V-moda has gained quite a reputation for its stylish, low-profile earbuds. The good word has been helped along by the fact that these 'phones are not just lookers, but they offer impressive sound quality as well. The latest model to be pumped out of the V-moda factory, the Vibe II, is no exception. This $128 pair offers solid sound quality; a sleek design with a unique cable and a built-in mic for use with the iPhone and other music phones; and an updated plug housing that's designed to withstand more wear and tear than previous models. Just make sure that you love bass before plopping down the dough for these earphones.
V-moda really excels in the design department, and the Vibe Duo earphones are a perfect example of this. The set starts with a standard gold-plated plug, which is encased in a modified L-shaped rubberized housing--it's reminiscent of a hose spray nozzle and seems more rugged than that of previous models. This is followed by 34 inches of cable, which splits at a hefty chrome-plated call answer button module into an additional 13 inches of Y-cable that leads to the two tiny earbuds. Along the way to the right 'bud, you'll find a shirt clip and a small mic, which is also encased in metal.
The Vibe II is available in two color options: Nero, which is black with chrome accents, and Chrome/Rouge, which is silver with reddish orange accents. The overall design--from the funky, dual-colored earpieces to the fabric-coated cable--looks good and feels durable. V-moda includes a basic carrying pouch to keep your investment looking good, as well as silicone ear tips ranging from extra-small to large in both black and clear versions. We had no problems achieving a secure and comfortable fit; although all the metal makes the earbuds heavy, the integrated shirt clip and optional earclips included in the package help with that issue. Still, some users may find the weight and clips bothersome (plus, the clips add bulk to the otherwise low-profile style).
If you can get a good fit with the V-moda Vibe II, you'll be rewarded with good audio quality and impressive sound isolation. However, there is a noticeable amount of noise produced by the cable rubbing across your body, an unintended side effect of a great seal with the ear. This combined with the weight issue make the earphones an unsuitable choice for active pursuits. The Vibe II is also not the best option for anyone who doesn't want deep, all-encompassing bass. The earphones are heavy on the low end, but we experienced no issues with distortion and mids still sounded rich and lovely. High-end details do have a tendency to get lost, so these may not be the best bet for those who want the most crystal clear playback. Still, we were satisfied with performance on the whole. No doubt they are a step up from the set that came with your MP3 player or iPhone.