V-Moda Vibe Review

v moda vibe main V Moda Vibe Review

Look what the mailman delivered the other day; it’s a box straight out of Hollywood, California, home of young headphone couturiers V-Moda. They’ve just released their newest model of IEM (in ear monitor) earphones, the V-Moda Vibe. Resembling several things Hollywood-ish, these phones just ooze glamor and style.

After wading through lots of marketing-speech and company philosophies on V-Moda’s website, I began to wonder if there could be more to these phones than mere style. Are they more than just a fashion accessory? Do they deliver more than glitzy appearance? Well, let’s see (and hear)…


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Reviewed by: Martin Sägmüller (dfkt)
Edited by: Grahm Skee

Accessories

The Vibes come with a lot of accessories: a generous eight pairs of silicone fittings in different sizes and two colors, the “Modawrap” (a V-shaped cable wrapper) and a gold-colored leather pouch for carrying the phones. A membership card for the “V-Moda VIP” club is also included.

You get two pairs of every size of silicone fittings, which is great because it’s rather easy to lose those small silicone thingies. The fittings are interchangeable with different brands of IEMs, I tried Ultimate Ears and Etymotic bi-flange fittings on the Vibes, and they fit well. So, depending on your taste (or ears), you can easily modify the Vibes if you don’t like the original fittings.

The “Modawrap” seems like a neat idea if you like to shorten the cable, but I find it too heavy having it dangling down my body, bouncing around. It’s ok if you store it in a pocket, together with your audio player, though. It is made of thick, soft silicone and has a quality feel to it.

The golden leather pouch seems to be mainly targeted at the female audience – I wouldn’t be caught dead flashing that thing out in public. It does its job, keeping the phones in a fairly safe place, but it really looks a little too gaudy for my tastes.

The membership card gives you access to a section of V-Moda’s website where you can listen to exclusive podcasts and DJ mixes, and get special offers and previews of upcoming products among other things.

Design

Wow, those things look nice. They’re made almost entirely of aluminum – the plug, the cable separator and the phones themselves. The phones feel very solid, but extremely lightweight considering their durable, industrial appearance. The Vibes come in two different colors “Flashblack Chrome,” the silver version and “Gunmetal Black” a grey version. I just wish I could get them in boring old standard black. The glitzy chrome is nice, but I’d rather like to keep a low profile.

The braided cable’s transparent plastic coating seems to somewhat prevent tangling of the cables. The cable has a nice, tough feel to it, better than most other sub-$100 IEMs.

The V-Moda logo on the cable separator and the “L” and “R” indicators on the phones are engraved instead of just painted on. A very nice detail, although it’s somewhat hard to see which phone goes in which ear under dim light conditions.

All in all, I love the design and materials used for the Vibes. They are unique and well made. Although there aren’t many IEMS to compare them to – the Audio Technica ATH-CK7 and the Panasonic RP-HJE70 come to mind, but neither can keep up with the overall presentation of the Vibes. Both use standard plastic plugs and cheaper cables, for example. The Vibe is well designed from top to bottom, something that’s usually only seen in a much more expensive category of IEMs.

Specifications

  • Frequency response: 18 Hz – 22 kHz, specified by manufacturer on the press info sheet (12 Hz – 22 kHz on V-Moda’s website)
  • Impedance: 16 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 92 dB (1 kHz / 1 mW)
  • Driver: 9mm neodymium rare-earth magnet
  • Cable length: approx. 84 cm from plug to Y-connector, approx. 36 cm from Y-connector to the earphones (symmetric)
  • Plug: Gold-plated, straight 3.5 mm metal plug
  • Weight: 12 grams

Contrary to most other IEMs the Vibes don’t use armatures for sound reproduction, but traditional dynamic drivers. This means they might have to “burn in” – the sound character will change in the first few hours of usage before settling down to its final characteristics. They might sound harsh fresh out of the box, but this will mellow out. Mine took about ten hours of usage to reach their final sound signature.

[I also found that burn in is very critical with the Vibes. Straight out of the box they sound very harsh and tinny on the high end. Before you start listening to them, plug them into your MP3 player, tune them to a comfortable listening volume, put your MP3 player on random repeat all, and set them aside to play for ten or more hours. Do not skip this step, your ears will thank you.] -Grahm

Another factor that separates the Vibes from most other IEMs is that they are designed “semi-open”. A little hole in the enclosure lets the air flow. This might be the reason for the slightly wider-than-usual soundstage of the Vibes, compared to similar IEMs.

This most likely would
also be the reason they don’t isolate as much as most other IEMs. Phones that let some outside noise pass through can be useful in certain situations where you need all your senses (jogging, biking, and so on). But it means you have to crank up the volume pretty high while listening on the bus or subway to drown out the outside noise. I had to listen at dangerously high levels while commuting, making the Vibes somewhat useless in loud surroundings. My ears were ringing afterwards.

These phones are efficient, even if the specs don’t say so. They can get very loud played through the weak amplifiers of portable players. Due to their low impedance you might notice some slight background hiss on lower quality amplifiers.

The tone canal diameter is rather wide compared to other IEMs. Letting more air flow to your eardrum certainly is a good thing.

I tested the bass frequency response using sine waves played through the preamped headphone output of an Echo Indigo DJ sound adapter. My test resulted in a frequency response starting at 20 Hz, and I really could feel the bass starting at 23 Hz. So the manufacturer’s specifications for bass response are more or less accurate.

The cable is really nice. It is thicker than the cables on most other IEMs and is very soft and flexible. On the silver version of the Vibe the braided cable is enclosed in a transparent plastic coatings mentioned earlier, and the grey version has a matching grey cable. Unfortunately the cable is microphonic, like on most other IEMs. When it moves across your clothing the scraping sounds get transmitted to your ears, due to the tight fit of the silicone fittings against your skull. However, it’s not as bad as with some other IEMs in that aspect. A way to partially prevent the microphonics is wearing the cables up and around your ears instead of letting it dangle down in front. This way some of the noise gets absorbed before it reaches your ears.

The 3.5 mm plug is made entirely of aluminum, like the earphones themselves. It has a quality feel to it, but unfortunately it’s a straight plug. For most audio players this means the plug sticks out far from the headphone jack, and couldn’t damage the jack when not handled carefully. In my opinion a 90-degree angled plug would be more reasonable for portable use.

Sound Quality

Now it’s about time to get down to the nitty and/or gritty: the sound. After all, it’s not just about the looks and specs, right?

I used several different setups in my evaluation:

  • iAudio X5L (original firmware, with EQ and BBE enhancements) > Vibes
  • iAudio X5L (Rockbox firmware, pure line-out) > PA2V2 headphone amplifier > Vibes
  • Samsung YP-U1 > Vibes
  • Winamp > Echo Indigo DJ > Vibes
  • Winamp > Echo Gina > PA2V2 > Vibes

Well, that being said, the Vibes don’t sound very different played through the various sources. They might be a tad better through the proper amps of the Echo Indigo and the PA2V2, but the difference is marginal; they still are amazing on the weaker iAudio and Samsung players.

During the tests I listened to a lot of various styles of music with the Vibes (mostly MP3 and Ogg Vorbis): drum ‘n’ bass, electro/techno, dancehall, reggae, rock, blues, metal, jazz, samba, RnB, and hip hop.

First off, these IEMs are designed with following philosophy/marketing in mind, “V-Moda’s spirit is a jet set journey through the discothèques of Europe, beaches of California, and the scenes of Hollywood” (according to V-Moda’s website and PR-team) – that would imply that they were designed mainly for reproducing electronic dance music.

The Vibes are no “basshead” phones like the Sennheiser CX 300 or Super.Fi 5 EB. The low bass is there, refined and not bloated, but it might not be enough to provide a satisfying reproduction for the subwoofer-spoiled dance music aficionado. For music like Techno, Drum ‘n’ Bass or Dancehall Reggae I prefer some other phones, with stronger bass and maybe more recessed mids. On Photek’s “Seven Samurai” remix everything sounded good, but I was missing the all-encompassing low frequency attacks that are the fundament of the track. On Red Rat’s “Mr. Wilson” I appreciated how well-defined the vocals were presented, but again, too thin on the bottom and maybe a bit too sharp on the hi-hats. Other electronic tracks that aren’t in need of overly exaggerated bass, like Drexciya’s “Plankton Organisation”, were simply beautiful to listen to.

Where the Vibes really shine (and put many other IEMs to shame) is in the midrange and treble. Vocals, guitars, wind instruments and percussion sound great. The sound is very transparent, immersive and airy with most rock, blues, jazz, reggae and even some assorted classical music. They catch tiny nuances and the instruments are well separated. They react very well to modern, heavily compressed recordings, but play most older, more dynamic tunes equally well. I even enjoyed old, badly recorded rock albums, like the Misfit’s “Walk Among Us” or Hüsker Dü’s “Metal Circus” which I usually don’t listen to with earphones. The Vibes however gave new life to these songs, I could make out nuances that I didn’t notice with other IEMs. A similarly revealing experience was listening to John Coltrane’s 1959 album “Giant Steps”: the Vibes blew the dust off the vinyl and presented the quartet’s music very alive and enjoyable. I could hear several things better than with other IEMs: Paul Chambers’ fingers snapping the strings against the fingerboard and Coltrane’s saxophone opening and closing the keys on the tone holes.

I’m not a fan of name-dropping and describing music with words. It’s like dancing about architecture, as the saying goes. But I hope this clarifies some of the strengths and weaknesses of the Vibes.

One thing is for sure: the Vibes knock the stuffing out of every other comparable IEM I know of in terms of clarity, crispness, dynamics and, most of all, listening fun. Yes, I even liked them better for most jazz and classical recordings than the more linear Etymotic ER-6. They don’t dissect the sound as much, but give a more enjoyable overall presentation. One could describe the Vibe’s sound as “warm” or “laid back”, but not overly so. Compared to bass-heavy phones like the CX 300, Super.Fi 5 EB or Sony’s terrible sounding EX series, they don’t make you feel as if you have a subwoofer shoved up your brain, but they do deliver smooth articulated bass, and far better mids and treble.

They respond well to equalization, as long as the EQ is of high quality. On iAudio’s original firmware and Rockbox, I really could tweak anything to my liking without distortion or clipping. With the mediocre EQ of my Samsung player and with the outright horrible EQ of Winamp there wasn’t much to be done; the Vibes sounded better without equalization.

Contrary to the performances of many other IEMs the Vibes also sound good when played at quiet volume levels. You don’t have to turn everything up to eleven to reach their full potential.

As nice as the Vibes handle many lower quality analog recordings, they are not so forgiving with badly compressed digital music with low bitrates. Without quality input, you’ll hear a lot of imperfections and compression artifacts. Now would be the time to re-rip your music collection to at least 192 kbps MP3 or 160 kbps Ogg Vorbis.

Comfort

They’re very comfortable to wear, so don’t be fooled by their edgy industrial looks. The clear silicone fittings are very thin and soft. The black fittings feel less flexible, but still softer than the ones that come with Ultimate Ears Super.Fi IEMs. I usually prefer those more rigid fittings – they provide a tighter seal in my ears, but with the Vibes I stuck with the smallest soft fittings. Due to the long tone canal of the Vibes the small fittings go deep into my ear canal and provide a sufficient seal.

For me, with medium sized fittings the Vibes stick further out of my ears than the Sennheiser CX 300 or the Creative EP-630, but they’re still comfortable enough to use them in bed
. With the small fittings they go much deeper in my ear canals, making them even more comfortable lying with my ears on the pillow – but I still prefer the Sennheiser CX 300 in that situation. Different people, different ears – your mileage may vary.

They stay pretty well in my ears, even while running. They never lost their seal or fell out once.

One downside to the aluminum construction of the Vibes is that they can be rather cold when first inserting them. But, as it is the nature of metal, they warm up pretty fast once inside the ear.

Conclusion

The Vibes are a definite recommendation. I don’t know of any other IEM in the $100 category that comes close in sound clarity, crispness, instrument separation and fun, not to mention the build quality. The Vibes outclass the Etymotic ER-6 in most aspects. They might not be exactly as linear as the Etys, but they’re so much more fun to listen to, the sound is more engaging. The Vibe’s mids and treble are also superior to the Ultimate Ears Super.Fi 5 EB, but of course they do lack the overwhelming bass of the Ultimate Ears (or Sennheiser CX 300). Bassheads might have to look elsewhere, but for people looking for balanced, airy, clear sound with very slightly increased bass, the Vibes are the way to go. If you don’t care too much about noise isolation, that is. Isolation really is their weakest point.

Even if the marketing-speech on V-Moda’s website might be a turn-off for some people, anyone in need of a pair of high quality IEMs should consider the Vibes as a serious contender to other, even more expensive, products.

Pros

  • Clear, balanced, non-fatiguing sound, very crisp and dynamic – and fun to listen to.
  • Marginally wider soundstage than most other IEM-style earphones.
  • Comfortable to wear for an IEM-style earphone, huge assortment of silicone fittings.
  • Solid overall look and feel – phones, plug and cable.
  • Unique industrial design.

Cons

  • Does not isolate nearly as well as most other IEMs. This might not necessarily be a negative point for some applications, but it’s really bad while trying to listen to music in loud environments.
  • Straight 3.5 mm plug. It’s a matter of taste, but might damage the headphone jack of an audio player more easily than an angled plug.
  • Microphonic cables, like most other IEMs.

Purchase

I have yet to see them at the B&M electronics retailers. However, you can pick them at many online retailers but I found that Amazon has the best price on them at $64.




104 Comments

EnzoTen on December 19, 2006 6:26 PM

Visit the ABi headphone forum to discuss the Vibes

Utew on December 19, 2006 8:25 PM

Great review guys! Comprehensive and detailed, with the kind of description that provides the info that someone wanting to know “how do they sound?” needs, to make an informed choice. Kudos!Think I’ll be picking a set of these up after the Holidays. Thanks!

slaughterMYdaughter on December 19, 2006 10:58 PM

Anyone know what the headphones on top of the vibes are?

nsjong on December 19, 2006 11:40 PM

Ultimate Ear Super.fi 5 EB.Anyways, would the angled plugs cause more damage?Because the angled plugs would put more strain on the cable when you put portables in your pocket. (example: iPod)Thus, it would put more pressure on the headphone jack.

Plan303e on December 20, 2006 12:34 AM

Yeah, I bought mine a week ago because of this mod’s review. Came in just today, but I’m real tired and not sure if I can listen to them much since I haven’t opened them.

dfkt on December 20, 2006 8:47 AM

SlaughterMydaughter, the phones in the comparison picture are: (beginning from top left:) Etymotic ER-6, UE Super.Fi 5 EB (bottom row, from left:) Sennheiser CX300, V-Moda Vibe, Sony EX51.

slaughterMYdaughter on December 20, 2006 6:11 PM

HOLYCRAP,they are the super FI.i didnt even look at the phones,i was i to overwhelmed by the thickness of the wire.

JistheONE on December 22, 2006 9:04 PM

POWER DRILL CHUCK inspired Vibes. I agree Sony bass sucks. I tried the EBs on a samsung YP-T8 and they stunk on bass, went back and got my $200 back (“baby carrots stuck in your ears” look). Headbanger earphones and Panasonic RP-HS900 has the best bass thus far.

Llogi on December 24, 2006 4:38 AM

I don’t know, but they remember me on my OVC T11 earphones.

Kevin K on December 26, 2006 6:23 PM

comparable to the sony mdr-ex81?

JistheONE on December 28, 2006 8:23 PM

They SUCK! I got them a few days ago. $73. It’s like sticking tweeters in your ears. Total crap! So what they have clean sound at max volume, the drivers don’t reproduce any bass even with massive EQ boosting. Don’t believe the idiots that give high praise to these! If you want tinny highs get the aluminum body Sony earphones because you’ll at least get some kind of bass with those. I’ll NEVER EVER buy v-moda junk again!

xrisnothing on December 29, 2006 7:45 PM

I bought these yesterday. I compared them with my brother’s e3′s. The bass on the v-moda is as good, if not better than the e3′s. The guy above me must be on crack.

8lias on December 29, 2006 11:42 PM

how is the V compare to Weston UM-1?

dfkt on December 30, 2006 8:47 AM

JistheONE: easy on the swearing, buddy. If you actually READ my review, you’d have seen that they need some time to “burn in”/settle down – they sound good after about 10 hours of usage. Right out of the box they might sound tinny or harsh, but they mellow out rather fast.SlaughterMYdaughter: That’s not the cable of the Super.Fi EB’s, that’s the cable plus the memory wire inside of a transparent tube. It goes over your ears, keeps the phones in place and reduces some of the microphonics of the cable. You can see some more screenshots of the cable/memory wire here: http://www.ultimateears.com/superfi/superfi-5-EB_black.htm

dfkt on December 30, 2006 8:49 AM

8lias, I’ve even read that some people prefer the Vibes to the UM-2… ;)

Teyec on December 31, 2006 9:10 AM

“A little hole in the enclosure lets the air flow”I wonder is that the only reason why this headphones dont block outside noises as other IE and the reason why other can hear the sound of them like you using normal headphones?Well even if it isnt only reason but still is a factor, anyone tryed to close that hole? Shouldnt be too hard and can be easily undo, and some would like to know it it helps. ;)

dfkt on January 2, 2007 10:38 AM

Yes, someone over at Head-Fi already tried plugging the hole – it has a very negative impact on the sound.

scingram on January 4, 2007 1:54 PM

Just ordered these from Amazon for $85. Hope they are as good as they sound!

Itchiepants on January 6, 2007 12:19 AM

I really like mine. Definitely needed burn in time though. Not great strait out of the box. I left them on overnight a few times and it made a big difference.

nat on January 9, 2007 7:02 PM

Just got em yesterday! Simply outstanding!!! I can’t imagine how good they’ll sound when they burn in because this is already good enough. For those who like music with some bass, not serious overdone bass, but good, dare I say bose-bass, get these. I listen to Gorillaz (and Gorillaz v. Spacemonkeyz), The Shins, Modest Mouse, 2Pac, Bob Dylan, and Elliott Smith. Just wanted to give a few examples so people with similar tastes will know they’re worth the $86 from amazon; $100 a bit too much for me to justify.:DThe only complaint is the gaudy baggy that comes with them. If they had just made it black, I’d love it, though I had some koss headphones with a smaller version of that kind of bag, so that’s what I’m using for these. Small, easy on the eyes, and great sound.

Adam on January 13, 2007 4:39 PM

These vmoda headphones sound great BUT I take the subway and work out a lot at a very noisy YMCA, so the reviews about not isolating the noise is a big turn off for me. Can anyone that has these confirm that they suck as far as blocking noise goes? BUMMER!Any other great $99.00 or below in ear phones that sound great AND block out noise???Thanks everyone!!

MerleOne on January 19, 2007 5:50 PM

Just got mine today. I have not burnt them in yet but they already sound great.Thanks for the review !.merle1.

neal on January 21, 2007 5:17 PM

Check out the sennheiser CX 300′s they’re cheaper and just as good, and are very good at sound isolating.

dfkt on January 22, 2007 7:50 PM

The CX300 cannot be compared to the Vibes at all. They’re a completely different kind of IEM. They’re bass heavy, with rolled-off mids and treble and a lot less resolution than the Vibes, but a lot more isolation from outside noise.

kevin on January 22, 2007 8:32 PM

I have some in the mail from ebay. Cant wait. Ive been using a pair of 100$ sonys from 16 years ago! For the past 16 years…I dont want overpowering bass and I hope these are a good balance for the rock I listen to.Cant wait.

Mezzano on February 1, 2007 5:48 PM

I’ve had mine for about 3 weeks now. I like them! The sound isolation is minimum but I like it because I can still horns and traffic while walking downtown Chicago. They do however block most voices and midrange sounds out there. I’m actually able to still hear vocals/music while walking next to the loud “L” but you still hear the train too.Great review by the way! I only disagree with one thing, and that regarding the straight plug. It looks cool the way it is and so far hasn’t seems to be a hassle. I think it works great because it slims everything out on my Sansa E270 having the connector on top. If it was on the side it would be a different story.

SgtFish on February 16, 2007 8:19 PM

Would they block more sound than the iPod Pack-Ins?That’d be a good comparison for me if somebody could help.So far I plan on getting these.

Y Yip on February 27, 2007 11:15 PM

I have a remote fitted to my iRiver MP3 player so an angled (elbow) plug wouldn’t work. The straight plug is perfect.I recently bought a set of Westone UM1′s which have an angled plug and can’t use these with my remote at all. I’m scouring the world looking for an adapter for the UM1′s!

strangers on February 28, 2007 7:36 PM

Just got these today and man these buds sound great! Bass is not overwhelming but very tight and accurate. The highs and mids are just incredible. Great for trance. Try to pop an E pill and put this baby on blast. lol

Ant on March 4, 2007 2:48 PM

Hi, a very comprehensive review, and following debate, so thanks. I want to get these but am worried about the isolating bit. I dont like annoying people on the train, so am worried about the sound escaping. Does this happen? I have some ‘open’ type cans for my home hi-fi and they annoy my wife when she is watching the telly, so I’m worried about this. Can someone please help/advise? Thanks again. Ant

dfkt on March 6, 2007 6:58 AM

With the Vibes it’s only the other way round, in my experience. You will hear almost any noise from the outside, but the Vibes don’t leak much sound.

jason beekhoo on March 15, 2007 7:19 PM

how do thses compare to the bose triports ie

Keano on March 17, 2007 6:56 AM

from what I read, they’re not so bassy, but is there enough for rap/hip-hop/r&b music?

Bill T on March 19, 2007 6:10 PM

So far I like everything I read on these. Does anyone have experience running/working out with these? Do they stay in place and does perspiration damage the phones? My experiences with all alternate brands (excluding Shure) has been less than desirable – most IE units lasting only three months as workout buds.

GramBorder on March 20, 2007 12:46 AM

Hi all!I want to all of you know, World is mine, and yoursite goodG’night

some guy on April 26, 2007 8:43 PM

no that guy..that guy is on crack ^

some guy on April 26, 2007 8:44 PM

hey would anyone list their opinions on the following:bose in ear, v-moda vibe, or shure e2c, and maybe the super.fi 3these are what im looking at, and im really having a hard time deciding on which one to get.

Jonney_uyq on April 28, 2007 2:35 AM

Hi, my name is Jonney, I am from Zaire.Just like your resource :) .

Abe on April 28, 2007 3:30 AM

I’ve been using the Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 for about a year. Most of my listening has been done at the gym while working out, and it’s definitely taken a toll on them. Maybe it’s all the motion involved in working out. I don’t know. Regardless, I’ve started noticing the sound cutting out, crackling, and fading.But, other than the fact that they’ll break down in 3-12 months (depending on how much and how vigorously you work out) they’re great. The sound quality is magnificent (in my opinion). There’s bass, crystal clear highs and mids, and complete sound isolation. They’re better than the ear plugs I wear at work. No joke. However, I’m hoping to find an earplug that is more durable for working out. Maybe I’ll give the Vibes a shot and see if they hold up better over time. Spending $100 I’d hope to have the earplugs last at least a couple years. Hope this helps y’all.

Ben on May 3, 2007 5:13 PM

I just got a pair of Red Roxx Vibes this week. Very nice looking, match my red iPod nicely and they have a comfortable tight fit, but in terms of sound quality i’m far from impressed.The bass and treble are not prominent at all and the mids just seem to muddy everything up, there’s no definition or sparkle whatsoever. I tried them straight out of the box and then left them to burn in for 11 hours but the sound didn’t change.I’ve had a pair of Sony EX70s which i bought back in Jan 2003 and used almost daily since i got them and they sound far better. Has anyone else had an experience like this with the sound or have i just had the mis-fortune to buy a bad pair?

bobby boy on May 6, 2007 6:36 PM

i feel your pain man

Shugo Wolf on May 10, 2007 12:42 PM

These arrived from Amazon yesterday, thanks for such a comprehensive review.Sound is exceptional, all though a bit of burn-in might definitely help.And yes, the bag is quite ugly, heh.

ringyringer on May 12, 2007 11:16 AM

How long does it need to burn in for?

AdmiralButterCrust on May 12, 2007 2:24 PM

Just to let u guys know, get the chrome ones, not gunmetal black ones(dont know about the wire one the other colors) but the wire on the gunmetal black ones is soft enough that after a few weeks the wire will be exposed a bit near the end of the wire(the end close to the buds)

AdmiralButterCrust on May 12, 2007 2:26 PM

and @ ben, u either got a bad pair or its ur ipod, cause mine sound absolutel amazing on my D2…

Shugo Wolf on June 3, 2007 6:46 PM

So… Second pair after the first was out of commission (faulty, unlucky unit).Still okay, although these seem to be taking a hell of a lot longer to burn.

Night Surfer on June 9, 2007 11:35 AM

Yikes….my Atrios M5′s show up in 2 days….I hope your assessment of those was not as over hyped (sound quality wise) as this was.

dfkt on June 12, 2007 6:28 PM

I still believe the Vibes are the second best IEMs I own, after the Atrios. Different people look for different aspects in their phones, but I still stand by my opinion that the Vibes are great, fun sounding phones for my needs. I’ll take them over the Super.Fi’s, Ety’s, CX300′s, and even the Mylar’s any time. Although it’s a close call, Vibes vs. Mylars.Yes, the Vibes have slightly muddy mids, but they got a good organic bass, and the best soundstage of any IEM I know. Not to mention the comfort – I use them in bed while sleeping, almost daily.People preferring the Shure/Etymotic/ATH CK-7 sound probably don’t like the Atrios either.BTW – Isn’t it funny how FOTM phones like the Vibes get hyped the one day, just to get bashed the next day? (As seen on Head-Fi…)

Night Surfer on June 15, 2007 11:43 PM

It’s cool bro – your M5 love is spot on. Killer IEM’s…thanks a million for helping me decide to get them.

dfkt on June 16, 2007 7:38 AM

Good to hear, Night Surfer. Yeah, the M5′s are something else. I hardly ever reach for any other IEMs anymore (except for jogging/biking/sleeping, where the Vibes still come in handy).

-PL-mike on June 27, 2007 6:31 PM

Best headphones and most affordable: Creative EP-630….excellent bass, great sound quality and great price. Paid $39.99 CAN ….they are very similar in look to the Sennheiser CX300′s. I recommend them to anyone who wants in-ear noise cancelling with amazing bass.

TCD on June 30, 2007 5:42 AM

My V-Moda Vibes have just packed in after less than 3 months of use.They sounded pretty good while they were still in working order, but the cons listed in the review above all proved true.The straight 3.5mm plug is definately a weak spot and I found the cable microphonics very obtrusive. The gold carry case is also truly ugly.Overall one of the best looking sets of headphones on the market, but I wouldn’t recommend them.

Yasoukyoku on August 12, 2007 11:18 PM

Well just got mine in yesterday and they are very nice but mine came with a black leather pouch instead of the gold. The only complaint I have with them is that they get a little uncomfortable after about ten minutes, then again maybe I’m putting them to far in my ear canal. But thats just a size problem and other then that they rock.(no pun intended)

meme on August 14, 2007 1:53 AM

Very happy with them straight out the box, should be amazing by the time they burn in! 100$ though so expected

Prasad on September 7, 2007 1:39 AM

Hey any feedback how they will sound with the Archos 605. The standard headphones provided by Archos sucks

Me on September 17, 2007 11:37 PM

They’ve now got them at the local Costco (southern California) for $74.99. Not enough bass for heavier rock and rap, but I’ll burn em in overnight and see how things go.

Andy Bailey on September 19, 2007 9:16 AM

that’s a really good review of these headphones, I am running a blog contest on my blog for a pair of these, I hope you don’t mind me linking to this post from there?

Fiona on September 28, 2007 12:47 PM

All I can say is OVC T20. All V-Moda have done is rebrand http://www.soundwiseusa.com and http://www.Soundwise.co.uk do the same, but at half the price.

Mark on October 2, 2007 6:46 PM

Are there any IEMs without a microphonic cable?

erik on October 7, 2007 3:27 PM

Hi, i would like to know, how can straight 3.5 mm plug destroy headphone jack of an audio player???

Adrian on October 7, 2007 9:27 PM

I picked up a set from Costco yesterday for $75. (The going price, it seems.) The benefit of Costco is their nice return policy if they “pack it in” … So far I’m pretty happy.To me, I find they have excellent bass and a very smooth and pleasant high-end. (No burn in yet.) I do find the mid-bass to be a bit exaggerated, but livable.I do love the wide sound stage and the high level of detail they seem to convey — and they do it without being overly bright.I was using Sony EX81′s before and when going back to those, I find them much more harsh and bright, and with a lot less low-end bass.At first I was on the fence about these but after an hour or so of listening, I like them. They look nice, they are very light and fit nicely in my ear. (I’m using medium silicone.)

Freida on October 11, 2007 5:07 PM

Don’t you just hate it when you order something and it says they have it in stock and will ship free ground. Then 3 days later you realize that it hasn’t been sent out. So then you email the company and they say “Here is a link to where it says it ships in 7-10 days:” yes, but it wasn’t there when I ordered 3 days ago! That’s what happened to me when I ordered through http://shop.v-moda.com. Beware! Of course, I’ll probably never get it! ha ha Now why does it take 7-10 days just to put it in the mail?

replicant on November 5, 2007 4:44 PM

i’ve had my gunmetal vibes for about 4 or 5 months now and love em, my only beef is with the tips. has anyone tried shure foam tips or any other replacement tips on them? i’m asking this for better isolation and for better fitment. all of the stock tips start sliding out of my ear if i’m chewing gum (strange i know). also, has anyone found a proper way to clean the grille of ear wax? i keep my ears clean (safely), but stray wax still gets down onto the grille.great review btw, if i had read this review prior to buying mine, i’d of definitely bought them without question. i ended up reading a lot about them on the head-fi forums.

Average Joe on November 5, 2007 9:59 PM

I bought these things the first week they came out on the apple webstie. The sound quality is great and these headphones will survive through almost any thing(almost…) a few weeks ago i shut the ear phones in a car door (oops). The head phones stayed intact, but in a couple weeks, my left earbud was dying on me. I just got my replacements the other day (for free!) and i’m still rocking the vibes.

replicant on November 6, 2007 3:24 PM

average joe, do you have a method of cleaning your vibes? i.e. cleaning ear wax that makes it down to the grille?

BubbaG on November 9, 2007 12:36 PM

I have the Archos 605 and have the CX300′s and Vibes.CX300 = Volume too low even at max. There is no sound until you get one third up.Vibes = Twice as loud and far better sounding than the CX300′sThe odd thing is both are 16ohm and both sound great and enough volume in my Gmini 402, T-mobile dash and PSP….. odd.

PaulB on November 29, 2007 5:49 AM

Just ordered the Rox Vibes, a little worried now as i was after at least a little sound isolation but the user comments suggest that they are useless for this. I had a pair of Etymotic 6i isolators before but they broke (at the bottom where the jack connects to the the cable) and swore not to get any more, although i thought they were great.Have a made a mistake with these? I use the underground every day to commute :S

Gordon5 on December 12, 2007 6:08 PM

Too bad the earphone cables converge into one. Otherwise, I would by them in a heartbeat.I want to convert them to lanyard style to use with my Sony B105F. The straight jack is also a plus. ;P

asdfasdfjk;ldfsa on December 29, 2007 10:38 PM

Really good! Got them today as a Christmas present from my godparents. They sound great even though they are not broken in yet. They block out sound VERY WELL! (For laughing and swearing guests… LOL) Good present! Although I am still getting my Bose Quiet Comfort 2 for travelling…

mike on January 5, 2008 6:17 PM

I saw these at Costco and passed on them for today. But I’m going to go pick them up now.Thanks for the review!

kenny on January 11, 2008 3:32 PM

The left and right earbuds are hard to tell apart in the dark, so I am using a black ear fitting on one and a clear on the other, helps a lot and they feel the same. Now if I can just figure out how to clean the grille.

Sean Lam on January 18, 2008 12:21 PM

Hi, I am from Vietnam. I just bought a pair of Vibe Duo yesterday. In Vietnam those cost me 139$!!!I like the sound, it’s lake a bit of bass but the clarity of the sound is very good comparing to a $50 sony in ear i bought last year.And the plug can fit with the iPhone!

Sean Lam on January 18, 2008 12:24 PM

Hi, I am from Vietnam. I just bought a pair of Vibe Duo yesterday. In Vietnam those cost me 139$!!!I like the sound, it’s lake a bit of bass but the clarity of the sound is very good comparing to a $50 sony in ear i bought last year.And the plug can fit with the iPhone!

lavergara on January 18, 2008 2:34 PM

I used these for 3 hours at work because I was at work I didnt have the music to loud. Later that night my ears where ringing. I couldnt sleep and for 2 days after my ears bothered me.

Mark on February 23, 2008 7:13 PM

I just recently picked up my “Gunmetal Black” set from Costco for $70, and I love ‘em. I haven’t properly burnt them in yet, but the sound is pretty sweet so far.Yes, there is quite a lot of microphonic noise in the cables, even when the wires simply brush against my cheeks or chin. However, I’ve managed to greatly mitigate that by wrapping the wires up and around my ear lobes and dropping the ear pieces down into my canals from above. The inital fit, when doing this, was very tight for the cords around my face, so I’ve pulled apart the Y-juncture about a half-inch to get more slack. Now the fit is nice and the microphonics are neglegible. What’s now left over is sweet music!

Mark on February 23, 2008 7:13 PM

I just recently picked up my “Gunmetal Black” set from Costco for $70, and I love ‘em. I haven’t properly burnt them in yet, but the sound is pretty sweet so far.Yes, there is quite a lot of microphonic noise in the cables, even when the wires simply brush against my cheeks or chin. However, I’ve managed to greatly mitigate that by wrapping the wires up and around my ear lobes and dropping the ear pieces down into my canals from above. The inital fit, when doing this, was very tight for the cords around my face, so I’ve pulled apart the Y-juncture about a half-inch to get more slack. Now the fit is nice and the microphonics are neglegible. What’s now left over is sweet music!

Mark on February 23, 2008 7:14 PM

I just recently picked up my “Gunmetal Black” set from Costco for $70, and I love ‘em. I haven’t properly burnt them in yet, but the sound is pretty sweet so far.Yes, there is quite a lot of microphonic noise in the cables, even when the wires simply brush against my cheeks or chin. However, I’ve managed to greatly mitigate that by wrapping the wires up and around my ear lobes and dropping the ear pieces down into my canals from above. The inital fit, when doing this, was very tight for the cords around my face, so I’ve pulled apart the Y-juncture about a half-inch to get more slack. Now the fit is nice and the microphonics are neglegible. What’s now left over is sweet music!

Mark on February 23, 2008 7:23 PM

I just recently picked up my “Gunmetal Black” set from Costco for $70, and I love ‘em. I haven’t properly burnt them in yet, but the sound is pretty sweet so far.Yes, there is quite a lot of microphonic noise in the cables, even when the wires simply brush against my cheeks or chin. However, I’ve managed to greatly mitigate that by wrapping the wires up and around my ear lobes and dropping the ear pieces down into my canals from above. The inital fit, when doing this, was very tight for the cords around my face, so I’ve pulled apart the Y-juncture about a half-inch to get more slack. Now the fit is nice and the microphonics are neglegible. What’s now left over is sweet music!

Samuel on February 28, 2008 1:03 AM

Just bought a pair of Vibe today. Like you said, it has harsh sound at the beginning, so I plugged them on my player and let them play for 6 hours like you suggested in the review. You’re right, the sound changed charasteristics. Now the sound is fabulous. Rich deep bass, and excellent fine trebles. Thanks for the advice.

ellis on March 8, 2008 10:59 AM

best headphones I’ve ever used for about 2 months UNTILL all of a sudden the left side stop working!!!!!!!! For a 100.00 the headset should have lasted longer!!!! Didn’t drop them or damaged them in anyway!! Woke up one morning and put them on and no sound in the left ear!!!!!!!! Really SUCKs b/c I really loved them untill it died after 2 months

Aaron on April 17, 2008 4:11 PM

Mine broke after 16 days – a friend of mine has returned his 3 times for the same problem. Every time he gets a new pair they say they have ‘fixed’ the problem in this version.Don’t buy these until they really fix them.

darlene on June 4, 2008 3:31 AM

My right ear stopped working after two months also. Just got them in late January and by April one ear was dead. I thought sweat from working out had short circuited something, but couldn’t figure out why not both.For $100. you’d think they would last longer. Like them until this happened.

Alex on June 19, 2008 10:49 PM

Do I need to burn this thing or? Try them on and they seems really softer than my Mylar One phones. Less bass too.But I think the clarity is better and it’s comfortable even listen for long hours.

Duane on July 10, 2008 11:15 AM

Not musical. Boring. Like fine loudspeakers draped with a bath towel. High end is rolled off and the bass is flabby and/or a bit much. Midrange is quite nice. They are “burned in”. My reference is live not recorded music and I did compare the Vibes to other buds. My associate who teaches music and plays in a jazz quarter agrees, but I won’t quote him because I am disappointed enough already.

james on July 15, 2008 1:03 PM

I got mine last week and I feel a little bit ripped of. After reading lots of reviews I was hoping for a great sound. I can’t tell the difference between these and a pair I have that were half the price. Are we paying for hype and marketing. I read around and V-moda are a rebrand with a huge markup.Look at the Soundwise G3 and TC20? Are we being ripped off?

carick on July 15, 2008 2:41 PM

I loved these headphones until they shorted out on the left ear, about 5 months down the road. Do not buy these as they will short out on you. I’m tired of reviews that don’t deal with durability. Everyone wants to get a review out as soon as the product comes out so you cannot tell how long they last, and these do not last. Check Amazon’s reviews. All the high ratings are from people who just go them, and the low ones from people who have had them and the left ear shorted out…like mine. One person got 4 pairs which all did this same thing.

eethann on July 17, 2008 2:09 PM

I had the same experience as darlene, after about 6 months the left ear’s volume dropped dramatically and seems to continue to lessen over time. I compensate on my computer by adjusting the balance, but for $100 headphones I expect better.

Gary C. on July 23, 2008 9:28 PM

Yea, I had the same experience with the first gen V-moda Vibe back in early 2007 where one side stopped working.It turns out that the straight plug snapped.I got the second gen one later with the better plug. After learning my lesson and taking better care of it, it has lasted me for over a year.Still loving it.

Coaster on July 25, 2008 3:44 AM

FYI. The V moda Bass freq is at costco is 2 for 1 packs for 39.00.

Michael on September 6, 2008 1:42 AM

Just A Warning,I bought my pair for about, $65 bucks at costco, which is a great deal.I had them for about 6 months, and the wire separated from the right earbud exposing wires. Other then that, they were great headphones. And much better then the e3′s or bose.I contacted v moda and explained the problem with the premature wear on the earbuds. I’m getting a free replacement pair, it has a 1 year warranty.I’d caution potential buyers, treat them nice, and keep your proof of purchase.

Steve on September 17, 2008 2:35 PM

Obviously V-Moda has had some durability issues with their headphones. But they do provide FANTASTIC support through their website.They have recently revised the plug, it’s no longer straight. Hopefully that will help with things.

Brad P on October 2, 2008 8:47 PM

MUST READ!!!Ok so these headphones have really good quality, and look very nice.BUTMy SECOND pair of v moda vibes I had just BROKE.On both pairs the cord that connects at the 3.5mm end.The connection at the end extends WAY too much (literally about one inch) which causes the cord to chafe and wear.I would reccommend these earbuds, but if they are going to break that quickly, I’m not going to.

nailbeer on October 26, 2008 12:05 AM

I loved these headphones, excellent sound quality and bass, looks cool (especially with the transparent cable) but unfortunately, they’re not very durable. My first pair of these broke less than a year after I got them, and the replacement pair broke within a couple months, even after being extra careful with them, both times due to a loose wire. So, I caved in and dropped 200$ on a pair of Shure E4g’s and I love them. The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was the nice thick wire and the excellent connector design that bends the wire instead of the Vibe’s connector that extends like an inch out, a poor design if you wrap your phones around a portable player. My Shures definitely feel very well made, too, especially compared to the Vibes, which LOOK well made but don’t feel all that special. Just goes to show that you get what you pay for…

cheeseflavor on December 25, 2008 7:41 PM

These are my third set of aftermarket IEMs. The first was a pair of Sony MDR EX75s, followed by Bose Triports. Of those two, the sony’s oddly enough had a better sound overall. The vibes blow them both away in terms of soundstage and a balanced tone. The sony’s had more bass, but it was exaggerated vs. the tight, smooth bass of the vibes. Add to that fact that Best Buy had them for $59 and they were a steal. I’m sold!

Sam on February 9, 2009 8:29 PM

I’ve had these headphones for a little over a year now, and I must say that they are extremely good. I tend to be a bit of an audiophile,(having spent around 2 grand on a couple of speakers and a radio in my truck) and also a bit abusive to my equipment as well. These are the only headphones I have found to hold up to my abuse and not only meet but surpass my expectations for headphones. Not to mention I also use them on the weekends for in-ear monitors during band practice (I play the drums).The only problem I’ve had so far is the cleaning, i tried as hard as possible to keep these clean, but now my right ear has lost a significant amount of volume, which i am sure is due to ear wax.I have heard of others playing a deep bass note in their headphones to clean them out, and that has worked before for me as well, but not this time,Would anyone have any secrets on cleaning these headphones that work particularly well, and does anyone know if you can take them apart to clean?

Dave on February 11, 2009 6:21 AM

The vibe has the same internal components as the Scullcandy full metal jacket and the Soundwise G4. If you listen to all 3 they are identical. They are actually all made by OVC of china. V-moda are based in Hollywood but they did not design the vibe. They bought the exclusive rights to distribute a popular chinese earphone. The OVC t25 (aka vibe) was sold for about 6 months before v-moda marketed the vibe.Don’t get me wrong they sound good, but you are paying for that marketing The Skullcandy and Soundwise are alot cheaper and just as good.

bob dole on March 3, 2009 12:36 AM

do not buy!less than a year life for the headphones.have had 2 pairs (1 under warranty) both had same problems with the 3.5 mm head phone jack. Took care of the second one a lot and it still crapped out.stay away.

alex on March 9, 2009 6:46 AM

Hi Martin, thanks for your review I bought this and loved it! But after one years of used my pairs got some problem with the jack so now I am looking for a new pairs. Just checked their site and found that they have a new version now.http://www.v-moda.com/headphones/vibeii.aspxAny chance that you would do a review on this too?

alan on March 18, 2009 6:03 PM

I love them. I bought them for about a month or so. They have great sounds. But in the last month or two i had to replace TWICE!! Both of the problems was the left ear. It just started to faded out then it just died. It great but the durability just isn’t that good.

bunnybosatsu on April 8, 2009 12:20 PM

Don’t buy these.First pair I bought, left bud had no sound within two weeks.Replaced em at the store, left bud fell apart (!) within three weeks.Now store says I’ll have to use the v-moda warranty, where it seems I’ll get another replacement, no refund. Lucky me.Buy three apple buds for the price of one v-moda, you’ll get thirty times the life from them.

Jonny on May 21, 2009 2:32 PM

I would agree with the don’t buy . I got mine on amazon and they broke after 6 months. V-moda said they don’t cover as amazon is not a official source. This seems really poor service. Anyway I got a refund from amazon and bought the soundwise G4 as I read it was the same. It does sound identical and I would bet its from the same factory. It does seem a bit stonger at the jack and wire. I contacted soundwise about the waranty and they said that I would be covered.

D on June 2, 2009 4:16 PM

I have to say these are by far the best headphones I’ve ever used. I’ve cycled through a handful and nothing compares. I’m not no music expert and don’t know the jargon that some of you music lovers use, but my ears are meticulous and I can honestly say these headphones sound great. My only gripe, I’m on my third pair now – each lasting about 3 months where one side goes dead. I’d recommend them if they can get the quality issue sorted out, but right now I’m looking for the next best thing.

Reaperman on January 26, 2010 1:32 PM

Looks like I’m a little late to the party, but thanks for the review. They’ve come down in price and I’ve just ordered a new set for $15, which is less than most decent budget sets. I certainly hope these pair well with my Sansa Fuze (selected thanks to another anythingbutipod review). Great site, I’m certainly a big fan now.

Aja on March 3, 2010 5:59 AM

I bought VMODA earphones twice, they failed five times as the wire in the microphone nub became lose. VMODA was quick to replace them, about 5 week turnover, but the frustration of having your earphones go out in mid workout, or even worse on a flight, was enough to encourage me to write this note. I would not advise purchasing these headphones, until V-Moda resolves this problem. (It is a general problem as many of my colleagues have suffered this).

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