Once again, Moshi was able to blow me away with yet another stellar pair of headphones. Last month, it was their impressive entry-level Moonrock headset that enjoyed a more-than-favorable review here on iFans. Now, it’s the more expensive Vortex earphones that must live up to the high expectations that are now expected from Moshi.
The Vortex are a pair of in-ear headphones that you simply can’t pass up for so many different reasons. They’ve got an incredible design, sound phenomenal, and are well-built; plus, they have a very reasonable $80 price tag. The pair does have some flaws, however, which you’ll find out about after the break.
In The Box
- Vortex in-ear headphones
- Custom silicone case with cable management
- 3 sets of hybrid-injection silicone ear tips (small, medium, large)
- 1 set of memory foam ear tips
- User’s Manual
- High definition Neodymium drivers with extended range (10 Hz – 20 kHz / – 10dB@1kHz)
- Steel alloy construction for driver housing
- 1.2 meter cable
You’ll immediately notice that the Vortex earphones are extremely stylish. The housing on each of the earbuds is made of glossy chrome and branded with the Moshi Audio label. As a result of this material choice, the earbuds have some significant weight to them. The ear tips are made of soft silicone with a red or white center. The ear tips are interchangeable; you can mix and match the small, medium, and large silicone tips, or you can use the pair of black memory foam tips that are included.
The pair has a braided fabric cable that is thin and lightweight. I want to stress the importance of using the included silicone cable management system, because I almost guarantee that you’ll end up with a tangled mess otherwise. It also helps to make use of the adjustable y-split, which can help to prevent tangles.
Built into the cable is a microphone that works with Skype, VoiceOver, and so forth. The mic has a button for push-to-activate functionality. For calls, push the button once to pick up a call. To decline a call, hold down the button for about 2 to 3 seconds and then release it. For call waiting, click the button once to put the first call on hold and switch over to the second call. The button can also be used for limited playback control while music is playing. Press the button once to pause or resume music, double-press it to skip forward to the next song, and triple-press it to rewind to the previous song. There are no volume controls, unfortunately.
These earphones are designed to work with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad; however, they work with nearly every device because they have a 3.5 mm headphone jack, considered by many as the industry standard for headphones. The headphone jack has a straight design that closely resembles Apple’s iPod earphones.
The sound quality that the Vortex earphones deliver is exceptional. The drivers inside each earbud are housed by steel alloy construction, which helps to deliver a dynamic range of sound without distortion. Most prominent is the bass that this pair delivers, thanks to the sintered steel alloy which minimizes cavity-induced coloration; this allows for extension in low frequency sounds. Fortunately, the bass isn’t too overpowering and allows for the mids and treble to come through. The pair is sonically optimized for the genres of rock, pop, hip-hop, R&B, and electronic.
The ability to thoroughly hear what you’re listening to is one of the most important aspects of headphones. Thankfully, these earphones have great noise isolation from exterior sounds. You should also try to wear the ear tips that fit best to ensure the best possible seal in your ear canal. Another thing that can hinder your listening experience is microphonic sounds, which is essentially noises that you might hear if you rub or move the earphone’s cable. This is somewhat of a problem with the Vortex headphones, but wearing the pair over your ears greatly reduces the microphonic interference.
These headphones are extremely durable and designed to last. From the gold-plated headphone jack to the steel alloy construction, nearly every attribute of the Vortexs is exactly what I’d ask for out of a pair of premium earphones. The drivers inside each earbud are protected by a steel mesh to prevent any dust or earwax from interfering with them. My only concern is the thin fabric cable, which could be susceptible of breaking or coming loose if too much stress is put onto it. But, even then, there are two silicone stress relievers built-in to the cable near the bottom of each earbud.
One of the first things that you will notice when wearing the Vortex earphones is that they are extremely heavy in your ears. They have a tendency to fall out of my ears regardless of which size ear tips that I use. The memory foam ear tips that are included helped to improve the problem, but they’re still prone to falling right out of my ears. This happens most often when I’m laying down or running. Another solution to the problem is to wear the headphones over your ear, literally wrapping the cables around the tops of your ears before putting them into your ears.
Despite this, the Vortex earphones are extremely comfortable in your ears. The silicone ear tips feel very smooth and come in a variety of different sizes to ensure the best fit possible. I find the large ear tips to fit best, personally. The fabric cable also feels more comfortable than one made of rubber, in my opinion.
The Vortex earphones retail for $80 on Moshi’s online store. The pair’s stylish appearance, astounding sound quality, and premium design make these headphones highly recommendable for their price tag, even with some minor flaws. Boosting the value of these headphones is the included silicone case, which also serves as a cable management system to keep your headphones tangle-free. There’s also a generous amount of silicone and memory foam ear tips that are included.
Ground shipping is available for free throughout the continental United States. There’s a flat rate of $15 for all shipments to Canada. Other shipping rates vary. Better yet, you’ll earn 400 “xen credits” which your purchase, which can be redeemed to save money on other Moshi purchases that you make. For every 100 xen credits that you redeem, you’ll save $1.00 off of your purchase. The catch is that the 400 credits that you earn on the Vortex headphones can’t be used towards the pair itself at checkout.
The headphones are backed by a limited 2-year warranty and product replacement if necessary.
I was pretty doubtful of how Moshi Audio’s headphones would sound, but the Moonrock and Vortex headsets have completely changed my viewpoint towards the company. I highly recommend these headphones to anyone that has the money to invest into the pair. If you don’t, the entry-level Moonrock set are also a great pair with many similar qualities — both of these pairs certainly outperforms Apple’s iPod earphones. Touche, Moshi, touche.
† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
Thanks to Mike from Moshi for the review sample.