House of Marley Rebel

Compact, weatherproof True Wireless in-ears made from sustainable materials

The House of Marley Rebel True Wireless in-ears are visually distinguished by their bamboo surfaces, which provide a pleasant feel and at the same time house precise touch controls. While the charging case can be powered either via USB-C port or wirelessly via Qi, these earpieces score points with excellent voice clarity when making calls and support a high-quality audio codec in the form of aptX.

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In keeping with House of Marley’s commitment to sustainability, the Rebel is made from renewable bamboo, a natural wood fibre composite, and recycled plastic. So, both the in-ears and the charging case represent an alternative to the plastic that is typical of their competitors. The packaging was also designed to be fully recyclable. In addition, the British manufacturer commits to planting a tree with every pair of headphones sold by supporting global reforestation via “One Tree Planted“.

The material mix gives the impression of being hard-wearing, especially as the headphones are sweat and water-resistant in accordance with IPX5. The Rebel also appears to be equipped for outdoor use and sports activities, as long as the in-ears are not exposed to strong vibrations. The design is flat enough to fit under a hat during the winter too.

Battery life

At higher volumes, the House of Marley Rebel achieved a runtime of six hours and 45 minutes, which was a respectable result. In their case, the earpieces can be fully charged three times and just under half charged another time, giving a total runtime of a good 30 hours

There is no charge level indicator for the earphones, and the progress during charging cannot be tracked. However, according to our tests, a charging cycle is completed after 40 minutes. The Rebel also does not have a quick-charge function. However, the charging box indicates the remaining battery reserve by means of five LEDs. If the battery reserve of the case is exhausted, it can be restored in two hours via the supplied USB-C to USB-A charging cable. Alternatively, inductive charging is also possible with the help of a wireless charging pad.

Operation

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Pairing the House of Marley Rebel, which supports Bluetooth standard 5.0 and single-sided use in single mode, can be done directly by opening the case. This turns the system on and puts it into pairing mode, while turning it off is done by placing the earpieces back into the charger. However, the touch-sensitive bamboo surfaces cannot be used to switch the Rebel on and off; this would have been practical and, at the same time, more environmentally friendly, as constant recharging is likely to shorten the battery life expectancy.

Once a wireless connection is established, the volume can be adjusted with a single tap, reducing it on the left and increasing it on the right earpiece. Double-tapping enables track selection, with the left-hand side being used to skip back and the right-hand side to skip forward. Calls can also be accepted and ended on both sides, while a short hold rejects them and is used to communicate with the voice assistant. A bass booster can be activated and deactivated by tapping three times, and this works well overall because the Rebel’s touch control responds reliably. However, the remote does not support starting and stopping playback. A sensor-supported wearer recognition system is used for this purpose so that playback is automatically paused when the in-ears are removed and resumed when they are inserted. This has advantages, but also disadvantages, as the earphones can continue to play unintentionally when they are put down if the corresponding sensors are covered in the process.

The Rebel’s Bluetooth connection proved to be stable up to a range of eight metres within an urban environment and also bridged several rooms. What these earpieces do not offer, however, is app connectivity, so there no customisation of device control or sound is available.

Voice quality during phone calls

The representation of voices during telephone calls is very well implemented so that both sides can be understood excellently, sounding clear and authentic. This is quite impressive even in a noisy environment, as the so-called Echo Noise Cancellation function of the Rebel effectively minimises external noise. A passing truck, for example, did not mask my own voice and could only be perceived by the person on the other end of the call as a slight whisper.

Audio codec

With aptX, the House of Marley Rebel support a high-resolution audio codec, which benefits newer Android smartphones and tablets, but not iOS devices. Since the AAC format, the high-quality alternative for iPhones and iPads, is not available, the Bluetooth standard SBC is used for iOS devices. This can result in a slight offset between picture and sound, especially with action-packed films and series or mobile phone games. However, with the Redemption ANC, House of Marley also offers True Wireless in-ears that support both aptX and the AAC format.

Sound

The House of Marley Rebel have a full, warm sound with a present fundamental range. It is noticeable that the bass response of the basic tuning does not reach particularly low and primarily reproduces the mid and upper bass range. There is a powerful punch, but also a certain fullness so that the reproduction does not seem slim. If you want more low end for hip-hop, electro and the like, you can use the headphone’s bass booster, which strengthens the bass foundation and extends it downwards. However, this makes the low-frequency range seem rather bulky overall, somewhat spongy and dull.

In contrast, the mid-frequency range is reproduced much more precisely and with a pleasing clarity, which benefits the reproduction noticeably. Voices are reproduced with good clarity, and details such as grabbing noises in the background can be detected. In the upper registers, there is no tendency to harshness or sharpness and sibilants do not appear obtrusive either. However, at the same time, the treble reproduction does not emphasise anything, appears restrained and drops off.

In my opinion, there are weaknesses with complex arrangements, as the sound was very dense, hollow and somewhat muddy. I would prefer House of Marley’s Liberate Air for modern, bass-oriented productions, as they sound more precise, punchy and open. The Rebel offers a distinctly warm sound that harmonises well with traditional pop and rock. A slight background noise from the earpieces has to be accepted, but it does not affect the reproduction.

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Maike Paeßens
4 weeks ago by Maike Paeßens
  • Rating: 3.88
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

With the Rebel, House of Marley expands their range of True Wireless in-ears with a robust, compact all-in-one package made of sustainable materials, which has a high recognition value due to the stylish bamboo surfaces. If you favour a full and warm sound, you will get weatherproof earphones with a respectable battery life and a reliably responsive touch control. You have to make do without an app connection, but not without clear phone calls, as thee wireless in-ears offer excellent speech intelligibility.

  • Compact, handy format
  • Made from sustainable materials
  • IPX5 water and sweat resistant earpieces
  • Case can be charged via USB-C port or wirelessly via Qi
  • Precise touch control
  • Excellent voice clarity when making calls
  • Support of aptX
  • No manual on/off switching of the in-ears possible
  • Earpiece without charge indicator
  • Slight background noise perceptible

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingIn-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Weight without cable6 g each, case: 43 g

Special features

  • Available in black and white
  • BT codecs: SBC, aptX
  • BT version: 5.0
  • BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP

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