For its first in-ear headphones in four years, V-Moda is offering a heady mix of toughness, good looks and the promise of great sound. Zn is, of course, the symbol for zinc, which V-Moda says has a "unique hardness and resonance nature to deliver a balanced sound." Each dynamic driver is wrapped in solid yet lightweight zinc alloy housing, and the limited edition Zn in-ears boast a signature that's been fine-tuned to appeal to the modern and mobile audiophile. The earphones also come with detachable ear hooks reported capable of keeping them in place no matter the physical demands of the sport-loving, high resolution music lover.
"Audiophile headphones lack microphone or sport features while casual and sport headphones sacrifice sound," said V-Moda CEO Val Kolton. "The new Zn are our most versatile and greatest audiophile-grade in-ear headphones. They were benchmarked to outperform models ranging from US$300 to over $1,000."
The heart of the Zn in-ear headphones are the 8 mm dynamic drivers, which were developed for tonal accuracy and low distortion performance. V-Moda's new earphones offer a gaping wide frequency range of 2 Hz to 25 kHz, 105 dB sensitivity (at 1 kHz 1mW), less than 0.5 dB distortion and 16 ohm impedance. V-Moda has enhanced the midrange frequencies to bring vocals and acoustic instruments to the fore, and the earphones come supplied with four sets of BLISS 3.0 silicone buds (which stands for Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone) for claimed tighter bass delivery and passive isolation from ambient sounds.
The in-ears feature an optimized airflow design for a three-dimensional soundstage and their limited edition status stems from the "Made in Italy" acoustic filters, which are fashioned from limited supply materials – though we're waiting to hear precisely how limited the Zn in-ears turn out to be.
The diamond-backed cable is not just for show, it's Kevlar-reinforced and has been designed to avoid the tangled mess familiar to many IEM users. Two flavors of inline remote are offered, one sporting three buttons for use with iOS devices and a one-button Android version. Each includes a high sensitivity microphone for taking calls or communicating with a smartphone-based digital assistant.
Though, in many minds, the word audiophile may not sit well with the notion of physical activity, the Zn earphones come with patented ActiveFlex sport earhooks. These allow active hi-res music loving types to feed the cables through the wrap-around ear hooks so that the earphones stay in place during a workout, then detach when not needed.
Generally speaking, marketing promises of "unrivaled sound quality" and "unmatched durability" can be taken with a large pinch of salt. But this is the same company that really delivered the goods with the excellent Crossfade M-100 headphones, so we're inclined to give V-Moda the benefit of the doubt. Though we'd have to get the Zn in-ears on the review bench before we can say for sure.
The iOS-friendly versions of the Zn in-ear headphones are available now for a suggested retail price of $180, with the Android flavor following shortly.
Product page: V-Moda Zn