Friday September 21, 2007 9:35 pm
V-Moda Vibe Duo Earphones/Headset for iPhone Review
We picked up a pair of the new V-Moda Vibe Duos and took them for a spin. The Vibe Duos sound great (almost as good as the Etymotic ER-6s), and feature a microphone for making hands-free calls on the iPhone. They also feature cloth-wrapped cords, durable metal construction, and extended plug (for easy use with the iPhone’s recessed headphone jack) all add up to a stunning package. Check out after the jump for our full review.
The Vibe Duos come with three pairs ear gels (small, medium, and large) in both clear and black for a perfect fit for almost any ear and your choice in colors to accessorize with your outfit should you be so inclined. The Vibe Duos have a solid metal body, with textured silver accents that look quite nice - not to mention that the black cords don’t advertise quite as loudly to the world that you have a Very Expensive Device in your pocket like the standard white iPhone headset does. The Duos also feature a small leather carrying case, and have a solid build quality on the Vibe Duos is great and unlike some previous earbuds I’ve owned I’m not in the slightest concerned about breaking them or tearing the cord if they get caught on something.
Sadly they lack the microphone button on the official iPhone earbuds for answering calls and pausing the music, but that’s a small sacrifice for the vastly increased comfort and sound quality. The microphone lacks noise-cancelation and likely won’t be the primary headset you use take and receive calls, but are a handy addition and make it far easier to quickly take calls while listening to music without having to doff your headphones.
UPDATE: V-Moda is releasing an updated version of the Vibe Duo’s with a microphone button - check out the link for details.
As for their sound, the Vibe Duos managed to impress these golden ears. While not quite as faithful as truly high-end in-ear monitors like the Etymotic ER4s, or the Shure SE530s, the Vibes have amazing sound for their $100 price tag. The Vibes have a strong, deep low-end, clean midrange, and crisp treble. Best of all the Vibes are very low impedance and were easily driven at a low volume setting on all of the portable MP3 players I tried with them - no headphone amp required like with the ER4’s.
After a couple of days with the Vibes they surfaced one flaw in an otherwise well-built package. Faulty glue (or perhaps a faulty glue job in the factory) caused the the sheath protecting the connection between the headphone jack and the cable leading to the earbuds to come undone and travel freely up the cable. I immediately took them back to the Apple store who apologized for the problem and promptly replaced them without even asking to see my receipt - thankfully it’s hard to beat Apple for customer service. I was willing to chalk it up to a single faulty pair of earbuds until the replacement pair suffered the same fate the very next day. Either the Apple store in the Seattle got a bad batch, or the Vibe Duos suffer a design or manufacturing flaw leading to this unfortunate condition.
Luckily there is an easy fix for this problem. This evening at home after quickly whittling away some of the old adhesive with an exacto knife I re-glued it myself with seemly better results. A few drops of super-glue spread evenly over the plug with a synthetic Q-tip (the cotton ones would have left fibers) and quickly dropping the sheath back into place have locked it into place quite tightly.
After talking to a few other Vibe Duo owners nobody else has complained about the problem, so it’s likely that this was an isolated (and easy to fix) problem, but buyers should beware and it might be a good idea to check how solidly the sheath is connected right after you buy them.
All in all the, Vibe Duos have impressed us. With a $100 price tag, mostly solid build quality, and exceptional sound the Vibes make for an excellent replacement to the cheap white earbuds that come with the iPhone. V-Moda also offers the Vibe headphones, which feature the same in-ear monitor drivers and cloth cord, but lacks the microphone - ideal for iPod users looking to bump their sound.