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Ear Marked For Recommending

By Louis Trapani - Posted on 05 July 2008

V-Moda Vibe Duo microPhone ear budsI've had several iPods over the years since Apple introduced the device. Since most of my time listening to the iPod is done via external speakers, be it my car Monsoon stereo system, or external speakers at the office, or the JBL Sound Stage speaker system, etc. As it turned out I didn't really use the ear buds all that much. Sure, I did while biking, walking, or doing work around the house... but that was pretty much the extent of it for the most part.

With the iPhone introduction last year, the pattern pretty much stayed the same as far as listening to music and podcasts. But the iPhone added something else to the mix; using the ear buds for phone calls. With the built in microphone and controller on the ear buds, it is far easier and preferable to use the ear buds than having to hold up the phone to my ear. This is especially useful for prolonged phone calls. 

I found myself using the iPhone ear buds more than any other ear buds before. More so than any of the several versions of the iPod which proceeded it.

In fact, with the iPod, I found myself simply reusing the ear buds I was alrady using from the previous model when I got a new one instead of cracking open the sealed package containing the new ear buds in the new iPod. They were the same ones anyway... until Apple upgraded them sometime during the iPod run... I think it may have been with the 4th or 5th generation iPod introduction.

Yet, with the iPhone, I kept my iPhone ear buds with me at all times because you never knew when you would need them. So much so, that I had bought extra ones. A pair that can be wired into my Scottevest coats, another to carry along with the iPhone, etc.

When my iPhone ear buds started to break apart, the left ear bud was coming apart in so much that the speaker grill came loose from the rest of the body of the bud. I successfully glued it back together, but in time, it came apart again. Even though it is summer now, I could easily pull another pair ear buds from one of my Scottivests, I decided to try out a third party ear buds for it.

I've heard many people in tech circles rave about third party options to replace the Apple ear buds before for better quality audio in the years that the iPod has been around. It was never really a big consideration for me as I didn't use the ear buds all that often. But all that changed with the iPhone. I decided it was time to give another ear bud system a try.

Having been disappointed with the Apple in-ear version of their ear buds, I was a little weary about trying another "in-ear" type. "In-ear" meaning that the buds fit directly in the ear canal. With the Apple version, I felt it lacked bass and sounded tinny compared to the default Apple (non-in-ear) ear buds.

With my everyday use iPhone ear buds broken (although still somewhat usable), I decided to try out another company's iPhone ear buds. I was in the Apple store to take care of another matter, when I discovered a pair of V-moda vibe duo microphone iPhone ear buds. I recall hearing good report on these, perhaps by Scott Bourne of the Apple Phone Show podcast (though he may have reported about them on TWiT or MacBreak Weekly). I could be mistaken, perhaps it was Chris Breen... regardless I knew one of the two, if not both, had a positive review...

It was important that the iPhone ear buds had the same functionality as the Apple ones. I had come across another in the past that had the microphone, but without the pause/call control on the ear buds.

These V-moda iPhone ear buds do indeed have the same functionality as the Apple ones. They are in-ear (noise reducing) type of ear-buds. But it did not sacrafice bass as I felt is the case with the Apple in-ear ear buds. Like the Apple branded ones, these come with several silicone ear fittings (the little gel/rubber thingies that fit around the bud to fits your ear size). For me, I found the smallest size works best. The medium ones kept on popping out of my ear... it was even worse with the large ones.

It does cancel out a good deal of the ambient noise... by plugging up your ear. Perhaps not as much I suspect as active noise cancelation headphones. I haven't tried these out on a plane yet, that would be the real comparison test between the two.

The V-moda comes in different color options. I choose to go with the black and silver combination as it matches the color scheme of the iPhone best. I always felt those white ones that came with it were so out of place on the iPhone... they work fine with the white iPods, but I don't need white ear bud wires. I don't use these things as status symbols... so they don't need to be white. The V-moda even comes with both white and black silicone fittings. I naturally went with black (again it is more in tune with the iPhone color scheme though in reality, when you are using them they are in your ear out of sight anyway).

When I first tested them, I immediately had to switch from listening to a podcast to some real music to hear the difference. The sound is full, vibrant and deep.

The construction seems fairly solid too. I was a little worried since I knew how much wear and tear they will get from use. The buds themselves are metal and the wires are fabric wrapped. It seems like it is good protection...

The microphone and controller worked as predicted. Although it is bulkier than the Apple one.

I've only used them on the iPhone, but they will work with any iPod or any music player with a mini jack (obviously the microphone and pause/phone control is meant for the iPhone though).

It comes with a nice little leather pouch for storage and travel as well. This is handy because you know how ear buds can become all tangled... well, in fact, these can become tangled in the pouch, but at least it is only with itself... not with everything else that may be in your pocket.

It's only been a week, but so far, I give this elegant third party solution a solid thumbs up.


You have a nice blog … I liked your blog very much. The contents are worth reading and I’ve found much valuable information from your post. My learning curve is increasing :-). Thanks for sharing such a nice post with us. Keep it up.

Mitul from Technology Blog

Harry Cool

Louis Trapani's picture

Thanks. I paid a visit to your technology blog. I see you are running it on Joomla. Though it still has only the default sample content on it right now. Good luck with it.


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