V-Moda is a relatively new audio brand founded by professional DJ and producer Val Kolton in 2004, and one that embodies the spirit of modernity through both its design language and the way its products sound. Focused on headphones, the company goes head-to-head with Beats Audio in making headphones more of a lifestyle product than just a way to send audio from your smartphone into your ears.
While V-Moda has traditionally focused on the over-ear and on-ear styles of headphones, the Rs 13,990 V-Moda Zn is the company’s first foray into in-ear headphones. As the name suggests, these headphones feature a zinc-alloy housing that keeps its weight light without compromising on durability. No doubt, this is a premium pair of in-ears with a decidedly expensive price tag, but is the V-Moda Zn worth that high price? Let’s find out in the review.
V-Moda Zn Design and Specifications
The V-Moda Zn headphones are powered by 8mm dynamic drivers, with an impedance rating of 16Ohms and a frequency response range of 2-25,000Hz. The headphones have a 3.5mm connector pin and weigh just under 21 grams, making the set extremely comfortable to wear. The Zn is available in two remote options; you can either have a one-button remote and microphone which is widely compatible with Android devices, or the iPhone-friendly three-button variant.
The earphones are made of a relatively rare Zinc alloy, and also feature ‘made in Italy’ custom filters that are said to give the headset its sonic signature. With a rather unique look that embodies the industrial design philosophy that V-Moda has traditionally stuck to, the Zn headphones have a modern feel that will appeal to typical electronic music fans. The Y-splitter and remote also feature similar design language, although these bits are made of plastic.
The cable of the Zn in-ears is a custom-designed and Kevlar-reinforced affair, which the company says is tangle-free. While not completely resistant to tangling, the tendency of the cable to self-straighten does help keep it free of tangles most of the time. The earphones come with four replaceable silicone ear-tips, detachable ear clips for use when running and a leather carry-case. We recommend that you also pick up a pair of foam ear-tips for a more comfortable fit.
V-Moda Zn Performance
I tested the V-Moda Zn using my OnePlus 3 and a Windows laptop as source devices. Focus tracks for the review were MGMT’s Time to Pretend, Phats and Small’s Turn Around, the Hot 8 Brass Band’s rendition of Sexual Healing and Michael Jackson’s You Rock My World.
Starting with Time to Pretend, the first thing I noticed is strong bass, as is to be expected from a V-Moda product. The low end is boomy, but never excessively so, always feeling controlled and held back before it gets too much. It can be particularly felt on electronic tracks such as Turn Around, where it tends to take control of the track as the dominant element. It’s safe to say that the bass defines the sonic signature, setting the tone for electronic music primarily, but doing a decent job with pretty much any genre that relies on bass. The upper end also has a powerful ring to it, with highs feeling clear and defined.
With You Rock My World played with the volume at the highest (and extremely unsafe) levels, it’s good to note no loss in fidelity, with distortion being non-existent and the bass continuing to ring over the rest of the range with the same intensity. The sonic signature also reveals itself to be a typical V-shaped one, with an emphasis on lows and highs, and a slight dip in the mid-range. This doesn’t affect the ability to hear vocals, but you’ll certainly feel a bit more strength in the bass and highs.
Clarity, imaging and soundstaging are impressive as well, and Sexual Healing has all of its incredible instrumentals ringing clearly and crisply, even if the trombones tend to overpower the rest by just a little bit. It’s easy to pick up some of the softer parts of the track, as well as the finer nuances of the instrumentals. On the whole, the V-Moda Zn is best suited to instrumental electronic tracks, and does a decent job at that.
When it comes to premium headphones, buyers tend to look at features, driver size and fit over other things, and there is indeed an existing belief that over-ear headphones should cost more because of the larger size. In-ear headphones are therefore expected to cost less, and Rs 13,990 headphones such as the V-Moda Zn are obviously likely to raise a few eyebrows.
To be fair, the V-Moda Zn does have a lot on offer that justifies the price to some extent, from quality build and looks to a sonic signature that is on par with the asking price as well as the legacy of being a modern brand that embodies the spirit of electronic music. Although you could get an equally good pair of on-ear headphones such as the excellent Sennheiser Urbanite for less than the price, the Zn does have some appeal for people that want the convenience of in-ears along with the aggressive bass-intensive sound that a lot of listeners today are interested in. It’s a niche audience that the Zn appeals to, but for that audience, you’re unlikely to find a better pair of headphones than the V-Moda Zn at this price.