Pros: balanced sound, very portable (small+light), comfortable even with glasses, looks great
Cons: wind noise is noticeable, somewhat weak highs
So here's my first mini-review. Kinda late, but I like these so much that I had to write a review for them xD
One of the reasons I bought the V-MODA M80 is because I wanted a portable headphone that has good SQ and yet has the ability to turn heads. I also wanted my portables to have very good build quality and decent isolation because I will be using them during travel. Another factor for my ideal portable cans was…well, portability! I wouldn’t want a huge heavy set of headphones on my head during travel, especially during the summer. Now, I have been trying to stay away from on-ears because the last one I tried (TMA-1) hurt my ears. After reading other reviews of the relatively weak clamp force and good comfort of the M80s, I decided to give on-ears another shot, since over-ears would tend to get sweaty and hot during the summer, and IEMs tend to hurt my ear canals after long use.
The M80s look very stunning, and I’ve already had people I don’t know ask me what company they are. I like the mostly black and some red look on the M80s, and the shiny cups give it a nice touch. Build quality is top notch, as they are “light but heavy”, which basically means that they are light enough to not bother me when putting them on but I can trust that these can withstand some beating because it has a “good weight”. V-MODA also gives you an exoskeleton case for your M80s if you don’t feel comfortable just throwing them in your bag.
Another great add-on to these cans is the ability to customize them with your own art. You can send in a black and white picture at 300dpi and they will engrave the picture onto the custom shields. The picture I sent in was around 2000x2000 pixels at 300dpi, so I’m pretty sure as long as it meets the qualifications, you should be all set.
Note on custom shields: If you email V-MODA and ask them to engrave a different image on each shield, they WILL do it for you at no extra cost. My shields have a different image on them, and they both look perfect.
Isolation was one of the factors that made me hesitant about the M80s. I read that since it is a semi-open design, isolation was not on par with other portables in the same price range, such as the HD25, DT1350, and the T50p. After getting my M80s and using them outside for a couple of days, I would say that I had no need to worry. I’m not going to say that they completely shut out outside noise (because they don’t), but they do isolate enough so you can focus on your music. When my music is off, I can easily have a conversation with someone, but when my music is on, most outside noise is unnoticeable. I actually think that they let in the right amount of outside noise for you to be aware of your surroundings. After all, I don’t want to be run over a car or something because I couldn’t hear them beeping.
One thing I have noticed though is that these do not isolate against wind very well. A light breeze won’t be too bothering, but I think anything above that will be noticeable. Not too much of a problem, but just thought I would mention it.
Ah, another factor that had me worried. Ever since I tried the TMA-1, I have stayed away from on-ears because they pushed my glasses (which I wear all the time) into my head and were quite painful. I assumed all on-ears would do this, but I took a chance and made the right decision. The clamp force on these a relatively weak (compared to my M50s) and the pads are nice and soft. At first they did hurt a little on the outer edge of my ear, but once I found the right setting for myself (10 adjustments each side), I would say these are very comfortable and I can probably have them on for 2~3 hours without any problem. The headband has microfiber padding which is more than enough to let these very light headphones rest on your head without pain. As I mentioned earlier, the clamp force on these are weak, so I wouldn’t recommend them for people who would run/do exercise with them. It may just be that my head is small, but I have noticed that these move around if I shake my head a bit.
I got my M80s during the limited time offer, and it came with a pro-audio cable (kevlar cable without buttons), V-MODA faders (concert earplugs), and ¼” adapter. In addition to this, my M80s came with the normal accessories it comes with, which is a very durable exoskeleton case, a 1 button microphone kevlar cable, and a 3 button microphone kevlar cable. I am EXTREMELY pleased with all the accessories they give, and believe that all of these accessories at this value is unbeatable. I am especially pleased with the exoskeleton case because I can store the extra cables and adapter in there while protecting my M80s from any possible damage.
Someone did mention this in another review, but I will also mention it because I feel it is important. The kevlar cables are great as they reduce microphonics and increase durability, but sometimes they get twisted and create a little knot. If you do not undue this knot, the cable will be slightly stuck in that direction, and it may be a nuisance.
So, still being a somewhat noob at describing sound, I’ll try my best to portray what I hear through these headphones.
I use my M80s as my portable set, so I run them through my Cowon J3 with no amp/DAC. I can’t say what they would sound like through an amp, but I can say that these run fine without one. My J3 is more than enough to power these, and they sound great even with only minor tweaking of the EQ.
I don’t own the original Crossfade LPs, but I have heard them at a store and remember that they were bass heavy. I was expecting the same with the M80s (not as heavy as the LP though), but noticed that that wasn’t the case at all. The bass is certainly there, but I wouldn’t say that they are overpowering. I really like how the M80s present the lower frequencies, as they tame them very well and are more of a “quick punch” compared to my ATH-M50s. The mids are definitely the focal point of the M80s, as I noticed vocals and guitar to be forward compared to the M50s. They are very smooth and rich, and are spot on to what I was looking for. The higher frequencies is where the M80s sort of lose their shine because I feel that there is less control in that region, and there’s not much “sparkle”. However, this was expected through reading the other M80s reviews, so I wasn’t really disappointed/surprised.
I have different EQ setting on my J3 for each IEM/headphone I own, but the M80s have the least tweaking out of all of them. There’s really not much to change except the treble region and some of the lower mids.
So, did I make the right decision to go with the M80s? I’d say I’m VERY pleased with my purchase! The M80s are definitely going to be my main portable set, as I love how they sound AND how they look. They are comfortable to have on for several hours, and offer decent isolation. These are almost spot on to what I was looking for in my ideal headphone, and I can trust them to last me a very long time. Even if I somehow break them, V-MODA’s 2 year warranty would cover me, and after that, their Immortal Life Program would make my next purchase 50% off. V-MODA’s customer service was great, and I can trust them to answer any future question I have. I can safely say that I’m going to be set for quite a while on my portable rig^^
Here are some pictures just so you can get an idea of how small these really are. Sorry for the mediocre quality pics >_<
What came outside of the M80 box. The little pouch is part of the custom shield set, and the shields come with extra screws and a special wrench.
M80s and the exoskeleton case.
M80s and ATH-M50s
Rough dimensions of the earcup