Friday, February 15, 2008

Review: V-moda Vibe - Like having subwoofers in your ears!

Official homepage v-moda

Deutscher Testbericht


After having reviewed quite some products and applications for the Macbook and Mac in general I thought that it'd be time to review some iPod related accessories and products as well. Especially, after purchasing the 3rd gen iPod nano recently. It was kind of sad to say farewell to my 1st gen iPod nano, which by the way I still consider the best iPod so far, but the new iPod nano is quite exquisite as well. So in the next few weeks and months, more iPod related reviews will be published here on Days of our Macbooks. The first product to be reviewed are the in-ear headphones by V-moda: their top of the line Vibes.

Package Content

With the Vibes itself the package contains some other accessories. There is a cable management wrapper made of plastic rubber, a black leather pouch to put your Vibes when not in use and in total six pairs of earpieces/fittings. You get three different sizes of fittings being small, medium and large in two colors: transparent and black. I personally like the transparent fittings better than the black ones and for me the medium sized fittings provide the best noise reduction and the best comfort. Trying them all out is probably the best idea (even though the large fittings are indeed very large - I couldn't even fit them in my ears).

Design and Manufacturing

Regarding the design, I am not quite sure where to start. These are probably the sexiest headphones I have ever seen. The metal body with the black accents are just gorgeous. The cable also is worth a look. The black cable is coated with a transparent plastic that makes the cable very tough and also look good. There are many color variations for the Vibe so a visit at the official homepage of v-moda will definitely be worth it. I am sure that everyone can find a color that suits her/him. The Vibes are manufactured very well. The finish of the metal body is perfect, the earpieces fit perfectly on the speakers and in general there is nothing bad about them.

Earpieces and Comfort

I'd like to write some sentences concerning the comfort of the Vibes - this being my first pair of in-ears. They are very comfortable once you find the fitting that suits you best. In my case the medium sized ones fit perfectly and they are very comfortable. The fittings are made of very soft foam and you quickly forget that you have the earphones in your ear canal. I noticed that different sizes of fittings change the sound of the earphones slightly. Personally, I feel that the medium sized fittings play back the bass better than the small ones. Maybe it's just my imagination but I think to hear a difference - my recommendation is to test out all fittings carefully before making up your mind. Regarding the noise reduction I must say that the Vibes neutralize external noise quite well.

Sound Quality

Now, when buying headphones the most important aspect is the sound quality and the way music is being played back. First off, the overall sound quality is superb. I have never owned a pair of in-ear headphones (just regular earbuds), so when I first put them in and played back some music I was very surprised how good the iPod can sound with high quality earphones. After the first excitement settled down a bit I started testing the Vibes systematically. I loaded various genres on my iPod and just started playing them back - classic, hip hop, rnb, pop (mostly J-pop), rock, punk and jazz. The Vibe's strength is bass and the lower mid-level. That being said, hip hop, rnb, and pop with bass sounded amazing. When listening to bass heavy songs it really is like having subwoofers in your ears or being in a club. Before testing the Vibes I always had the EQ setting on my iPod to "bass booster". However, with the Vibes I switched to the EQ setting "flat" because the bass and lower mid range is played back so well that I didn't feel like I needed an extra boost. As I mentioned above the strength of the Vibes are the lower frequencies but they play the higher mid levels and the higher range very well also. However, when listening to not so bass heavy music I felt that the lower range was overemphasized. I felt this way especially when listening to classical music. So after playing around with different EQ settings I came to the conclusion that the setting "treble booster" makes the Vibes sound more neutral. I use this setting for some punk songs also. My final verdict regarding the sound quality is: excellent with amazing bass. All ranges are played back very well and with the appropriate EQ setting (given the limited settings of the iPod a rather fast search) you can make almost every genre sound really good.

Final thoughts

Given the style factor of the Vibes and the amazing bass, I think these in-ears are especially for people who listen to contemporary music (like hip hop, rnb, club music, pop, etc.) and for those who want their earphones to be fashion items also. If you are someone who wants a neutral sound I am not so sure if the Vibes are the ones you want to get. These earphones are very high quality and if you want to have club sound on the go you really should get them. The price tag of 101$ is quite high but I feel that the quality of these in-ears justify the price. For iPhone owners there is a special version of the Vibes called Vibe duo which features a mic and control button.

Frequency Response: 12 Hz – 22 kHz
Speaker Driver: V-MASQUE dynamic technology, 9mm neodymium rare-earth magnet
Cable length: 32” plug to y-connector, 13.5” even-length earphone cables
Cable diameter: 2.2mm optimal for sport
Plug: 24k gold-plated, straight 3.5mm (1/8”) stereo plug
Weight: 12 grams (0.42 ounces)
Impedance: 16 ohms
Sensitivity: 92 dB (at 1kHz 1mW)
Rated Input Power: 2mW


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