Have you ever seen a $300 Bluetooth speaker and thought….”what if it cost 100 times more?” V-Moda’s new Bluetooth speaker, the Remix ($300), may be the first to answer that question. It’s is a heavy hitter in every sense of the word, with a boosted low end, hefty case, and customization options that can drive the cost up beyond that of a Bentley. Wow.
While not historically known for speakers, V-Moda has recently made an entry into the market with the Remix. It features two drivers with a pair of passive radiators — both front and rear-facing — sandwiched in between. On the back of the speaker is a USB-C charging port, 3.5mm input, and 3.5mm output. According to V-Moda, output can be used either as a headphone amplifier or for daisy-chaining to other speakers. In the box, V-Moda included two sets of silicon rings that provide some bump protection, a 3.5mm cable for connecting to other speakers, and a USB charging cable.
As with the Forza Metallo Wireless we reviewed earlier this week, V-Moda wants users to be able to customize — or, we suppose, “remix” — their Remix speaker. Customizations are in a variety of shapes and materials via the V-Moda website; users can slap on different grills, housings, and corners. These customization parts can be printed in a variety of materials, from plastic to precious metals. Selecting the platinum option, for example, drives the price of the speaker up to $370,350 — which is probably enough to charter a private jet to a Bentley dealer and buy a fully-spec’ed Contenental GT. Unfortunately, V-Moda didn’t send us anything so lavish. We have only the base speaker, so that’s all we can review.
V-Moda calls the Remix a “portable” speaker, but we have to disagree. Though it is wireless and certainly “transportable”, the Remix weighs 845 grams without any of the 3D-printed accessories. To make matters worse, its 3mm-thick aluminum case has hard, sharp edges that can easily cause dents in wood and other gadgets if knocked around. In addition, although the aluminum case is beautiful and durable, it’s also somewhat slippery — we shudder at the thought of dropping this speaker on a bare foot at a pool party. We think that the Remix is best used as a replacement for a bookshelf speaker in the home or office.
The Remix’s controls are straightforward. On the top panel of the speaker are five buttons — a power button, volume up/down, a “Pair” button, and a center button bearing the V-Moda logo to handle play/pause, track changing, and Siri. It pairs easily, displays battery life in the iPhone’s notification pane, and links its volume with that of iOS. The Remix gets loud — very loud. We found that at higher volumes it didn’t quite live up to the 10-hour promised battery life, but for general listening we got plenty of battery life out of it, and we think it’ll remain stationery (always plugged in) for most users anyway.
At any volume, the most striking thing about the Remix’s sound is the bass. Though we like EDM, the bass boost in the Remix is just too much. Rock music sounds unnatural, and movies sound muffled to the point where speech can be difficult to understand. Though some will undoubtedly love the intense vibrations coming out of the Remix’s housing, we found it best to position the speaker about 6 feet away from our ears to balance out the sound somewhat. Still, vocals sound distant, which means the Remix only really shines with genres like Vaporwave. Mega bass can be fun, but we’re not sure we want the Remix remixing all our songs to the big-bass club version.
We also tried to use the “VAMP” output as a headphone amplifier, but with no success. When we plugged in a headphone cable, the Remix’s volume would decrease as if the speaker amp was being deactivated, but we could still hear music faintly through the speaker. We tried both TRS and TRRS headphone cables, but neither could get a signal from the Remix.
The V-Moda Remix is a lifestyle gadget that has us feeling conflicted. There are other Bluetooth speakers on the market with a similar sound signature which, although not customizable, don’t threaten to break your foot if dropped. The headphone output didn’t work for us, and we don’t see users daisy-chaining multiple $300 speakers together instead of simply buying a traditional speaker setup. Ultimately the Remix feels like a pet project that needs a remix of its own.
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