V-Moda Vibe Duo (newer, with controller)
At a Glance
We reviewed the original Vibe Duo last year. One of the first headphones specifically designed to work with the iPhone, its plug fit the iPhone's recessed headphone jack and it included a microphone, but it was missing an inline controller button. V-Moda eventually added this feature, making the current Vibe Duo a true iPhone headset.
The stylish Duo's tiny earpieces, lightweight and comfortable, are made of metal alloy and sport a smooth finish with a textured band of trim. The Chrome model's appearance is a chrome/chrome combination with a gray cable; Nero gives you black earpieces with silver trim and black cables; and Gunmetal Rouge (shown here) is gunmetal-gray with red trim and black cables. The cloth-covered cables not only look unique, but also produce minimal cable noise; a removable clip lets you attach the cable to your shirt to further reduce cable movement. The microphone/controller pod, located on the right-earpiece cable, is the largest of the bunch at almost 1.5 inches long and fairly thick; its button is easy to press but small compared to the size of the pod itself.
Like the Maximo iP-HS2, the Vibe Duo includes only canalbud-style silicone eartips (8 pairs in total--2 small, 2 medium, and 2 large clear pairs, and 2 small black pairs); because of this, it's similarly difficult to get a complete seal. Still, I'm a big fan of the Vibe Duo's sound quality. Although it can't compete with that of most true canalphones, its among the best for canalbuds, giving you surprisingly good bass to go with good midrange and treble response, resulting in a warm overall sound that still provides enough detail to be enjoyable.
On the other hand, the Vibe Duo's microphone performance was the worst of the bunch, providing, in the words of my testing partner, softer, fuzzier audio to those on the other end of my calls. Still, these comments are relative: the Duo's microphone still provided better audio than the iPhone's stock headset. And the Vibe Duo was the best of the headsets tested here in terms of the occlusion effect, which was virtually nonexistent.
Included with the Vibe Duo is a black, leather carrying pouch.