Described as "headphones built for the people, by the people," V-Moda created the Crossfade M-100s after soliciting feedback from more than 200 industry professionals, recording artists, DJs and audiophiles. Featuring dual inputs, large drivers and customization options galore, are these $300 cans the true people's choice, or is this a case of having too many cooks in the kitchen?
Click to EnlargeThe V-Moda M-100 headphones are very reminiscent of its predecessor, the V-Moda Crossfade LP. The ear cushions are about the same size, and fit comfortably over our ears, making all-day wear possible.
The first pair of collapsible headphones from V-Moda, the M-100's large hinges are durable enough for heavy-duty use -- they're MIL-STD-810G tested for durability -- but are concealed carefully behind the brackets, just below the V-Moda emblem on the lower part of the headband. There's a satisfying spring-loaded click when you collapse the headphones.
The M-100s also have a dual-input feature so that you can plug in two different music sources and listen to them at the same time. For all the other times when you only have one source plugged in, the headphones come with V-cork seals so that the air level stays balanced on both sides.
Click to EnlargeOriginally, the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 was going to be available in only matte black metal and white silver, but after speaking to fans, V-Moda decided to also make them in shadow, a black color scheme with blood-red accents that is very similar to the True Blood editions of the V-Moda headphones.
The headphones come in V-Moda's heavy-duty exoskeleton case, along with a 1/4-inch adapter, two audio cables, and the V-cork seals.
Click to EnlargeWe love the multitude of Kevlar-wrapped audio cords that come with the M-100s. Included is a one-button mic cord and a SharePlay audio cable that will allow you to plug in a friend's headphones to share your music via the integrated headphone splitter.
Other options will also be available for purchase in the near future, including the boomPro mic cord for gamers and a Coil Pro cable. The prices will be determined upon availability.
For $310, you can preorder the M-100s with customized side shields, which also come with a pair of V-Moda Faders, reusable earplugs.
Click to EnlargeThe M-100s are outfitted with 50mm drivers, larger than the 40mm drivers in the M-80 headphones. As a result, V-Moda says the M-100s should have cleaner bass, a smoother sound and a very open sound stage. We tested the headphones for a week by listening to different types of music and podcasts.
Since the M-100s were built to optimize music for people who are on the go, we used the headphones by playing music through Spotify on our iPhone 5. Lossless music is highly recommended, because the high clarity of these headphones will highlight the pops and hissing of a badly converted MP3 file. Deadmau5's "Some Chords" really showed off the 3D soundstage of the M-100s. We could hear each instrument clearly, and it felt as if we were sitting in the audience at a concert. The organ in Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" boomed, midrange sounds had great presence and trebles weren't exaggerated. On Kanye West's "Monster," we liked the bass was deep but wasn't muddled or overwhelming.
The V-Port V3 Airflow system -- little vents on the shields of the cups -- help minimize leakage and maximize the 3D sound stage. We were blasting music and the person next to us were hardly heard any sound leakage. The cups also are great at blocking ambient noise. We could easily hear podcasts when walking on the streets of New York or in a subway car.
Although the M-80 and the M-100 both provide impressive sound quality, the M100 perform noticeably better in noisier environments. We listened to Coldplay's "Strawberry Swing" in a slightly noisy office and Chris Martin's voice sounded way more flat and washed-out in the M-80s than when we used the M-100s.
Click to EnlargeIt's been a while, but the new $300 Crossfade M-100s were well worth the wait. V-Moda's attention to detail results in ultimate comfort, minimal sound leakage, deep but clear bass, crisp midrange and excellent range for a fair but premium price.