Freelance Contributor, TechHiveMar 13, 2023 4:00 am PDT
Image: James Barber/Foundry
At a glance
Consistently outstanding audio
Manufactured from sustainably produced materials
No ability to adjust EQ
No AAC or aptX support
Whether you’re looking for speaker designs that zig where others zag, or you just want to patronize a company that’s reducing its carbon footprint, the three speakers in the House of Marley Get Together 2 line deserve considered listening tests.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: House of Marley Get Together 2 XL
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House of Marley has updated three Bluetooth speakers in its Get Together line: the plus-sized Get Together 2 XL, the mid-sized Get Together 2, and the ultra-portable Get Together 2 Mini. Each of these very attractive speakers deliver an exceptional listening experience, and it’s worth paying a little more for them compared to the mass-market competition.
Operated by the heirs of reggae icon Bob Marley, House of Marley has carved a niche for itself with great-sounding gear fabricated from sustainable materials with an eye for design that makes its speakers, turntables, and headphones stand out in a crowded field of lookalike equipment.
House of Marley doesn’t aim to impress buyers focused on specs of its speakers, it’s an unapologetically lifestyle brand that barely releases any intel about the exact design of what’s inside its products, choosing instead to let the listening experience speak for itself.
The House of Marley approach to sustainability
Anyone buying electronics in the 21st century should realize that technology moves fast, and what seems like a huge breakthrough in technology today will become hopelessly outdated in just a few years. Landfills all over the world are filling with old smartphones and early-generation Bluetooth audio gear at a prodigious pace.
House of Marley uses bamboo, one of the most sustainable natural materials on earth, for the faceplates on its speakers. The Rewind fabric the company uses is 30 percent reclaimed organic cotton, 30 percent reclaimed hemp, and 40 percent recycled PET (a type of plastic); and the company’s Regrind silicone is made from post-process and post-consumer silicone scraps that would otherwise be thrown away. House of Marley also uses recycled plastic in the speaker housings and, rather than use harvested wood, the company lowers its environmental impact by using wood composite. The packaging the speakers are packaged in is 100 percent recyclable.
While no one’s quite figured out the right way to dispose of or recycle the batteries that power our personal electronics, House of Marley is taking steps that can significantly reduce environmental impact of its products.
What the Get Together 2 speakers have in common
Each House of Marley Get Together 2 Bluetooth speaker connects via Bluetooth 5.0 and uses the SBC codec. The lack of AAC or aptX support for might be a deal-breaker for some, but the actual listening experience is good enough to suggest that an overemphasis on specs might be misplaced. Every one of the speakers has a 30-meter connection range, although thick walls will significantly reduce that distance.
All three speakers broadcast a stereo signal, although the success of the two-channel separation varies with the size of the speakers. They also have 3.5mm auxiliary inputs for using a wired audio source. Users can pair two of the same speakers, or three to create a party mode. Each speaker has a built-in microphone and can be used as a speakerphone.
House of Marley has tuned these speakers with what it calls Marley Signature Sound. You can use the EQ button on the back of each speaker to cycle through the Signature Sound, Bass Boost, and Acoustic EQ modes. There’s no support for these speakers in the House of Marley app for iOS and Android, and therefore no ability to tweak the equalization beyond those three settings. A longer press of the EQ button allows the user to switch between four languages or an electronic drum fill for on/off and pairing announcements.
House of Marley Get Together 2 XL review
The House of Marley Get Together 2 XL ($399.99) sounds spectacular, but it’s a huge speaker that might be best suited to finding a permanent home on a shelf or tabletop. It measures 7 x 17.7 x 7 inches (HxWxD) and weighs a hefty 12.65 pounds. The speaker doesn’t have a handle or a strap, but it does have posts on each side of the unit that would support a strap if House of Marley ever decides to make one.
The speaker delivers 60W of power. I had to bust out a tape measure to tell you that House of Marley Get Together 2 XL features two 1-inch tweeters and two 4-inch woofers, with a large passive radiator on the back.
You turn the speaker on by pressing the large volume knob on top of the unit, and the knob offers satisfying clicks when you turn it to raise or lower the audio. There are also skip-forward, skip-back, and play/pause buttons on top of the unit, in addition to the EQ button.
The speaker offers 20 hours of playback on a full charge. An included 65W AC adapter and a 3-foot USB-C cable will recharge the Get Together 2 XL’s massive battery in just two hours. The USB-C charging port can also charge an external device, and there’s also a USB-A port that puts out power for external charging only. There’s also a full array of international plug adapters, so this speaker is ready to use pretty much anywhere in the world.
This Get Together 2 XL features IP65 dust and water resistance, so it’s designed to handle most outdoor use situations, but it’s not submersible (you’ll find everything you need to know about IP codes at the preceding link). Still, without a strap, I dispute House of Marley’s description of this speaker as “portable.”
The listening experience with the XL is truly exceptional. Listening to an Apple Music stream of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No 1 in B-Flat Minor,” the speaker easily hit 110dB with zero distortion. The performance was equally impressive on a track like “Block Rockin’ Beats” by The Chemical Brothers. There was plenty of bass, and the song’s stereo effects in the intro moved from speaker to speaker in a fashion you’d think would require far more separation to achieve.
The House of Marley Get Together 2 XL is perfect for streaming music subscribers who want an elegant but uncomplicated home listening solution. Even audiophiles should be interested in this one as a speaker for casual listening.
House of Marley Get Together 2 review
The smaller House of Marley Get Together 2 ($249.99) comes in at a far more reasonable 4.1 x 13.15 x 4.6-inch (HxWxD) enclosure and weighs just 4.85 lbs. This speaker delivers 40W of power and has two 1-inch tweeters and two 2.5-inch woofers, with a passive radiator on the back.
The unit also delivers 20 hours of playback on a full charge and comes with a 3-foot USB-C cable. The battery supports quick-charge technology, but you’ll need to provide your own charging source. The USB-C port is two-way, so you can charge an external device from the Get Together 2’s battery.
You turn it on by pressing the power button in an-easy-to find-by-feel depression on the back of the speaker. The EQ and language control button is just below the power button. The top of the Get Together 2 has on/off, volume-up, and volume-down buttons.
This speaker carries the same IP65 dust and water resistance as the XL model, and the same posts for a strap, even though no strap is included. This unit is far easier to carry around, but I wouldn’t just toss it in a backpack for fear that I’d dent the bamboo face.
The Get Together 2 put out about 95dB without distortion during my testing. The stereo effects on “Block Rockin’ Beats” were still pronounced. In short, it puts out a lot of sound for its size and delivered a far better stereo experience than other speakers I’ve tried in this price range.
House of Marley Get Together 2 Mini review
The House of Marley Get Together 2 Mini ($169.99) measures just 2.9 x 7.6 x 3.3 inches (HxWxD) and weighs only 1.75 lbs. This speaker delivers 20W of power and has two 2-inch full-range speakers with a passive radiator in back. This speaker does come with a carrying strap, a lanyard that loops through a single post on the right-hand side of the speaker.
This smaller unit is capable of 15 hours of playback on a full charge and comes with a 3-foot USB-C cable. Here again, the battery supports quick-charge technology, but you’ll need to provide your own charging source. Unlike the other two larger speakers, however, the USB-C port on this one can’t charge the battery in another device.
The Mini has the same control layout as the Get Together 2, with a power button in an easy-to-find-by-feel depression on the back of the speaker, just above the EQ and language control button. The top of the Mini has on/off, volume-up, and volume-down buttons.
This smaller speaker ups the water and dust resistance to an IP67 rating, which means the Mini is built to survive far more exposure to water than its larger siblings. If you accidentally knock this one in the tub or the pool, it should be OK for if you don’t leave it submerged for too long (an IP67 weatherization means it’s impervious to dust ingress and can survive submersion in up to one meter of water—3.3 feet—for up to 30 minutes).
The Get Together 2 Mini topped out at about 87dB without distortion, a surprisingly loud volume for a speaker its size. The stereo effects were still there for “Block Rockin’ Beats” if I stayed close and focused on the sound. Less attentive listening didn’t give the same stereo experience as the larger models.
Should you buy a House of Marley Get Together 2 speaker?
House of Marley has delivered a line of beautiful speakers that sound great. They’re more expensive than other speakers with similar design specs, but none of those speakers are manufactured with an eye towards sustainability and very few look or sound as good as these.
If you like the looks of the Get Together 2 speakers, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with your purchase. The XL is the best-sounding speaker of the group and the most competitively priced if you place it in the tabletop speaker category instead of the portable one.
As the speakers get smaller, the stereo effect starts to disappear from these speakers. The Get Together 2 is a truly portable speaker that delivers surprisingly effective separation for its size, but the Mini delivers what’s essentially a monophonic listening experience, something that’s consistent with almost every other speaker its size.
If dents and nicks will bother you, you might prefer a portable speaker that’s made of hard plastic better suited to abuse from travel bags and the elements. If you’re wired the right way, I’m sure that whatever wear-and-tear happens to the House of Marley speakers over time could be seen as character instead of damage. I’d lean more towards the character side of that debate, but it’s something to consider before buying one of these. Here’s hoping that House of Marley continues to lead the way on sustainable personal electronics and puts more pressure on other manufacturers to get more creative in how they design their products. The Get Together 2 line features a trio of truly appealing speakers that give listeners a real choice when they’re looking for Bluetooth wireless speakers.
Best Prices Today: House of Marley Get Together 2 XL