I got a pair of the positively-reviewed V-Moda Vibe Duo iPhone earbuds for Christmas last year. I’ve been meaning to blog about them for a while, but am only getting around to it now that I have a problem with them.
The short take: Good sound, poor isolation, shoddy construction, worse support.
Update: What’s that about the squeaky wheel? See V-Moda’s comment below…
Let’s start with the positives. The Vibe Duo features a built-in iPhone microphone on the right-side ear cable, complete with a momentary switch for answering, hanging up, and skipping tracks. They fit into the bone-headed recessed headphone jack on first-generation iPhones, too. And the sound is good – full bass, fairly smooth midrange, maybe a little tinny, but definitely decent. Callers like the microphone’s sound, too.
Now the not-so-good. They’re constructed of metal (aluminum?) and are fairly heavy. I like the solid braided wires, but the whole thing drags on the ears after a while. I snapped a clip from an old wired phone headset onto the cable to help support it, and that seems to help. They also don’t isolate outside noise as well as some in-ear buds (my old faves, the cheapie Koss Plugs, do a much better job). So when you’re on a plane, you have to pump the volume pretty high to hear anything.
Now the bad. With just a half-year of occasional use and an anal level of care, the cover over the jack came loose. This is deeply disappointing, considering their price (over $100) and their otherwise quality feel. This must have been a common fault, since the company has redesigned the jack on the latest models.
V-Moda has been totally was unresponsive to my attempts to contact them until I posted this. Not a single word. I suppose I’ll super-glue the jack hood and hope for the best. But the mostly-favorable review I had planned for this site is forgotten. My advice? Don’t buy from V-Moda.