Even though weâve had Bluetooth wireless technology for years now, Iâm still a sucker for wired earphones simply because thereâs no battery to worry about charging up. Whatâs more, most of my wired sets sound far and away better than my wireless earphones.
Thatâs why I was happy to try out VAVAâs new âgamingâ earphones. The Fremont-based company, which also makes speakers and other products, is targeting gamers who want surround sound but without the trouble of carrying around a large set of over-the-ear headphones that need charging.
Letâs be honest: thatâs not easy, if at all possible, to achieve with $25 unpowered in-earphones. In order to recreate a surround sound effect that you get from placing multiple speakers in a room and using a spatial audio source signal, you need more sophisticated equipment than this â heck, at least something thatâs powered and uses dedicated digital signal processing technology.
Instead, VAVAâs drivers present a unique sound profile that feels remarkably full and loud. Itâs fine for gaming, but Iâd hardly call it âsurround soundâ. What I will call it, though, is a bass loverâs delight.
Vavaâs gaming buds donât look particularly distinctive. However, the chunky earphones are finished in a lovely matte black with red piping that makes them feel premium to the touch and are easy to spot in a jumble of cables.
They come with a garden-variety cable and a single-button mic-remote combo. The entire package may not look like much, but itâs surprsingly durable â Iâve been roughhousing with these for the past three weeks and havenât managed to get a scratch on them, even after repeatedly jamming them in my pockets along with a bunch of keys and coins.
As far as in-ear sets go, it seems like even cheap buds can reliably deliver clean, crisp audio â case in point, my $14 Panasonic RP-TCM125 ErgoFit. While I like those well enough, I enjoy the Vava set a fair bit more.
These dish out plenty more bass, without sacrificing too much detail at the high end of the spectrum. The result is a powerful, punchy sound that you can really get lost in.
Fire up Knowerâs high-energy dance pop hit âOvertimeâ or Volaâs melodic djent stylings on âStray the Skiesâ, and youâll be treated to sinewy synth lines and deep bass grooves that you can bounce to.
You do lose out a bit of detail, and the sound stage isnât terribly wide â but thatâs mostly par for the course with in-ears at this price point. Itâs worth appreciating, however, that the Vavaâs sound profile isnât overwhelmed by heavy choruses filled with multiple instruments at once, so it manages to avoid distortion and instead delivers a nicely rounded sound thatâs great for rock, metal, hip-hop and electronic genres.
Should you buy VAVAâs âgamingâ earphones?
If youâre looking to listen to acoustic and folk artists, or donât particularly enjoy heavy bass, the VAVAs arenât for you. Thatâs okay, though, because there are plenty of other options to choose from under $50.
If you do like your low frequencies prominently represented, youâve come to the right place. VAVAâs buds offer an instantly recognizable sound that I thoroughly enjoyed over similar models from other brands. When Iâm commuting or working, and want my music to kick my teeth in, these are the earphones I reach for.
At $26, VAVAâs durable buds offer good value for money, and are certainly worth considering if you enjoy a little more bass than the next guy. Find them on Amazon.
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