Back in the early 1990’s I played drums with the band London Bridge based in Salt Lake City. We played pop music statewide for frats, sororities and high school proms. Our first gig was at the state capitol in a room made of solid marble. The reverb from that marble was so intense that, if you listen carefully, you’ll still hear our sound bouncing off the walls.
We were arguably the most popular cover band in the state as we wanted every song to sound exactly like the original. To get that exact sound from my kit I played an electric set with real cymbals. My rig was a Roland vDrum kit. Electric kits differ in many ways from an acoustic one because there’s no sound from hitting the actual drums unless you run through an amp or PA system. Our PA threw 3,800 watts into the crowd, huge for any area that’s not a major concert venue. Onstage we had an 800 watt setup just for us. Just for comparison, most club DJ’s at run 400 – 800 watts.
To get more of the real sounds and response I desired from the kit I wore studio-quality, open air and over-ear headphones on stage and I had a custom mix right into my headset. This gave me that beefy, full-drum sound and response I enjoy. That’s also the last time I regularly wore over-ear headphones. Since then it’s been all ear buds … until now.
Introducing the Velodyne vQuiet Headphones
For starters, the overall sound response punches like Mike Tyson in a boxing ring. The sound quality compares to watching a new HD TV, you know, where the picture is almost so good that it blurs the line between visual entertainment and reality. The sound through the vQuiets is eerily close to what I would hear on stage.
Look, real instruments, like acoustic guitars and drum kits, are made out of wood. I listened to a selection of tunes and replayed them just to be sure, but it sounded to me as if I could “hear” the warmth of the wood coming through the headset. No joke.
I’m listening in our living room at the moment and the sound almost echos in the room as if I wasn’t wearing the headset. Those around me will hear nothing bleeding through. Nada. Zip. Enter Sandman? You can crank that volume on your next airplane ride and listen without embarrassment and no one will know you’re listening to Ray Stevens singing The Streak.
Live recordings from the 70’s to more modern tracks sound like I’m on stage with the band which is exactly where I want to the music to take me.
Ever heard the term, “Ear-tickling bass?” I’ve never actually heard it until now. Nope. Not as a DJ, not as a drummer, not at my first Van Halen concert. I heard it and literally felt it wearing the vQuiets.
High’s & Mids
Response from the mids and highs impresses as well. In sampling these I purposely listen to a variety of old music, new, electric, acoustic, different producers and types and I’ve not found the vQuiet to lack in any area.
The instrumentation and vocals come through very clear with distinction. I want to hear the layers in the music, specific instruments and effects and the subtle nuances going on that a passive listener might miss. Again, from my band days, we would pick the music apart looking for individual sounds and instruments that weave together in a track.
I’ve not had a chance to take an airplane flight with these yet, but I can say that at home and office the noise cancelling works very well without even turning on the active mode. From my experience, I found I prefer the sound without the active noise cancelling enabled. The sound is altered slightly with the technology turned on.
Would you believe I’ve not head even one Outlook notification with these on? That’s worth the price right there.
The phones themselves fold up very nicely and fit into a convenient pouch. The chord is rounded and durable with a coating to avoid tangles and it has the volume control built in just like you would expect. The volume control works with Apple products, but does not work with my Windows laptop, also just as I would expect…
Like I said in the opening, you’ll want to hear these to believe them. Ear buds have made listening, really listening to music a passive activity, an afterthought. Save your earbuds for the conference calls with the office and take a dive back into actively listening and hearing music for the art form it is and take a magical, musical mystery tour with Velodyne’s vQuiet.