About just over a year ago, I wrote a review for the V-Moda Duo EarBuds. In that article I went into great detail about the superiority of these earbuds. Well V-Moda is back again and continues to impress. Now new, hot out of the casts come the V-Moda Vibe II. To say these are a step up would be a slight understatement. Now as you read this you are probably saying, “Look, they’re earbuds, Hilty. I got a pair with my iPhone, they came stock. They play music and let me take calls and serve me fine…” I say to you disbeliever, WRONG! Well OK, yes the stock ones do all of that, sure. But let’s face it, the stock earbuds Apple supply us, simply suck. They’re flimsy, do not stay in your head well and the fidelity, while adequate, is simply lacking. So let’s go into how awesome these new V-Moda Vibe II Earbuds are.
The Vibe II’s are constructed out of diecast alloy. This means no worries about housing breakages on the earbuds themselves. These casts have been done in extremely stylish fashions making essentially “Rocking Skull Jewelry”. They are smaller, even smaller than the Duo’s. Like the Duo’s, the Vibe II’s are connected via a fabric coated wire which is Kevlar reinforced. Will they stop bullets? Only the ones aimed at them by their competition. The reason for this fabric coating is for a stronger tensile strength to help avoid fraying as well as snapping. The downside for this though is that the fabrics coating creates unusual friction when rubbing against clothing. An issue its plastic covered cousins do not suffer. But it is not intolerable and in fact, barely noticeable and easily ignored and forgotten on the go with your tunes cranked. The jack is smaller as well, when compared to the Duo’s. Which both retain their lower case “y” shape (again to lessen the chance of fraying and loss of connection, causing malfunction). The Jack itself is gold plated. This will improve conductivity as gold is the best and most efficient known conductor for electricity. This does not mean after you get them you can call Rosland Capital and sell them for a profit. But it will give you excellent fidelity.
Speaking of fidelity, the Duo’s were really good. I, back then said they were awesome, and they were. However, the Vibe II’s are even better. The sound on these are crisper, fuller and even deeper. The odd thing about these (like the Duo’s), is that the sound does not flow as beautifully on the typical and normal iPhone equalizer pre-sets, however by going into settings/ipod/eq, and setting the equalizer to “SpokenWord”, seems to make everything come through in beautiful high and low notes with some very good bass (this of course being my opinion). But you should play around with the equalizer yourself to determine your preference. The cord is around four feet (the standard length), and comes with a shirt clip attached that helps to prevent the cord from rubbing on clothes. The Mic (unlike the Duos’) is separated from the function button. It is still located just below the jaw while the function button is now situated where thecord breaks off to fork to your individual ears in its “Y” design. Another reported problem about the Fabric cord is directed at all you would be, or wanna-be, athletes. Aparrently if you are a sweaty, stinky kinda person who tends to look like the floor of a taxi cab at the end of your workout, the fabric will absorb your wet/pungent ripeness. This Ode de athlete will be retained within the fabric, which is sure to drive off potential mates and friends a-like and may even drive you away with self loathing. Now it has been suggested to wipe down the cord with a damp cloth to help alleviate the stench, but I cannot for the life of me see how that would help anything. My suggestion to anyone that this should happen to is to either let the cord sit covered with baking soda over night and wipe it with a damp cloth or an even easier solution is to lightly saturate the cord with Febreeze and now you’ll smell as fresh as a summer morning breeze.
A massive improvement over the Duo’s is derived by the ability to easily locate the button in it’s new location to manipulate the iPhone functions. Another is the fact the button on the Vibe II’s is big. Almost taking up the entire housing, which is good. Because on the Duo, it was a small nubby little circular button, barely raised, and situated on a cylindrical housing that also housed the microphone, which made it extremely hard to find and manipulate on the go. The Vibe II’s, come in either Chrome/Rouge or Black/Chrome. As can be seen in the pics above, the rouge is at best, pink. I happen to have gotten these, and while I wished the red was much deeper and vibrant (like the very first pic on their site), I like them none the less. The Black/Chromes are just as they appear. The function of the Vibe II’s are typical and operate as expected, with all the perfunctory toggles we have come to expect from any pair of headphones we use for our iDevices. However unlike the new 3G S’ headphones, the Vibe II’s do not come with a volume control (they had to keep something aside to get us to buy the new version next year). Now for those of you who are not realizing this yet, the Vibe II’s are an in-ear design. In otherwords, you need to shove the buds into your head like a pair of earplugs. So those of you who prefer an “open-ear” design so you can catch ambient noises from the real world, these may not be for you. Otherwise, I can tell you these are very effective at driving away the mutterings of an overly verbal and noisy world.
This leads me to the fit. Now maybe it’s just me, but I swear these fit better than the Duo’s. I can’t figure it out really, but the Vibe II’s seem to fit, sit, and house themselves better in my head than the Duo’s. They are roughly the same size as the Duo’s, and the silicone fittings are exactly the same size, yet they sit more securely in my ears and produce amazingly good fidelity, so much so, that I found my normal volume setting had to be re-adjusted down a notch or two. The Vibe II comes with 2 sets of 4 fittings. This practically guarantees that these earbuds will fit in practically every hole in your head, snuggly and comfortably. Now the V-Moda Vibe II’s do not come cheap. The suggested MSRP is around$130.00, which is like I said, not cheap. But if you do some bargain hunting online you can get them for a substantially smaller price. Count on anywhere from a 5-20% discount.
Another really awesome addition to the Vibe II is the inclusion of two, soft rubber ear-hooks for sport listening. These hooks fit around the cups of your ears where the cords of each earbud are slipped into to tops of the earhooks and then hang down in a free suspension to be slipped into your ear canals. So whether you have “Cab-doors” “Coli flour” “or little “Mice ears”, your Vibe II’s will not have any tugging from weight shifting and fall out of your head whilst in motion. So be rest assured, whether you are running the Marathon, or jumping up and down on the bed at a slumber party having pillow fights, your Vibe II’s will remain secure, pumping golden tunes of joy into your brain. The only downside I found with the use of the Earhooks is the fact that the use of slack taken up by the hooks cause the Mic to be positioned just under your ear on the side of your jaw. This could be a problem in windy or high active environments should you need to use the phone itself.
The way the Vibe II’s are packaged is simply beautiful. This is one of the slickest and most impressive packaging design I have seen on a product. So much so I actually wonder how much of the $130 price tag goes to it. In my opinion, while (as I said) beautiful, I think it was utterly unnecessary. Let me warn you now, if you decide to get these in a store? You are NOT going to simply buy, open, plug-n-play and be on your way. Opening and getting these earbuds out is a chore. (It took me 5 minutes personally) Let’s not discuss how the packaging is child-proof, beyond adult-proof. The way these are packaged, you’d think it was a Faberge Egg you just purchased. Forget using your hands and teeth, and leave the exacto-knife alone. You WILL need scissors. And after the two, yes TWO individual packages within the one package you need to cut through to open and get to your new head- jewels and accessories, you will then be forced to run through a myriad labyrinth of tape and twisty-ties. What a nuisance. But after all that? Its gold/silver and sound.
Compatibility has a rundown like this:
“Audio functions are compatible with all Apple products and other portable music devices and computers with a 3.5mm jack.Audio, microphone and call/music control playback feature are fully compatible with the Apple iPhone, iPod Classic 120G, iPod Nano 4G, iPod Touch 2G, and the latest generation of Apple Macbooks. And the microphone and voice features are compatible with VOIP, Skype, iChat, Instant Messaging, and third-party audio recording applications on the latest generation of Apple MacBooks.
The Vibe II is recommended for all users ofthe iPhone, music enabled phones featuring a 3.5mm jack, iPods and other portable music devices who wish to enjoy hands free convenience and luxury sound. Vibe II with Microphone offers unrivalled design, quality, construction,and sound.”
Not bad, if you ask me.
The V-Moda Vibe II’s Package, includes:
- Sport Earhooks
- Carrying Case
- Shirt Clip
- 2 sets of 4 silcone fittings (Black & Clear)
- VIP Card
So in summary the V-Moda Vibe II’s come packaged beautifully with extremely high quality earbuds, which have excellent fidelity, beautifully crafted design, with excellent accessories and an overly done nuisance filled packaging. I HIGHLY recommend these earbuds and strongly suggest you get them whether or not you are in the market for new headphones.