V-moda Crossfade M-80 review.
Note: I really am not much of an audiophile. My headphones before this were MDR XB500’s and the only reasons I chose these over the Senn HD-25-1-ii was the looks, and that I liked the M-80’s sound a bit better. I also have about 50 hours on this, and I think they have reached their expected performance. If anything changes, I’ll post it here.
Also, really sorry for the lack of pictures. I'm having an upload problem, and my webcam is bad, too.
This is the first part that really pulls you in. These are packaged very nicely. There are plenty of pictures on this, though, so I wont go into detail. The snake skin-like handle is held in by two metal studs, and looks great. After popping open the box, you’re greeted by a piece of cardboard that says “V-moda” with some foam on the bottom.
Taking this out reveals three things, the case where the headphones reside, and some literature for V-moda and user guide/warranty information. After taking out the strikingly awesome case and unzipping it, you’ll notice the headphones, two cables, a 1/8 -1/4 adapter, and a carabiner. The two pieces holding the accessories are Velcro attached, and can be removed.
The headphones: Like the package, these are very, very great looking. The stock black metal plates are very sleek, though I do plan on purchasing custom plates soon. The on-ear pads are hexagonal in shape and are quite uncomfortable for the first few hours. After using them and stretching the headband a bit, they are much more comfortable now. The housings and their contents are held in place by two metal “arms”, which are attached to the headband. The bottom of the headband is made out of a mesh-type material and is hard at first, but softens up after a while. The top has red stitching and V-moda in red lettering is visible.
The wires also come out of the housings, into the space between the headband and housings, and into the headband on each side. The cable is very tough, however, and I don’t have a problem with it.
Durability: These look and feel incredibly tough. The metal arms and plates inspire confidence, and the detachable cables and ear pads only increase the lifespan of the M-80’s.
As I said earlier, the cables are detachable and are Kevlar-reinforced. This means that unless you’re really trying to ruin the cable, you’re going to be fine. One cable has a mic and remote, and the other just has a mic. Any 3.5mm-3.5mm cord will do, and it is plugged in underneath the left driver housing.
Who cares about whatever I said above this if they sound terrible, right? Well I can certainly say V-moda got something right in the entire lifestyle headphone company. Seriously, this is the first fashion headphone I’ve tried where the sound matches the price.
The sound: Everything is played on an iPod touch with songs ripped in 320 Kbits/sec in MP3 format. I guess I am the lowest common denominator here :P (Though, I guess this is how V-moda thought how the headphones would be used, as I remember Val Kolton of V-moda saying that the M-80’s were made for devices like the iPod, and that an amp just “amplifies” their sound).
Overall, I noticed that the bass was tight and hit hard. It didn’t feel too loose, and I didn’t have any problems with it interfering with the mids and highs. The mids, however, felt a bit recessed, though it’s not much of an issue, I just wish they were more present. The highs were really nice, and when the cymbals, (especially the high-hats) wanted to show, they did.
Songs used for testing:
Fast Lane-Bad Meets Evil: Slightly reccesed mids and tight, hard hitting bass are noticeable hear, though I feel as though Em’s voice sounded a bit “boring”, something I hadn’t noticed on different headphones. Royce sounded fine, though.
Deliver Us – In Flames: Friden’s growled vocals sound spectacular on this track, and I think the M-80’s handle growled/screamed vocals much better than clean vocals. Odd. Guitars also blended in very nicely, and I liked how they complemented Friden’s growled voice. Bass was also controlled, but hit hard.
Into the Nothing – Breaking Benjamin: Szeliga’s drum work excels here, and Ben’s voice didn’t sound as far back as in the other songs I listened to. Too bad it’ll be a while before any new material comes out.
Everlong – Foo Fighters – Another song that shows how great drums sound on these, and Grohl’s voice sounded nice, if not as pronounced as I would like. Maybe using an EQ to fix this may help.
Papercut – Linkin Park: This song actually made me feel a bit confused. Excellent guitars and drum work, but it took a awhile for me to appreciate Chester’s voice work with these headphones. His voice sounded like Eminem in Fast Lane, a bit boring. I think burn-in helped with this, though.
Conclusion: Are they worth 200$? In my opinion, yes. They sound like 200$, feel and look sturdy, and look fantastic. V-moda finally made a lifestyle headphone that sounds like its price should indicate.
And that's my non-audiophile review of the M-80's.