V-Moda Vibrato Remote Earphones: The Rockstar [Review, $100 IEM Week]

V-Moda Vibrato Remote Earphones: The Rockstar [Review, $100 IEM Week]

I always feel like I should be wearing diamond-studded sunglasses, walking around in a silk bathrobe or drinking Cristal from actual Bohemian crystal whenever I sink a pair of V-Moda’s babies into my ears. This doesn’t have anything neccessarily to do with how they sound, but rather because V-Moda has a knack for creating earphones with exotic looks and a luxurious feel to them that also appeal to the other senses. And so it goes with the V-Moda Vibrato Remote earphones ($130).

“Whoa there Eli, isn’t this $100 IEM week?” Why absolutely, Dear Reader. But we’re throwing these guys in, because V-Modas are pretty popular and the company doesn’t have anything at $100 (we reviewed the V-Moda Remix Remotes, their next set down at $80, a few weeks back).

The Good:

The Vibrato’s styling may not sit well with everyone, but they’re absolutely not boring. All those and fins and flashy chrome remind me of a ’50s Caddy, and they’ll at least get you noticed. The earpieces are all metal, which feels pretty good, even if it doesn’t actually have any real benefit.

Thanks in part to the ridges, the earpieces are reasonably easy to insert and remove. The eight — eight! Four black, four clear —eartips are a pretty standard affair, except for one thing: V-Moda has reinforced the sleeve that slides over the earpiece nozzle and the immediately surrounding area, making it noticeably stiffer over their older sets or that of the Remix  — the result is that it’s easier to get a good seal with these over most other IEMs with the same common silicone tips.

Just like the Remix, the Vibratos feel solid and sturdy — the cord, jack, earpieces and inline remote are, piece-for-piece, the most robust feeling components of any in this week’s lineup. Whether of not they’ll stand up to abuse in the long run is unknown — but they sure feel like they could tow a truck. Plus, the Vibrato’s cable is blessedly tangle-free.

Performance was good, but not great. The Vibratos take a more mature, less drastic approach to sound reproduction than the very bass-heavy Remix. There wasn’t as much boomy low-end, and the highs and mids came through more clearly — it’s not a huge improvement, and most music still didn’t sound as well spaced out as it should; but the better balance was enough to make the Vibratos pleasant to listen to louder music like hip-hop, rock and pop.

The Bad:

Those flashy metal earpieces (and the splitter where the cords split for the earpieces) are made from, you guessed it, metal, and metal is heavy. Add to that eartips that, despite locking in a good seal, ended up being a little uncomfy at times and the result was a bumpy ride, especially when wearing them during more frenetic activities.

Tangle-free is great, but why did they have to coat the cable in fabric? An annoying zipper-like sound inserted itself into my music whenever the cable rubbed against my clothes. Sure, I could have used the provided clip — if it hadn’t broken on the third day of testing.free

These aren’t the best ‘phones for music that’s a little less thrashy; there’s just not quite enough definition or separation.

Verdict: 

Think of the Vibratos as an Italian sports car for your ears: They’re a little pricy, sometimes difficult to live with and performance may not quite match aesthetics. But they’re still a thrilling, sexy ride — and hey, maybe they’ll get you laid.

Rating: ★★★½☆

V-Moda Vibrato Remote Earphones: The Rockstar [Review, $100 IEM Week]

Case, color-coded eartips and earhooks for bronco-riding.

  • Alex

    I’ve had these for awhile and, while the sound is as good as you’d expect, the kevlar cable coating isn’t as amazing as you’d think.  The on-cable remote no longer works and parts of the cable now poke through the kevlar coating.

    The audio quality from them is pretty outstanding, provided you get a good fit from the tips (pretty much a given with earcanal headphones).  I had a problem with some tips separating from the cable and remaining lodged in my ear (made for some interesting tweezer requests) after only a few months of use.  Replacement tips fixed it, but I would have thought I might have gotten a bit more time out of them before that happened.

    They do a great job at keeping external noise out.  I had coworkers standing next to me, yelling at me, and I had absolutely no idea.  Handy!

    Basically, they give good sound, they look quite classy, but they’re not as indestructible as you might think given what they’re made from.

  • Replica Sunglasses

    I love the earphone. i won one and they are simply awesome. But after spending $150 on earphones I feel like not wearing diamond tudd sunglasses but $10 shades from walmmart or online http://www.Fashion-world4u.com

  • xxmixedxtapexx

    One thing about V-Moda’s is that they need to be broken in to get to full potential for sound. Honestly if you just put your headphones on medium loud and let them play for an hour or so you’ll notice a major difference in sound quality. I have the V-Moda Vibes and they are the best headphones I’ve ever had, and I hear these are even better!

    Also, the headphones come with a 2 YEAR warranty, so if anything breaks just send them a form on their website http://www.v-moda.com and they will replace them free of charge. V-Moda seriously cares about their customers, I used to be skeptical but after the way they treated me as a customer and just the overall sound quality I’m glad I bought my Vibes 4 years ago

About the author

Eli MilchmanWhen he was eight, Eli Milchman came home from frolicking in the Veld one day and was given an Atari 400. Since then, his fascination with technology has made him an intrepid early adopter of whatever charming new contraption crosses his path — which explains why he's Cult of Mac's test editor-at-large. He calls San Francisco home, where he works as a journalist and photographer. Eli has contributed to the pages of Wired.com and BIKE Magazine, among others. Hang with him on Twitter.

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