V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Matte Black Metal) Reviews
V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Matte Black Metal)
- Award-winning M-Class sound tuned by over 200 audiophile aficionados
- Patented 50mm Dual Diaphragm Drivers to separate bass from mids and highs
- Clean deep Bass, Vivid Mids and Ultra-Extended Highs tuned by industry editors and audiophiles
- Unique CLIQFOLD design for compact storage
- Ultra compact exoskeleton carry case featuring V-STRAP system
M-100 combines V-MODA’s top-ranked M-Class modern audiophile sound signature with a comfortable over-ear form factor. A true timeless masterpiece constructed from exotic materials and tested to rigorous military standards. Crowdsourcing development from over 200 audiophiles, professionals and music legends, the M-100 includes numerous innovations including a unique CLIQFOLD design that allows for compact storage. Dual headphone inputs allow real-time mixing by allowing you to listen to multip
List Price: $ 310.00
Price: $ 299.99
Same price as Beats Studios, but that’s the only thing they have in common.,
Let me preface this review by saying that I’m by no means an audiophile. I am writing this review to help others out there who may be trying to decide how to spend their hard earned cash on “cool” headphones. With that said, I will be comparing these headphones with the Beats by Dre Studios. Why? Well, because these two models may appeal to the same demographic–people trying to spend a little extra money on quality, stylish headphones for their portable device. To give you a little back story, I travel a lot and need something I can wear on long flights. I saw the Beats Studios at Best Buy and liked the look. I like Dr Dre music and decided that if he endorsed this product it must be good, right (it looks a lot more naive in print form)? I did a little research on the Beats and read reviews on Amazon and CNET. Most of the negative reviews were due to the inflated price, but the CNET Editors and many folks on Amazon liked the sound quality of the Beats. I was able to get them at a discount at a military base, so I thought they were a good value. However, I never really liked the Beats. It was like a bad relationship with a girl that was kinda cute, but we never really had any chemistry; I was always looking for something better. I then bought the Klipsch Image Ones on sale. But when I got home I started researching to see what the experts thought of these. By this time I had found Head-fi, a site for the snobbiest of audiophiles. However, those guys do know their stuff. The verdict for the Image Ones wasn’t positive and they were right, the Image Ones weren’t very good. It was at that time that I noticed that the V-Moda M-80s were very highly rated. I returned the Klipsch and started digging for information into V-Moda. I found out that the Crossfade M-100 was the newest model. After reading what seemed like thousands of glowing reviews (and no negative reviews), I decided to get the white M-100s. Below I will compare the Beats by Dre Studios to the V-Moda Crossfade M-100s.
I don’t know if this matters to anyone, but it seems that all the reviews I read mentioned the packaging. If this is something that concerns you, I would normally say something snarky, but I understand that you are spending ~$300 (you deserve quality). In this respect, the Beats win. The packaging for the Beats is superb. The box is really nice and compartmentalized. The V-Modas come in a much more modest box with less frills.
If you just spent $300 bucks on headphones, you want to ensure they are protected when you’re not wearing them. Both the Beats and M-100s come with semi-hard cases. However, the quality of the M-100′s case is far superior. The shape is very aesthetically appealing and it is also smaller than the Beats’ case–this will be important if you’re traveling and space is at a premium. The headphones also fit a lot better in the M-100s’ case. There is no wasted space in the case; it almost seems that the case was made out of a mold of the headphones. As for the Beats, the case is a little big for the headphones. It doesn’t seem like there was much thought given to the design of the case. It’s bland, kinda bulky and everything is just kinda thrown in there.
Now we’re going get to the meat and potatoes of the review, the actual headphones. The first thing that really disappointed me about the Beats was how plasticky they were. When I actually unfolded the Beats, they felt like a child’s toy. I was afraid of breaking them. The battery compartment seemed like it woouldn’t last more than 10 uses. And the worst thing is what you’ve probably read in many other reviews: the right ear cup makes a sound when walking. By comparison, the M-100s are built to last. The first thing I noticed was that many different materials were used (the headband is a pleather-type substance and aluminum is used on many of the high stress areas). The M-100s give you that feel in your hands that you can handle them without the fear of breaking them. There is really no comparison in the built quality, even going into the peripherals. The cords on the V-Modas are wrapped in Kevlar. This is a big deal if you’re like me and get your cords caught on things. The Beats’ cords are the run-of-the-mill plastic type.
Now I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but having both of these headphones side by side I feel I can give you a pretty good idea about how they look. It’s no secret that the Beats were mainly designed for looks first. However, even in this aspect that is supposed to be the Beats forte, the V-Modas win convincingly. I have the White Studios and the Pearl White with Silver M-100s. If I may use cars to elaborate, the Beats look like a Nissan Altima with all the packages, rims, tint and cool…
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The Best Portable Headphone I Have Ever Touched!,
I’ll start with a quick summary (read this if you don’t want to read the whole review), list the package contents, the headphone itself, talk in-depth about the sound, and finally my overall verdicts.
Note that this is a review for the V-MODA Crossfade M-100, not any other headphone, so I will keep comparisons between other headphones to an absolute minimum. If you would like a specific comparison, please leave a comment below and I can try to answer it. You guys are reading this review because you want to know more about the product and what I think of it. For the average person, $300 is a large investment for a headphone, so I want to write my complete thoughts in-detail about the M-100. This is not a typical 2-paragraph Amazon.com review that glosses over many important details and aspects about the product.
Just as some extra information, the M-100′s that I have are the “VTF-100″ edition, so I pre-ordered these mid-August, received them mid-October, and I paid $310 USD for them. Val Kolton of V-MODA himself said the “VTF-100 is actually the limited first production run of M-100.” The “VTF-100″ has no sound differences from a normal M-100 unit.
<< The Very Quick Summary >>
Audio Quality: 3.5/5 for home listening, 4.5/5 for mobile listening
Overall Rating: 4.125 for home listening, 4.375/5 for mobile listening
+ For mobile listening the bass seems just right to me
+ Bass has a chest-thumping kind of feeling
+ Midrange frequencies have a nice lush/organic sound to them that sounds very natural and tonally accurate; the upper-midrange has a slight emphasis (so instruments such as violins, and female vocals are more pronounced)
+ Highs have sparkle without being fatiguing
+ STEELFLEX headband can be hyper-extended/stretched so that it can be “bent” to fit your head better (flatten the headband to decrease the clamping force, twist the headband to make the earcups angled, etc.)
+ Excellent instrument separation (instruments are clearly defined within a song)
+ Very excellent build quality as a whole (lots of metal parts in important structural areas)
+ Minimal noise leakage despite semi-closed (V-PORT) design
+ Cables are replaceable and do not lock
+ Earpads are replaceable
+ Can be driven quite well with an iPod/iPhone (it does benefit from an amp though)
+ Accessories bundled with the M-100 are plentiful
+ Ability to customise your headphone (base headphone colour, shield colour, shield design, earpad colour, different cables, different cable colours)
- For home listening, the bass might be too much
- Midrange is laid-back in presentation relative to the bass and lower-treble (laid-back meaning they sound distant)
- Upper-treble is quiet/not very good treble extension (likely due to V-MODA decreasing the treble peaks that cause hearing loss and fatigue)
- Soundstage is deeper than wide, which presents instruments oddly
- Earpads are shallow in depth and might be too small in size for people with larger ears
- Earpads tend to get warm and moist/wet
- Some cable noise/microphonics can be heard (with the SpeakEasy cable, a lot more is heard)
+/- Isolation is decent, but the midrange frequencies are not blocked-out very much
<< The Package >>
These headphones have a TON of accessories with the package! The box itself is very nice and of high quality, so it’s definitely a box worth saving. Don’t forget about the inner box within the box (the outside of the box is a sleeve for an inner-box).
Inside the box:
* Official user manual
* 2-year limited warranty (covers headphone defects and whatnot)
* Lifetime replacement warranty (after 2 years, if your headphones break, you can get another pair at 50% off)
* Hard-shell protective carrying case
* Carabiner clip
* Crossfade M-100
* 2 V-CORKs
* ~4 ft. SpeakEasy fabric cable with 45˚angled jack (1-button control + microphone)
* ~6 ft. SharePlay fabric cable with 45˚angled jack (regular audio cable with a headphone splitter at one end)
* 1/4″ (6.3 mm) gold-plated stereo audio jack
<< The Headphone Itself >>
The comfort on the M-100 is kind of a mixed bag.
My ears fit snugly within the earcups with some wiggle room, so if you have larger ears they probably won’t fit in the earcup. I have a pair of LP/LP2 pads with me and they are slightly smaller than the M-100 earpads (there is hardly any wiggle room). If your ear couldn’t fit in the LP/LP2…
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My favorite portable over-the-ears headphones, a bass-head’s fantasy.,
I have a longer and more detailed review posted in the products section at head-fi.org forums, but I wanted to post a little about these headphones here.
Note – I gave them a 4/5 only because they are not as neutral and transparent as other audiophile closed headphones (that usually cost a lot more), nor as transparent and detailed as other open headphones in this price range that are not portable (HD600, HE-300). But that doesn’t mean they are any less enjoyable. These might actually be a 5/5 in their particular category, i.e. closed portable headphone with isolation, except that they will have to compete with the new Sennheiser Momentum and Sony MDR-1, and until I compare them directly I can’t give these a higher score.
I have many portable headphones to compare to the M-100, some much cheaper and others closer in cost – including Grado SR-60 and MS-1, Sennheiser PX-100 and HD-218, Nuforce NE-30, Audio Technica ATH-ANC7, Shure SRH-840, Sennheiser HD25-1 II, and some similarly priced Audio Technica ATH-A900 closed headphones which are less portable but have an upgraded silver plated copper cable. These mods transformed the A900′s sound to be very close to a Denon D2000. Those last three phones were my previous best closed portable cans in the $200-$300 price range, until now. I also just acquired some $199 V-MODA M-80, but they are a gift and still in the box so I couldn’t compare them directly; however, I listened to some at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2012 side by side and feel that the M-100 still top those. At RMAF I also listened to some Sennheiser Amperior, Beyer DT-1350 and Beyer Custom One, as well as Fostex TRP-50. In the end I came home with the M-100 as the preferred choice for my portable needs.
The M-100 are quite efficient and don’t require me to carry around my portable amplifier, with very powerful bass and big soundstage for a closed headphone, and they fold up into a very small package that fits in my messenger bag easily. They block outside sounds nicely at the coffee shop, without making me feel like I’m sitting in a noiseless vacuum like many ear canal phones do (aka IEM, or in ear monitors). Most IEM I can only use at home where I don’t need to hear what’s going on around me. These block just enough sound to enjoy the music at normal volumes, while remaining comfortable and not too tight like shooting ear-muffs (do not try shooting with these). The portable cable with iPhone button and Mic is a great feature. I haven’t used the cable with an extra jack for sharing much, but it’s come in handy once or twice.
For these reasons the M-100 have replaced the HD25-1 II as my favorite portable closed and isolating headphone when I travel, or when I’m simply out and about. And I’m actually using them a lot at home as a fun sounding headphone, even when I could be listening to several of my non-portable $700-$5000 headphones instead. They’re not as good as my high-end headphones, but sometime a person just wants to rock out and have fun with something as forgiving as these. The M-100 might be described as being the next closest thing to a “closed HD-650″, but with more bass and a little more veil. That’s still a good baseline sound signature to emulate.
Compared to the HD25-1 II and SRH-840 the V-MODA M-100 have a fuller, warmer, richer, and more impactful presentation, with a noticeably bigger soundstage. They make the Sennheiser and Shure sound thin and flat in comparison. The M-100 are more involving and immersive, and pack a huge punch with any music when called for. But they don’t ever get bright and edgy or fatiguing, although they do have a little darker tone than a more balanced audiophile headphone. In quiet rooms this still translates into good detail and sparkle in the treble, when the volumes are kept to moderate levels. At higher volumes the mid-bass and upper-bass can intrude upon the lower-midrange, but not terribly so although it does cloud up the midrange a little.
In a worst case scenario with a high impedance desktop amplifier I never need to remove more than 2-3dB at 125 and 250Hz with the EQ. My ATH-A900 are closer to the performance of the M-100 but have slightly less bass control and a brighter treble, despite some added internal felt dampening and a silver plated copper cable that makes them cost $150 more than the M-100. Plus the A900 are not very portable despite the 3-foot cable, because they don’t fold up into a small package. Lastly, the A-900 don’t isolate external sounds nearly as well as the other contenders.
That’s about all I have to say here. In summary the V-MODA M-100 are a very fun sounding and enjoyable portable headphone, even for an audiophile like me. Not everything needs to sound perfect, and sometimes injecting a little fun flavor into the sound is just what we need. The Sennheiser Momentum and Sony MDR-1 that I briefly sampled this year at RMAF have…
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