Review: Bass Fréq earbuds

Look no further for great sound at a great price. (November 21st, 2006)

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Product Manufacturer: V-MODA

Price: $50.00 US

The Good

  • Phenomenal bass response for the price. Comfortable fit. Variety of colors. Matches new iPod nano. Included cable manager.

The Bad

  • Midrange may be a bit muted, or treble a bit shrill, depending on the bitrate used to encode your music. In ear style is not for everyone.

Let me say at the outset that Bass Fréq earphones are not for everyone. If you want a completely balanced sound from your earbuds, you are better off looking at the V-MODA Remix m-class or even some reasonably priced Sennheiser models. If, on the other hand, it is bass you crave, these earphones provide remarkable response that you will be hard-pressed to match in any other earbuds in or around the $50.00 price range.

Remarkable Bass Response

My Apple iPod earbuds have served me well, but I have to admit they have some shortcomings. I listen to a lot of very bass-heavy electronic music, and they come up very short in bass response. Fortunately, V-MODA fixed that problem quite nicely with the Bass Fréq earbuds. It is sort of like having a subwoofer in your ears.

The secret of the Bass Fréq's exceptional bass response is something V-MODA markets as Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicon, or BLISS. The ear seal is important, because if you wear these buds loose, you do not benefit from the sound technology. If you just do not like the feel of earphones that rest inside your ear canal rather than on your outer ear, you will be disappointed.

Excellent Fit

The Bass Fréq provides a distinctly different feel and placement than the Apple earbuds. While the iPod earbuds sit in your outer ear, the Bass Fréq sits a little deeper, though not quite as deep as high-end designs from companies like Shure and Etymotic. V-MODA offers three different sizes of silicone rubber ear tips to help make sure the Bass Fréq sits comfortably and snugly in your ear canal. A snug fit is important, because that is what helps the Bass Fréq resonate.

The Bass Fréq does not employ any sort of active noise-canceling technology, so you do not need to worry about the earphones messing with your audio, or having to replace batteries or concealing bulky battery packs. The ear canal-sealing design does help ratchet down the sound of the outside world quite a bit, however. It is worth noting that V-MODA offers a money-back guarantee, which they call a 30-day in home audition, so you can always send them back if you do not like them. Unless you cannot get used to the in-ear style, I doubt you will return these gems.

They Rock

I have not used any earbud in this price range that even comes close to offering this level of bass response. It is not overwhelming either, there is very clear and identifiable midrange and treble here. The sound is not perfectly balanced though. While listening, some treble came in quite shrill, while some midrange seem a bit muted, but for the money, the Bass Fréq does a great job of delivering full-bodied sound. V-MODA notes that quality of the audio source and the sampling used to encode your music affects the sound quality you experience, so rip those MP3s at the highest bitrate you can manage.

Colors For Every Taste

The Hollywood, CA based V-MODA bills itself as a "music lifestyle brand," so fashion is almost as important as sound with all their products. V-MODA offers eight different color combinations designed to complement a variety of fashion styles and they coordinate perfectly with the new iPod nano models. Everything from austere black and white to the orange and green, with plenty of hues in between.

Great Design

The thoughtfully designed cable is about two and a half feet long, with 13 inches more of individual cable running to each ear piece. This is long enough to stick an iPod in your backpack or handbag and run the cable to your ears, which is what I do when I am on the go. If there is any slack, V-MODA includes their modawrap, a v-shaped translucent rubber device with keyholes on either end that you use to wrap up the cable slack. You do not want this dangling from your ears, but easy is slim enough to tuck into a shirt or jeans pocket. The straight plug is 24 karat gold-plated.

Great Gift

My experience with in-ear canal earbuds has been hit or miss. Most of them do not fit right or do not deliver very good sound. I am pleased to report that the V-MODA Bass Fréqs are very comfortable and sound really lush, delivering fat, funky bass. In short, whether you call them earbuds, earphones, or modaphones, they ROCK!

Now, if V-MODA could only help me shake my booty a bit better, my fashion statement would be complete.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Lee P. Meredith


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