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Manufacturer: V-Moda
Min OS X: Any Version    Requires: Minijack Audio Port

V-Moda Vibe & Vibe Duo
April 9, 2009 | Bryan Clodfelter

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When I, your esteemed senior hardware editor, begin to run out of interesting gadgets and assorted tiddlywinks with which to write about, I tend to venture forth into the wide world of the internet with a certain sense of aplomb, trusting that a combination of my personal experience and good taste will guide me to quality products that are deserving of your time and attention.

The following review is a tribute to those occasional bouts of idiocy.

Aural Overload
The V-Moda product lineup, if you spend enough time perusing promotional material, can appear to be a godsend to die-hard Mac users. Stylish, elegant, and acoustically sound, both the Vibe and microphone-equipped Vibe Duo (intended for iPhone users) seem to fit Apple's design methodology perfectly. Unfortunately, owning (or reviewing, for that matter) a pair of either of these headphones is akin to paying $100 for the honor of being beaten over the head with a bass drum--your ears hurt, your wallet hurts, and if you stick around long enough, the booming percussion will likely make you ill.

Although I may have carried that analogy a bit too far, the effects that I described--headache and nausea--characterized by wearing V-Moda Vibe series headphones are very real. For starters, the lower frequency response is so blown out of proportion that even classical audio sources lose large chunks of their midrange frequencies to the Vibe's booming, distorted bass. Upper-midrange and treble reproduction is almost as bad (if that's even possible): most of the frequency band is muddy, distant, and expressionless, giving the end-user a strong impression of listening at one end of a very long cavern.

Want to experience the Vibe or Vibe Duo for yourself? Try this instead.

Aesthetically Revolting
Much of the appeal of the Vibe and Vibe Duo is obviously intended to be visual, given the loaded language used to describe the sets. Given the disgusting performance of our review unit in the audio reproduction department, it came as no surprise that the headset was not nearly as impressive in person as it appeared to be online. With the exception of the earpieces and a silver V-Moda cable splitter, the hardware looked as cheap as it felt. Even the vaunted earpieces were a disappointment, with the vaunted laser-etched accents looking--wait for it--tacky, rather than a bit of "audio art" (as V-Moda's promotional material would have you believe). The effect of wearing the Vibe Duo was singularly amusing, as the unit's lengthy barrel and gleaming metal gave the impression that I had Frankenstein's neck bolts protruding from my ears--not exactly the effect that the designers intended, I'm sure.

Buying Advice
Don't buy the V-Moda Vibe or Vibe Duo, unless you're a scientist looking to evaluate the latest Ibuprofen-spiked drug cocktail. If someone hands you a free pair, do the smart thing by locating the nearest garbage receptacle and disposing of the abomination forthwith. It's exactly what I intend to do with the set, several moments hence.

• None significant

• Less-than-impressive cosmetic appeal
• God-awful audio fidelity
• Expensive

V-Moda Vibe & Vibe Duo
Manufacturer: V-Moda

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