Since the earphones are designed to be worn on-the-go, I tested their ability to retain the punch that made them stand out in a static environment in a setting that was full of low-frequency interference. On a long drive out to West Texas I plugged the vPulses into my iPod and listened to various tracks as the limestone hills zipped by (don’t worry, I wasn’t the person driving). Since the speed limit on this particular stretch of highway is 80mph the low-frequency interference is similar to that of being on a passenger jet at altitude and I expected that the vPulse earphones would not play well with the road noise. I couldn’t have been further off in my hypothesis; the earphones stayed true to their bass heritage and produced solid low-frequency notes that didn’t fade off despite the extra road noise. While I can’t speak for the sound quality while actually flying in a plane, I can say that the vPulse earphones retain all of their unique qualities while driving at highway speeds.
To best illustrate the vPulse’s ability to highlight the bass content of a track, I listened to “Fire” from Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced [MCA]. Most bass grooves from classic albums such as this one lack a certain punch that a live bass would provide. With the vPulse earphones, however, Noel Redding’s bass gains an extra layer of depth that helps keep it from getting lost behind Hendrix’s iconic guitar riffs.
While listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Texas Flood [Epic], the forward-sounding mids of the vPulse ‘phones sing out and highlight the intricate licks and signature tone of SRV’s guitar rig. Even when Tommy Shannon’s bass is driving hard through some of the slower blues tracks, the punch of the mids can still be felt with some force. This album also reveals the vPulse’s reticent highs, where I noticed that Chris Layton’s cymbal rides are not as crisp as if you were to hear his set live.
Consider this earphone if:
• You desire a somewhat bass-centric sound, especially in super low bass range between 20-50 Hz—a range that drives most popular music with commanding force.
• You seek an iPhone-compatible earphone that allows you to control your iDevice directly from the in-line control module.
• Also look into the vPulse if you desire a little extra comfort from a relatively inexpensive universal-fit earphone.
Look further if:
• You seek an earphone with more nearly neutral tonal balance, or if you feel that an extra helping of mid-bass gain will ruin your listening experience. There are many comparably priced earphones that provide smoother, more accurate response across the spectrum, properly balancing out highs, mids, and lows.
Ratings compared to comparably priced earphones:
• Tonal Balance: 7
• Clarity: 8
• Dynamics: 8
• Comfort/Fit: 9
• Sensitivity: 9
• Value: 9
Velodyne does not disappoint when they promise to “bring the bass” with the vPulse earphones. The earphones proved easy to drive directly from an iPod and they create deep, rich bass on demand. The intuitive, functional in-line microphone/control module is an added plus, too, making these earphones a no-brainer for the bass-loving audiophile on the go.
Velodyne vPulse Earphones
Drivers: 10mm moving coil driver
Frequency Response: 20-20kHz
Sensitivity: 98.8 dB/1 mW
Noise Reduction: 15dB at 1kHz
Impedance: 16 ohm
Cable: 43 ½” (1.1 m) flat
Plug: Gold –Plated 1/8” (3.5 mm)
Warranty: 1 year, replacement only