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Review: V-MODA Forza Metallo In-Ear Headphones

by Paul Strauss
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I recently tested out V-MODA’s Sport Earphones, and I liked them so much that they’ve since become my everyday earphones whenever I travel or exercise. Now, I’ve got my hands on the more premium model, the Forza Metallo. From everything I can tell, the earphones offer the same excellent sound quality, just with fancier materials. So if you want a pair of in-ear headphones that sound great and have the looks to match, the Forza Metallos are definitely worth a look.

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Like all V-MODA products, the build quality and materials are quite good. In this case, the earbuds have metal housings which make them look more substantial than the Sport model. Straight out of the box, the Metallos look very nice, with a clean and minimal design that’s perfect for those going for an understated look. While I checked out the gunblack model, there’s a more feminine rose gold version with white cables and ear tips. If you’re looking for something a bit more flashy, the housings can be covered with a variety of 3D-printed caps.

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The ones I got to check out were printed from black acrylic, though you can also order versions made from precious metals like gold, silver, or even platinum if you’ve got really deep pockets. I played around with the configurator on the V-MODA website, and prices range from about $280 for bronze, and $2500 for 14K gold, all the way up to $7500 for some designs in platinum. Since the amount of precious metal varies from design to design, so does the price.

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Attaching the 3D covers is simple. Just install one of the included “O” rings on the back of each housing and slide the cover over it. They stay on nice and firmly with the “O” ring in place. Like their other earphones, V-MODA includes a wide variety of comfortable ear tips, as well as sport fins and hooks to hold them in or around your ears during workouts.

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Keep in mind that the sport fins that go inside your ear can’t be used at the same time as the 3D printed caps. The sport hooks work fine though. There’s a microphone and control pod on the tangle-resistant cable as well which offers volume and playback controls, as well as the ability to activate Siri or Google voice assistants.

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Of course, the most critical thing about any pair of earphones is how they sound. Since they’re powered by the same 5.8mm hi-res drivers found in the Forza Sports, the Metallos sound equally fantastic. They offer a clean and warm sound without distortion or unnatural color, and plenty of volume. Like most in-ear units, you’ll want to make sure to tug down on your earlobe to seat them inside your ear canal for optimal low-end reproduction. Once you do, the Metallos offer satisfying bass without being muddy. Mids and highs are crisp, but never shrill, and vocals sound great too. Imaging is good, though the soundstage isn’t ever going to be as wide as you can get out of a pair of over-the-ear headphones.

What I truly love about both the Forza Sports and Metallos is their ability to adapt to an incredibly diverse array of music. Whether you’re into Beethoven or Björk, Hot Chip or Hall and Oates, Radiohead or Rae Sremmurd, you’ll love how they sound.

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Priced at $130(USD), the Forza Metallos start at $30 more than the Sport model, so if all that matters to you is sound quality, and aesthetics are secondary, you’ll be happy with the Sports. But if you prefer something with a bit more substance, and the ability to customize to your liking, the Metallos are the ones to go for. In either case, you’ll enjoy excellent sound and build quality that I’ve come to expect from V-MODA.

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