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Velodyne vTrue
$1,000 build quality for $399
© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More

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Velodyne vTrue Headphones

Velodyne vTrue Headphones (24 Ω, forged aluminum and leather, about $399). bigger. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link directly to it at Amazon or to it at B&H Foto Video, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get yours through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.

 

May 2013   Audio Reviews   All Reviews

Audeze   Audio-Technica   Beyer   Focal   RHA 

Sennheiser   Sony   Stax   Ultrasone   Velodyne   Woo

 

Introduction         top

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Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

Ritz Camera

I use Adorama, Amazon, eBay, Ritz, B&H, Calumet, J&R and ScanCafe.

These Velodyne vTrue are big and very comfortable headphones. The shiny parts are forged aluminum, the harps seem like stainless, and the leather really is leather. The vTrue feel tougher than my mostly plastic $1,000 Ultrasone Edition 8, but sell for only $399.

My 6-year-old loves the vTrue because "they look cool."

The vTrue excel at comfort. On my head, they are big and comfy, and I'll admit that I listened to them for ten hours straight one day, and they were still comfortable after all that. I also love having brown leather instead of crappy black vinyl parading as leather. Unlike most of my headphones, the vTrue feel like they are built to take a beating.

Heck, the big and heavy vTrue evoke some of the feel of the even bigger $1,945 Audeze LCD-3, and the LCD-3 won't stay stuck on your head if you're going to go out walking around with them as will the vTrue.

Unlike loudspeakers, the same headphones sound vastly different to each of us because we all have differently shaped heads and ears. Because our ears and heads are different and in different places, our ear canals line up better or worse with the sweet spot of each model of headphone. With this caveat, these vTrue are built better than my $1,000 headphones, but don't sound that great to me. Even the $59 RHA SA950i sound better to me — on my head.

On my head, these vTrue suffer from a presence-range suck-out, making everything less clear than other headphones. By themselves the vTrue sound great, but when compared to just about anything else — on my head — the vTrue lack clarity. Bass isn't that great either, with many less expensive headphones like the Sony MDR-V6, Audio-Technica ATH-M50 and Velodyne's own vPulse easily outperforming the vTrue's deep bass performance on my head. Unlike myself, very few people are using these for careful eyes-closed music listening today, so sound quality doesn't mean as much to most people if your senses are distracted listening with your eyes open watching a movie or doing something else. I listen with my eyes closed so I can see the music.

The vTrue lack the million-dollar bass performance of the vPulse, but the vTrue sound much, much better otherwise because they are so much smoother.

The vTrue sound big, smooth, full and warm; just not as clear and detailed as brighter-sounding headphones and without as much deep bass. To 99% of listeners the bass is fine, but the bottom octave (16 ~ 32 cps) isn't really there.

The blue cables are incongruous and freak me out. Cables are supposed to be black; black is beautiful. They are detachable, so no worries.

What is really good about the cables are the angled plugs. I've destroyed plugs and iPads when dropped with a big headphone plug attached. With the angled plug, it's much less likely to get damaged from sticking out if dropped - or someone bumps into you.

The 90º angled plug also has a slim profile, so it pushes-in easily if you're using a device in a thick case.

 

Specifications         top

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vTrue Box back

Back of the vTrue box.

 

Driver

50mm dynamic driver.

 

Frequency Response

10 Hz ~ 20 kHz, no parameters listed, making this a valueless number.

 

Sensitivity

96 dB at 1 mW at 1 kc.

155 mV is 1 mW into 24 Ω.

Therefore, at 1V, we'd get 112 dB.

 

Impedance

Rated 24 Ω.

I measure about 28 Ω:

Velodyne vTrue Driver

Velodyne vTrue measured impedance magnitude and phase angle versus frequency. (R&S UPL, +90º is capacitive, -90º is inductive.)

This graph is for electronic engineers with at least a BSEE, only. This impedance curve has nothing to do with frequency response.

 

Power Handling

Rated 100 mW, which is 1.55 V into 24 Ω.

For reference, 1.55 V into 8 Ω is 300 mW, in case you're planning on driving these from a loudspeaker amplifier.

 

Plugs, Remotes and Cables

The vTrue comes with two complete weird blue cloth-covered cords with 3.5mm plugs, and a separate 1/4" adapter:

Velodyne vTrue case

Two cables and 1/4" adapter included. bigger.

One cord has an Apple-style remote, one doesn't, for perfect compatibility with anything.

 

Pack Sack

Velodyne vTrue case

Unpadded cloth sack included.

 

Quality

Made in China.

 

Price, USA

Early 2013: $399.

Velodyne vTrue case

Box.

 

Performance         top

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Sound

I drove the vTrue from iPhones, iPad and iPods, as well as the Benchmark DAC1 HDR and Woo WA7. The vTrue sound the same on all; the tonal quality remains the same. Their impedance curve varies little with frequency, so amplifier source impedance ought not make any significant difference.

The vTrue sound big and smooth, but distant. This makes them a poor choice for Mozart or Boccherini.

The lack of presence (on my head) sucks-out transients and percussion. No matter what I do, to me, these are never as clear or as detailed as other headphones.

Treble is smooth, and a zillion times smoother than the scratchy vPulse, and the vTrue's bass is more realistic — not as boosted in the subsonics — as the vPulse.

The funniest way to describe their sound is that they sound like you have your head down closer to a loudspeaker system's woofer!

The vTrue are more reserved and darker than most. They are nowhere near as good (as clear and detailed) as the Ultrasone Edition 8, Audio-Technica ATH-M50 or Sony MDR-V6.

I still can't find anything that is helped by what sounds on my head like a lack of the presence range; even harsher old classic rock recordings like Led Zeppelin don't benefit; the percussion gets sucked into the hole!

Bass isn't great. It's less defined than on the Audeze LCD-3. The Ultrasone Edition 8 has much cleaner, deeper, tighter and clearer bass, as does the vPulse. Yes, some of these headphones cost more, but most people forget that expensive audio gear is cheap, completely unlike video gear or digital cameras. The headphones you buy today you'll still be enjoying in 10 or 20 years, and the quality will be appreciated every day, long after the price has been forgotten.

The vTrue have more mid-bass that impresses most people, and not much deep bass below 32 cps. I wish the sub-bass was boosted as it is on the vPulse, Audio-Technica ATH-M50 and Sony MDR-V6, but it's not.

 

Sensitivity

The vTrue aren't that sensitive in the midrange.

If you goose-up the overall level to replace the relative loss of the presence range when comparing them to other headphones, what you get sounds very big.

I set the level about halfway up for movies on my iPad.

Isolation and Leakage

Yes, the vTrue isolate, but oddly not as much as I'd expect from such large headphones, especially at high frequencies.

Likewise, leakage is higher than I'd expect, but still much less than open headphones.

 

Movies

Movies sound smooth and warm, but again on my head, not that clear.

The vTrue are great for bringing needed warmth to very old classic film soundtracks.

Ergonomics

The vTrue are big and comfy. They are nice and big and soft and solid.

They are tough; there's no need to baby them as I do with my Stax.

The vTrue are supremely comfortable hours at a time. The sound is warm, but my ears don't get hot. Somehow they feel like they breathe a bit.

They ride around the ears, not on them.

The stick on my head surprisingly well for such big headphones; they don't fall off moving around the studio. (I don't wear headphones in public.)

 

Remote Control

The Apple-style remote isn't as easy to use as Apple's own, but nothing else is, either.

It's difficult to find the vTrue's buttons on its remote by feel.

The vTrue remote has a rectangular cross section with the front not apparent by feel, so I always have to guess which way is the front to find the controls.

I often have to hit pause or play twice to get them to respond.

The volume controls work immediately.

 

Recommendations         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More

These are big, solid and comfortable headphones. I review a lot of headphones, and for some reason these don't sound as awesome as I was expecting on my particular head — but they may sound awesome on yours, and I'm a lot pickier about sound quality than most.

If you want big, solid headphones that feel like a million bucks, these are your ticket.

If you want the most solid headphones you can get at any price, these are probably it, too.

If you want big, impressive headphones that say "I'm in charge here, " these are it.

If you insist on real materials, like real leather, then these are among the few headphones with real leather at any price.

If you prefer better sound — at least to my ears — instead of tough appearance, try the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 or Sony MDR-V6 instead.

If you've found my effort in creating and sharing this review helpful, this free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link directly to it at Amazon or to it at B&H Foto Video, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get yours through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.

 

More         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More

Velodyne's vTrue page.

Velodyne's website.

 

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Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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