V-Moda Remix Remote Earphones and Arctic E461-BM Earphones
Companies: V-Moda & Arctic
Websites: V-Moda  &  Arctic
Price: V-Moda Remix Remote: $79.00 USD  /  Arctic E461-BM: $31.36 USD


One of the greatest assets to any iOS device is the ability to listen to your favorite music, audiobooks, or your favorite apps. There is nothing more annoying than trying to do so with earphones that simply ruin the experience with their shoddy qualities. Most of us aren’t in the market for expensive earphones that can cost over $200, so what’s out there for those of us who want to find a balance between sound quality and cost? V-Moda and Arctic each have earphones in their lineups that try to reach such a balance. How do they compare?

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By guest reviewer Devon Gilbert and John “Nemo” Nemerovski

Devon and Nemo spent hours listening, evaluating, and comparing these three innovative, affordable headphones with microphones, or headsets, if you prefer the term. We will first describe them one at a time before we rate or rank them.

Crossfade LP
Company: v-moda
Price: $200
Web site

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VIBE Duo dual-purpose headphone/headset for Apple iPhone
US $99.99

Company: V-MODA

Apple’s iPod earbuds have always worked reasonably well for me. They provide a good fit for my ears, and the sound quality is acceptable.

I was surprised to find that the headphone/headset earbuds shipped with the iPhone did not fit my ears well. Without a good fit, the sound quality was noticeably compromised. Bass response was especially weak.

Numerous manufacturers shipped iPhone-ready earbuds early on the iPhone lifecycle, but none included a microphone. Earbuds alone were pointless, as the iPhone is a phone, after all.

Two weeks ago, I was the lucky purchaser of one of the first Vibe Duos to be sold at the Tucson Apple Store. The sales clerk who rang up the sale didn’t yet know that the Vibe Duo was even in stock.

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NR-10 produces a clean, powerful sound, with balanced emphasis in the midrange, where voices and instruments are heard. Remix’s bass is booming, treble is soaring, midrange is excellent, without any obvious concentrations through the entire audible and harmonic spectrum.

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Comply Noise Reduction Earphones NR-10
Hearing Components

Price: $80 plus shipping

Comply / Hearing Components is a small company with many years of experience and a high pedigree in this field. Their booth was tiny but bustling at last January’s Macworld Expo, and now I know why. Listeners receive solid audio performance from NR-10, and their foam tips are the most comfortable of their kind we’ve tested. The $80 cost is reasonable for the quality achieved. An added feature is the in-line volume control on the portion of the cable that attaches to your iPod or other music player. Black is the only color offered.

NR-10 produces a clean, powerful sound, with balanced emphasis in the midrange, where voices and instruments are heard. Audio falloff is fairly steep to the upper frequencies, so you won’t be knocked over by shattering treble. Bass is substantial — be careful with the volume. Sonic presence is intense once your squishy foam tips are secure.

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