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V-MODA VAMP Headphone Amplifier (150mW x 2), DAC, Battery Pack for iPhone 4/4S

Amplify your inner audiophile and make your iPhone unique via VAMP. V-MODA’s headphone AMP, DAC, metal casing and battery pack transforms the iPhone 4/4S into the ultimate spy-worthy gadget. The VAMP incorporates a 150mW x 2 amplifier that delivers optimal power to drive even the most power-hungry headphones and pure audio clarity for headphones of all sizes. VAMP also features a dedicated Digital to Analog Converter processor that bypasses the iPhone’s analog output for the ultimate analog sound. Tuned by V-MODA’s M-Class team, legendary musicians and Grammy-Award winning producers, the VAMP offers two selectable audio processing modes for the discerning audiophile. The PURE mode processes audio in the truest of forms and the VQ (V-MODA equalizer) mode tightens bass, sharpens the treble attack and adds a 3D sound that makes the music feel live. VAMP’s To slink/SPDIF digital audio output enables the iPhone to double as an audiophile-level source. Powered by a 2200mAh battery, the VAMP functions as a backup power source almost doubling the iPhone’s battery life. A unique aircraft-grade brushed metal exterior and shock-absorbing silicone protects the iPhone from impact, scratches and dents. VAMP is essential gear for the modern audio connoisseur to stand out from the crowd.

Product Features

  • Integrated Headphone Amplifier (150mW x 2) for the iPhone 4/4S
  • Digital to Analog Convertor (DAC) bypasses iPhone’s analog output for pure analog performance
  • Two selectable audio processing modes Pure and VQ
  • 2200 mAh battery doubles iPhone battery life
  • Aircraft-grade brushed metal and shock-absorbing silicone protects the iPhone from impact, scratches and dents

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3 Comments

  1. Songmic says:

    $600 DAP for iPhone from Hollywood I was one of, if not the first to order the VAMP through V-MODA’s official website once it was put up for sale after months of rumors, speculations and advertisements. Featurewise, VAMP is a very unique product in many ways, and I’d like to discuss its functions and capabilities compared to other portable DAC’s, amps, or DAC/amps before sharing my impressions.First of all, VAMP is a portable DAC/amp for the iPhone 4/4S, but that doesn’t mean its usage is strictly limited to an iPhone 4/4S. Although they won’t fit into VAMP’s case physically, you can also use other iDevices such as an iPod (including iTouch), iPhone 3GS, or iPad by with VAMP via a sync extension LOD (line out dock) cable . Of course, VAMP should still be used primarily with an iPhone 4/4S as it was meant to be for maximum comfort and portability. So if you don’t own an iPhone 4/4S and isn’t planning to get one, then VAMP will serve you little or no purpose.VAMP is special in a way that it bypasses the in-built DAC of iDevices and utilizes its own DAC for better hi-fi performance. As far as I know, there are only three other portable devices capable of this feature: Cypher Labs Algorithm Solo (DAC only), Fostex HP-P1 (DAC/amp), and VentureCraft Go-DAP (the model which VAMP was based on). Most so-called DAC/amps, such as Fiio E17, aren’t capable of this, because the ability to take the pure digital data out of an iDevice through LOD costs the product Apple’s license fee. That explains why gears like HP-P1 or VAMP are a lot more expensive than other portable DAC/amps.To summarize VAMP’s functions:#1. A solid case for iPhone 4/4S, protecting it from scratches (although it would break my heart to see my VAMP damaged instead)#2. Extra battery for an iDevice, doubling its life#3. Takes pure digital audio data out of an iDevice via LOD#4. Outputs digital data from #3 via mini-Toslink optical S/PDIF (fixed to 48 kHz) with digital-digital coversion to another DAC, effectively serving as an iDevice dock#5. Converts digital data from #3 to analog signal via VAMP’s in-built DAC, amplified through VAMP’s headphone amp section with volume control and 3.5 mm headphone out#6. An equalizer function (aptly named VQ mode) which enlarges 3D soundstage and add some bass to music, making some closed-sounding or bass-weak recordings more enjoyable… YMMV.FYI, VAMP is a fully upgraded, uber version of the Japanese company VentureCraft’s Go-DAP Unit 4.0. So it’s made in Japan, but should be overall better than the default Go-DAP, at least in theory.Before actually reviewing the VAMP, some caveats and disclaimers: this is the first time I’m doing a full review for an audio component, so please excuse my bad writing. This is a subjective review, after all, and my ears aren’t really the best measurement tools. Also, VAMP happens to be the first portable amp – or DAC/amp, for that matter – that I’ve bought, so I didn’t have much opportunity to compare it to other similar products. For the sake of review, however, I was able to borrow a Fiio E17 and a Hifiman HM-801 from a couple headphile friends. I wish I could’ve compared it to something like a Fostex HP-P1 to level the playing field, but unfortunately I couldn’t find one around. So without further ado, let’s get down to it.UNBOXING, DESIGN & BUILD QUALITYThe VAMP arrived in a sleek box like most V-MODA products. You can check out Val Kolton’s (owner of V-MODA) cool unboxing video of VAMP, which involves boats and choppers and other gimmicks. Included in the box were VAMP itself, a mini-USB to USB cable, and a user-friendly instruction manual. The USB cable can be used to charge VAMP alone, both VAMP and iPhone, or iPhone only. With the latter option, you can also link your iPhone to a computer for streaming data as well.VAMP looks gorgeous in real life as its pictures are. Snap an iPhone into it, and it makes an awesome-looking combo for portable use. I’ve carried it around outdoors, and it sure was an attention-grabber for many friends I ran into. As for build quality, it’s build like a tank as most V-MODA products are. I was too afraid to test it by dropping it or throwing it around, but it felt very sturdy, almost military-grade. In short, build quality is top-notch.Overall, with nearly double the thickness and weight of an iPhone alone, the iPhone/VAMP combo looks like a badass iPhone on steroids.SOUND QUALITYI mainly used my Crossfade M-80 (V-MODA’s current flagship headphones, soon to be replaced by M-100 over-ear headphones) for this review, but also an AKG K 550 (on loan) and even my Audez’e LCD-2. I compared VAMP to various portable and desktop gears, including Fiio E17, Hifiman HM-801, and my high-end desktop system costing over $4,000 sans cables. I had a couple music playback softwares for the iPhone, from the default player to the…

  2. Anonymous says:

    The other reviews have been very comprehensive, so just a few small points to add…The Vamp drives my HD650 and HD700 headphones to perfection. The VQ setting is particularly good for the HD650 to tighten the bass and “brighten” them up a bit. Really wonderful sound!After reading some comparisons between this and the Go-Dap GD04, I found out that this is essentially the upgraded GD04 with OPA1622 opamp. Not sure about the other components, but the opamp is awesome. I also have an upgraded iBasso D4 with topflight kit and OPA1622 and they are VERY similar. Overall, the Vamp represents a great value.Although only the iPhone 4/4S will fit in the case, a 30pin extension cable can be used to connect the Vamp to almost any iPod/iPhone/iPad made after the iPod classic. I haven’t tried that out yet, but will update this review if that turns out to not be the case. There are 4 screws holding the phone casing on, so it looks like you could even remove that and put together your own case if you wanted.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am an Iphone 4 owner who also loves music and does 95% of my listening on the go. I had my eye on Vamp but wasn’t willing to invest $600+ for even such a unique product as this. Now that the pricing has come down since the Iphone 4/4S has been replaced and V-Moda has a new universal DAC amp coming up, the value finally exceeded the cost for me and I took the plunge.One note- since the upgrade to OS6, Vamp requires a firmware update done at V-Moda to fix some glitches that arose as a result of the Apple software update (not an issue with Vamp). Their customer service department has been fantastic and is taking care of the upgrade including paying shipping both ways.Rather than a lengthy review, I will just say Vamp is an amazing product for anyone who appreciates a quality listening experience and needs something portable to pair with their Iphone 4/4S. My phone fits perfectly inside to form one cohesive unit. Every control is just as easily accessible as if Vamp wasn’t attached. I previously used a headphone amp which required cords, rubber bands, etc. and was a mess. I even tried double-amping to improve the sound with a FiiO amp and ZO2. I thought this combo sounded great until I tried Vamp. I was a skeptic regarding the improvement provided by a premium amp, but V-Moda proved me wrong. With my V-Moda M-100 they work in concert producing the best portable amp/headphone combo I ever heard that can rival many home setups. There are two sound modes- Pure and VQ with Pure being more of a flat or audiophile setting and VQ with more of a “v-curve” for boosted bass and treble. The sound is so dynamic and detailed across the spectrum, I actually prefer Pure mode with the M-100. Owners of darker headphones may prefer VQ. In Pure mode, bass is powerful and incredibly deep without being overbearing; mids are more forward and highly detailed, as if the artist is performing in front of me and highs are well extended and crisp, but never harsh or sibilant.Of course, Vamp is much more than just an amp with DAC as indicated in the product description since it also protects and charges my Iphone. I can’t imagine ever removing my Iphone from Vamp as they have a symbiotic relationship as far as I am concerned. I have been in search of sonic perfection for the past year as I spend more time listening to music on the go and I believe I have found it with Vamp and my M-100.

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