Headphone Review: Moshi Vortex Pro

[IMG]After giving the Clarus the spotlight at CES 2012, Moshi came out and showed that they had a second IEM in the works. This one wouldn’t be a flagship (the Clarus took that already), but would still be on their upper-tier. The Vortex Pro offers the stunning looks of the Vortex, but adds in stellar sound for the price.  Read on for the full review:

Specifications

  • Driver: 9mm Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 10 – 22000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB
  • Impedance: 14 ohms

In the Box

  • Moshi Vortex Pro IEM
  • Carrying Case
  • Ear Tips (Single Flange S/M/L; Foam L)
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The Vortex Pro comes with a small set of accessories.

Design

Moshi took a lot from their previous Vortex design… Actually, they took the whole thing, well almost. The only difference between the Vortex and the Vortex Pro, besides the color, is the size.  Due to the larger driver in the Pro, the housings is slightly larger in comparison to the Vortex. The new stylish silver color looks as stunning and beautiful as the darker black of the original Vortex. Everything is made of steel on the housing, the brushed metal gives the entire phone another dynamic with the MoshiAudio trademark etched into it. Moshi, although not creating a new design, successfully reused a previous design that looks brilliant.

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Moshi took the Vortex’s design for a re-run when doing the Vortex Pro.

Design: ★★★★★

Audio

Moshi’s low end Moonrocks really never made me fall in love with the brand, they were good, but nothing to take a second listen to. However, their higher end is something to take a second listen to. The Vortex Pro is no exception. It takes many of the sound qualities of the Clarus, but adds a much warmer sound to it being better for mainstream. The sound, like the Clarus, is sweeter and mid-focused, but still able to dig deep with a bit much sparkle to it.

Bass

If there is one thing that this IEM could do, it is bass. The low end digs quite low which leads to beautiful texturing. Impact is there as well due to this. However, the lack of presence can take this great quality and make it nil at times. The bass focuses more on the deeper sub-bass, which means that the punch isn’t as big as I’d like it to be. The bass is well tuned, but can use a slight tune up to give it more punch and presence.

Bass: ★★★★½

Mids

If there is one reason to fall in love with this IEM, it’s the midrange. These are beautifully tuned and sweet, but never becoming too sweet. Everything has its energy, from the low instrumentals to the vocals to the higher strings. Detailing is nicely done, but isn’t in your face like Etymotic. Clarity is nicely incorporated into the IEM as well. Sound stage is smaller being and IEM, but separation is great nonetheless.

Mids: ★★★★★

Highs

The high end is the weakness of these IEMs; that much I know for sure. The highs do carry quite a bit of energy to them. They sparkle in an aggressive fashion, which can cause sibilance problems at times. The sparkle is really nice though, albeit it’s overdone at times. The details are mostly there, but this IEM does miss the micro-details the Clarus picks up. Clarity is great while the separation remains incorporated brilliantly. It has its weaknesses, but the high end for the Vortex Pro is still good.

Highs: ★★★★

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

Moshi has always found some way to fuse the headphones and case together to create a unique design that still keeps the drivers and cables protected. The Vortex Pro recycles, once again, the design of the original. They use the same case, why wouldn’t they though, it worked great the first time.

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Moshi has a nack for fusing the IEMs into the Case design.

The housings are built like steel… Well actually, they are constructed of a thick steel that houses the driver and keeps it from any damage whatsoever. Filters are placed on each nozzle to ensure no debris gets in as well. The main problem on the housings arises when you look at the miniscule strain reliefs that they have. Those are what worry me the most.

Running down the cable, you’ll find that they are entirely fabric. This can be a good thing in terms of build, but also bad depending on how they are done. The fabric is strong, and that is a selling point with fabric cables regardless of thickness. However, thin cables tend to tangle; these are thin.

Terminating a cable is the headphone jack. This jack does look strong enough, and does have a nice strain relief with it. However, it copies the design of the Clarus’ headphone jack; it’s straight. Unfortunately, I’d rather an angled one.

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The headphone jack is straight; the cable thin and tangle-prone.

The build quality starts extremely strong with the case and the housings, however, the cable, and strain reliefs really bring it down quickly making you forget about the tanks for housings.

Build: ★★★½

Comfort

Despite having quite hefty housings, these IEMs prove to be really comfortable. They support both upward and downward wearing styles. They stay in place nicely both ways, but I would urge you to wear them up if you plan on moving at all (microphonics will be talked about later). Moshi includes 3 silicone tips. The hybrid tips are thinner, but do their job nicely. The foam tips on the other hand are among the hardest I’ve ever tried and can be uncomfortable after a while.

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The Vortex Pro comes with many silicone tips. The foams are rock-solid; that’s not a good thing.

Comfort: ★★★★½

Value

If we speak of sound alone, these IEMs are worth every penny; even more than its price actually. However, these are plagued with a few problems. The sound, design, and comfort are great though. Build is iffy, but passable. The main caveat I have with these is microphonics. Moshi seems to not have been able to fix this problem that carried over from the original Vortex. Microphonics seems to be really bad, even worse than my RE0s; even if you wear them up. Both bone conduction of the fabric cable, as well as microphonics play a huge role here. Moshi does offer a remote and mic as well with the headphones. In the end though, the positives of the headphone outweigh the negatives in terms of value, only avoid if you plan on being active with these.

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There is a remote and mic included with the headset.

Value: ★★★★½

Final Thoughts

Taking design aspects from the Vortex and sound qualities from the Clarus, Moshi goes about to create a beautiful IEM that touts great sound. It’s as if the Clarus and the Vortex had a little child dubbed the Vortex Pro. Whatever it is, the Vortex Pro offers great sound, along with stunning designs. As long as you can get over the microphonics, these are an absolutely amazing IEM.

I’d like to thank Jennifer for the review sample.

Overall Score

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Moshi Vortex Pro

† 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.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Jennifer for the product sample.
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