540 of 560 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 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...
Published 15 months ago by Formula del Carburex
30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
The manufacturer commented on the review below
3.0 out of 5 stars Great sounding headphones but horribly uncomfortable
Pros - They sound great, the soundstage has a lot of depth, and they are the most detailed headphone I have listened to in this price range.
They are great for analytical listening, i.e. hearing tiny details in tracks and recordings. To give you an example of the detail and separation, whenever there is a programmed delay on a vocal track,...
Published 12 months ago by Audio
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540 of 560 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Same price as Beats Studios, but that's the only thing they have in common.,
This review is from: V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (White Silver) (Electronics)
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 paint job; conversely, the M-100s look like a BMW M6. You can actually see the difference in quality. The Beats look like they are trying to be cool; the M-100s look classy, sophisticated and sexy. The M-100s also have a really cool feature that allows you to customize them by changing out the ear cup plates and the V-Moda logos on the sides of the headband (you have to purchase the new plates).
Since both of these headphones are mainly for portable use, they should be pretty comfortable for extended periods. The M-100s are much more comfortable than the Beats. The Beats really warmed up my ears and put a lot of pressure to the top of my head. I tried adjusting the fit, but nothing helped. The ear cups on the M-100s are very comfortable and I feel no pressure on the top of my head. The M-100s also feel more secure on your head; the Beats always felt like they were going to fall off my head.
I reiterate that I am a common fellow not an audiophile. That said, the main thing that really disappointed be about the Beats was the sound quality. They just didn't sound like what I expected out of $300 headphones. I actually returned them the first time I bought them, but went back to get them when I found out that new headphones had to be "burned in." I was just not that impressed by anything. They sounded like regular headphones. I had a pair of $40 JVCs, and the only difference between the JVCs and the Beats was that the Beats had a little more bass. Furthermore, the sound leakage of the Beats is reprehensible. Even at 50% volume on my iPhone my wife would ask me to turn them down because they were distracting her from watching TV (she was ~15ft away from me). If there is something good about the Beats is that your friends won't need extra plugs for their headphones to enjoy your music because they will be able to listen to your music clearly when you wear the Beats. Also, the Beats are supposed to be "sound cancelling"; they are not. Aside from being a pain in the ass because you will need batteries to use them, the sound cancelling isn't very good. Outside noise really creeps into the headphones. But enough about the Beats, let's talk about the M-100s. When I put these headphones on, I instantly understood a lot of the jargon used by audiophiles. Even on my portable device, without an amp, I can hear so much more detail. The V-Modas are so clear and silky smooth. The bass--which is another thing the Beats are supposed to excel at--is much richer in the M-100s. It's definitely punchier, but not overwhelming--and never muddled. The mids are very well defined, I can hear the vocals clearly; whereas in the Beats the vocals on some songs were a bit muffled. The highs are crisp and refreshing--I thought the Beats were too sharp on the highs. One of the first things I also noticed was how big the sound seemed out of the M-100s. It seemed like it was all around me, not just in my ears like the Beats. I also own the Klipsch Image S4 and they also have pretty good sound, but its not nearly as spacious, balanced and full as the M-100s (not a fair comparison). As for the sound leakage, the M-100s are infinitely better than the Beats. The M-100's leak a little bit, but you couldn't make out the song someone was listening to at 5ft distance...in a library. Lastly, although the M-100s are only noise isolating--and not noise cancelling like the Beats--they somehow do a better job and keeping outside noise at a minimum better than the Beats.
Winner: M-100s...by a landslide.
If you're on the market for stylish headphones with superb sound quality, look no further than the V-Moda M-100s. I have never written an Amazon review before, but I felt compelled to let everyone know about my experience with these headphones. As ridiculous as this sounds, I felt I owed V-Moda that much for putting out such a quality product--ridiculous because I did hand them $300 of my dollars for these headphones. As I said, I always felt cheated with the Beat Studios--from the built quality to the sound quality, they just didn't feel like something worth $300 (or even $200). These V-Modas are expensive, but you are definitely getting what you're paying for: quality. And that's really all we can ask for as consumers, we don't want to be taken for a ride. If someone as unfamiliar with such things as "sound stage" can still be blown away by the sound quality, then everyone will be able to appreciate how good these headphones sound. I have no problem with Dr Dre or Monster (I'm one of the few people who've had pleasant experiences with their customer service), but they are definitely banking on the trendiness of their product. I'm just happy I accidentally found out about these headphones, because I am officially off the market for headphones for a while. The V-Moda Crossfade M-100s are simply amazing.
187 of 207 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Portable Headphone I Have Ever Touched!,
This review is from: V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (White Silver) (Electronics)
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 earpads, they might in the M-100.
That being said, the M-100 earpads are MUCH softer than that of the LP/LP2's. The LP/LP2's earpads feel like a harder/denser foam material compared to the M-100. As a result of this, the M-100 earpads have a better seal on one's head than with the LP/LP2 pads since they're much squishier. This is generally good in terms of comfort. Because of the more squishy padding though, the tip of my ear actually presses against the hard dome-shaped driver enclosure in the earcup. This does cause some discomfort and I can't wear the M-100's for more than 3 hours without getting bothered by it. While exercising, this effect is magnified and I can't wear the M-100's for more than 30 minutes without my ears being in pain. Also, since the earpads are made of a leather material, the earpads get quite warm and they do get wet while exercising.
As for the rest of the fit, the M-100 does really well here.
I've tried V-MODA's previous headphone, the M-80, and it had a very small headband even when the adjustable parts were extended to the max. The M-100 doesn't have this issue and I use mine on adjustment 3 of 11.
If there is too much (or too little) clamping force, you can bend the headband outward (or inward) so that the STEELFLEX headband is adjusted to your liking. If your ears are angled relative to your head, the earcups themselves don't swivel so you can, again, bend/twist the STEELFLEX headband at an outward angle to angle the drivers to your liking.
As a whole, the M-100 is fairly comfortable on my head. I gave the comfort a 4/5 because the super-squishy earpads are bothersome for me for long listening sessions.
I won't say much about the looks of the M-100 since "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". I own the white silver model (which is more a creme colour) and I like its appearance because it has a non-traditional appearance: the hexagonal drivers are unique in the sea of headphones out there and the colour scheme isn't very common to find either.
Back to the design, the M-100 has a very rugged build-quality. There are metal pieces in important areas within the headphone and the CliqFold hinge is a first-class hinge. I'm not an expert with hinge design, but I don't see the hinge falling apart any time soon. They feel VERY robust and sturdy such that it makes other headphones' hinges feel cheap. When the earcups are folded inward, a satisfying *click* can be heard. When unfolding the earcups, another satisfying *click* is heard. The mechanism for this is very clever: the hinge has multiple metal discs, one of which has a metal nub; when the headphone is folded/unfolded, the metal nub slides out of a niche on a different metal disc and goes into another niche to make the *click* sound. You really have to see and feel it in-person to realize how clever and robust the mechanism is.
The STEELFLEX headband is designed to be stretched, bent, and/or contorted so that it won't snap. I wouldn't advise doing so, but it's a nice safety net for peace of mind.
Likewise, the removable cable is a nice safety net in case the "headphone" goes bad and it turns out it's only the cable. The cables do not lock so if you tug on the cable, the cable pops off instead of bringing down the whole headphone...and yes I have accidentally tugged on the cable before; the non-locking cable is a huge relief for that purpose. The dual-entry earcups is a nice addition in case you prefer the cable entry to be on the right-side instead of the left like on most every-other headphone out there. Cleverly enough, this dual-entry earcup allows you to share music with others using the other port, OR you can play music from 2 different sources at once to get a mixed music experience. To prevent dust from getting into the entry ports, you can "plug" the ports with the included V-CORKs. Also, cleverly enough, the M-100 was tuned with 1 earcup entry in use such that without the second port being blocked (whether it be with a V-CORK or another headphone jack), the sound in the other channel is slightly imbalanced. You probably won't even notice the difference (I don't), but it was something that Tyll at Innerfidelity.com measured with his measuring equipment.
One thing I don't like about fabric cables is that they tend to fray over time. This has happened to some extend on both cables, but much more so with the SpeakEasy cable even though I use it less than the SharePlay cable. With any cable, there is some cable noise when the cable rubs on your shirt or jacket, again being more evident with the SpeakEasy cable. While this usually isn't an issue for me, it is kind of annoying since fabric cables tend to produce a higher-frequency noise compared to a more traditional rubber or plastic-coated cable.
The V-PORT design is interesting because it does make the M-100 leak music more so than other headphones, but it's not nearly to the same extent as an open-back headphone. If you're listening to music at reasonable volume levels, the noise leakage should not be a problem at all. Also, I'm not sure if the V-PORT design but the noise isolation of midrange frequencies isn't the best I've heard in a headphone in this price range. I can still carry out a conversation with a friend while listening to music (a good thing for me, but it might be a bad thing for you).
The earpads, as explained in the comfort section, are too squishy for me for long listening periods so my ear gets hard-pressed on the dome-shaped driver enclosure withing the earcup.
The replaceable shields, although very cool, can crack the earcup's plastic. Word to the wise, do NOT over-tighten the shield's hex screws! This is probably a user-error so I won't blame V-MODA. Speaking of the earcup's plastic though, I have accidentally dropped the M-100's on a hard carpet surface and the enclosure is cracked a little bit. I'm not worried about it at all, but it's something to keep in mind: plastic is not indestructible. Adding on to that fall experience, one of the earcups actually detached from the yokes holding the earcups in place. This is all by design so it's easy to pop back in.
As a whole, the M-100 is well-designed. My only real gripes with the design are the earpad and the dome-shaped driver enclosure so I give the design a 4/5.
<< Sound >>
OK the important part of the review. I will divide this section into 4 sub-sections: home listening, mobile listening, amping, music I listen to. I have let the M-100's "burn-in" for 144+ straight hours with pink noise and I did not noticed any differences between the "burned-in" M-100 and the out-of-the-box M-100. Burn-in is still a myth and/or psychological difference to me. Even after an additional 200+ hours of listening to the M-100's with my own music, as well as letting the earpads and headband adjust to my natural head shape, my observations with the M-100 have not changed.
What is home listening? Listening to your music in an environment with minimal background noise (e.g. quiet office cubicle, silent library room, a quiet bedroom, etc.).
The bass for home listening is really too much for my personal tastes and I find that it intrudes into the midrange too much. If you listen to a lot of midrange-centric music (classical, folk, some types of pop, smooth jazz, etc.), the bass is really too distracting as it is very forward relative to the midrange and thus midrange-centric music just doesn't sound right. On the other hand the bass has very good extension (meaning it easily produces lower-bass and sub-bass frequencies), is very clean tight or well-controlled and it is very accurate especially for a headphone at its price. Also, the bass gives you a kind of chest-thumping feeling especially with a drumset's bass pedal. Of course it's not the same feeling one would get from a club, or a good speaker system, but it's a very satisfying bass if you listen to a lot of electronic-based music.
Like I mentioned in the bass section, the midrange frequencies feel distant relative to the bass. Tonally, the midrange sounds very good and accurate considering the price, especially when compared to other competing headphones. The midrange as a whole has some nice warmth in it which makes the midrange sound lush and organic. While I find the midrange to be really great in that regards, I can't help but think the midrange feels left out when the bass is right in your face. I listen to a lot of midrange-centric music genres for home listening, so it's hard for me to completely enjoy those genres with the forward bass, laid-back midrange of the M-100. By no means is the midrange bad for the M-100, but I just can't groove to the midrange in a lot of my music because it's so distant-sounding.
More specifically about the midrange, the lower-midrange (male vocals, lower guitar and piano notes, etc.) seems to be veiled by the big bass to an extent; veiling meaning not-in-focus and lacking in detail. If you listen to Seal and/or Michael Jackson's music for example, their lower-pitched voices gets over-shadowed by the big bass. On the other end of the midrange, the upper-midrange, they are slightly emphasised. What this means is that upper-midrange sounds such as female voices, violin, upper piano notes, etc. have more of a forward presence compared to the lower-midrange and thus have a lot of details. As a whole though, the entire midrange is still laid-back relative to the bass.
V-MODA has a tendency to tune their products such that ear fatigue and sibilance are removed from your experience. Supposedly these frequencies are artificially spiked in many headphones and can cause hearing loss. I don't know if this is true or not, but I have noticed that the treble is not very fatiguing at all compared to other headphones I've heard. In terms of tonality, the treble does seem a bit artificial-sounding, but it sounds much better than a lot of the competition from my experience. The lower-treble is slightly pronounced like the upper-midrange, so sounds like initial snare drum hits have a nice presence in a song. On the other hand, the upper-treble is pretty quiet relative to the rest of the treble so cymbal crashes sound kind of dull and lacking in detail. This can attribute to a lack of treble extension and some rock tracks don't sound very lively as a result of this. The treble is sparkly though, so cymbal hits have a nice "tss" sound to them. One thing that really bothers me with some headphones is sibilance, which is in the upper-midrange/lower-treble region. Although the M-100 has a slight emphasis in this area, they never become sibilant at all. No unnatural-sounding, annoying "ssssssss" sounds can be heard with female voices and snare drums.
Soundstage and Instrument Separation:
The M-100's have very excellent instrument separation compared to the rest of the competition. The instruments being played within a song are well-defined and nothing really feels muddled together.
Although the front of the box says: "the soundstage...colossal", I wasn't particularly impressed with the soundstage. It is fairly spacious for a closed-back headphone but I've heard a larger soundstage in other closed-back headphones in the same price range. I didn't find the soundstage to be particularly wide (if you close your eyes, the spread of the instruments around your left and right ears indicates the width), but I did find the soundstage to have a large depth perception (if you close your eyes, how far away the instruments are from your head indicate depth). This more depth-based soundstage sounds unnatural to my ears because if you imagine the stage in which sound is being played, a natural stage is wide and has some depth (such as a concert stage). The depth-based stage makes the stage rather narrow and very long in depth, it just doesn't sound right for me. What this does for the sound is that although the instrument separation is good, the instruments are layered in a depth-based stage. Left and right stereo imaging is thus reduced and isn't the most accurate from what I've heard, especially for gaming and listening to binaural recordings (people call binaural recordings "3D" sound). In general, I often find the bass (drum pedal and bass guitar) to be in the front stage, lower-treble (snare drum hits) slightly behind this, upper-midrange (female vocals, upper violin notes, etc.) behind the lower-treble, the rest of the midrange a few steps away from the upper-mids, and the cymbals as a whole in the very back of the stage. Because of this layering effect, the drumset sounds very unnatural to my ears as the bass pedal is in-your-face and the cymbal crashes are way in the back of the stage. It is also because of this soundstage that the midrange in general seems pretty distant from the bass and some treble.
So for home listening, the odd-sounding soundstage presents instruments in a way that is really awkward for me to listen to as the bass sounds are dominating over the midrange and the lack of treble extension makes many rock songs non-ideal with the M-100. Likewise, orchestra, classical, folk, and some pop music sounds weird with this kind of presentation. This makes the M-100 a genre-specific headphone so music genres that rely on electronically-produced sounds will likely excel with the M-100. Of course using an EQ or even earpad modifications can help, but I am reviewing the M-100 as it is, not modified. 3.5/5 for the sound while home listening
What is mobile listening? Listening to your music in an environment with extra background noise (e.g. people chatting in the background, walking between classes at school, waiting for your flight at an airport, etc.). It is to my understanding that V-MODA refers to such people as "road warriors" (this was mentioned in their official press release for the M-100). As such, the M-100 was built specifically for this type of listening, and demographics, which factors in as to why I give the sound quality rating a 4.5/5 for mobile listening as I think it's the best mobile headphone I have ever touched. Since I already covered what the M-100 sounds like in general for home listening, I will just list the differences in sound for mobile listening.
So the bass may have been too much for home listening, but with the extra background noise while mobile listening, the bass gets drowned out and it actually sounds very nicely balanced with the rest of the sound spectrum. Call me stupid, but when I use the relatively bass-light Shure SRH940 while mobile listening, the bass is gone; it's really non-existant and I need to apply a massive bass-boosting EQ. Any complaints I have about the bass for home listening is immediately negated for mobile listening. The bass quantity while mobile listening is reduced such that I can still comfortably hear the bass in a noisier environment, while still keeping that chest-thumping feeling. Perfect bass in my opinion.
Similar to the bass while mobile listening, the nitpicks I had for the midrange while home listening are somewhat remedied with the extra background noise. The midrange while mobile listening doesn't sound nearly as laid-back as while home listening, so the midrange is ever-so-slightly more clear while mobile listening. It is still laid-back though and it is noticeable, but it's at least more tolerable for me to listen to than for home listening.
And once again, just like the bass and midrange, the treble seems a little more pronounced while mobile listening, so cymbals are a little more audible and more balanced with the rest of the sounds. The treble extension does still seem a bit lacking, but rock music sounds more lively compared to home listening nonetheless. Listening to Nightwish's albums while mobile listening sounds AWESOME!
Soundstage and Instrument Separation:
The instrument separation still retains its high value, instruments are still well-defined.
The depth-based soundstage is reduced while mobile listening such that the depth is not nearly as obvious and the soundstage thus sounds a little more natural to my ears. The soundstage is still lacking in width for my personal preferences but it is certainly acceptable.
For mobile listening, any complaints/nitpicks I had for the M-100 while home listening are remedied with the extra background noise. I only wish the midrange was a little more forward and the soundstage a little wider, but as a whole the M-100 is the BEST mobile headphone I have ever touched, especially considering its competition at a similar price range. More music genres are listenable while mobile listening as a result of this difference in sound. Very nicely balanced bass, clear, tonally-accurate midrange, balanced treble that is sparkly and non-fatiguing, very excellent instrument separation: 4.5/5 for mobile listening
First and foremost, the M-100 does NOT need an amp in order to sound good. This isn't an AKG K 701 where it's really inefficient and has a high impedance. The M-100 is quite sensitive and fairly easy to drive at 32 ohm. Because of its high sensitivity, you might be able to hear the "background hiss" of some sources like you can often hear with in-ear earphones.
Also, because of this high sensitivity and low impedance, these headphones can get LOUD. I don't care for loud listening volumes that cause hearing damage, but if that's what you're into, the M-100's do get loud. I don't know why, but that seems to be a popular theme amongst YouTube comments in headphone reviews: "do they get loud?"
With that out of the way, the M-100 does benefit from an amp depending on how good your source is. For the most part, the M-100 pairs well with inexpensive, portable headphone amplifiers, so you don't need to go out of your way and purchase a super, high-fidelity headphone amplifier that costs over $300.
From what I have, a FiiO E7 USB DAC and a JDS Labs (or the UK equivalent, Epiphany Acoustics) Objective2 (also known as the O2), the O2 is by far the best headphone amplifier I have heard with the M-100's. For the record, I have tried the M-100's with other headphone amplifiers (cheap to really expensive), and the O2 just really pairs nicely with the M-100. The O2 and M-100 combo is simply killer! The bass's chest-thumping effect is increased, the whole sound spectrum as a whole sounds cleaner and instruments are more clearly-defined thus increasing the instrument separation, more details within the whole sound spectrum can be heard, the treble extension is a little better, and the soundstage is increased in width (yay!). With the O2, everything just sounds so crisp and well-defined. It's hard to describe in words, but maybe it's like viewing a photo through frosted glass and regular clear glass (though not to the same degree). It really makes a noticeable difference, regardless of what source you're using (unless you already have a super high-fidelity setup of course). The difference isn't night and day, like I said because it is very efficient and easy to drive, but having a relatively neutral and uncoloured amplifier does help bring the M-100 to its maximum potential.
That being said, the same benefits of the O2 are still heard through the less expensive FiiO E7 (as an amplifier, not a USB DAC) but to a lesser degree. So if you can't afford a headphone amplifier over $100, the E7 still pairs quite nicely with the M-100. I should mention on the other hand, that the benefits from the E7 depend on how good your current source is. I own a 2008 MacBook and the E7 makes a HUGE difference in sound quality with the M-100 compared to its headphone out port. I use a Sansa Clip Zip portable media player for listening to music on the bus, and the E7 likewise provides a nice increase in sound quality for the M-100. On the other hand, I also own a new 2012 Retina MacBook Pro and the sound quality with the E7 seems to be decreased compared to its headphone out port. In the end, depending on how good your current source is, a portable amplifier may or may not be beneficial for the M-100.
If you so desire, a coloured amplifier can also benefit the M-100. I have tried a Digizoid ZO2 portable subwoofer amplifier and I found that it increases the M-100's "fun" factor. If you use the ZO2 at the green or green-yellow colour "settings", the M-100's have a noticeable increase in sub-bass and lower-bass. Fortunately this increase in bass does NOT ruin the rest of the sound spectrum, and it just makes the bass more fun to dance to. So, if you want a headphone amplifier that makes the M-100 more "fun" to listen to, I would actually highly recommend the ZO2.
*Music I Listen To*
I listen to a large variety of music artists and music genres. Most of my albums are either in the form of a CD, accurately ripped EAC FLAC files, or FLAC files downloaded from Bandcamp. If I used an MP3 file, except where noted, it is encoded as a V0 LAME MP3 file.
László Szendrey-Karper - Hungarian Chamber Orchestra - Guitar Concertos & Sonatas - Antonio Vivaldi & Francesco Geminiani
Leo Ku - Strings Fever
Opus Two, Charles Bernard, Marin Mazzie - Leonard Bernstein: Violin Sonata, Piano Trio, New Transcriptions
Yo-Yo Ma - Richard Strauss, Benjamin Britten: Sonata for Cello & Piano, Simply Baroque 2
Yury Boukoff, Mark Drobinsky, Rasma Lielmane - Richard Strauss: Les Trois Sonates
2CELLOS - 2CELLOS
Lindsey Stirling - Lindsey Stirling
ThePiano Guys - ThePianoGuys
Vanessa Mae - Choreography
Ambidextrous & Morkva - A&M
Amon Tobin - Bricolage, Foley Room, ISAM, Out from Out Where
Deadmau5 - 4x4=12, For Lack of a Better Name, Random Album Title
Fila Brazillia - Luck Be A Weirdo Tonight
Ladytron - Best of 00-10 Deluxe Edition
Little People - Mickey Mouse Operation, Unreleased Bits & Pieces (Part 1 and Part 2), We Are But Hunks Of Wood
Massive Attack - Mezzanine
TiŽsto - Magikal Journey: The Hits Collection
Trash80 - Hologram EP, Icarus EP, Weeklybeats 2012, various singles
Yosi Horikawa - Wandering EP
Dr. Chesky - Dr. Chesky's Sensational Fantastastic and Simply Amazing Binaural Sound Show
Jamey Haddad Mark Sher - Explorations in Space and Time (24-bit/96 kHz, binaural)
Ottmar Liebert - The Hours Between Night + Day, Up Close (24-bit/96 kHz, binaural)
12 Girls Band - Eastern Energy, Romantic Energy
Beth Orton - Comfort of Strangers, Daybreaker, Trailer Park
Chen Dacan Chinese Ensemble, Soloist Li He - Classical Chinese Folk Music, Featuring the Chinese Flute
I Ching - Of The Marsh And The Moon (24-bit/96 kHz, binaural)
Joanna Wang - Start From Here
Shan Di Orchestra - China-The Middle Kingdom
Various Artists - Pu'ukani: 'Sweet Music' of Hawai'i
Yoshida Brothers - Ibuki, Yoshida Brothers II, Prism
Jon Cleary - Jon Cleary and the absolute monster gentlemen
Tower of Power - Bump City
M-Flo - Cosmicolor
Quincy Jones - Back on the Block
Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
Deems - Deem's Greatest Hits
Fourplay - Between the Sheets, Fourplay
Mongo Santamaría - Montreux Heat!
Quincy Jones - From Q, with Love
Vince Guaraldi - A Charlie Brown Christmas [Starbucks Exclusive]
Gabriela Montero - Baroque, Sergei Rachmaninov
Yuja Wang - Sonatas & Etudes: Chopin, Scriabin, Liszt, Ligeti; Transformation: Stravinsky, Scarlatti, Brahms, Ravel; Yuja Wang: Rachmaninov
Adele - 21
Fahrenheit - 越來越愛, 雙面飛輪海
Gigi Leung - 怕寂寞的貓
Lady Gaga - Born This Way, The Fame, The Fame Monster
Michael Jackson - Bad (24-bit/96 kHz)
Peggy Hsu - 奇幻精品店
Pet Shop Boys - Please, The Most Incredible Thing
S.H.E - Play, SHERO, Super Star, 愛的地圖
Taylor Swift - Fearless, Speak Now, Taylor Swift
Vitas - Say You Love, Philosophy of Miracle
Slightly Stoopid - Chronchitis, Everything You Need
1724 Records - Beijing Post-Rock
Battles - Gloss Drop
Boris - Heavy Rocks
Cloudkicker - Beacons
GACKT - Diabolos, Episode.0, Mizerable
HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR - Swamp Man
Moi dix Mois - D+SECT, Diaxandu
Nightwish - Angels Fall First, Imaginaerum, Once, Wishmaker
Pink Floyd - The Wall
Stereopony - Over The Border
The National - Exile Vilify
Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul
Seal - Best 1991 2004 (24-bit/96 kHz), Seal, Seal 6: Commitment, Soul 2
Usher - Confessions
Chiaki Ishikawa - Bokurano OP & ED
Daft Punk - Tron Legacy Original Soundtrack
Jun Maeda, Shinji Orito, Magome Togoshi, OdiakeS - various Key anime soundtracks (Air, Clannad, Clannad: After Story, Kanon, Kanon 2006)
Isaac Hayes - Shaft
Official Music Created for Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs - Sound Sketches of Ancient Egypt
The Track Team - The Legend of Korra Unreleased Music (16-bit, 48 kHz, 256 kbps)
Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra - 涼宮ハルヒの弦奏
Various artists - Tron Legacy Reconfigured
<< Conclusion >>
Overall, despite the nitpicks for sound, I think the M-100 is definitely worth the price you pay for. I was originally looking for a headphone that would better suite my needs for mobile listening, mainly a warm-sounding, bass-boosted, durable, compact headphone since my previous Shure SRH940 headphones weren't very good for the music genres I listen to while mobile listening (you can check out my review for them by clicking on my name). The M-100 meets and exceeds all of these criteria and if I could, I would give their value a 10/5 because they really are the perfect headphones for me for mobile listening. Other portable headphones I've tried (e.g. all of the ones from the Apple Store) can't live up to what the M-100's offer. The M-100's really do "stand above the rest" of the competition from my experience.
For home listening, I would honestly pick a different, more audiophile-friendly and balanced headphone because the M-100's odd soundstage, presentation of instruments, and laid-back midrange are a detraction for me and the music genres I listen to. However, for mobile listening, I would look no further. The M-100's slay other competing headphones in its price range for mobile listening, and to some extent even home listening (headphones at the Apple Store come to mind for these comparisons).
Would I recommend the M-100? Yes for music genres that rely on artificial/electronically-produced sounds and for mobile listening, no for music genres that are midrange-centric, rely on naturally produced sounds, or home listening(without any modifications or EQ's).
<< Thanks >>
Thank you for taking the time to read through, or glance over, my review. I realize this is a big 'ol, long review, but I hope this is helpful in some way or another. I like to write detailed thoughts and explanations to justify my ratings, so hopefully you guys can get a better sense of what I experience and make a better-informed decision on this $300 purchase. Don't forget though, V-MODA offers a 60-day test trial for any of their products if you make purchase from their website. If you don't like the product within 60 days, you can return it for a full-refund. It's a nice program if you still aren't sure if you'll like the M-100. Why not give it a try?
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave a comment below and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.
Thanks again for taking the time to read this!
55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally found the perfect headphones,
This review is from: V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (White Silver) (Electronics)
I work at the Apple store at have the opportunity to sample and purchase most of today's most popular over-the-ear headphones. The B&W P5s, Logitech UE 6000, Klipsche Image One, Harman Kardon BT, Sennheiser Amperior, the entire Bose line, Ludacris's SOUL SL300, Various skull Cand(ies) and finally, last but not least, every "Beat" Dr Dre could offer (the Solos, the Studios, The more recent Executives, the Pros, and even the Mixrs) have all graced my ears at one point in time. However, despite all these fantastic options from some very reputable sound gurus, I was nevery truly satisfied. FINALLY, however, i have found a headphone I can truly be satisfied with. V-Moda is a name that brings a lot of success, with their M80s winning various awards and recognition amongst the audiophile community for their unbelievable sound at a modest price. The M100 do them one better by offering a solid, beautiful, great sounding headphone for the same price as most of the headphones I just listed. To begin, the build quality is unbelievable. One thing that really turned me off to the Beats were how poorly they were manufactured. In the store, we would go through countless Beats headphones that we used as demo units because they would just keep breaking, cracking, pads would fall off, cables would fray, and some even blew out. And the UE 6000 offered a great alternative to its more bass-heavy acoustics but were still made out of plastic. The P5s, which are some incredible headphones, just lacked some the punchiness our younger generation is looking for. V-Moda puts these headphones through vigorous testing, and it clearly shows as soon as you take them out of the box. They are solid metal for most of the construction, the cables are tough, and the innovative collapsable hinge is a sweet little feat of engineering. They are also just plain gorgeous. They are flashy and edgy while being refined and traditional. They are able stand out without having to put some gaudy "b" logo on the side of them, and make you feel like your wearing a piece of art on your head. They are ultra comfortable with the micro fiber ear pads, and the ability to put the audio chord on either side is a simple yet desirable feature. Finally, they sound perfect. The reason that I have personally gone through so many headphones is because I was looking for that perfect sound: the clarity and perfection of a Bose, Klipsch, or B&W, with the punchiness of an UE, Skull Candy, or Beats (without being so overbearing, of course). These cans offer fantastic clarity for vocals and high tones, yet when the bass hits it feels like your plummeting deep into bottomless cavern. Yet they remain to "overbearing-less" and still offer a fantastic mid-range to blend the sound together like a creamy milkshake. Its hard to find a headphone that can be built well, good looking, and sound like the best of all worlds, but I believe the V-Moda M100s do it perfectly. For me, they are the ultimate headphone and offer the "cherry on top" to my collection of gadgets and gizmos, and I highly recommend you take the opportunity to put these puppies on your head. You may not be as obsessed as I, but I guarantee you will be impressed.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Video Review of the V-Moda Crossfade M100's,
This review is from: V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Matte Black Metal) (Electronics)
VModa may be the best kept secret in the world of high-end headphones. Not that they are that *big* of a secret, but compared to Beats, Bose, and some of the others they do not get nearly the publicity. This is unfortunate because the V-Moda M-100's are, easily, the best sounding headphones that I have used. The sound is deep and very rich -- it may slightly under-emphasize some of the mid-range, but if you'd like you can always add it back with an EQ. Compared to Beats by Dre... there really isn't a comparison -- the V-Moda M100 beats (no pun intended) across the board (including in bass).
- Sound -- as I mentioned the sound quality and volume is top-notch. The M100's are so efficient the top volume on my iPad is actually too loud for my comfort.
- Sound Performance -- Again, excellent... you will notice instruments and intricacies that you previously never noticed in your music. The soundstage is 3 dimensional... it reminds me of sitting in the middle of well-designed sound room.
- Sound Leakage is very minimal -- I always get nervous on a plane that the guy next to me is going to throw his drink in my face due to sound leakage in my headphones. I don't have any concerns with the M100's
- Comfort -- nice memory foam style cans -- the headband is easily adjustable. I have a big head and I do not have any issue with the fit.
- Style -- They may not have the *cool* look of the Beats, but they do have a more industrial and sophisticated look. If you are into customization you can buy customized side plates.
- Build quality -- very good all metal design. They may not withstand getting run over by an automobile, but they certainly are strong enough for the day-to-day beating of being placed in a backpack.
- Portability -- A big advantage of the M100's over the V-Moda CrossFade LP2s -- they earpieces fold in nice and tight. They can be easily stored in a backpack without taking up too much room.
- The braided cable does include a pause/start button and a built-in microphone.
- Comes with an exoskeleton carrying case.... Again, these things fold nicely, so they do not take up too much room.
- I used a 50 hour break-in period prior to reviewing. I wouldn't say that it is *required* to break in the M100's, but I did hear an improvement between hour 1 and hour 50. How do I break them in... I play a variety of music (Top 40, country, Jazz) at about 90% of my normal listening volume.
Final Verdict -- I know it sounds like I lopping a little too much praise on the V-Moda M100's but they really are a nice set of headphones. The one negative is the price... but if you can commit to spending that amount on a set of headphones I do not think you will be disappointed with the V-Moda Crossfade M100s.
Please Note- I received this product for reviewing purposes
107 of 128 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 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 a similar bass impact but a little extra treble presence and detail, possibly at the expense of becoming fatiguing at either higher volumes or over longer periods of time.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am completely floored.,
This review is from: V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Matte Black Metal) (Electronics)
I am a big fan of headphones and music, but I'll be the first to admit that I am no audiophile; I'm just an average enthusiast. That being said, I've done some reviews for Beats by Dre (which I tend to remain fairly negative about) and the Bose QuietComfort 15 (still thrilled with). Naturally, upon receiving these, I had to make a small review.
I purchased these from the V-Moda website with custom ear plates because they were offering a free customization for a short period of time recently. I can't believe how absolutely amazing these headphones are. Their industrial and stylish appearance will turn heads in any environment, and they are perfect for both "lifestyle" fashion as well as music listening at work or in the home. Let me touch on a few specifics here.
Build quality is nothing short of amazing. They are sturdy with a mix of high grade aluminum, metal, and plastic. I could go on about the quality forever, so lets leave that there. You will not find any headphones on the market with this kind of,build quality for the price point. The cables are also covered in Kevlar...enough said there. V-Moda doesn't understand the concept of half-assing here. They do go all out.
Sound quality...nothing better unless you're getting into near-thousand dollar audiophile headphones which I don't care much for. You do not need an amp for these, and listening on a mobile device is a dream. The bass is punchy and handles the lowest frequencies with ease, and the mids and highs are absolutely never muddy or clouded by the bass response. I listen to a very wide range of music from dubstep, classical, game soundtracks, and even ambient and these handled everything the way I felt they needed to. Yes, classical will have quite a bit more bass and rumble during certain pieces, but I found it comfortably refreshing. I actually went back and felt like I needed to listen to my entire music collection all over again because I was discovering instruments and sounds I'd never heard before. The M-100s are clear, bass-driven, and a complete work of audio-delivering art.
With comfort, they're quite wonderful, but the earcups can be just a bit more shallow than the other LP Crossfades and definitely the Bose QC 15s. Bose will forever be difficult lt to challenge on overall comfort, but the M-100s are nice. Reports are saying that if you purchase replacement ear pads for the Crossfades that they are the slightly deeper ones from previous models, and they are better for people with larger ears. I don't suffer from larger or protruding ears, so I honestly have no issue with comfort. I've worn them for a few hours at a time and suffered no ear fatigue.
These are also noise-isolating and not active canceling, so do keep that in mind as they have no batteries. I will say, however, that these block out a LOT of outside noise. I actually believe that the M-100s here reduce external voice chatter better than the QC 15s do even though the latter are active noise canceling. Don't get me wrong, nothing can compare to QC 15s noise canceling, but a few things like voice chatter and conversations, as well as some ranges of pink noise the M-100s naturally handle equally as well if not just slightly better. I'm not exactly certain why that is or how it's done, for all I know it could be the construction of the headphones overall, but it's noticeable. Still, when traveling on a plane, they don't handle engine noise like noise canceling headphones, but don't mistake that as they do a poor job. You will just need to turn your volume up a bit more.
Lastly, sound leakage. Don't concern yourself with it. The M-100s have virtually no sound leakage to worry about until or unless you hit around 80% or more volume on your listening device. When you're around 50% volume, someone sitting next to you would have to have their ear only a few inches from your earcups in order to hear what you're listening to. I have listened to these in a quiet library and had no issues.
All around, these M-100s were worth absolutely every single penny I shelled out for them. I feel like I got my money's worth, and I can always get new custom ear plates for around $20 with my own designs when I feel like I need a change. If you can get these and afford them you will not be disappointed. I believe any and all lifestyle headphone companies (cough Beats cough cough) should check these to understand exactly what they're doing wrong, and just how much smarter companies like V-Moda truly are.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars $300 spent and not 1 ounce of regret.,
This review is from: V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Shadow) (Electronics)
I consider myself to be an audiophile. Not one of those die-hard guys that'll spend thousands for super-delicate but outstanding equipment that most people can't really appreciate properly, but I've spent years running and equalizing sound boards and I know what sounds good, and I care about what sounds good.
I did a LOT of research on high quality headphones before I eventually ended my search with the Crossfade M-100's. I knew I wanted to spend a little more on GOOD phones, and I had a list of factors that were important to me when making my purchase. My list was as follows:
1) I wanted it to produce accurate, full-bodied sound across the entire spectrum of frequencies. In other words, I wanted very high quality sound.
2) I wanted it to look awesome. I don't want to look like an idiot wearing my headphones, and I want people to notice how cool they are.
3) I wanted it to be portable. Even though I knew I'd be getting over-ear headphones, they needed to fold up as small as possible, and come with a tough, compact carrying case. I plan on taking these babies out! I want to USE them!
4) I wanted it to be durable. I expect my expensive purchase to last me a LONG time. This isn't an annual replacement program. I'm not rich.
5) I wanted it to be comfortable. If I'm gonna wear headphones for any extended period of time, I'd like to be able to do so without an ear ache or a head ache.
After a good, long while shopping around, I discovered these bad boys. The Crossfade M-100's. On paper, they were perfect for me. And I'm pleased to say, they were pretty much exactly what I expected once I got them, too. That matched every requirement on my list:
1) The sound quality is excellent. Very clear, rich sound, on the high end and on the low end. Now I won't lie to you--The M-100's have some bass-boost on them. But NOTHING like the Beats headphones, which boost the bass so hard it sounds like a Harley Davidson driving through a swamp. The bass booms a bit more than is natural, but the sound is very clear and not muddy at all, and frankly I like it that way.
2) Let's face it, folks. These headphones look great. I got the Shadow, with the red accents, and they look as good in person as they do in the pictures.
3) These headphones fold down into a smaller form than nearly any other headphones of their type and size. Not only that, the carrying case that comes with them is light but rugged, and carries all the extras inside with the headphones. It also had a carabiner for clipping onto backpacks and the like. Very practical if you're the type of person that likes to carry your phones with you.
4) These headphones are rated to withstand up to 70 drops onto concrete from 6 feet high. Now, I haven't tested that, but I wouldn't doubt it. These headphones are nearly all metal and feel very solid. A real premium feel. The folding hinges are tough and really click into place with some authority. You're also supposed to be able to bend the phones completely straight up to 10 times and they'll still snap back to their designed shape. I haven't tested that fully either, but I did try it once and it worked just fine.
5) No problem whatsoever with comfort. The cups are faux leather with memory foam underneath, and fit over my ears snugly but perfectly. I've worn these for 5, 6 hours or more on a number of occasions and I've never had any pain or discomfort. They hug your head firmly without squeezing. I'd say I have a fairly average-sized head, MAYBE a tiny bit larger than average.
They're $300 folks. It's a daunting amount for a pair of headphones. But I don't doubt that I'll be rocking these bad boys 5 or 10 years from now, still loving every minute of it.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful headphones, especially for bass lovers,
This review is from: V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Matte Black Metal) (Electronics)
I have had these headphones for a little over a month now and absolutely love them.
<Short version of the review> If you want a stylish, portable headphone with great bass throw the beats away and grab a pair of M-100s
The first thing that jumps out is that they are wonderfully built. All of the hinges and moving parts are extremely smooth and precise, the headband adjustment has a good feel to it, and the overall package just screams high end from the moment you lay your hands on the box. There is even attention paid to the simplest things, like the box's leather (fake?) handle and closure and the little red ribbon that you have to cut to open it. My only complaint is that I am not a fan of the self tapping screws for the shields. The allen wrench they send with custom shields is worthless, but even with proper tools I had to be EXTREMELY careful not to cross thread the screws when putting my new shields on.
As far as the sound is concerned - through a portable source such as an iPhone 4s or old 20 gig iPod I am quite pleased with these headphones. One of the things that I noticed right away was the way that I was immersed the music in a way that I haven't yet been with any of my IEMs, even the highly rated Shure E3c's. My first moment of this came with the squeezebox (read below), but I was even able to get it on an airplane while listening to Jimmy Buffett's Boats Beaches Bars and Ballads. If you closed your eyes you could visualize how the stage was set up when the songs were recorded, seeing Jimmy up front, his background singers spread on both sides of the stage just slightly behind him, etc... It really did put you into the music. The harmonica portions just sang with beautiful clarity and detail to complement the rendering of the vocals and guitar. The experience was immensely enjoyable.
Where they really shine though is with a good source/amp. If you aren't familiar with the old pre-logitech SLIM Devices products they were well known for solid components and design to produce high quality digital audio players. In my house this is probably my best DAC/Amp setup for driving headphones...for now... Listening to a lot of my standard tunes each and every new song that came on just put a smile on my face. While these are definitely bass heavy headphones, even in a perfectly quiet environment with a fairly high power amp I did not find the bass to be over powering or obnoxious.
This basically took all of the great immersion and sound characteristics that I mentioned above, but improved to a drastically noticeable degree. I am actually a little disappointed sitting here typing this that I don't have my boom with me at my bedside to be listening right now.
I have also done quite a bit of listening to these as gaming headphones paired with my Astro MixAmp
Prior to just recently this has been about 50% or more of my listening and I have been impressed. I have spent a few evenings playing World of Warcraft (don't laugh) which is a game renowned for its soundtrack and audio in general and I have to say, it has never sounded better. The audio track is amazing and there is a whole new level of immersion to the game now. This is one of the areas that the bass of the M-100 really shines.
<random detour> The other night while playing I got a phone call, so I thought I'd try something. I had the game running into one ear and plugged the boom mic into my phone on the other side. There was a seamless integration between my gaming and the phone call. It was pretty cool.
Probably just as important is the mixamp and M-100 on a full 5.1 surround sound game. I fired up Halo Reach and went to town to see if the headphones would be able to hold their own in this setting. The M-100s ability to accurately represent full surround sound was, in my opinion, a testament to the fabulous soundstage that it has for a closed can. I have to imagine that the HD-598s do better in the surround sound arena and that the "gaming" headphones with super bright highs do better for enemy location, but for an enjoyable night of gaming, I can't imagine much could top these. The bass was strong and accurate, the background music was warm and the mids and highs made for an enjoyable, but realistic weapon firing sound. Toss in the boom mic and I think the M-100 is a serious contender for someone that wants an audiophile/gaming headphone.
For out and about headphones I think these are perfect. In the airport, these are amazing and killed all my IEMs as far as sound quality, there is just enough isolation that the cans are able to shine to their maximum potential. They aren't quite as perfect on an airplane though. For music that has a constant background beat they are awesome and allow you to get the immersion that you get from less noisy environments, but for pieces that have very dynamic volumes and for movies I found the quiet scenes were having to compete with the background noise quite significantly. I actually found myself constantly messing with the volume while watching Avengers, which is something I don't typically do with my Shures, but admittedly some of this was due to the pilot making major changes in engine RPM etc... However, the overall experience was still very positive and I think in many scenarios the sound was still superior to my less expensive IEMs and often rivaled my Shures. I FOR SURE appreciated the bass boost while in these environments. When competing with the drone of an engine that extra punch was very welcomed.
I really really wish the bigger pads were already out for these headphones. If you have big ears, you might have some discomfort from your ears being pressed into the speaker grill. I have flattened the headband to reduce the clamping force and stuffed some paper towel in between the speaker grill and the bottom of the pad to make it a little thicker, but I am still waiting anxiously to order the bigger pads when they come out.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best sounding portable over-ear headphone you can buy under $1,000,
If you are overwhelmed by the choices of headphones available in the $300 price range, are looking for something to use at home as well as on the go and care about quality sound while also appreciating deep, powerful, tight bass, these are simply the best choice available. The M-100 sounds great with every type of music and really shines with popular and electronic music. In additional to excellent bass, vocals, instruments and highs are detailed and smooth. These don't offer the over-the-top muddy sound of some "rapper cans". The sound is pure, clean and fun. Imaging is great- sound can be perceived coming from all around you which is typically more prevalent in open-back headphones. Even though they are full size headphones, they have an innovative folding design and come with a surprisingly small form-fitting case as well as some nice accessories like the share play cable.
At first, I thought these headphones were not as comfortable as some others due to slightly smaller earcups in comparison, but these have loosened up and have a nice secure fit for active use. I can listen for several hours without discomfort. I can also enjoy these sitting in a chair or exercising.
The M-100 goes as loud as I need with my Iphone 4, so you don't need an amp. However, as with most headphones, they can benefit from an amp and can handle higher volumes as well as boosted bass. I own the white version and they look fantastic- a modern, industrial work of art.
I have literally auditioned dozens of headphones in every price range and the M-100 is the best, most enjoyable headphone to my ears that I have heard under
$1,000. If I sound like an M-100 fanboy, it's because they are that good and have earned the praise.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mobile music lovers dream set of headphones!,
This review is from: V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Shadow) (Electronics)
Currently I have in my household the following headphones: 2 Beats Studio by Dre (owned by 12 & 16 year old boys), Klipsch Reference One's, Audio-Technica MTH-M50S, V-Moda M80 in white pearl, V-Moda LP2's in matte black and the new V-Moda M-100 in shadow. All of the headphones I own are what I would consider popular consumer headphones, marketing to the masses and can be found at your local big box stores except the V-Moda line.
If you're not familiar with V-Moda visit their website and Facebook page to see the following they have by producing great headphones. The M-100's have easily become my go-to headphone for everything. Audiophile websites like head-fi.org will critique this headphone beyond boredom with reviews of its highs, mids, bass, etc. 99% of us do not care about audiophile flat frequency responses, we just want a headphone that sounds awesome with our mp3 players and smartphones. For me this is that headphone without question. Bass is awesome, tight and punchy (head rattling if you want it that way) without drowning out the clarity of the instruments and vocals. It would take too long for me to compare these to all the headphones above but I can tell you these are superior in every way with the M-80's being my previous favorites followed by the Reference One's. I listen to artists like Tank, Ne-Yo, Avant, Joe, The Weeknd, Thicke, Keyshia, Tamia and R Kelly most along with stations like The Heat and BPM on XM.
A couple other perks with V-Moda; customer service is the best in the business. I have experienced this first hand with Eric, a customer service rep who always responded to emails within minutes morning, day or night. Can't say enough here. The custom shields are just plain cool. If you have a image or logo you love, send it to V-Moda and they will laser it onto a shield color of your choice and ship them to you. Again, visit their Facebook page and you will see just how awesome and creative this perk can get. Lastly, these are not plastic headphones!!!! Both boys' Beats have either cracked or the hinges won't click anymore (I honestly think these are severely lacking in terms of build quality), my Reference One's are all plastic but also feel somewhat fragile however the Audio-Technica's are plastic but very well built and seem sturdy. V-Moda makes a highly durable and quality piece of equipment that looks great and is designed to last. Every single friend who I've had listen to these immediately smiles and says "man, I want a pair of these!"
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