In recent months, I’ve had the privelege to try out a number of different earphones/earbuds. In a former life, I did the “band” thing – writing, recording, performing. The end result of all this is that I tend to be extremely picky about my audio equipment. In some ways, however, it’s like the old saying – I don’t know art but I know what I like.
Enter the vibe II – earphones that try to be a little of both – an excellent audio delivery system and art.
images courtesy of V-Moda
So I received the vibe ii package. The box was a little difficult to open, but the earphones are beautifully, if excessively packaged. There are a number of different silicone eartips available, common at this pricepoint, but nice since it allows for a number of different sizes to improve the fit of the earphone. They also provide over-the-ear silicone forms to better hold the earphones in place. Personally, I don’t use those, but for those that do – they’re in the package. The package also includes a VIP card (although I’m still not quite sure what it’s really for) and a nice carrying bag.
Once you remove the earphones from the packaging, one thing you notice right away is that they are made of metal and feel very solid. Also interesting is that the cords are fabric (reinforced with Kevlar), not plastic. The audio plug (3.5mm) is 24K gold-plated. This gives the earphones a very solid, high quality feel. Additionally, they really have an artistic and attractive, albeit a little agressive, appearance.
When using them in my iPod or computer, I actually had to adjust my bass response of the devices downward, because the bass response from these earphones was so strong. It was also very clear. With a little EQ work, I found that these earphones provided excellent audio response in the mid-range as well, meaning vocals come out very clearly. I heard very little distortion in the sound, even at high levels. The vibe II offers an audio range of 12 Hz to 22 kHz
These earphones also include an attached microphone so you can use them with your iPhone (or other phone with a 3.5mm jack) as well. Whereas this function works, I have the same complaint about the vibe II that I have with other all-in-one earphone/mic units – there’s no direct audio feedback from the mic. This means, that you don’t hear yourself all that well, so you might talk a little louder than you should. While this is fine for short, occasional calls, it definitely would get annoying if you receive a lot of calls.
I also took a little time to see what online customer reviews of this product were saying. I like to do that as sort of a “sanity check for what I’m saying in my reviews and to present other opinions I find. Interestingly, the results on these earphones were mixed. Some people didn’t like the warmer bass response and complained about needing to readjust their player’s EQ. Personally, adjusting the EQ doesn’t bother me – I usually have to boost the Bass response on small earphones – with these I actually lowered it a bit. Every headphone/earphone/speaker system is different. Some people mentioned a problem where the switch (on the mic, I assume) got a little cranky over time and made the audio cut in/out or the player stop.start. I haven’t experienced this problem, but I’ve only had these for a few weeks. The construction feels solid to me so far, though.
What I Liked: The solid feel of these earphones is nice. They feel like a much more expensive product. The audio response is warm and clear, some of the best audio I’ve heard in this price range.
What Could Be Improved: I really would like a little bit of direct microphone feedback. Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned in reviews of similar products, it does add to the cost of the product, but it makes talking on the phone with these on a much more comfortable experience.
Overall, I am very impressed with these earphones. From the excellent packaging and high-quality look and feel of the vibe II to it’s pleasant audio characteristics, these earphones have easily become my daily-use earphones. They even come with a full one-year warranty rather than the 90 day standard. The vibe ii earphones offer a lot at anattractive price. I have some minor concerns about the cut out problems that some people mentioned, but I haven’t experienced any problems in my few weeks of testing. If I do, I’ll post an update. As it stands, however, I really like and recommend these earphones.
The vibe II earphones are available online for $119.99 from V-Moda or at any Apple retail store (or their online store).