VModa Vibe

I bought the Vmoda Vibe about a month ago because I needed a replacement for my Bose In Ear Triports. My Triport’s cabling had almost come undone. I originally had a Shure e2c, which I tried out because it was supposed to be the ultimate audiophile entrylevel in-ears, and true enough when I started out they sounded pretty cool.

Vmoda Vibe Midnight Blue
Vmoda Vibe Midnight Blue

I really loved how the e2c’s isolated all noise, and the mids and highs were pretty clear. They didn’t have too much bass though compared to my older set, a Sennheiser HD 212 Pro. The 212’s were a great set compared to the pack in earphones I got from my Creative Muvo and iPod but were just too large to carry around. They also sounded pretty “dirty,” that’s all I can say. Nice bass but not too clear, everything sounded a little fuzzy.

But the e2c’s had a really annoying drawback: they were totally uncomfortable to wear on the ears, and the thick cord that you had to wrap around its mammoth bulletproof carry case made it bulge in your pocket like a boner. So I stopped using them for a long time and just used the default white packins of my iPod Nano. Lo and behold, later I dusted off my e2c’s and I found they sounded really bad! I don’t know but believe it or not, the cheap $10 Apple packins really did sound better than the e2c’s to my ears.

As an added insult, I bought these rubber tips from Axxo which you put on the Apple packins, and the resulting sound was *really* good. I don’t know why people bash the Apple pack in’s so much, they sound really good. The newer ones anyway that come with the iPod Nano 2G and up. (the older ones that came with the iPod Video and older though really suck).

Anyway, back to the Vmoda — well before that I found the e2c’s really sounded bad and all of a sudden I felt I just wasted about $100 US on them a year back. So I went off to TipidPC.com and found somebody to trade them for a set of Bose Triports. All I can say is this: I really LOVED the Triports, they sounded just right for me. People say they are bassy and boomy but I say bollocks, bass is awesome! And it’s not like you have to turn them all up and break your ear drums, at the right levels they sound really good.

As an added bonus they are by far the most comfortable earphones I have ever used, the silicon earbuds that don’t quite squeeze into your ear are really comfortable, and provided you use the right size they don’t fall off. They don’t isolate sound at all but that is a bonus in some situations — like when you are jogging. I would say the Triport In Ear’s are the ultimate jogging phones.

But anyway back to the VModa — since I got the Bose second hand they weren’t exactly in the best condition. A year later it seems the cable near the jack has started peeling, I think it’ll last another year or so if I baby it but it’s time I started looking for a replacement. I ended up getting the Vmoda Vibe.

The Vibe’s were very well-received, so I just took the plunge and bought them (for about $100 — same class as the e2c’s and the Triports). All I can say is, they are the best dang phones I have ever owned. They aren’t the best I’ve heard — my DJ friend has a pair of Technics which I steal from him every now and then and that really, really sounds awesome. I’ve also had the pleasure of playing with an Audio Technica M50 and that was very comparable to the Technics. And I’ve actually been shopping for a better full-sized headset and have been thinking of getting the Bose On Ear Triports (not to be confused with the In-Ear model) which I have to say *really* sound good, probably the best headset I have ever used.

But for now the Vibes are unbelievably good in all aspects. After a month I’ve given them sufficient time to burn in. At first they sounded a little flat and my girlfriend’s $15 SE Class A in-ears actually sounded better, but now I wouldn’t trade these for anything in this class.

The sound has nice bass, which I love. Some people say it is too bassy but again I say BOLLOCKS! They sound perfect, not too boomy but not too weak either. They don’t drone out vocals and higher sounds, I can hear high hats ring perfectly and there are lot of details in the sound.

Moreover, unlike the Bose in-ear’s this one has a very wide-sounding soundstage. I am not sure exactly why but in certain songs I can hear sound seem to come from behind me. It’s awesome when that happens (usually back-up vocals or surround instrument effects). With the Bose the soundstage was pretty compressed — one of its biggest weaknesses. This one though feels like there is a very wide stage around me, it’s incredible for such a small set. I usually expect to hear things like that from larger, full-sized cans.

And unlike the Shure e2c’s, the Vibes are very comfortable to wear for in-ears. They are not quite as comfortable as the Bose In Ear’s but they are quite nice to the ear and I can wear them for extended periods of time with no problems. You can even put your ear flat to your pillow and they do not cause much discomfort! So you can sleep with these if you need to.

Unlike the e2c’s though they do not cause a perfect seal — there is a little hole at the base of the tips which lets some sound bleed out: and some to bleed in. You can hear people talk to you with these on and playing tunes, unlike the e2c’s where the world suddenly blanks out once you start playing sound. This can be either a good or a bad thing depending on your needs or situation. You can for instance go biking or jogging with these and still hear incoming cars, but if you need to blank out the outside world completely they are not ideal. This is fine for me I do not need the isolation, and even if they do not perfectly drown out the world they still get rid of most sounds or blank them out to a whisper, so for instance if you are trying to sleep and your roommate snores loudly listening to these as you doze off will make for a pleasant experience.

They are also very small and compact, with an excellent carry case that slips into a pocket and you don’t even feel it’s there. The leatherette pouch has metal strips on the entrance instead of drawstrings, so you just pop it open to put the Vibes inside. Very nice touch. It also comes with a weird silicon “V-Wrap” which you can use to wrap the wire around to prevent tangling and shorten the wire to your preference. It works, though I don’t really like it too much.

Speaking of the wire, the wire is really divine. Instead of the usual plastic vinyle coating which inevitably becomes deformed from bending, winding and otherwise starts looking like a pig’s tail dangling from your ears (this has happened with my e2c’s, with the Triport’s, with my iPod packins, my Sennheiser MX550 and pretty much every other earphone I’ve used) this one is made of what seems to be some kind of cloth fiber similar to a shoe lace. It feels organic, it doesn’t mold to a certain shape, seems to keep clean and doesn’t pick up grime, and feels very sturdy. I love it! It looks cool too, which brings me to another cool thing about the Vibes:

They look AWESOME. Most earphones look rather dinky or dorky (the Triport In-Ears look weird and ugly, the Shure e2c’s were just UGH) but these are extremely stylish and are bound to turn quite a few heads. I got the midnight blue model and it looks very sleek.

Another nice thing about the Vibes is that they have a thin input jack which fits in the iPhone Classic’s annoying recessed jack. This was a huge deal breaker for me with the Triports but with the Vibes I can use my iPhone to listen to tunes when I feel the need to, instead of just relying on my Nano.

Again, the Vibes are excellent all around and the best earphones I have ever owned. I use them in the house and especially outside, but I intend to get the Bose On Ear Triports for use at home. That will happen a little later, since the On Ears cost about 9,000php or like $200US.

For now though the Vibe’s are one of my best purchases ever, unlike the overrated Shures. I spent about $100US on it but that was money well spent. I am completley happy with these.

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