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Velodyne vPulse In Ear Headphones Review

Performance

Ergonomics

The ear buds come with two types of ear tips, a clear stiff version and a thinner flexible tip which are black in color. There are 4 different sizes of each, so the headphones can fit almost any ear you throw at them.  Velodyne even offers some advice in their manual about sizing the tips to maximize the low bass heard from the drivers.

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These tips have a very tight fit to the ear bud, so when pulling the headphones out of your pocket, they are not going to come off and get lost (something I have done with previous sets in the past).

I wore these ear buds for a long homework session, and after a few hours, I didn't even notice them in my ears. There was no discomfort after prolonged music or movie listening sessions. With that said, everyone's ears are shaped different, so take that observation with a grain of salt, but the different sizes and stiffnesses should ensure everyone is happy with how they fit.

Velodyne introduced a pressure-relief system to keep the pressure between your ear drum and the headphone from getting to uncomfortable levels without impacting noise isolation. This system also contributes to the low-distortion bass response these ear buds own.

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I'm a sucker for details, as I find that the products which really stand out do so, sometimes, in the most subtle of ways.  Velodyne has also included a metal slider to draw the individual chords together for a tighter fit.  When plastic would have done, I see it's made of metal, and this is certainly something I like to see.  The junction for the two cables is also a larger housing, which ensures the important connections made to bring the two cables to one will stand the test of time.  The 3.5mm plug is also robust, has gold-plated connectors, and has a deep attachment to the flat cable, so you shouldn't be seeing the cable pulling from the housing anytime soon.

 

Sound

While comfort and design are important aspects of ear or headphone, the sound performance is where the rubber meets the road. Velodyne has been in the subwoofer business for many years, and it certainly shows in the bass response of their ear buds. A large 10 mm (1 centimeter!) driver provides a tremendous amount of power. Surprisingly, the bass does not overpower the mid and high frequencies; instead it provides a clean, balanced sound over with the bass-induced "hit" you would typically get with a standalone low frequency driver.  As a produced advertised with the slogan "Bring the Bass," we somewhat expected them to be very bass-heavy to the point where the mid and high ranges were drowned out.  However, Velodyne has put alot of attention into the driver design, and what we found was an impeccably even sound spectrum, but the bass was really there.  The balance is clearly heard when listening to rock music, as the vocals and the guitars come through clear and clean, but the kick drum provides that low-bass "hit" in a pronounced way that sounds, quite simply, fantastic.  Classical, in the absence of much bass, was a blissful experience, which was fantastic to see.

One thing I like to do after I've evaluated an item, especially something as potentially subjective as earphones, is to give them to people who are unfamiliar with the product, and get their input.  I have a couple go-to guys who are music producers and musicians, so their input was particularly sought-after for testing the vPulse.  The consensus matched ours, "very balanced and clean, and the bass goes low."

The noise isolation is fantastic, as anyone who has had to walk up to me and touch me to get my attention will tell you.

As we've already mentioned, the music reproduction is very clean; I did not notice any distortion until reaching near-painful sound levels. The 10 mm driver helps reduce distortion, especially on low frequency heavy songs. The aluminum casing also contributes to the high quality sound output. There were certain songs where I needed to adjust the low frequency settings on my equalizer in order to prevent the bass from overpowering the vocals, but it did not take much to make a big difference. The ability to rock the bass during Rap or Hip-Hop is a viable trade-off for having to turn it down in other genres. Overall, I was very impressed with the response these ear buds offered; they handled every music genre I could think of with flying colors.

 

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Comments   

 
+1 # Marta Thoma 2012-02-13 09:59
:-) What a great read!!!