V-Moda Vibe Duo (iPhone) Headphone Review
The V-Moda Vibe Duo is the essential accessory for any discerning iPhone user. Kinda sounds like “Men’s Warehouse” ad, huh? The packaged iPhone headphones are junk, and like many I’ve felt the scorn of the white buds while running, riding or just about doing anything.
Drool worthy might sum it up. The pair I got were finished in black with silver accents. The cord is finished in a fabric like material cutting down on cord noise in the headphones and minimized tangling. The Vibe Duos were specifically designed for the iPhone (and the recessed jack), and feature an integrated microphone and call answer/end button. The button – at times it was difficult to locate due to size – serves a dual purpose as it can play and stop music as well, and if pressed twice will skip forward a song. The headphone jack is finished in 24k gold-plate, which should cut down on corrosion and ultimately interference – a nice touch. Unfortunately, the casing holding the headphone jack detached. This resulted in me having to pull on the cord in order to remove from a plug.
A simple fix with some glue, but annoying nonetheless. Notably, the headphones include a plastic clip for attaching to your clothing and insure optimal mic positioning. I’m a big fan of the clip although I wish V-Moda had sought a hire end version – that is if one exists. Included in the box, are additional silicone earfittings: 6 pair of clear (S,M,L) and 2 pair (S) of black. The worst of it – I know, I hate to say that – was the included leather pouch. It’s intended to hold the headphones and/or the additional earbuds. Unfortunately, it just looks like an after thought, and produced in a back room leather shop located in the nether regions of South America.
I’m a firm believer that all speakers, and headphones, need breaking in to reveal true performance. I’d say such is the case of the Vibe Duo’s. First and foremost, make sure to adjust your EQ in order to capture top notch sound. I found that ‘rock’ performed best for me, even though it’s a little strong in the ‘highs’. The Vibe Duos are rated at 12hz – 22khz. No way these can accomplish 12hz (i.e. low bass). In fact, they’re a little light in bass even though they boast a “9mm neodymium rare-earth magnet”. But what they lose in bass they make up for in clarity, fidelity and dynamics. At full volume the audio distorted, but I’m attributing this to a lack of amplification on the iPhone’s part, not the Vibe Duo’s. V-Moda’s noise isolating technology – BLISS – claims “to reduce ambient noises and enable deep bass”. Unfortunately, my experience differed, albeit slightly. Although the Vibe Duos produce decent bass, the noise isolation was limited and didn’t exceed that of my $30 Sony headphones. Ear comfort of the headphones was variable, as was bass response dependent upon positioning of the buds. I found that placing the buds in a more parallel like position increased not only bass and comfort, but noise isolation. So with that said, perhaps the BLISS technology is variably depending on ear canal structure and size. I’ve used the Vibe Duos, for calls, primarily in the car. I’ve got a more sport like vehicle and that means ‘road noise’. After numerous calls NOT ONE person complained of poor sound quality. Even questioning the callers with “can you hear me ok”, they all responded “ya, just fine” as if I were insane. The only issue in call quality I was faced with was a result of my own stupidity. On one occasion the mic was tucked beneath my collar preventing the caller from hearing me. The other, when I first received the Vibe Duos my iPhone’s volume limitation was ‘on’. So as you can imagine the callers sounded faint, but after turning this option off I experienced crisp and clear audio.
If you’re still jamming to the white Apple buds STOP NOW! Those things are junk and don’t even come close to capturing the iPhone’s true audio quality. There’s a reason Apple worked with V-Moda to design these buds: because they kick ass. I wouldn’t even suggest going the route of ‘after market iPhone’ jack. You’ll just end up losing it and remove any possibility of sleekly placing the iPhone in your pocket. Like I said, they lack the deep bass that some folks might desire but the V-Moda Vibe Duo headphone’s other features easily eclipse this small short coming. You can pick them up at most major retailers or by them direct at V-Moda.