Expert Review by David Solomon
V-MODA Scores Again
V-MODA has quickly garnered a reputation for being pioneers of a rare field in the audio world: Headphones which appeal to consumers and audiophiles alike.
Somehow, VMODA has designed products which appeal to the stylistic sensibilities of the fashion conscious consumer without alienating certain audiophile-deal-make-or-break sonic principles. At $119.99, the V-MODA Vibrato
joins an exceptionally crowded field of similarly-priced earphones. V-MODA
‘s attractive design will surely make them a top choice for many. Let’s see how they fared…
The Fit & The Finish
Once in a while I receive a headphone to review that is just jaw-dropping in its cosmetic design. Earphones almost never impress me in this way especially. Upon holding the Vibrato in my hand I began to marvel at the extra mile V-MODA took with regard to the design of the Vibrato.
Each earpiece has the signature V-MODA hexagonal shape, around the perimeter three times. The earphones look more substantial than most that I’ve seen, even though still relatively small.
Please see below how we graded the performance of the design and features.
The best in its class
– Top flight performance
Good performance, but could be bettered
– Below-average performance
– Poor performance
– Feature not included
– Feature is extremely rare and cannot be weighed against other brands
Ear Guides / LoopsA
|¼ ” adapter n/a Extension cable
|A Variety of ear tips (foam prefered)
|Carrying Case (hard preferred)
|iPhone compatible (remote/mic)
|Smart-Phone compatible (remote/mic) *some exceptions apply
|Call quality / clarity
|Handling of Microphonics / Worn behind ears
|Right-angle Plug (reduces strain)
The Vibrato fit extremely comfortably – so much so that I really did almost forget that they were even in my ear. They can be worn with the cable wrapped behind the ear or with the cable straight down. I really appreciate this type of design because it allows the user to make the decision. I prefer wearing the cable behind the ear because it is simply more comfortable to wear for extensive periods, it locks into the ear better, and most of all it eliminates a lot of microphonic sounds. However, in the case of Vibrato, there is still more microphonics than is preferable, even when wearing the cable behind the ear. V-MODA has included a pair of silicon ear hooks to help keep the cable in place behind your ear and eliminate microphonics. I found that it was not necessary to use this accessory, but it is still nice to have.
The cable here is a bit more rugged than typical and has a nice cloth-like feel. Embedded into the right side of the cable at approximately chin level is an apple remote and microphone for use with the iPhone, iPod and iPad. The phone call clarity showed to be good on both sides, if just slightly muffled on the side of the recipient.
The soft pleather travel pouch is just ok in my opinion. The shape of it is quite nice looking, but I always prefer hard travel pouches for protection purposes. V-MODA has included a variety of silicone ear tips, but I wish some foam ear tips had been included as it is typically my preference. Either way the comfort level was very very good.
All About The Sound…
The sound of the Vibratos is very good – full, warm, extremely punchy! Many users will appreciate its ability to perform at very loud levels without distortion. Unlike some other V-MODA offerings, the Vibratos are not particularly neutral sounding. In this sense, I do think these earphones will be preferred by those seeking an elevated bass response. While the Vibrato sounds extremely good with pop, rock and jazz music, it will ultimately be too bassy for some classical listeners.
- An open lively sound
- Punchy & deep bass
- Can be driven to extremely loud levels out of a portable player/phone
- Well defined soundstage, offering great depth
- Great for Hip Hop, Pop, Rock and some Jazz
- Will be too bassy for some
- Upper mids are slightly metallic sounding
Listening to Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out” I was impressed with how deep the bass extended and how impactful it was able to be without interfering too much with the mids. One of the most impressive aspects of the Vibrato’s sound is its openness. It has a very forward, well centered soundstage with tremendous depth. It also has an exceptionally wet sound, meaning that reverb is very audible when present.
Listening to Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” I am convinced that these are one of the best offerings for hip hop in the in-ear market – the thump so intense, the voice so clear – I cannot imagine a hip hop fan being disappointed.
While ultimately not the most detailed earphone on the market, the Vibrato employs an 8mm dynamic transducer which offers above-average instrument separation and detail at its pricepoint. Listening to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” for instance, it was easier to hear the panned doubled guitar parts than it is with many other in-ears. Also the whispered “off to never never land” in the right channel is much easier to hear than usual. The sound of the guitars had a metallic (pun not intended) tinge to it that in my opinion demonstrates a slight lack of evenness in the upper mids. Overall, the Vibrato has shown to be a highly desirable earphone in my opinion.
The Vibrato is a great choice for those who seek a warm but detailed sound from an earphone. They are also capable of amazingly loud volume levels without distorting which is a major plus for the head-banger in you – just be careful not exhaust those ears! V-Moda’s thoughtful designs have not failed to impress us yet. The Vibratos are no exception!
Rating Chart at Price Point
||9 (bass emphasized)
|Design & Features
||8.5 / 10