Moshi Vortex 2 Noise-Isolating In-ear Headphones Review
Peter Donnell / 2 years ago
A Closer Look and Performance
First impressions of the Vortex 2 are very good indeed. The earbuds are nice and compact, but their steel construction gives them a nice weight that’s heavy enough to feel premium and well made. Of course, they’re not so heavy that they will be falling out of your ear over leaving you feeling encumbered.
The milled finish on the driver housing is gorgeous, mixing brushed metal and milled edges, as well as a polished bezel on the rear. They’re shaped like a rounded off pyramid, which means they have plenty of room for the drivers, but otherwise, they keep their overall dimensions quite low profile. Moshi says they’re crafted from “High-density RigidBody housings built with medical-grade steel allow 316L” and who am I to argue with that!
All the cables are hard-wired, so no mucking about required there. The cable does look a little thin, but it feels incredibly strong too thanks to its Kevlar core. There’s a very tight weaving that gives them added strength but also makes them tangle free as well. There are hard-wearing covers on the joints too, preventing the cables from excessive bending where they meet the earbuds or other connectors.
The slim jack is perfect for mobile users, as it’ll not interfere with phone cases or slim phone designs. It uses a gold-plated 4-pole 3.5mm jack. This means it’ll be usable for mobile calling thanks to a built-in microphone, and will even work with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri if you have them.
On-cable controls are very limited, but a single switch on the rear is nicely located and very easy to control. For waking up your smartphone assistant, or simply responding to a call or hanging up, it’ll get the job done nicely enough.
On the flip side, a small bit of branding and a pin-hole MEMS microphone. It’s nicely located too and will sit just around your neckline. For taking a few calls or yelling at Google Assistant to play some music for you, it’s more than up to the job. It sounds just as good for the other caller too, nice and clear pickup and since it’s pinhole, it didn’t pick up much wind noise while I was out for a walk.
For a more comfortable fit without cables flying everywhere, there’s a slide-up toggle. It’s only small, but it’ll help keep thing study, and less likely for your clothes to snag the cable while walking around.
The sound quality on these headphones is… well, it’s bloody fantastic is what it is! I’ve been playing around with a lot of premium headphones in recent months, costing many times more than the Moshi. However, they’re hardly playing second fiddle to more expensive models, and I’m genuinely surprised with that they have to offer. Most impressive aspects have to be the noise isolation and the bass levels. Noise isolation shouldn’t be confused with noise-cancellation. Placing them in my ears, it was like a set of earplugs, in the kitchen I couldn’t hear my kettle boiling, or people chatting in the room with me, albeit that was also with some music quietly playing on them.
Big Bass and Roaring Mids
The sound was immediately impressive. I started out with some David Bowie and Roger Daltrey and the bass was phenomenal, albeit balanced and not overpowering in the mix. There’s bucket loads of detail and texture in the midranges too. Listening to Ghost, Devin Townsend, and Cannibal Corpse had plenty of thunder and crush in the guitar tones, with a fast bass response for the frantic drumming often found on their albums. Aphex Twin showed just how low that bass level responded too, with slow tones being warble free, while still delivering clear highs. The drivers are a little mid-heavy, and less bright than most headphones, but this seems to work in their favour, adding a quality I would often associate with listening on larger floor-standing speakers rather than in-ear drivers.
Burn Baby Burn
I tried the burn-in app, and while I am more than familiar with the process from my experience with home-cinema speakers, it didn’t have any noticeable impact. That being said, they sounded great out of the box. The app is set up to burn in a wide range of Moshi headphones. I suspect it can have a larger impact on some of their over-ear models though. Other features, like the on-cable controller, microphone, etc, all worked great too. While I love that there are extra earbuds included, I ended up returning to the first set, as they fit so perfectly anyway. I like how they’re colour coded too, as it just looks funky.
The carry case is a nice bonus too. it has a snug on each side to hold the drivers, while the cables wrap around the edge and sit inside the protective edges. Compact, tidy and effective; what’s not to love!