Wednesday, February 21, 2007

V-Moda plugs verdict

V-Moda Chrome plugs

When I previously wrote about V-Moda's Vibe Earphones I promised I'd give an update as to their quality. First of all, shopping from V-Moda was a delight. I payed $5 for shipping, payed no taxes and the package showed up in my mailbox a week later. No complaints there.

Now I'm not gonna go all unboxing-geek on you, but I'll comment on the some of the physical aesthetics of the plugs. When I first took them out of the box, I was a bit surprised, the outer part of the plugs looks somewhat less 'flashy' than the images suggest. The detail on the image is fairly high, and the plugs are (obviously) smaller, which contributes to a more discreet look than what I imagined. They still look good, just not all that bling-bling-ish, which in my book is a good thing. The cord seems to be of good quality and the part that connects to the jack is reinforced with a metal casing, which makes it a lot more sturdy than those damn Apple buds (I've had atleast 3 that caved because of their rubber solution). Since these are 'in-ear-plugs' I was a bit worried, because I couldn't get the ones that came with my cellphone to stay put in there. They kept falling out all the time until I just gave up. This however, is not the case with the Vibes. So far so good...

Test devicesAs far as the sound goes, these are by far the best plugs I've ever heard. I tested them on a Sony Ericsson W810i and a first gen iPod Nano. Let me start by saying, If you're ever buying a SE phone, make sure you get some other plugs straight away. Because god damn thats about the worst I've ever heard. When I tried the Vibes it felt like the SE ones was made out of cardboard or some crap like that. V-Moda's detail in comparison was nothing but amazing, but I'll get back to that in a second. Now, I've always suspected the iPod buds to be pretty lousy as well, and let me tell you, they are. I did a lot of testing back and fourth swapping these 3 pairs of buds and 2 gadgets, and no matter how I ended up, it still breaks down to this: If my new Vibes and myself get separated for some reason, I'm running home ordering a new pair. The sound is so good it reminded me what a pleasant experience listening to music actually can be. Personally I've always been so grateful just for the fact that I can bring my music anywhere, that I never really questioned the quality of earbuds. And since I've always been pro-earbuds, because I don't like walking around looking a like a recording artist with headphone-hair, I've just used them - no questions asked. But thats what these babies will do to you, ask questions, like: Why the hell didn't I get these a long time ago?

And to the question everybody else is asking: Yes, there's bass, there's great bass! The only problem I'm having here is coming up with a solution on how to explain or evaluate bass in a fitting manner. Screw it - I'll just say; If you have a pair of iPod or SE buds, what you don't have is bass. The Vibes on the other hand, have great bass. But it's not only the bass thats a refreshing new element to my music-on-the-go. The treble really makes your music come alive. I know this is starting to sound like a wild rant, but this product is actually worth it. Like a friend of mine said while I demonstrated the difference between the iPod buds and the Vibes on him: "I can distinguish sounds with these I couldn't with the white ones". While he might have been a tad overexcited when stating that (I could hear the sound he was referring to with both), his excitement is enough to prove my point: These plugs sound great - with great bass and excellent dynamics.

After I wrote the initial post on this, a few of my friends have IM'ed me about them, and one of them was wondering about buying a pair of Koss Portapros or the Vibes, and I happened to have a pair of Portapros lying around. As the nice guy I am, I did a comparison with the Koss headphones as well. The Portapros has a lot more bass (as expected as they are headphones, not in-ear-phones), but the Vibes makes up for it as the music sounds a lot less flat, and the bass more balanced. As I've been quite happy with the Portapros I was a bit surprised that I preferred the V-Mode listening experience over the Koss one.

To conclude this rant, I'd like to add that my friend Mads, who's as anal about sound as only sound technicians get, also gave this the thumbsup. If you know him, that means a lot. If you don't just go get the damn bastards...