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.
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.