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67 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do believe the hype
There are a ton of new headphone manufacturers out right now and the majority of them are making some outlandish claims about how good their products sound. I'm often skeptical of the ones who spend an almost equal amount of time on pretty packaging and good looks. So, you can imagine that when the hype-train came rolling through with the V-MODA M-80s on board I wasn't...
Published on December 22, 2011 by Philip R

versus
292 of 322 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly Close to Being Really Excellent
First, the good news. These are a very appealing design aesthetically, have impeccable build quality, and an excellent warranty. More significantly, this extremely slick and attractive product also sounds very good, and does not take the usual thumpity-thump extreme bass distortion that is so typical to mainstream consumer headphone designs, especially the ones targeted...
Published on August 9, 2012 by Severian


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292 of 322 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly Close to Being Really Excellent, August 9, 2012
By 
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First, the good news. These are a very appealing design aesthetically, have impeccable build quality, and an excellent warranty. More significantly, this extremely slick and attractive product also sounds very good, and does not take the usual thumpity-thump extreme bass distortion that is so typical to mainstream consumer headphone designs, especially the ones targeted towards the young and hip. VModa has designed a credible product that stands out in crowded field of mediocre headphones that look good and sound ordinary or worse.

That said, there are a few issues buyers need to be aware of. The immensely positive reviews these phones have received on Amazon and places like Inner Fidelity and Head Fi seem to have ignored some key concerns which I will voice to fully inform potential buyers.

First, if your hat size is L, these will barely fit. If your hat size is XL, forget it, these will not fit at all. On headphones like the Sony V6 and Shure 440, my reasonably sized head needs 6 of 10 ratchets. On the M80s, 10 of 10 fits with a bit of struggle. Those with a bigger head than mine need not bother. Yes, you could bend the headband in hopes of getting them to fit your oversized noggin, but why would you want to do this? The Phiaton MS400 and Sennheiser HD 25 are roughly the same size and can accommodate heads of all sizes pretty handily. VModa for some odd reason assumes their users are all well on the average side of cranium size.

Second, the pad that goes on your ear is too small. Again, my ears are not that huge and the HD25 covers up the whole ear nicely, but the M80 needs to be precisely centered to sound good, and then sometimes it moves a bit and needs to be re-centered. Annoying, and unnecessary. If the cups were 10 or 15% bigger, there would be no issue here.

So any other issues for those who have heads and ears that the M80s fit well? Yes, a few. First, in the only truly bad design element seen in the phones, the plug that goes into the left headphone cup needs to be removed before you store the headphones in the hard case. The bottom of the headphone does not have enough clearance for the straight connector on the plug to fit in the case still attached. Otherwise you have to bend the cable at a really sharp angle that looks like it will lead to early cable failure. The cable is high quality and sturdy, but even an excellent stress relief bend is not meant to be kept at close to a 90 degree angle for the long periods of time when the phones are sitting in the case. So this means if you take these on the bus, you first will have to take them out of the case and then connect the cable to the phones before connecting them to your device. Minor, but irritating for a set of phones supposedly designed for mainly mobile use.

All minor issues so far. But now we come to the Big Three Problems.

Problem One: The sound profile - too much accent in the mids! Bass is excellent, well controlled yet resonant when needed, quick response. The equal of the HD25, which is tough to do. Excellent for rock and metal, decent bass extension for other genres. The treble is rolled off a bit, lacks some detail at the higher end, but no real problems as many find truly accurate treble to be fatiguing. The real problem (for some music) is that the mids are boosted too much. Listening to rock where you have a mix of quiet instrumentation and vocals (e.g. The National, Lost in the Trees) the singers sound artificially forward and overwhelm the music. Listening to "Fake Empire" from Boxer on the M80 and then comparing it to the HD25s makes the piece sound like 2 completely different songs, with the M80 version sounding unnatural and unpleasant.

For other types of music where vocals are equally mixed with loud instruments (e.g. Lamb of God) there is no problem and for non-vocal or non-amplified music (jazz and classical) this is also not an issue. Most modern popular music uses studio miking where everything is mixed as coming from the center while jazz and classical recording is more positional (e.g. the drums are on the right, the bass is on the left), so I think that may explain this. This may or may not be a problem for individual users. Metal and electronica sounds really fine (probably rap and pop too though I didn't test those types), classical and jazz are decent, but less energetic vocal oriented rock (alternative) may end up sounding weird. In any case, the boosted mids mean these phones are not very accurate, which may offend audiophiles.

Problem Two: Strong competition at the price point. For roughly half the price of the M80s, the AudioTechnica M50, Sony ZX700s. and Shure 440s will thoroughly trounce the M80s. Bass is as good or better, treble handling is more accurate, and the mids are more natural sounding yet also enjoyable. If you want good sound cheaply, any of those options are superior. They are all somewhat larger phones though, none of them are quite as portable as the VModas (though the M50 does at least fold up, something that the M80s rather surprisingly cannot do), none of them look as nice, and all of them are made mainly of plastic (though very durable and good quality plastic).

If you want something more portable, the Senn HD25s and Phiaton MS400s are in the same price range and size configuration as the M80 and so are more of a direct challenge to it. Both headphones sound as good or better than the M80s, especially the MS400s which have a bit of a mid-bass boost that M80 users will like, though without also having the weird artificial over boosted mids that the Vmodas have. The HD25, though being both accurate and fun in its sound, looks drab and cheap compared to the VModas, but the MS400 is just as sexy as the M80s, sounds better, is more portable because it folds, and fits more ears and heads. It sells for less than 10% more (at time of writing) but the main issue is that the build quality is less impressive (my MS400s are a few years old and still holding up well, but they seem delicate and have a few creaks when they are flexed). Phiaton's warranty is also only half of VModas (one year instead of two), and there is no lifetime 50% off replacement deal.

So big heads and ears need not apply. Getting the M80 unpacked from its travel case and set up takes an extra few seconds. Some music genres don't work out too well with the M80s. There are cheaper or comparably priced competitors that sound better, though none that offer the added aesthetics and build quality of the VModa. Still a contender? Sure, except for...

Problem Three: No Isolation. The M80s have a little port on the back of the driver encasement. This helps them to have a nice airy soundstage, much better than the HD25s or MS400. Well and good. This means others right next to you can hear what you're listening to, though not too much. But this also means you get a lot of sound leakage coming into your music from the environment. If you listen to anything but constantly loud music (metal, some electronic) the quieter moments in your music will let in far too much external noise, even with your Iphone at 75% volume. These phones are utterly hopeless on the NYC subways for most music. Even if you don't ride mass transit, the music in a Starbucks café was getting in the way of jazz and classical and could even be occasionally heard during a Muse album, which has pretty few quiet spots. The subway is a bit of a bridge too far for everything except canal phones, but Starbucks?

Basically if you listen to any music with peaks and dips in sound level, you can only listen to the M80s at home (assuming your place is nice and quiet - in my house, the air conditioning was overpowering the sound at some points!). What is the real point of small portable headphones with awful isolation? If portability is not an issue (i.e. you are at home) why not use full size headphones that are cheaper and sound better? I guess you could use these if you were hiking in a quiet natural setting, or were in the library. Or you could listen to metal all the time and leave the volume cranked, which may have other consequences for the long term... The HD25 isolates much much better, sounds better, and costs the same. It just doesn't look as nice.

So to conclude, I wanted to like these headphones more than I did. The aesthetics and build quality of the design are impressive, and its obvious VModa is trying to give Joe Public headphones that do sound decent. The boosted mids are defensible as they make some types of music sound really good, but the poor isolation in a purported portable headphone is the main issue for me.

Sound Quality is 3 and a half stars. Build Quality and Appearance are each 5 stars. Isolation is 2 stars. I'm rounding down to three stars because the isolation problem does not reconcile well with the VModas main raison d'etre which is portability. Because these are supposed to be portable, the cups are small, the frame is small, the cord needs to be removed when carried etc, all of which cause other issues for the user. Without good isolation, these deficiencies are all exacerbated. Three stars for me. If you like metal, add a star or two.

I hope VModa will go back to the design boards and produce the M80 Mk II; ideally, it would be somewhat larger, would have a slightly more naturally tuned driver, and would get rid of the sound ports and otherwise improve isolation. The M80 Mk I is great in many ways, and comes close to being top of its class.

Testing Methods: 20-30 hours of listening to Ipad and Touch Ipod, no amp used, including about 5 hours of A/B comparisons with other phones. Music Sampled: Rock - Muse, Lost in the Trees, The National // Metal - Lamb of God, Agalloch, Opeth // Electronic - Massive Attack (Mezzanine), Lamb, Portishead // Jazz - Kind Of Blue (Davis), Bill Evans Trio, Maiden Voyage (Hancock) // Classical - Bernstein's Mahler (DG), St Saens Organ Symphony, Brahms Symphonies.
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67 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do believe the hype, December 22, 2011
There are a ton of new headphone manufacturers out right now and the majority of them are making some outlandish claims about how good their products sound. I'm often skeptical of the ones who spend an almost equal amount of time on pretty packaging and good looks. So, you can imagine that when the hype-train came rolling through with the V-MODA M-80s on board I wasn't sure what to expect. One of their models is co-branded by an HBO series called True Blood, they're packaging is nothing short of beautiful and they are nothing short of drop dead gorgeous looking. I immediately think, "this company really knows how to market to the masses, they look beautiful, but I'm not sure how they sound."

You see, there are times when a new product gets the attention of the headphone web forums and it turns into irrational exuberance. I'm convinced that many of the posters on these threads haven't even listened to the overly-hyped headphone in question, they just enjoy being a part of the "gang." The V-MODA M-80 is one such headphone that has been "hyped" a lot lately. I wasn't sure if I could believe all of the good press they were receiving. I've been deceived before by the hype-train. When I finally got a chance to listen to them, I can say that I was surprised.

So my advice with the M-80 is: Do believe the hype. They're really that good.

They are extremely accurate headphones which will please the ears. They isolate very well, which is hard to do with a supra-aural headphone. As such, with the right positioning on your ears the bass will deliver. The vocals come though crystal clear and do not seem to be overpowered by the other ends of the frequency spectrum. There is a slight amount of roll-off at the very top end of the spectrum, but that helps make for a non-fatiguing listening experience. They also have very good instrument separation, that will only improve with a really good source (or even better with an external amplifier). But, if you want to listen to them from an iPod, iPhone or other MP3 player they will not disappoint in the least.

I have owned many, many headphones in my audiophile career and these are "keepers" for sure.

Great work Val and the team at V-MODA, you've got a fan here!

Phil
"SoulSyde" on Head-Fi.org
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST HEADPHONES EVER !, May 21, 2014
the most comfortable headphones ever, very well made and durable,
the sound is amazing, perfect bass and highs, I often need to master some tracks on the airplane before the club and I trust these babies for in depth sound.

having the Y headphone cable works best to link another headphones and also on the right ear pad.

overall the I give this 5 STARS !
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars V-Moda M-80...the perfect portable?, September 29, 2011
By 
I've listened to quite a few "on ears" trying to find the perfect compliment to my VSonic GR07 in-ears. It needed to have an iPhone mic/control for controlling my iPad 2 and it needed to be usable with my Astro Gaming wireless system. I've tried the usual suspects, the Bose On-ears, the Beats Solo HD, the Sennheiser HD25 (minus the mic/control) and none of them fit my ultimate criteria...awesome sound. They all had some downfalls. I wasn't going to spend more than $200 on a pair of headphones so that eliminated some of the other heavyweights such as the B&Ws.

That led me to the recently released V-Moda M-80s. The packaging, the build quality, the craftsmanship, the accessory pack-ins, all top notch. These things will LAST. They come with all of the cables you could ever need, an iphone/ipod cable, a one button cable and a regular audio cable. Most companies don't give you a selection of cables without charging you for em...V-Moda packs em in.

As for the sound...in a word, perfect. These things are almost perfectly balanced. No one attribute stands out other than the fullness I like to hear from a portable on-ear headphone. They hit hard and low if need be and can sparkle on the top end with the best of them and midrange voices...wow, talk about clarity. They simply have no faults sonically from what I can tell. I've read other places that they distort at high volumes and that simply isn't the case. I do admit that I listen a little louder than I should (around ¾ of the way up on the iPad 2 volume bar and at around 32-33 on my Cowon J3) and I've never heard any distortion whatsoever, so I believe that reviewer got a bad pair or their source files were the culprit.

I've got a couple different ways I listen to music. My Cowon J3 is perfect for the M80s, same with my 2011 MacBook Air and my iPad 2. I've never been a huge fan of Apple sound, nor their lack of a true EQ, so I sometimes will add my Fiio e11 amp to it to add a touch more bass. That's not to say the M80s are bass light at all, they are not...they are almost perfectly balanced as far as I'm concerned. They really sound similar to my VSonic GR07s which are one of the hotter IEMs out right now. It just goes to show the versatility of the M-80s. They can shine with virtually any source, amped or un-amped.

If I could complain about one thing, it would be the initial fit and time it takes to have them conform to your ears. The earpads seem to be a bit stiff at first and it takes them a good couple hours to conform to your ears the first time you use them. Subsequent listenings only take a few minutes so that the pads can warm up from your body heat. That is my only real complaint. Otherwise, these are just about perfect. Kudos to the V-Moda team without a doubt.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful headphones if you can get them to fit just right., February 21, 2013
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These headphones sort of break my heart. On the one hand you have one of the finest built, best sounding on-ear headphones at this price point. On the other hand, though, they might also be some of the most uncomfortable headphones you will ever put on your head. Let me go into a bit more detail.

SOUND:
Let it be said that these are easily some of my favorite sounding on-ear headphones in this price bracket. They sound absolutely great and a lot more neutral than I assumed they would.

Highs are wonderfully detailed, but not overly bright (no Grado shrill, here). Don't get me wrong, cymbals and hi-hats will still ring accurately, but it's never going to sound harsh or over-pronounced. Just nice and clear and perfectly balanced.

Mids are where it's at with these headphones, as far as I'm concerned. It's got the clarity of much more expensive headphones, with a nice, smooth, buttery finish. Coupled with the clear highs, vocals in these headphones sound absolutely stellar.

Lows, in keeping with this sets more "neutral" leanings, are also very balanced, though if I had to find one fault with the sound it would be that at times they can be a smidge unrefined. I wouldn't go so far as to call it muddy, but it's not as tight and focused as the mids or highs. It's also not necessarily for bassheads, though I have to say that it adapts very well to a variety of different musical genres. If the bass is meant to stand out in a song, then it's going to stand out through these headphones. Basically, lows are about as prominent as the given source intends it to be, which for most people is absolutely great, but for bassheads, not so much.

Sound stage and imaging is about on par with other on-ear headphones in this price range. These being sealed, you're obviously not going to get that wide-open feeling you get from open-backs, but it does well enough for what it is.

Sound leakage is very minimal even at considerable volumes and isolation is about the best I have ever heard from on-ear headphones...if you can get a good seal on the ear (but more on that in a second).

BUILD QUALITY/FEATURES:
This is another area in which this set shines. These things were built to last. The headband is made of a highly flexible, durable material that let's you bend the shape to fit your head. It's also ridiculously tough. You can bend it nearly flat with absolutely no harm done. Clothwork and stitching is also top-notch.

The cups themselves are high-quality molded plastic with metal accent plates affixed to the outside. These plates can be removed and replaced for a bit of personalization, but to tell the truth, the brushed-metal black plates that come stock already look pretty great. The pads are covered in a high-quality faux-leather that actually feels surprisingly convincing, and the pads themselves feel great (theoretically, I guess).

The two detachable cords included (a one-touch mic cord for used with android/general purpose devices, and a three-touch cord for use with iOS devices) are covered in a nice kevlar coat that, aside from keeping things very durable, actually does a nice job of preventing tangles as well. The only problem I had with the kevlar is that it can get a bit noisy rubbing up against things while you have the headphones on. Nothing too distracting, and nowhere near as annoying as the "stethoscope" effect you get from lower-end iem's, but still worth mentioning, I think.

COMFORT:
Well, here it is. The one area that really breaks my heart with these things. Full disclosure here, I have a couple of buddies that own these headphones that have minimal to no problem with the fit of them, but as far as my (apparently mishapen) head is concerned, these are some of the most uncomfortable headphones I have felt outside of a stock set of Grado's.

The cups simply don't get a good seal on my head 90% of the time. I can never seem to get the angle just right when I'm beding them, and often times one ear would end up getting a much better seal than the other. What's worse is that, given the material of the headband, they tend to slowly bend back into their original shape over time, meaning not only does the headband start to put pressure on my head, but the cups slowly lose their seal and become increasingly uncomfortable. I get about thirty minutes of use out of them before I have to take a break to let my ears rest and readjust the band.

It's sad too, because the pads themselves feel great, almost like a mushy memory foam, but there's just something about these headphones that makes them completely incompatible with my head.

CONCLUSION:
I don't want this review to scare people. I hope the content is more important to people than the score, because like I said, I have a couple of friends who are head over heels in love with these things. I would be too if it weren't for the comfort issues, because they're truly a great sounding pair of headphones for the price you pay...and it doesn't hurt that they'll probably last a couple of human lifetimes, so maybe your future children/grandchildren will love them too.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is like ear sex., April 12, 2012
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I heard about these headphones from the person who pioneered this company. I am a cab driver and on my way up north to drop him off at a night club he let me test out the new LP Crossfade M-80. He was bringing a new one in a box to a DJ at the night club. When he put them on my ears the first thing I noticed was that the bass truly did pop out from the background into the foreground. I sampled a few songs he created as well as a few from some other well known DJ's in the world. I couldn't believe the headphones. They truly did stand out from the ones I was using. Now four months later I finally have enough to purchase the CrossFade M-80. From the packaging standpoint I thought it was over done. But let it fool you. These headphones are no joke.

As I am creating my new tracks I started realizing that everyone was right about me putting in too much bass boost. The reason behind this were my old headphones had been blasted out over the years because I couldn't hear the bass. Once I had these headphones I remixed my tracks and now they seem to be popular among the underground listeners. And it really has me picking which drum set to use for my next track because now I hear how flat a 192 kbps MP3 file really is. For the longest time one of my tracks got over 16K downloads simply because all of the samples were rich in context. I now know why it is my most popular track.

The style is sleek and somewhat mysterious. You really can't see them at night. But I am now getting some custom shields with my logo on them.

The chords feel a bit flimsy to me. I like chords that are tough because they last longer. I will just have to see if they stand the test of time.

Overall... I am glad the owner of the company let me test out a pair before I bought them. If your store carries them definitely give them a test drive! Bring your music player with you! It will surprise you!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great portable headphone, April 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These are a nice set of sounding headphones. It has a slightly warm sound to it but not overly bassy. Almost neutral sounding except for the highest frequencies which are rolled off. But it's not a lean, analytical sound. It's quite musical. The headphones have a solid build to it and feel and look like they can take some abuse. These don't sound quite as good as the Sennheiser Momentum over ear model as the V-Moda sounds a little bit more congested in comparison. But then again I'd pick the V-Modas for use outside the home because of their build. The clamping pressure is moderate, not as soft as Beats Solos but not uncomfortable. The ear pads are comfortable but being an on-ear model, it won't be quite as comfortable as an over-ear model. The accessories that come with the headphones are great too. Isolation from external noises is about average. All in all just a nice portable, on-ear phone that you don't mind taking out of the house. The customizable ear shields are a fun bonus that I'm looking into.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great geadphones, November 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These are great headphones, if you have the money and have the option to pick any head phones in the price range of $150-$200 I would go with these. Made of great material, looks awesome, sound greate. Not to base heavy, but everything just sounds right. You can hear vocals very very clearly. After hearing my friends beats, these just mop on beats. Beats for what there worth are pure cra.p. They are made of cheap plastic, and sound very muddy. Pick these up won't be dissapointed.

One last note, if you have a big head these will be hard to put on comfortable. With a hat almost impossible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely awesome!, June 28, 2014
By 
Karb (Bentonville, AR) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was very happy with my Klipsch Image one (yeah, it's better than the Bose). I had no intention of buying this one, but had to when it showed up in a lightning deal.

First, the sound quality. Absolutely perfect, lows, highs and mid range. Very good bass, less than the beats, but sounds natural. You really feel like listening a live performance.

Excellent build quality, especially the kevlar cable. I'm pretty sure that this one will physically last for a few years.

The case is very good quality. Perfect fit for the head phone and impact resistant too.

I also use this for making phone calls using my iPhone. The voice quality is very good and sounds very natural. This is where I had problems with the Klipsch headphone - the voice sounded boomy.

The warranty registration was very easy. You just had to scan the QR code on the instruction booklet and fill your name and email. The serial number was pre filled.

Highly recommended even with the full price. Better than beats or bose. I will definitely buy one more as a backup when another lightning deal comes up.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST in its class!!, July 20, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
At 140 bucks this is great purchase. Sennheiser's legend HD-25 1-ii is a direct competitor to this and I like its sound too, but this is more relaxed sounding of the two. Good bass, crisp mids, decent isolation, good comfort. Being on-ear/supra-aural, it is always less comfortable than full sized headphones, but cushions of these are soft and would not clamp too tight so you can use it for 1-2 hours or so. HD-25 1-ii clamp a bit more tighter hence are not so comfortable but isolates better and sounds slightly better than this. If somebody is confused between HD25 and these, choose these without hesitation, Why do i recommend it when i say HD 25 1-ii sound slightly better than this? Well for 3 reasons,
1. EASE OF USE- Their nominal impedance is 18 Ohm hence can be driven directly from any portable music player or smartphone with ease, HD 25 cannot be driven directly(nominal impedance is 70Ohm) from most portable devices(including the ipods) easily even if you crank up volume to highest. You'd require nice little portable amp like Fiio e11 to drive HD 25 to its potential.
2. COMFORT - M-80's sound signature is non fatiguing and pleasant. Details are just about same as HD 25. I still love HD25's hard hitting bass though but will not be able to hear it for long because of the same and also clamping is very tight so after an hour or so they start hurting your ears.
3. LOOKS - M-80 are stylish and sexy. designed to bear a very rough day to day usage and built very rugged, Let alone the only headphone 'category'. there's hardly any gadget or gear that has sexy ;looks like this and yest so rugged in any category.
4. PRICE: V-Moda M80 will cost you almost 60 bucks less than HD 25 (at the time of writing this M80 is priced about 141 bucks and HD25 is 199) and in this segment of headphones 60Bucks make big difference.
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