The V-Moda Forza Metallo ($130 or £120) is a little smaller than most in-ear headphones, and one of the most comfortable in-ears I've ever used. Soundwise the Forza Metallo looms large, and (being a V-Moda) its build quality is exceptional.
It's sweat- as well as water-resistant, has a newly designed 5.8 mm driver, ear hooks, a fashionable carry case along with a three-button iOS or Android mic and line remote. Curiously, the headphone's impedance isn't listed on the company's website or the packaging. The Forza Metallo also comes in two finishes: gun black and rose gold.
The Forza Metallo's cables seem rugged, and that's great, but I heard them rubbing against my clothing through the headphones. You can minimize the rubbing noise by using the included cable shirt clip. For those who want to add some bling to the Forza Metallo's look, V-Moda offers optional, made in New York City, 3D-printed metal covers for the ear pieces. Also noteworthy, V-Moda's two-year warranty is double the coverage most in-ear headphones offer.
Before I popped on the Forza Metallo, I turned on the "Hamilton Mixtape" album to reacquaint with the last V-Moda in-ear I reviewed, the Zn ($180 or £150). This reimagining of tunes from the megahit Broadway musical sounds great on the Zn, with lots of bass, clear mids and brilliant treble.
No complaints about the sound, so what could the Forza Metallo bring to the party? That's easy, bass was the biggest, most obvious change (as there's more of it), but the quality of the bass hasn't been sacrificed, definition is decent and bass impact is up a notch or two over the Zn.
Vocals sound naturally balanced, as Jill Scott's old-school soul take on "Say Yes To This" from the "Mixtape" album sent chills up my spine on both the Zn and Forza Metallo.
I mostly listened to the Forza Metallo on the New York subway with my iPhone 6S, and the little in-ears did a good job hushing the noise of the trains. Pushing Swiss post-punk rock band Liliput's artful noise way up, the Zn was clearer and livelier while the Forza Metallo had a richer, fuller tone. That's great, but to my ears the Zn's clarity was more enticing and let more of the band's energy come through.
As I continued listening, I preferred the Zn for its superior overall transparency, but it's also $50 (or £30) more expensive than the Forza Metallo. Then again, bass lovers might be swayed by the Forza Metallo's weightier sound.