Reviewed January, 2007 by Jacob Spindel, Chief iPod Correspondent
Editor's note: looking for iPhone headphones? Check out our v-moda vibe duo iPhone stereo headset review.
With the Bass Freq and Remix models, v-moda demonstrated that they care about substance, and not only style. Although these models were certainly quite fashionable, the audio quality was also quite strong for the upper-midrange earphone market. With v-moda’s latest earphone product, the Vibe, they have now taken a leap toward the high-end. I’m pleased to report that the company’s sense of style is backed once again by a quality product.
Describe The Vibe
The Vibe earphones are constructed solely of metal and have no plastic in their actual audio mechanism. Available in “flashback chrome” and “gunmetal black” colors, the Vibe might be described as “shallow in-ear earphones” - although they do enter your ear canal (and come with several tip covers you can choose from) like in-ear earphones, v-moda says that they are sufficiently secure and small that they won’t become loose during exercise or dislodge inside your ears. The earphones weigh a total of 12 grams and have an enhanced bass response, which handles frequencies from 12 Hz to 22 Hz, according to the company. A cable-length manager and leather storage pouch are also included.
Overall, the earphones certainly are light, compact, and visually attractive. v-moda says that they perfectly complement an iPod or Zune, although they do, of course, work with pretty much any standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. Nonetheless, as with virtually any earphone set, the most important question is still, “How do they sound?”
Is The Vibe Viable?
To determine the quality of the audio produced by the Vibe, I tested the earphones with a variety of music and audio types. Here are the results:
A cappella/vocal: When using the Vibe with vocal groups, I was able to appreciate the performance of each singer individually while still hearing the full, combined sound of all the singers together. This is a characteristic that I have generally only perceived on very high-end earphones.
Pop/rock: In this category, I continued to notice a high level of detail and clarity that brought out even the more subtle aspects of the music.
Country: In a category that tends to reward the two extremes, often combining the relatively high-pitched lead singer with a strong bass backup, the Vibe was once again up to the challenge.
Classical: This category usually benefits the most from a highly detailed audio output that clarifies the individual aspects of the music, so, based on my prior tests, it’s not surprising that the Vibe shined here as well.
Podcast/TV/voice: Audio from this category is generally a lower-quality source than recorded music, so it won’t sound especially great on any device, but the Vibe makes the best use possible of these sources and avoids any blunders like pumping up the bass to the point that speech is unintelligible.
Hip-Hop/Rap: Hip-hop music depends on a strong bass more than other factors, and the Vibe was successful in this area as well, providing a strong bass without overshadowing the other components of the music.
v-moda’s Vibe: Victory!
The v-moda Vibe produces detail and bass levels that are on par with other high-end earphones, while remaining a bit more comfortable than its competitors. Throw in the company’s unique sense of fashion, and there is just nothing not to like about them. If you have the desire (and budget) for high-end earphones, then the Vibe would be a great choice; v-moda has definitely created another winner.
Pros:Detailed, clear audio; strong bass; smaller, lighter, and somewhat less intrusive than most other in-ear earphones. Cons:None.