March 19, 2009

Review: V-MODA Vibe DUO Headphones BASS Powerhouse!

[Update: 7/22/2009 Just got an email from V-Moda saying they are shipping out a replacement order for my defective headphones. V-Moda is a standup company and I would vouch for their

[Update: 7/7/2009 My Vibe Duo headphone started to having problems with the left ear bud cutting in and out; the behavior is strange because it would do it randomly, w/o any tugging or pulling or the cords. Feels like some sort of short; I'm going to see how V-MODA is going to handle my request seeing that my unit is a review, never-the-less, only lasted 4 months of light usage]

Few weeks ago, I did a review on V-MODA’s latest creation, the Vibe II stereo headphone with mic and I liked it a lot. But in the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered how it differs from the Vibe Duo (the original headphones that made V-MODA popular). Well, wonder no more, I have gotten a hold of a pair of Vibe Duo for a follow-up review.

BASS Powerhouse! V-MODA Vibe Duo

I’ll start the review by saying that the V-MODA Vibe Duo is an incredible set of headphones especially if you enjoy low frequencies. It has the best BASS response than any other headphones I have tested. Its full and rich with sounds as if you are having a dance club in your head. I love it! Other frequencies are decent but I believe the engineers at V-MODA tuned this headset to amplify it's BASS range (versus the newer Vibe II which has a sharp sound across the entire frequency band at the cost of weaker BASS response). Therefore, depending on your musical preference, you should choose between the Vibe Duo (for R&B, Rap, Dance) or Vibe II (Classical, Rock, Jazz, etc.).

Design - The Vibe Duo design is very elegant. I always liked its anodized-aluminum finish (in three colors: red, black and silver). The cords are enclosed in a nylon-cloth material which is soft and sturdy (and stain proof). V-MODA is always good about its in-ear design. It rests in your ear canals comfortably since they offer 2 sets of three bud sizes to swap out. Having that second set of ear buds is a very good touch incase you lose one of the sizes which has happened to me in the past on a Sony headset.

The built-in mic is great (and a must!) because as I mentioned in my prior reviews, its is very difficult to find premium headphones with mic integration. I find the conversations clear as any other high quality headset and the inline control (answer/end call) is very handy for when your iPhone is in your pocket.

Vibe Duo vs. Vibe II (the newer contender)
This review is actually taking place in reverse since I’ve reviewed the newer V-MODA Vibe II only recently. What was interesting for me is to be able to easily spot the areas where the new Vibe II has improved over the already-very-good Vibe Duo. Here is what I have noticed:

* Overall, the Vibe II feels more refined and ruggedized headphones compared to the Vibe Duo
* Cords on the Vibe II is thicker and uses Teflon as material
* More steel can be found on the Vibe II for a heavier-duty feel (around the ear buds, inline control) compared to the plastic parts used on the Vibe Duo
* Note! The first three points are purely speculations, I am not sure if one is actually more sturdy than the other, both are very well engineered in my book
* Vibe Duo is better suited for BASS, lots of it… I smile like a teenager with a fancy car stereo system when listening
* Vibe II has been tuned to project a very sharp and clear sound over it’s entire frequency range (less intense BASS)

Conclusion: I really like the Vibe Duo, even more than Vibe II

The Vibe Duo is an amazing set of stereo headphones with microphone. The design alone is enough to tell you the story. While the newer Vibe II(MSRP $119) is a bit more refined and ruggedized, the Vibe Duo still holds its own in terms of sturdiness and performance and can be picked up with a bit of discount $80 on Amazon.com. If you like your Music with a strong flare in the low frequency range, look no further, the Vibe Duo is hands down the best for your iPhone. Which is why I really like this set.

If you are just looking for a set of V-MODA headphone w/o mic (for MP3 players or iPods), you can pick up the V-MODA Vibe for about $50 on Amazon.com or wait for the up and coming V-MODA AVC line featuring the VoiceOver support on new iPod Shuffle.

Special thanks to Kat K. at formulaPR for arranging the review units.

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