REVIEW: V-Moda Vibe Modaphones – Noise Cancelling earbuds

For all the audiophiles in the audience, there are a new set of premium earbuds to check out. Sure, Joe Public may be perfectly satisfied with the set of headphones that come for “free” with the purchase of a new MP3 player, but if you want the absolute best sound quality — whether you’re enjoying your music at home, in the car, or while walking around the mall doing your Christmas shopping — you’ve got to pick up nothing short of the best. The V-Moda Vibe premium earbuds (“Modaphones”) compete directly against some of the top dogs in the industry, sporting all those cool features that the kids like these days: in-ear design, chrome accents, and a customized fit with silicon covers.

First Impressions

One thing is very clear about the V-Moda Vibe earphones: they are certainly designed to exude class and they want you to know it. The stereo mini-plug is 24k gold-plated, backed up by a chrome plug, high-end wires, and, of course, some spiffy-looking buds. Available in black chrome, gunmetal black, gunmetal rouge, and “la mocha” (a gold/red combination), these earbuds will let everyone around you know that you’re serious about your portable music. According to their official press materials, they sport “alluring alloy elegance” that “accentuates the modern individual.” Yup, they sure are pretty, and I really like the “all-metal design”.

What’s in the Box

Earbuds are considered accessories themselves, but that didn’t stop V-Moda from tossing in a few extras in the package when you pick up a set of Modaphones. In the box are:

- V-Moda Vibe Modaphones (of course)
- Silicon fittings (six pairs of clear, two pairs of black)
- Gold, leather-like carrying pouch
- V-Moda VIP Membership Card (for “exclusive offers”, “musical podcasts”, and the option to “preview upcoming products”)
- Modawrap (a chunk of silicon to store your precious)

That last item is particularly interesting, and — pardon my ignorance — it took me a couple minutes to figure out exactly what it is for. Shaped much like their V-logo, the “modawrap” makes it so that when you coil up the headphones for travel, the cords won’t get all tangled up. Simply slip the two ends on both sides, and start coiling ‘er up. A good idea in theory (and it just fits in the provided golden pouch), but after uncoiling, it came out as a rather strange mess, where the cables were somewhat twisted. A trade-off I guess.

Sound quality

For the purposes of this review, I compared the ~$100 V-Moda Modaphones with the fairly decent set that came with my Creative MP3 player. Honestly, there was no comparison. The bright white Creative earbuds were “okay”, but suffered from a lot of extra noise, especially at the higher end. Moreover, the bass was conservative at best. On the other hand, the V-Moda offering was surprisingly “thumpy” for earbuds, providing almost the same level of deep bass as some of the larger headphones (non in-ear) on the market. This is probably because of the BLISS (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicon) technology that “further reduces outside noise for a precise and rich bass response (frequency 12Hz to 22Hz)”.

Moreover, the sound came out more “pure”. There was little to no extra “noise”, just the pure bliss with the music pounding my eardrums. I thought it was just marketing speak when the provided press materials told me about “rich bass”, “warm mids”, and “full-spectrum clarity.” These earbuds live up to that boastful exclamation.

They also use something called “BLISS” technology, this reduces noise and enables the deep base. And unlike most other noise cancellation headphones, you do not need any batteries and no artificial sound is put in your music.

A Custom Fit

As is the norm with premium in-ear headphones like these, you’ll enjoy a whole package of silicon fittings to make sure you get that nice seal. This way, you can enjoy the passive noise isolating technology. Similar silicon fittings can be found from Shure, Seinnheiser, Skullcandy, and a plethora of other top-notch earbud-makers. The clear silicon comes in small, medium, and large, while the black ones only come in small.

Removing and replacing these silicon fittings is a piece of cake. Check out the image below to get a sense of the relative size for these fittings, and how the earbuds look in “naked” form.

Specifications

Compatibility: all iPod, Zune, MP3, DVD, computer, and CD players
Included Accessories: gold leather pouch, modawrap, six pairs (S,M,L) of clear and two pairs (S) black silicone fittings, V-MODA VIP Card
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 (1/8â€) stereo plug
Weight: 12 grams (0.42 ounces)
Impedance: 16 ohms
Sensitivity: 92 dB (at 1kHz 1mW)
Rated Input Power: 2mW

Conclusion

The cables are 32-inches from plug to Y-connector, and then an additional 13.5-inches to each earphone. Naturally, they’re feather-light (12 grams), so you’ll barely notice that they are there.

It could be because I’m not that much of an audiophile that I have a hard time justifying the $101 asking price, but there is no denying that these are vastly superior to any earbuds that come bundled in with your portable music player. It’s also in line with other high-quality earbuds with noise cancellation technology. The sound quality is blissfully crisp, the bass is deep and pure, and the noise cancellation is very nice. If you lust after hi-fidelity audio, the V-Moda Vibe Modaphones are certainly a nice set to consider.


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