I appreciated the finer detail they offer in (pardon the phrase) getting high — especially for certain vocals, acoustic guitar and classical tracks — I found myself feeling content more often with the Bruce Lees. It’s a close call and a matter of personal taste. I completely understand why others may prefer the Marleys, for their sound, fashion and/or lifestyle statement. But while they were certainly jammin’, I ultimately felt they couldn’t get up, stand up to Bruce’s power.

Credit: Alice Truong/Discovery

Scott Tharler writes about gadgets for Discovery News and covers travel tech for Fodor’s. Follow him on Twitter, gdgt and Google Plus. Alice Truong writes about tech and gadgets for Discovery Channel. Follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.

Tune in to hear how the rest of Discovery’s Headphones Heads-Up series plays out

Monster vs. Son: Monster Inspiration vs. Sol Republic Tracks HD

Rasta vs. Blackbelt: House of Marley Exodus vs. Bigr Audio Bruce Lee

Quiet Cups: Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 vs. Bose QuietComfort 15

Power Cuplets: V-Moda Crossfade M80 vs. Scosche RH656

Urban Thrifty: Wicked Audio Evac vs. Skullcandy Hesh 2

Urban Deluxe: Urbanears Zinken vs. Aiaiai Capital

Battle of the Bass: Fanny Wang 3000 Series vs. Denon Urban Raver

Battle of the Bands: Jaybird Sportsband vs. Outdoor Tech DJ Slims

Wireless Travelers: Sennheiser MM 450-X vs. SuperTooth Melody

Petite Luxury: Beyerdynamic T 50 p vs. B&W P3

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