Velodyne Acoustics vTrue Review
Super slick exterior, but make sure the fit is how you want it before buying.
They may not be a household name yet, but Velodyne has taken a swing at the fashion headphone market with their vTrue headphones, a set of stainless steel over-ears. While they look incredibly slick, they do have some anomalies in their reproduction of music, but overall they're fine. These are cans for those primarily looking for fashion and durability.
Comfort, Design & Features
Opening the box will call back memories of Han Solo's unfreezing from his carbonite prison in Return of the Jedi, but once freed from their equally form-fitting and shiny plasticine encasing, you find many goodies. Namely, two cables, 1/4th inch adapter, carrying pouch, assorted documentation, and of course, your headphones.
If you're a fan of brushed metal, these headphones will absolutely catch your eye. To their credit, they mix rounded edges and industrial texturing very well, though they are huge. Just keep in mind that if you do buy these, they will absolutely be the prominent feature on your head. With a metal exterior, well-guarded plugs, and removable/replaceable cables, these headphones are certainly durable. We're not going to take an array of punishments to them, but they should survive getting whacked around in a bag or case. Just please don't test this for yourself; they're expensive.
Velodyne made sure that when you put these headphones on your skull that you'd never have to want for more padding. However, you should be aware that these headphones are heavy. Not quite a pound, but enough to make their presence on your head very obvious. Additionally, the fit seems to be a bit difficult, as there's a small gap in front of the ear where the headphones are meant to press against your skull, which can lead to problems if it doesn't seal to your head. Over time, that rather notable heft will start to press that leather-clad band into your skull with increasing annoyance.
All things considered, these headphones really are not all that bad from an audio quality standpoint. However, their pricetag might be a bit mismatched with what quality you can expect. In particular, the issue with getting a good seal between the headphones and your skull will define how well these headphones perform for you, and if your head isn't shaped the correct way, your mileage will vary.
Regardless, high-frequency notes will sound down to half as loud as the rest of your music. So, you can expect the high notes of a piano, harp, and piccolo to sound much quieter than they would on a set of studio headphones. Anything lower than that will be fine, though there is a reasonable bit of bass emphasis.
Even if the power sum of the distortion is a little on the high side, it’s nowhere near where it would become annoying or even audible, so you should have no extra unwanted bits added to your music. There's a tiny bit of distortion in the lowest notes, but it's very tough to hear as a human.
If the last five years have proven anything, it’s that high-fashion headphones makes headlines, and price isn’t always the main concern. With the ubiquity of designs like that of the Beats and Apple products, consumers looking for an alternative aesthetic are starting to see more options come their way, and that’s where the Velodyne vTrues come in. With a sleek, brushed-metal exterior, you’re certain to turn some heads with these cans.
At the end of the day, these are most suited to someone who places fashion and durability above all other concerns. The audio certainly leaves a bit to be desired, but it's not bad. The difficulty in getting a good seal can be frustrating, as well, and the comfort of the fit may or may not be what you're looking for.
That being said, everyone’s ears and heads are different, so if you do have the opportunity— try these on before buying. Couldn’t hurt, anyways: when the most important issues arise from the fit, it's the smart thing to do to make sure you won't suffer from them. If you’ve read the review and are fine with taking the plunge, definitely consider the Velodyne vTrue.
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