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V-MODA XS

Posted

Pros: Dynamic, balanced, nice detail, extremely comfortable, and more portable than the most portable of cans

Cons: May not have enough sparkle for treble-heads, otherwise the highs are much airier and more improved than the M-80s

The XS is one of the most portable, best-built and packaged headphones you can find on the market today. Not to mention, it is the smallest headphone I've encountered that packs the biggest sound that is also incredibly balanced and neutral compared to many headphones out there. I thought the M-80, its predecessor, was amazing when it came out a couple years back, but I'm in awe at how much V-MODA was able to improve an already great headphone in basically every category.

Ergonomics and aesthetics:
The XS is extremely lightweight and more head-conforming. While I considered the comfort of the M-80 just fine, the XS takes it to the next level now that the headband, itself, is lighter weight than that of the M-80 and the XS basically hugs the head now that the gap has been reduced in between the head and the headband on each side. V-MODA's slogan for this headphone is 'Mind the gap' - it's about time, IMO, that a headphone company paid attention to this. Not only does it look better (as in thank goodness it doesn't look like I have a satellite dish on my head like with some other headphones, but it looks gorgeous and its stealth factor just sky-rocketed), and somehow while it feels snug and secure it never clamps with a vice grip the way many other supra-aurals do. I also feel the weight is very well distributed with the way it hugs the head - it's easy to forget I'm even wearing headphones. All in all best ergonomics hands down I've experienced in a headphone and I've had quite a few. Good job V-MODA!


Presentation, features and accessories:
I'll be quick with this part - basically V-MODA always packages their products with the utmost love and care, as if a precious gift to their customer. I love this and cannot commend it enough. They also pay attention to the smallest of details; when this headphone was designed to fold up this small, they kept the case in mind to make sure it was small and slender enough to fit in just about any bag. I wish many more headphone manufacturers kept this in mind - many a time even though a headphone came with a case I end up not using the case because most cases out there are so bulky and so I just end up keeping my headphones in my own bag on its own. Even though the XS, like all other V-MODA headphones, is built like a tank and I know it can withstand just about anything, I am now using its case because it is so small and discreet. (I recently found out they're making a chain for it in different sizes so you can actually carry it like a bag also - pretty innovative) The headphone comes with detachable speakeasy cable that can be used with your smartphone or DAP. The documentation is good stuff, very informative and well-designed. And who doesn't love to cut that ribbon before you hear some amazing cans? And on that note, let's get to the sound....

Sound description:
The beauty of this headphone, besides its aesthetics, is the SQ. It's balanced, neutral, detailed and fun all at the same time. It also works for just about any genre. I'm listening to some metal as I write this and I am indeed head-banging quite a bit. I listen to pretty much all genres so it's important to me that a headphone sound good with just about anything, from all kinds of rock to R&B to electronic, etc.

Bass: deep, punchy, extends to very low octaves and is wonderfully layered. The bass is tighter to my ears than its predecessor's yet it still has plenty of power and impact. With the way the XS conforms so easily on the head, it's much easier to get a seal also which certainly helps with the bass. It's also very fast while still remaining full-sounding.

Mids: This was the highlight of the M-80s: rich liquidy beautiful mids with great vocals that are tonally very natural. The mids on the XS are all that yet a bit more detailed to my ears. This may be due to how nice and tight the bass is. The resolution is pretty amazing so if you're a mid-head and love a balanced sound with some punch in the low end, this is your ticket.

Highs: My only slight issue with the M-80 was that the highs were a bit too soft. They extended nicely but just weren't sparkly enough. I still loved the fact that they were non-fatiguing still at the top there was not enough sizzle for me. The XS has improved in that respect as well and sounds much airier up top while still remaining non-fatiguing. Cymbals and high-hats have more detail and overall the highs have slightly more energy and a bit more sparkle. (If you want even more sparkle the M-100 may be a better option for your preferences.)

The XS is incredibly dynamic and one thing that has always impressed me, with both the M-80 and now the XS, is the spacious sound and better-than-average imaging (placing of the instruments around you) for such a small supra-aural. The fact that it's such a small headphone would, I think, attract a lot people who usually go for IEMs. But at the same time, I can see a lot of full-size-headphone-users loving this headphone for its big and balanced sound in such an ultra-portable package. I am someone who finds the M-100 very portable for example  (another great V-MODA headphone that exhibits more impactful and powerful bass, a wider soundstage, and more sparkly highs with mids that are also detailed but slightly further back in presentation - to my ears, XS = intimate lounge/club while M-100 = spacious concert hall) and so naturally this is why I call the XS 'ultra-portable.' It's as compact as it gets.

IME while the XS sounds great out of a DAP or smartphone, it sounds even better when amped. Out of my VAMP VERZA, the resolution goes to the next level: better separation, soundstage expands, imaging improves, more detail across the spectrum to my ears.

Conclusion:
If you want a rich, smooth, warm yet detailed, big and dynamic sound in a crazy small portable package I strongly recommend trying the XS out. V-MODA just keeps getting better and better with the quality of their products and they should really be proud of this one.
 

 

**Hope this review has helped. Please keep in mind these are my personal impressions to MY ears, YMMV.**

Posted

Pros: Build, folding, overall tonal balance, immense detail and precision, style

Cons: Small soundstage

The XS is the direct successor to V-Moda's famed Crossfade M80. This successor stays true to the root of the word, and is a massive success of both a headphone and a product. 

 

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 80

 

 

The build quality of the XS is beyond almost every other portable headphone that I've used, except for other V-Moda models, which it is on par with, naturally. XS is built using a lot of high quality stainless steel and some rock-solid plastics. The folding mechanism is extremely rugged as well, and should promise a very long lifespan. 


This durability doesn't just end with the headphone however. Like other V-Moda headphones, the cables that are supplied are reinforced with Kevlar, a bulletproof fabric. This combined with the 45° jack and impressive strain reliefs should dictate a long lifespan for the cable also. 


The headband is also metal, and covered with a variety of fabrics. The top is finished with a high quality pleather material, unlike M80's cloth-finished headband. 
XS also comes with a case. This case effectively utilizes the folding mechanism, and thus decreases the overall volume space taken up by the case by quite a lot. It's also a highly durable case, common to V-Moda standards. 

 

Sound - Yes, it does have a similar sound signature to the M80- warm, full-bodied, and impactful- however the XS is much more refined, for certain. 

 

The low end is very well done here. There is a great impact that the headphones have when reproducing heavy kick drums. Low bass notes are also incredibly defined, with very little distortion or bleed. The control of the XS is something it does much better than the M80. That's not to say that the M80 is bad, however; in no way is it bad. 

Also, the bass that the XS produces is not overbearing to the user. 

 

The midrange of the XS is astounding. It reproduces mids so perfectly with elegance like no headphone I've heard at this price before. And being portable makes it that much more amazing. Mid-centric? No. Any jazz tune I've played with these sounds extremely lifelike. Even electronic music sounds stunning. 

 

One of the major downfalls to me of the XS's predecessor, the M80, was the treble. It just didn't seem exciting. It was just "there." Thankfully, the XS has massively improved on this. The treble produced by these headphones is wildly enjoyable and immersive with any track. The detail is absolutely stunning to the point that it can put headphones twice its price to shame.

How V-Moda was able to get a sound this amazing into something so compact is truly beyond my knowledge. 

 

Sadly, the compact size does have one downfall, and that's the soundstage. With most on-ear headphones, the sound isn't very spacious. Separation is excellent, but there just isn't much "space." 

 

Overall - Basically, XS is the cream of the crop for anything super portable with a non-neutral sound signature. It truly doesn't get much better than this. With versatility that encompasses practically every genre on the planet and durability that rivals military standards, one really can't go wrong by purchasing these. 

Posted

Pros: small form factor(folds up!), very very comfortable absolutely gorgeous mids, fairly linear overall bass, good treble extension,balanced overall sound

Cons: isolation(better for walking around,busing>airplanes or subway), slight more midbass (punch) than my preferred, wish soundstage was bigger

below is a  video review review of of the v-moda xs! check out my channel(like and subscribe) recently uploaded a review and comparison with the v-moda m100s as well!
keep reading for the full length written review:

the following is a condensed version of my review that i posted on youtube here is the link if you would like a more indepth review here is the link [...]

Be sure to check out the other videos on my channels- i had made a comparison between the V-Moda XS and the well renowed V-Moda M100s here as well
The links will be in the comment section below

The V-moda XS is a replacement for the V-Moda M80s, the #1 on ear headphone on a biggest headphone enthusiasist community head-fi.

Features and Accessories
The headphone folds up it easily fits in your coat pocket and fit snuggly in the carrying case. There are two input jacks (cables are detachable= easily replaceable). So you can plug the cables in on either side. Daisy chain them- share your audio with others by plugging their headphones into the empty input. The earcups are on ear and are on the smaller side, so when you have it around your neck, its not going to hit your chin when your turning your head in different directions. Comes with 1 , one button smartphone compatible cable, kevlar reinforced.

Build quality and design
The V- Moda XS are built like a tank like all V-Moda headphones are built to a military grade standard. The headband band is made of a very flexible "steelflex headband", easily able to take basically any abuse you put it through. The overall construction is made up of metal and high quality plastic. The XS come with "Clique fold" hinges similar to the V-Moda M100s allows the headphones to collapse to a size that can easily fit in your coat pocket, and unlike most hinges, it looks a feels substantial and doesn't look like a point of weakness. The shields are customizable, to different colours and you put custom designs on it to make as individualized and unique as you want it.

Weight
At a weight of 190g it basically disappears on your head and around you neck

Comfort & Isolation
The single most comfortable on ear headphone i've ever tried. Typically on ears are not the most comfortable because their pressing against your ears, but V-moda found a perfect balance between comfort and secure. i use them straight off my ipod/iphone at about 45% and they work well walking around downtown, on bus. Decent when in cafeteria, just okay for subway use. So if your a heavy commuter and need completely silence the XS won't help you there. (i don't recommend turning up the volume to block out noise, thats asking for permanent hearing damage)

Sound Quality
Its a great balance between fun, exciting, yet smooth relaxing all while staying fairly balenced through the sound spectrum.

Bass-
Bass is emphasized but no where near the standard in most consumer headphones. Its fairly linear from the Sub-bass (subwoofer, rumbling, bass you can feel) to the mid bass (the punchy bass, you hear in most music). With a slight more punch > rumble.

Mids-
The Midrange is at the forefront, (its forward) vocals are pure and lush, and absolutely natural yet very clear. Male and female vocals shine and command attention. So your Adeles, Mariah Carey, Adam Levine, Celine Dion all the way to Gangnam Style will sound amazing

Treble
Treble is articulate with decent extension yet laid back but never harsh or fatiguing. I do wish there was a bit more sparkle and a bit more lively but that might make it harsh so its okay.

Soundstage
Sounds like its being played in a small room. Which is good for an on ear but nothing like a full size open headphone so be sure to keep that in mind

 

Posted

Pros: Cliqfold compact design, sound quality improvement (over M-80), comfortable fit

Cons: noise isolation

I'm not hiding the fact I'm a big fan of V-Moda headphones. Some headphones have the look, others the sound signature, some come with unique accessories, others have build quality, some cost arm'n'leg to justify their superiority, others are on a budget at the expense of cutting corners. With V-Moda, where the founder Val Kolton has a vision similar to proportions of "Steve Jobs", nothing gets overlooked. I know it's a very bold statement to compare someone who designs and manufacturers headphones to a creator of Apple products, but that's exactly how I felt after reviewing their M-80 and M-100 headphones and even Faders earplugs. It really felt like they put a lot of thought into every little detail of the design. That's why I was very excited when rumors started to circulate about their new XS. From outside XS looked like it's going to be a love child of M-80 on-ear headphones and foldable ergonomics of M-100 over-ear design. When I received and had a chance to test V-Moda XS, I found there is a lot more to it! Let's see what I found.

 

Being familiar with M-80/M-100, I was less surprised with Hollywood style packaging and cutting the red ribbon to get access to open the box, but the ever shrinking size of the box was hard to miss. The packaging box is definitely something you would want to save and keep on display, it's that impressive! Everything from a leather handle and closing flap that matches the color of headphones to a printed details about the product makes a fantastic presentation of what awaits you inside of the box. Keeping up with a tradition of form fitted exoskeleton hard cases, XS was not an exception, but the size of the case was ridiculously small. Just like when you go from LP/LP2 to foldable M-100 with a more compact case, from M-80 to XS (which obviously stands for eXtra Small) the case shrunk up significantly, even smaller in profile in comparison to M-100 case. Opening the case reveals how compact folded XS looks with a new cliqfold mechanism of earcups folded inward under the headband. While folded, it literally fits inside of a palm of my hand, and feels featherlight at only 190g. If in the past I only used over-/on-ear headphones at home, this new XS model makes for a very good excuse to carry the case with headphones outside as well. The same for wearing them outside, including around your neck, without feeling ridiculous.

 

The cliqfold design is probably the first most noticeable difference between M-80 and XS. Majority of other design details were carried over from M-80. You still have a hex shaped ear cups, made out of hard plastic material with a removable/replaceable metal plates that can be engraved to personalize the look - you no longer have to be a slave of pre-stamped manufacturer logo. The earpads look very similar to the original M-80; these are soft and very comfortable, though due to on-ear design the noise isolation is not as effective as with over-ear M-100. Further examination of earcups revealed they both have 3.5mm socket to connect headphone cable to either side and to use the other side in daisy-chain config to share your music with another pair of headphones. As part of the accessory package, XS comes with a pair of cork-plugs for an unused earcup port and a spare, but unlike M-100 design these XS cork-plugs don't twist and lock. Since I'm on a subject of accessories, it also worth mentioning that XS comes with their typical Kevlar reinforced "speakeasy" mic cable and 45deg gold plated 35mm plug, which according to V-Moda went through 1+ million cable bends. In comparison to M-80, XS cable/plug actually makes a click lock when plugged into the earcup, versus M-80 where I never felt that before. The cable design is common across other V-Moda models, and it features a separate mic closer to your mouth and single button in-line remote further down the cable for easier handling. The in-line remote is universal without Android/Apple specific volume controls where the single multifunction button works well for Play/Pause/Call, double/triple click for song skip next/prev, and long press to start Google NOW. Making phone calls was crystal clear and very convenient with a partitioned mic and in-line remote.

 

Other design aspects which remained the same was a metal y-fork connection to earcup with an exception of cliqfold mechanism in comparison to M-80. Headband adjustment extension had a very precise click action, so anybody even with a severe OCD will be happy to keep it adjusted symmetrically. The headband has a similar to M-80 leather exterior and soft padded interior covered by a mesh material. It uses the same very high quality steelflex band and provides a nice clamping force to hold headphones securely on your head, though I felt the clamping force wasn't as strong as with M-80. Even so it looked similar, there was still a change from the original headband design which was noted by V-Moda as "Mind the Gap". With a lot of headphones headband is usually comes in contact and rests on top of your head with the rest of it making a semi-circle to bring earcups around to your ears. With XS to improve the comfort of wear, the headband shape was re-designed to rest around your head with a significant reduction of "gap" on the side of your head. This also resulted in a more comfortable fitment. One of the concerns I had with M-80 and other on-ear headphones I tested in the past was how long it takes to adjust the fitment once you put headphones on for the best sound performance. Here, I found the sweet spot to be always there from the first time I put XS on my head with a minimal adjustment.

 

After examining all the design changes, next step was to analyze the sound and any changes introduced in XS. Though the driver remained the same, I was very pleased to find that V-Moda fine tuned the sound to improve their M-80 performance. I felt, at the low end, the mid-bass punch was a bit faster and tighter, while sub-bass remained the same if not slightly reduced. Actually, I think the effect of sub-bass is due to a slightly weaker clamping force, but when you push the earcups closer to your ears you can feel more rumble. Don't get me wrong, the bass is great and well balanced with the rest of the spectrum but not exactly for bassheads. Mid range remained well balanced and upfront, with excellent details and smooth vocals. As a matter of fact, in comparison to M-80 the vocals tone sounded more natural to my ears. After a closer listening, it became more evident when I realized about the improvement in treble/high frequency region. The treble in XS got extended higher and added more details in the frequency region covering clarity and sparkle of the sound. That small improvement made a significant difference to my ears, especially when it comes to vocals. Though being brighter, the treble is still very pleasant to my ears for extended listening period and without any hint of sibilance. Although I still consider the overall sound signature to be on a warm balanced side, it's noticeably brighter and detailed in comparison to M-80. The soundstage remained average with a similar to M-80 instrument/vocal placement being more intimate and up close. Also, the air-ports in the earcup covers provided a similar level of airness mixed with a sound.

 

Overall, I can say XS was definitely worth waiting for. The improvements from M-80, both in the design and the sound quality, were significant enough to consider XS as a new version rather than a refresh. Though sound quality improvement could be subjective based on your preference, just like so many people prefer warmer v-shaped fun sound of M-100, there is no question about cliqfold implementation being a very welcome change. Also, the release of XS headphones will benefit those who were saving to get their hands on M-80 since now you can get a new one at a reduced price or pick up a second hand one at a great discount from those who are trading up to XS. In my opinion it will be very hard to find any on-ear headphones in $200 (currently on Amazon) price range that will surpass XS in sound and build quality. I also believe XS can give a number of more expensive over-ear headphones a run for their money.

 

Here are the pictures for your enjoyment, included a few with M-100 comparison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted

Pros: Portability factor is high, kevlar cables, sound quality, included carrying case

Cons: Small soundstage, somewhat uncomfortable for long listening sessions

Whenever i saw these at best buy, i became very excited. Why? Because i just was. I have seen reviews where people have them on their head, and they were not bulky, obnoxious, whatever. They were super slim, and i really liked that about these. I got these from best buy online with a gift card, and the second i placed the order, i was overcome with excitement. Now, to me, the unboxing experience is nothing to brag about, although v-moda has done a good job with packaging so far. The headphones only come with one cable as opposed to two, like with the M80s, which these are supposed to be the successor to. Now, let's jump into the sound quality:

 

In terms of bass, i really enjoyed that aspect of these. It works well with all types of music, and it never becomes a problem in the sense that they never muddies up the lower mids, and it never becomes overwhelming. The bass has a punchy effect to it more than a rumble effect, so it works well with more types of music as opposed to just working for hip hop, rap and dubstep.

 

The midrange, to me, sounds like it is in the background, somewhat. It is nothing drastic, the mids are still well balanced. You hear vocals pretty clearly, and the bass never becomes intrusive. It seems like their is a scoop in the mids, in the sense that female vocals are heard more than male vocals. They are more up front in the music, which is why i said they are prominent than male vocals.

 

Treble response is really great, to me. These headphones pretty much have the right amount of treble. Cymbal crashes are easily heard, and they never are covered up by the bass because, like i said, the bass has more of a punchy effect as opposed to a rumble effect. 

 

My overall opinion of these headphones is really positive. I do enjoy listening to these. Even more than my M100s. So, thanks for checking out this review. Sorry for not saying a ton of things about these. Anyway, bye. 

Posted

Pros: good highs, fluid mids, excellent female vocals, decent air between instruments, slightly expanded sound stage compared to original M80

Cons: noise idolation is only decent, would have liked just a tad more detail in the mids, wish cables had been improved

Copied and pasted directly from the description section of my YouTube video

 

Over two years ago Val Kolton, the CEO of V-Moda, sent me his then recently released M80 Crossfade on ear mobile headphone. He sent it to me, and others, free of charge in exchange for a review noting the pluses and minuses of his new product. It was my very first official review for a company and the online community of head-fi. Unknown to me, two plus years later my rants and ravings over gear have yet to stop. In my mind it was Val Kolton and his M80 who started me down this path of pseudo armchair audio gear reviewer.

 

The XS isn't a new product but a tweaked product that builds off the already solid performance of the original M80. The form factor has been improved by the addition of  the M-100's foldable hinges thus making the headphone even tinier then before. Because of its even tinier size its carrying case has also shrunk making the XS probably one of the most least space demanding headphone for mobile use currently available on the market.

 

With improved form factor we also now have improved sonics. While the original M80 may have been overly polite and soft in the highs the new XS brings in better extension and sparkly highs all the while retaining its smooth fluid character and avoiding the metallic tinniness lesser headphones are known for. Because of better highs the headphone now sounds better balanced and the sound stage seems to have expanded a tiny bit more in comparison to the original M80.

 

Major kudos and much respect goes out to Mr Val Kolton for taking our group feedback from over two years ago and quietly going to work behind the scenes and building an even better mouse trap. Considering Mr Val Kolton's family is of Italian ancestry all that's left to say is.....

BUON LAVORO IL MIO UOMO!!!

 

 

Posted

Pros: Phenomenal sound, compact, and lightweight.

Cons: N/A

First off, I just got off a 14 hour shift and I'm a little too tired to be very descriptive and detailed, but I'll do my best :). I have a pair of M-80's and I never was able to fall in love with them. That being said, the XS is the "new and improved" version of the M-80. There are a few key changes with the XS. The clamping force is significantly less and much more comfortable (while still staying firmly on your head). The sound is slightly different but quite amazing. One of the things I didn't like about the M-80 was that headphones produced a higher treble that I prefer. From the moment I first put the XS on, I loved them. The sound was crisp and firm while being very balanced (keep in mind, this was just sound quality from an iPod with no amp or eq settings). Once I used my iPod paired with the Vamp Verza, I was overwhelmed with such amazing sound (in a good way). Both times I listened through the XS, it was within the first couple hours of being used, so they weren't even close to being burned in. Now that they have been burned in, the sound isn't as crisp, but it blends in much better (I can still tell the individual instruments clearly when listening to classical though). They are small and exceptionally compact. When I first saw the case, I thought the headphones would be much smaller than the M-80's or any on-ear headphone in general. But sure enough, I unfolded them and loved them before testing them out. One of the great things I also like, is that they are extremely light. They weigh about 60% of what my Nokia Lumia weighs. I am a massive car enthusiast, so naturally I had to test these beauties while watching Ryan Tuerck Drifts the Wild. It's crazy just how much you can tell when listening through these. Turbo spooling, tires spinning, grabbing the ebrake, and even the leaves moving as he drifts past them. The quality is just outstanding (I really don't think I can emphasize this enough, haha). I can't go into all the technical details like some people, but what I can say is that I love these headphones. It's hard to find compact, extremely lightweight, comfortable, and quality all in the same package. To add a note, if you have the M-100's and love them, you'll definitely love the XS's.

V-MODA XS
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Description:

V-MODA XS On-Ear Supra-aural CliqFold Closed Headphones.

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Related Media/Links:

V-MODA XS on-ear headphone

Engadget Review: http://www.engadget.com/2014/03/26/vmoda-xs-headphones/

Gizmodo Review: http://gizmodo.com/v-moda-xs-headphones-review-indestructible-cans-with-r-1551890986

 

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How To:

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