House of Marley Get Together Duo: Real Stereo, Weak Bass

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House of Marley

Most folks who are seeking affordable speaker solutions end up going with one of the hundreds of portable Bluetooth speakers you can find on Amazon. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — these devices are convenient, portable, often splash-proof, and sound way better than the tiny speakers built into our phones.

But even the best Bluetooth speaker will struggle to re-create true stereo separation. It’s simple physics: If you can’t create real distance between the left and right channel, our brains end up processing the sound through both ears simultaneously, which minimizes the stereo effect.

That’s why House of Marley’s new $150 Get Together Duo wireless speakers are worth a serious look. For the price of a good but small Bluetooth speaker — like the Marshall Emberton — you get two speakers that can operate wirelessly at distances that can create true stereo separation in any room.

Sustainably designed

House of Marley Get Together Duo Wireless Speakers
House of Marley

Crafted from bamboo and House of Marley’s own Rewind fabric made from reclaimed cotton, hemp, and recycled plastic, the Get Together Duo follow the company’s many other sustainably designed products.

Electronics companies have yet to create a product that we’d consider “good” for the planet, but we can choose to buy the products that have been created with an intentionally smaller footprint, and the Get Together Duo certainly qualify.

The fact that these more responsible materials actually look really good when incorporated into a set of speakers is a nice bonus. Why have a set of boring, black plastic boxes when you can bring a more natural look into your space?

The speakers are very compact, standing only 7.8 inches tall, and they’re shallow enough to fit even the smallest bookcase shelf.

The right speaker contains a rechargeable battery so it can operate without any wires for a claimed 20 hours, but the left speaker needs to be plugged into an outlet.

Both speakers have stereo RCA inputs and a 3.5mm auxiliary-in jack on their rear panels and a set of push-button controls on the top for playback functions like volume, play/pause, and track skip forward/back.

One Bluetooth speaker or two?

House of Marley Get Together Duo Wireless Speakers
House of Marley

Though it can be a bit confusing when you first pull the Get Together Duo speakers out of their highly recyclable box, it’s possible to use them together or individually. You can connect to them wirelessly if you have a Bluetooth phone, tablet, or PC, or you can connect with analog cables if you have a turntable, iPod, or another music source.

Here’s how this works: When used wirelessly, the speakers will pair with each other. When you power them on, they let you know what’s going on through a mixture of feedback tones and verbal announcements. They even tell you which speaker is the right channel and which is left — just in case you might have them reversed, which is easy enough to do given that they look identical.

Once the speakers have paired with each other, your phone will let you pair to the speakers. Thankfully they only show up once in your Bluetooth menu for the pair. At this point, you’re good to go — pick your favorite music app and start jamming.

You can also choose to split the speakers up. Take the right channel outside and use it on its own while the left channel stays behind, where it can play tunes in the bedroom. This mono configuration works for Bluetooth or the two wired options.

However, if you want to use the wired connection for stereo operation, you need to consider placement.

You physically wire into both speakers by splitting the left and right RCA plugs on the speaker end of your cable and connecting them to the appropriate terminals on each speaker.

This gives you a cleaner signal path (one that isn’t affected by Bluetooth compression), but it’s probably only viable when the speakers are relatively close to each other — perhaps spaced apart by only the width of a turntable. Any farther and you’ll have to get a much longer set of cables.

Clear as a bell

House of Marley Get Together Duo Wireless Speakers
House of Marley

The Get Together Duo sound crisp and clear, with virtually no distortion. After having reviewed tons of soundbars, smart speakers, and Bluetooth speakers, it was refreshing to get back to a truly separated stereo source. This is easily the Get Together Duo’s main strength.

However, as clear as they sound, there’s a distinct lack of bass. This robs the speakers of warmth and resonance, leaving mostly midrange and high frequencies to do the job of a full-range speaker.

The result is that, as you increase the volume, this frequency imbalance becomes more pronounced. At about 60-70% volume, you get the sense that you’ve hit the Get Together Duo’s sweet spot in terms of fidelity, but it comes with sharply increased sibilance and brightness from the tweeters. It can be a bit painful.

This would be helped by some form of EQ adjustment — I found myself wishing for a way to just take the edge off the highs — but there’s no app for the Get Together Duo, and no way to tweak their EQ with hardware settings.

Another small gotcha is the amplification. When connected via Bluetooth, the speakers can really crank out the volume. You may not like how it sounds at this level (see above), but there’s no lack of power.

But with a wired connection, they struggle to produce the same loudness.

I did not try them with a turntable, but I did use an Astell & Kern SR25 hi-res portable music player. I tried it with the RCA inputs and the 3.5mm aux-in port, and in both instances, I had to max out both the SR25’s and the Get Together Duo’s volume to come even close to what the speakers could do with a wireless source. Even then, it didn’t sound as good as I’d hoped.

Should you buy them?

If years of using inexpensive Bluetooth speakers makes you long for the sound of real, distance-separated stereo, the $150 Get Together Duo are an affordable and flexible way to get it. Their use of Bluetooth for creating a wireless stereo connection means you can pretty much place them wherever you can find an electrical outlet, and the battery-powered right channel effectively gives you two sound systems in one. And if you’re looking to make a more sustainable footprint when you buy audio gear, no one makes this easier than House of Marley.

But to avoid disappointment, set your expectations for sound quality a little lower than the Get Together Duo’s slick appearance might suggest. They produce a very clear sound, but the lack of bass might leave you wanting more.

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