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V-MODA Crossfade M-80 Vocal On-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Shadow)
- 40mm Dual-Diaphragm drivers (biggest in class, patent-pending)
- Compact on-ear, lightweight, steel construction
- Vibrant bass, vivid mids, vivacious highs
- BLISS noise isolation, Exoskeleton hard case
- One Button Mic with no volume controls
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Why M-80 Vocal?
- Trusted sound
- Military-level durability
- Ultra compact design
- Custom color & laser engraving
- Six star service
Tuned and trusted by V-MODA's golden ears, editors, audiophiles, producers, and DJs on the forums and around the globe. Our M-Class series has won a record number of awards and is used by the world's top DJs.
M-Class 40mm Dual-Diaphragm Drivers &ndash inner & outer rings deliver vibrant bass, vivid mids & vivacious highs without overlap
Passive Noise Isolation – cuts out noise
No Batteries or Processing – powerful clarity without two extra digital-to-analog conversions – toxins that pollute your music
Obsessive Quality Control – <2dB variance for strict sound consistency compared to most brands
Tested for durability using military-level MIL-STD-810 quality standards
- Kevlar-reinforced cable – 1+ million bends for cables & degree strain relief (100x industry standard)
- Concrete Drop – up to 60 drops from 1.5m onto concrete
- SteelFlex Headband – up to 10 flat bends
- Environmental Weather – survives severe high/low temperatures, humidity, salt spray & UV rays
53% smaller than its over-ear siblings, small enough to make you think twice before grabbing your in-ears
- Exoskeleton Case – store your headphones and gear in the compact hard carry case
- Carabiner – clips inside or outside your bag
- Hear, There, Everywear – perfect for commuting, travel, gym, office, or mobile music production
- V-STRAP System – easy to organize your cables, USB Flash Drive and Faders VIP tuned earplugs
Custom Color & Laser-Engraving (option)
Strut in stealth-mode, match your outfit, or stand out from the crowd. Endorse yourself.
- Metal Shields – 10+ colors to remix your style
- Laser-Engraver – choose a design or your own logo
Make the Call, Share the Music
- SpeakEasy Mic Cable – tuned for voice recognition & calls in noisy places; control works with all 3.5 mm smartphones & tables including Apple, Android, Kindle, Windows & Blackberry
- Optional BoomPro – a professional grade boom mic for gaming/Skype/Voice
Six Star Service
Our Six Star concierge service goes above and beyond your expectations. V-MODA is founded upon customer quality, not quarterly earnings.
- 2-Year Premier Warranty – more than double industry average
- Immortal Life Program – have no fear to use your headphones anywhere, with the V-MODA Immortal Life Program you get 50% off a replacement even if they are run over by a tank
- 60 Day Test Drive – V-MODA is so confident the M-80 Vocal is a superior headphone, you have an unrivaled 60 day test drive guaranteed
- Type – on-ear supra-aural
- Driver – 40mm Dual-Diaphragm High-Fidelity (patent pending)
- Frequency Response – 5 - 30 kHz
- Sensitivity – 105dB @ 1kHz 1mW
- Microphone Sensitivity – - -42dB @ 1kHz
- Impedance – 28.5Q
- Weight – 195g (headphone only)
- Plug – 24k gold-plated 3.5 mm (1/8") stereo, 45 degree strain relief
- M-80 Vocal headphones
- M-80 Vocal Exoskeleton hard carry case
- Kevlar reinforced SpeakEasy Microphone control cable
- V-MODA's Six Star service
- V-MODA sticker
Which One is Right for You?
|XS||M-80 Vocal||Crossfade M-100||Crossfade LP2||Crossfade LP|
|Available colors||White Silver |
|White Silver |
|Matte Black||Nero |
|Sound Signature||M-Class "Modern Audiophile"||M-Class "Modern Audiophile"||M-Class "Modern Audiophile"||LP-Class "Live Play"||LP-Class "Live Play"|
|Character||balanced, precision bass, vivid mids, crystal clear ultra wide highs, 3D sound stage||balanced, precision bass, vivid mids, crystal clear highs, 3D sound stage||audiophile balanced, precision bass, vivid mids, crystal clear ultra wide highs, 3D sound stage||refined vibrant bass, vivid mids, vivacious highs, 3D sound stage||vibrant bass, vivid mids, vivacious highs, 3D sound stage|
|Driver||M-Class Dual-Diaphragm 40mm||M-Class Dual-Diaphragm 40mm||M-100 Dual-Diaphragm 50mm||LP2 Dual-Diaphragm 50mm||LP Dual Diaphragm 50mm|
|Passive Noise Isolation||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|CoilPro Compatible (Not Included)||✓|
|BoomPro Compatible (Not Included)||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Kevlar Reinforced Cables||1-Button SpeakEasy mic cable||1-Button SpeakEasy mic cable||1-Button SpeakEasy mic cable |
SharePlay audio cable
|3-Button mic cable |
Extended Audio cable
|3-Button mic cable |
Audio only cable
|Customization||reveal shield kit||reveal shield kit||reveal shield kit||Gunmetal shields included |
reveal shield kit
|reveal shield kit|
|Custom Shields||BoomPro Microphone||Vamp Verza|
|Black||Matte Black |
|Features||laser engrave your logo or change your shield color||SteelFlex boom mic for gaming, communication, Skype & podcast recording||Headphone amp - DAC - Battery pack|
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
There are some definite changes from this model to the LP Over-Ear model. The M-80 is about half the size. I've posted some pictures comparing the two sizes in the customer images.
This is a benefit but can also detract slightly from the sound quality and comfort.
The benefit is that they are lighter, smaller, and seemingly more comfortable. They are less intrusive and since they don't stick out as much, don't knock into things if you are walking around while using them.
The drawback is that they sit on top of your ear instead of encircling it so the depth of sound is slightly diminished because it seems to have less space to expand before hitting your eardrum. I know that's not technical jargon but it's the way I imagine it as I listen to it.
The sound is similar on both models, deep, detailed and rich. The bass is a little distorted on a real heavy bass song. Classical, jazz, rock, folk, all sound great and fill the inside of your head with quality sound.
The headphones come in a great zippered case with a deep red interior. There are two Kevlar reinforced cables with a reinforced plug.
A really nice set if you are aware of the differences. There is a great comparison chart in the product description that points out these differences nicely.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
no harsh frequencies-
Clean lows down to 20htz
Light weight yet sturdy and well built
(I accidentally bought on ear rather than over...Read more