As my recent reviews of sub $100 headphones indicated, you don't have to spend a fortune to get a high quality sound. But one thing that's lacking with a number of these budget headphones is a design and a build quality. I don't think it's even a matter of cutting corners, but rather a matter of setting a priority where some companies put sound quality ahead of the design details. This becomes evident in designs with bland cylindrical or other exotic shapes that look good in photoshopped pictures but hurt your ears when you put these in. And when you think of the weakest point in a design, the wire attachment to headphones where it breaks first, removable cables is often an option found in more expensive models. That is why it's a rare combination to have a headphone in sub $60 price range with a great design ergonomics and removable cable. If you add a fine tuned sound on top of it, you are looking at the new VSonic VSD3S model I would like to share with you about in my review.
Arrived in a compact box, it wasn't too flashy but still had a nice top display presentation to reveal these VSD3S beauties. VSonic announced release of two VSD models, "3S" available now and "3" to follow soon (most likely already available at the moment of me writing this review). Everywhere on the box you will find a reference to VSD-3, and there is only a small sticker in the corner of plastic top display with "VSD3S" label. Another interesting detail, while most of the other vendors like to put specs on the back of the package, here VSonic presented a picture of professional recording studio with additional description to reinforce their philosophy of "tone quality" being the most important aspect of their design. I will talk more about the sound later in my review, but as a teaser - these don't disappoint!!!
Out of the box, you can't help but notice the shape of VSD3S earpieces. These are designed for over-the-ear wire fitment with a shape which resembles easy-fit ergonomics found in flagship models of Shure and Westone. To distinguish themselves, beside a tinted translucent finish, the outside of the housing surface has a unique diamond cut facets design. To take it to the next level, VSonic also included detachable cables using MMCX connector. Before you get too excited, unfortunately it doesn't have a common MMCX design but rather a modified version of it. Fortunately, you no longer have to worry about throwing your headphones away if you break the wire, and VSonic already working on replacement cables where I hope an option with in-line remote will be offered as well. If not, I'm sure we are going to see it from other after-market places, like lunashops.
The cable itself has quality OFC wires and a nice soft translucent jacket. Cables are easy to manage and wrap without being springy or having a memory effect which comes handy for behind the ear fitment where together with a chin slider adjustment I didn't need to use ear-hook guides. But those guides are still included as part of the accessories package. In addition to those, you also get a generous selection of eartips with S/M/L silicone tips, a pair of double-flange tips, and a pair of soft foam tips similar to Comply but softer. Also, they included a velvet draw-string storage pouch. Furthermore, the translucent theme is carried over to a chin slider piece, y-splitter, and even a clear strain relief of the straight slim 3.5mm jack.
As I mentioned before, VSonic was very clear about importance of sound quality in their headphones. The main sound signature is definitely a balanced bright full body sound with a nice separation/layering. Starting with a bass, I wouldn't call these a bass monsters, but they have a great low end extension and clear separation of rich sub-bass texture and rounded (not as aggressive) mid-bass punch. Bass is very articulate and well controlled without spilling into lower mids. Mids sound bright and detailed. Along with a crisp extended treble in some songs it could get closer to sibilance level, but never crossed that threshold and was always easy on my ears for extended listening period. I do have to mention this upper mids brightness adds a little artificial quality to vocals, but it's just a matter of personal taste. The soundstage of VSD3S is wider than average and has a nice depth to it with a decent imaging. VSD3S was very easy to drive from any source I tested, and I actually found it to be forgiving playing some of my lesser quality mp3s. No microphonics effect was detected either.
Overall, I think VSonic raised a bar to another level with their new VSD3S release where they paid as much attention to a sound quality as to a design details borrowing popular elements previously found in more expensive headphones. Everything from a comfortable earpiece fitment to removable cables (though, proprietary connector), and a great balanced sound with a rich detailed bass and clear bright mids/treble is an indication of a hard work put into this release. Of course, we all have our own sound preferences and some might want to tame down brightness or to boost mid-bass quantity, but if you are dealing with a poor fitment design and stuck with low quality attached cables - nothing could be adjusted to fix that. Here, you have a great in-ear fitment and flexibility of removable cables to extend longevity of these headphones. I'm sure VSD3 model will have a slightly different sound signature, and I'm looking forward to review it as well, but at the current moment VSD3S will hit a sweet spot with a lot of people who value a quality sound and want to have headphones that look as good as they sound!
Here are the pictures.