By December 6, 2007

Review: V-Moda Vibe Duo Headset For iPhone

As much as I love Apple products, there are times when some of Apple’s design choices just don’t work for me.

A case in point are the ubiquitous white earbuds Apple ships with the iPhone. While the sound is pretty good for factory-provided ‘buds, the darn things just won’t stay put, always shifting position and sliding out of my ear.

The old “post-style” buds weren’t too bad, but the new streamlined shape is simply too small. In fact, sometimes I think that they were designed specifically to fit the ears of a Japanese schoolgirl.

Enter the V-Moda Vibe Duo Nero Headset For iPhone.

The Vibe Duo is a passive noise-isolating “in-ear” design, with three sizes of ultra-soft silicon fittings provided in the package to provide a comfortable yet secure fit. Believe me, these don’t fall out.

That’s helped further by the addition of a lapel clip to the right-hand cable, allowing you to fasten the cable to a shirt or collar and which provides “strain relief”, preventing drag on the cables and adding to the lightweight feel.

Sound…

Sound levels are great, with the dynamic neodymium speaker drivers giving nice high frequencies and good bass response, something hard to find in an earbud.

According to V-Moda, this is due in part to a “beat port” airflow system, which works by allowing the airflow to move throughout the housing naturally thanks to precision-cut holes in the driver and the housing.

However it works, it works.

They’re also more efficient than the Apple ‘buds, letting me back down the power a couple of clicks while still getting the same apparent volume.

Microphone…

Earlier versions of the V-Moda lacked the “call-button” the iPhone uses to answer calls and pause/resume music playback, but that changed with the latest “Nero” version of the headset.

The Nero integrates a microphone with a call-control button that blends into the durable black fabric cable, and is remarkably lightweight. Sound levels, at least from the friends I’ve asked and the tests I’ve done, are adequate, and seem to be typical for this type of device.

In-ear design…

One aspect of the in-ear design that V-Moda mentions is that some people will find the smaller silicon adaptors to work better for them than the larger versions, as the smaller versions will seat deeper in the ear canal and give a better fit.

I’ve found this to be true, and also that the larger adaptors, oddly enough, isolate too much sound. Sometimes you simply need to be in touch with your environment.

As such, I use the smaller ones for day-to-day use and have thrown the larger ones in my backpack. I’m going to try swapping them out on my next plane trip and see if they work well enough for me to ditch my Bose Noise-Cancelling headset. I like the Bose, and they live up to their reputation, but they’re a bit unwieldy and take up too much room when traveling.

As you can see from the photo, the Duo’s are a modern-looking black and silver all-metal design that complements the iPhone nicely, and which sets you apart somewhat from your white-earbud-wearing-iPod-nano brethren.

That’s a good thing.

Conclusion…

All-in-all the V-Moda Vibe Duo Nero Headset sound great, look great, and fit great. Easily the best hundred bucks I’ve spent.

Bottom line? Highly Recommended

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