Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Vdera Sharkfin Review

Vdera Sharkfin Review
Thanks to Advanced Headphones for the sample (AMP3’s sister site)

First Impressions:  Looking at the little packet I’m not sure what to make of these.  it’s not something that would naturally interest me as you may know, I don’t really like buds.  This product therefore is aimed at a different demographic to I.  Still I was offered to give them a go and I thought where’s the harm.  I still have a pair of the Blox M2C, buds that pretty much blew me away with how good they were but were still buds and hence uncomfortable.  Let’s see if the Sharkfins can make them comfortable.


Opening the box:  Inside there is two little tubs of white blobs and a piece of paper with the instructions.  the instructions are tiny and not hugely clear so I suggest you go look at them online and if need be print them at human size.   once you have done that and figure out what your about to do, i strongly suggest you read it a few times and get yourself accustomed to the instructions as you only have 3 goes so bare in mind you need to get 2 out of 3 right.  I say this as my first go I got a bit off by putting the join at the bottom and it didn’t end up wrapping all the way round.  It sort of worked but it wasn’t as good as attempt number two so I redid the first one.

Also be aware that when it says there are two different colours of goo they are both very similar, in my case white.  One was super white and one a slightly cream coloured white.

Moulding:  The getting them in your ears and then moulding the stuff round the buds and into your ear is a little weird.  I’d suggest if you have a good friend get them to do it but I managed it fine myself, it’s just not the most natural thing in the world.  Once you have them in your ear you have to just sit for a bit and do nothing.  Try not to talk as it moves your ear.  After a minute or so you should hear them fizzing and hissing away as they set.  This wasn’t mentioned anywhere and at first I wondered if something was reacting that shouldn't be!  Also another warning, have a box of tissues to hand as your fingers will need them and once the moulds are dry they will need them too.  It’s all rather greasy.

Comfort:  Once all was done setting and I took them out, had a coffee, then put them back in.  I must say it was odd at first but perfectly comfortable.  I’m very used to things going IN my ears but not this filling to outside.  It’s peculiar.  I’m also not used to the not actually isolating properly.  They clearly isolate far more than before but this isn’t going to quite be IEM replacing.  Of course if you don’t want to be entirely cut off from the outside world then it’s somewhat of a boon.


Isolation:  For a bud it’s a big step up, as in there actually is some but compared to my more typical fair, not so much.  If it were an IEM I’d consider this to be one of the most open, least isolating around.  Should you be looking for something to use while running near traffic maybe you’ll love not being cut off from the world.  Isolation in itself isn’t a good or a bad thing it’s what you want and the use case scenario you want it for.  For me with music on it drowned out most normal office noise but off I could hold a conversation with them still in with relative ease.

Sound:  Clearly the Sharkins themselves don’t produce sound but they will have an effect on what you’re using with them with.  I chose buds that I now see may not have been the best option.  The Blox M2C are, as buds go, stunners.  They sound just terrific and I liked them rather a lot.  However, I found them uncomfortable.  These now being somewhat enclosed has changed things.  They are still amazeballs sounding but the formerly light low end is no more.  Oh dear god it is comically huge.  VAST!  Buds designed to live in an entirely open environment tend to try to boost up the bass so that in normal use you can hear it.  Well now I can not only hear it but am being ravaged by it.  My first thoughts where giddy and joyous, it’s ridiculous and rhythmically bouncy.  Many out there might actually really like this sort of thing.  I’m no bass head and this combo is super bassy, so bassy it’s actually growing unpleasant and uncomfortable.  The Blox M2C was never meant to be enclosed like this; it’s not tuned for it.  I’m not sure any bud would be, it’s not like I can try others, it’s not like I even have many I could try.  As I’ve said before I don’t as a rule like buds.

Acoustic quality has also been somewhat impacted in the high ranges, there is no longer the same air and space to be found but that not exactly a shocker.  Otherwise these sound every bit as stunning as the M2C always has.  The primary change is the low end as you would expect.


Value:  Well they are only a fiver and for that it could turn buds into a theoretically useable proposition from me.  Acoustically it gave me waaaaay too much bass but most importantly it gave comfort.  These are comfortable, well so long as I listen at low volume, my ears just don’t like this much air moving.

Conclusion:  Would I buy a set of these, no but that is primarily because I much prefer things going inside my ears.  I’m very used to it but I am aware that many dislike such a notion.  They aren’t used to shoving things inside their ears and they do not want to do it.  Yet buds simply aren’t very comfortable things either.  The use of these weird blobs of goo transforms buds into comfortable bass cannons.  So do you want comfy bass cannons?  If the answer is yes then here you go.  Be aware that if your buds are crap sounding these won’t change that, all it will do is enclose and raise the bass level you hear.  Since buds are tuned with a realisation that they will be radically open they actually move a lot of air compared to an IEM and these change that.  The Blox weren’t the bassiest buds ever and now they are hugely bassy so if you had better want shedloads of bass.  With those provisos in place then if you think it sounds like something for you then by all means grab a set.  It’s only a fiver and they may transform a formerly bass anaemic, horribly uncomfortable pair of buds into something rather more.

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