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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Audiophile review: BASS LOVERS, REJOICE!
on January 30, 2012
AWESOME BASS! Finally, an in-ear headphone that doesn't wimp out on producing the full tonal range of music! Total game-changer for enjoying portable music at the office, gym, or on-the-go. Highly recommended.
I have owned and listened to a wide array of headphones over the years, including audiophile classics like the Sennheiser HD600s, Grado SR-60s, as well as portable in-ear designs from Etymotic Research and several other brands. Now, from Velodyne --makers of high-end subwoofers-- come along these little vPulse earbuds, and guess what: they sound great! Forget the "Bass Boost" on your iPod --get these little phones instead.
The bass is rich and full, not boomy or distorted like that produced by typical cheap headphones. I am talking about luscious, accurate, realistic, organic bass, dripping in richness and tonality that I was not expecting from an in-ear bud. While it is not replacement for the HD 600, this little phones are a lot of fun, and work well with hip-pop, R&B, classical, and jazz. The tonal reproduction and accuracy is as good as I have heard with in-ear designs, and for $89 you can't go wrong.
For comparison, I also have the Etymotic MC-5's, which are another fine in-ear headphone in a similar price range. The MC-5's produce a wonderful sound as well, but do not have the same response in the bass department. (They do have better sound isolation, however, with the supplied foam inserts.) For critical listening, I would rate the MC-5's just a tad better on accuracy and imaging, but on complex music, they can both sound a little congested, compared to reference headphones. This is somewhat typical of the ear-bud design, however, and is only a minor drawback. Keep in mind that I am being rather finicky here -- most folks may not even notice these shortcomings. And both of these phones are MUCH, MUCH BETTER than the typical headphone which came with your portable device...
Just for fun, I hooked these up to my reference audio system (Cambridge Audio Azur A840C CD player, Headroom Amp) and put on several "high-grade" recordings. Cued up John Rutter's "Requiem" (Reference Recordings, RR-57CD), and the low organ pedals of throughout the piece were faithfully reproduced, while retaining the detail, spatial information, and warmth of the vocals so finely captured in this recording. Likewise, for the SACD Living Stereo recording of Saint-Saens 3rd Symphony (Munch/Boston Symphony Orchestra). The sweeping 2nd movement begins with string and organ theme that literally transports one to another time and place... Many small headphones cannot reproduce the low pedal notes (in fact, several people were not even aware the WAS an organ theme playing under the string section!) These little guys allow me to enjoy this work without the need of lugging my (rather large and expensive) HD600's around.
What about thumping to Beyonce on your iPod? Yes, it works beautifully here as well. Modern pop, R&B, hip-hop, and rap, often have that irresistible BASS line that will have your fingers snapping, and body swaying. On several tracks, it was like listening to the music for the first time! These phones are fun, and isn't that what music enjoyment is all about...?
+) BASS! Try it with some of your favorite recordings. If you don't have a subwoofer at home, you may be surprised to hear what you have been missing.
+) GREAT SOUND: even if you're not a bass-oholic, these faithfully reproduce mid and high frequency ranges: still work great with vocal, chamber, and acoustic recordings.
+) GOOD VALUE: you would have to spend considerably more $$$ to get something (even marginally) better.
+) fits iPhone/iPod jack, no adapters necessary.
+) comes with several extra ear pads, and carrying case.
+) thick ribbon headphone cord reduces tangling.
+) it comes in blue!
-) be aware of microphonics: vibrations or knocks against the headphone cords that transmit sounds. Be sure to use the inclosed clip, which keeps the cord from dangling freely. Maybe an issue if you are using this in the gym, where you are constantly moving.
-) the volume control is located too close to the left ear (in my opinion). Would have been better to move it lower so that one could actually see the controls.