A year ago I wasn’t familiar with Velodyne, a company that has been producing speakers for quite some time and recently moved into the headphone market. I reviewed the company’s vQuiet noise canceling headphones and was impressed. When the opportunity to review the top-of-the-line Velodyne vTrue Studio Headphones came my way I jumped. Are they worth the $399 price tag?
It’s now clear that the company has a signature design-aesthetic that begins with the unusual teardrop shaped headphones.
And if the shape doesn’t grab your attention, the impressive build quality and premium materials used in construction will. In a world filled with cheap plastic Beats headphones the Velodyne vTrue headphones and their aluminum and leather construction stand out. Honestly, the build of these headphones make Beats look and feel like cheap toys. (Of course referring to Beats as “cheap toys” isn’t exactly accurate; Beats may be cheaply constructed, but they are far from inexpensive.)
When I first opened the box, I was surprised at just how large these headphones are. The teardrop-shaped metal is substantial. Add to the overall size of the headphones are the thick leather ear-cups that, once donned, quickly isolate you and let you enter your own musical world.
Let’s be clear, these over-the-ear headphones are BIG and, at 10.6oz, they are HEAVY! Thing is, I was actually surprised they weren’t heavier than they are. For comparison, the Beats Studios are 9oz but the Beats Pro are 14oz. Constructed from metal leather with minimal plastic to be found anywhere, they are solid without feeling like bricks. The cable that is included – actually there are two tables included – split into a Y with one portion of the cable attaching to each of the two ear cups. This obviously isn’t ideal if you are using these headphones on the go; more suited for listening at home, these really aren’t “walking around” headphones.
Velodyne describes the vTrue headphones this way:
True sound. True Style. vTrue. vTrue raises the bar for studio headphones, combining Velodyne’s legendary audio technology and unrivaled design to bring a true sound experience to the most discerning of music lovers.
In addition to the headphones themselves inside the box you find:
- 4 foot Y-cable connector with a 3.5mm plug
- 4 foot Y-cable with control module with a 3.5mm plug (Compatible with iPod 3rd generation and newer, iPhone 3GS and newer and all iPads)
- 3.5 mm to 6.35 mm (1/4″) stereo adapter
- Carrying pouch
When I opened the box I was immediately impressed; as previously mentioned, the build of these headphones is second-to-none. The metal and leather combine to create an audio product that is as visually stunning as it is solid. There’s no plastic to be found anywhere on this product. That’s a good thing considering the $399 price tag. The size adjustment is a sliding mechanism at the top of each ear cup that ratchets into a number of size positions. Once size properly, they stay at that adjustment without the need to lock them into place.
The leather cushion that sits on the top of your head is sufficiently padded to keep the headphones comfortable for extended periods of use.
The ear cups themselves are thick and nicely padded. They easily fit around my rather large ears and did an excellent job of blocking out ambient noise. These headphones do not have active noise cancellation (for that you will want to check out the vQuiet headphones we previously reviewed), but they are padded enough that they physically cut out a huge amount of noise and let you enter into your own musical world.
For added comfort the ear cups pivot up and down a few degrees. They do not, however, have 360 degree movement. I was initially surprised by this. I quickly found that the up/down pivot was enough for the headphones to sit comfortably on my head. The added pivoting would have been overkill, and it might have resulted in the headphones feeling a bit too loose.
The company includes two different cables with the vTrue headphones.
The 3.5mm plug is a combination of metal and plastic and sits at a right angle when plugged into an audio source. Personally I love plugs that have this design, since it offers a lower profile that is less likely to get snagged or put strain on the audio port if the cable is jostled. The cable itself is a reinforced woven cloth that feels quite hefty. The table-free cable is bright blue and matches the interior of the ear cups. I’m not quite sure why Velodyne opted to put bright blue inside the ear cups but it certainly grabs your attention!
Two thirds of the way up the single cable splits into a Y with each of the single cables independently making their way up to the left and right ear cups. The metal “Y” junction is, like everything else on these headphones, substantial and overbuilt. (That’s a compliment not a complaint.) Just to make sure you don’t forget whose headphones you are wearing the Velodyne name is stamped on the metal reinforcement.
The individual cables plug into the headphones just behind the leather ear cups. And while the female plugs on the headphones are color coded for left and right, the cables themselves are not.
The inclusion of a second cable that has an Apple-friendly control and microphone is a nice addition. Unfortunately, the control module is made from plastic and feels uncharacteristically cheap. Were the rest of the headphones not quite as impressive, I don’t think this is something I would have noted; but they are, and I did.
Finally I need to also comment on the carry pouch. These are $400 headphones, but they ship with a protective pouch that probably cost ten cents; it just doesn’t add up.
Overall, these Velodyne vTrue headphones have the most unique and impressive build I have seen on a pair of headphones. My only issue with the design is that the metal at the top of each ear cup is actually rather sharp. It won’t cut you if you slide your finger over it, but it actually feels like it might.
- Driver size: 50 mm
- Frequency response: 10 Hz – 20 kHz
- Sensitivity: 96 dB/1 kHz/1 mW
- Impedance: 24?
- Power handling: 100 mW
- Transducer type: Dynamic
- Weight: 10.6 oz., without cable
Velodyne vTrue Video Review
- Design: A forged aluminum design complements our supple leather headband and over-ear cups. Velodyne’s signature shape lends unique styling and beauty.
- Sound: Accurate sound is produced through a 50mm driver tuned to the exacting standards of Velodyne’s trademark low-distortion bass reproduction.
- Cables: The vTrue features 4 foot standard & 4 foot Apple compatible*, tangle-resistant braided cloth cables with dual 3.5 mm gold connectors. A 1/4″ plug adapter is also included for convenience.
- Uncompromising studio sound quality for the most discerning audiophiles
- 50 mm drivers tuned to Velodyne’s exacting standards
- Braided cloth tangle-resistant cables
- Dual 3.5 mm gold plated cable connectors
The company describes the Velodyne vTrue headphones as “studio”. If by that they mean, “These are headphones an audio engineer would use in the studio for mastering tracks”, the moniker is misleading. These are, first and foremost, fashion headphones. If, on the other hand, the use of the term “Studio” is intended to make it clear that these headphones aren’t simply good-looking, but they also sound great, then term is well-justified. The sound put out by the Velodyne vTrue headphones is impressive. I have been using them on-and-off for a couple of months and have listened to a wide variety of different types of music. All sound great and, more than once, musical subtleties be they background vocals or musical riffs — emerged in places that surprised me. And while the vTrue’s push out plenty of Bass, it was never TOO much bass.
As previously noted, the thick padding of the ear cups blocks outside sound, and it ensures that you can quickly become submerged in the music to which you are listening. That, combined with the excellent sound being pushed out by the 50mm drivers, creates a rather enjoyable audio experience.
Perhaps most surprising was the fact that even after extended periods of use the headphones, heavy as they are, didn’t tire me out.
I’m quite pleased with the sound of these headphones and their comfort. I’m not sure they truly qualify as “studio” headphones, but they certainly are in the upper echelon of consumer grade headphones, and they are something that audiophiles will certainly appreciate if not love. The biggest downside of these headphones is the price. At $399 they are in the ballpark of many headphones from far better known names that already have a following.
What I Like: Amazing build-quality; Include two reinforced cables; Comfortable despite the weight; Sound great!
What Needs Improvement: Pricey!; Cheap carry pouch; May be too big and heavy for many
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample Velodyne vTrue Over-the-Ear Headphones