well, i traveled 3 hrs today for work (and to get close to a Brookstone) so i could finally hear these before buying for my Xmas gift. i really had my mind made up these were for me, without ever hearing them. i have to say i was disappointed. maybe i built them up too much in my mind and assumed they would be a certain way. i will say this, build quality is fantastic. i love their case and the way they fold up. i love the looks of the phones and the cord and plug. love the colors. i just didn't like the bass or fit. this brookstone had several offerings and a nice listening center and i took my ipod classic with me to test with.
i listened to about 6 songs, all different genres and they were consistent. but after the 6, my head hurt. i don't have a large head and couldn't believe it hurt as much as it did since the clamping pressure didn't seem that bad. i really cant imagine the XL pads would help with this. i tried about 5 different headphones in there and am embarrassed to say the new beats studios were my favorite. the employee asked me to try them and i declined. i ended up trying them and was surprised to say the least. not a fan of plastic build quality and wasn't a fan of the hiss from the noise cancellation, but really liked the sound signature. bass was turned down more than i imagine "older" beats are and the comfort was the second best part. i am trying to figure out if this is all a case of too high an expectation for the M100 and ZERO expectation for the studios, but now i am more confused. i feel like i SHOULD buy the M100. i like the company, their montra, their small business mindset and actions....i like everything but the fit. the clarity was nice. the bass didn't bleed at all, which i LOVED. i just didn't care for the type of bass i was hearing.
I agree with what you just said. I am writing my Amazon review right now but haven't posted it. I said, "If V-Moda M100s were sitting next to the Beats display at the store, the Beats will win." I think that is a true and fair statement. Why will Beats beat V-Moda in a heads up challenge? Because of the source people will use and the lack of time they will spend at the store. First, the Beats are loud, M100's, not so much. Second, the bass in the Beats will thump your noggin. The M100's, not so much. Third, the Beats amplify better than the M100s. So, the average consumer is going to pick the Beats and think they just made a great buy. But, they are dead wrong. Allow me to explain.
I had just purchased the Sony MDR-1Rs and was doing research on them when I stumbled upon the M100s. Every review I read said they were better, so I thought, I love these 1Rs, so the M100s must be great! When I got my M100's, I was expecting to be blown away. Sadly, I wasn't. My 1Rs sounded almost identical. I used the share play cable to test. Couldn't tell much of a difference. I was just like you...the Beats that my coworkers have do sound louder...not better, just louder. I thought I had made a bad decision. But, that was a month ago and my opinion has changed drastically and I am about to tell you why.
First, the sound source must be changed. Sorry, the Ipod classic ain't gonna cut it. You need an EQ that you can control. I use an IPhone 4S and I no longer use that stock music player. It's crap. I started doing research and began downloading some apps with EQ options...long story short, after downloading about 15 apps, I have decided that Tune Shell is the best. That is now my music player on my phone. Let me tell you, this makes a HUGE difference in sound quality. Second, my music has now been converted to 320 MP3's at a minimum and I have now begun to load Lossless WAV files too. Another huge difference. So, I spent days playing around with my headphone trying to find a great sound. After tons of EQ adjustments, I finally found that "sweet" spot. But, I was still upset because I could never get the bass to equal the Beats, because I thought that was good bass. So, I took my new EQ setting M100 back to the local stores to do a side by side comparison. This is when my eyes opened wide.
After learning how the M100's soundstage works, I could easily tell the difference from all the other headphones on display. First, the Beats had that bass that I thought I wanted, but after a few minutes listening to the exact same source on share play, I quickly realized that the bass the M100s put out is damn near perfect. With the Beats, the bass takes over everything and all the sounds come at you at once...like a Wrecking Ball. Not with the M100s. That sound is layered and I love it. The bass is there, but it doesn't interfere with anything else. Out of all 4 Beats on display, the Mixrs actually sounded the best, but still sounded bad. So, I moved on to the Momentums. This was close. They are almost identical in sound, but the Momentums are weaker and were more expensive and I don't think look as good at the M100s, so I easily discounted them. Next up, Bose. Okay, that didn't take long...they just have a dull sound. Next, Monster Inspirations. Okay, we are getting close again, but the sound wasn't there and the looks of the phones and fit were not good. Next! DNAs...loud and boomy but not over the ear phones. Reminded me of the Mixrs. Still not a layered presentation that I am now in love with. Moving on, Harmon Kardon CLs...okay, we are back on track with a sound that caught my by surprise. The Bass was nice...more like the Beats but with M100 control. However, after giving them a thorough test drive, I found that the combination of bass was just too much and something was just not quite right with the sound. Plus, they looked dull and bland and were squares. The headband looked awful. But, best sound so far. Next up, JBLs 55. Boomy bass, but that's about it. Very cheap and probably a good buy for that price. Over to Fisher Audio with their coconut looking phones that were expensive as hell. After about 30 seconds, I was done with them...those things looked horrible and weren't for mobile listening. Back over to Sony, the XB series was on display. The bass booms, but that's about it. They look horrible, feel horrible and are just ugly.
What did I learn from all of this? That I made a great purchase with the M100's. The sound doesn't boom at you...its more laid back and comes at you like I think it should. It doesn't sound like music from a headphone to me. To me, I think the bass is explosive. I listen to CHR and about 1:20 into Holy Grail....BOOM! Talk about a serious rumble without any type of distortion. All layers of the music are absorbed flawlessly. I use this song to demonstrate the power and quality of this headphone to people who ask me about my M100s. I set it to 1:05 and let them put them on...then play the song. Every time Jay Z hits that beat, the expression on their faces says it all...Whoa! Where did that come from? Sounds amazing. So clean, crisp. Yep, that's from one of the best portable headphones you can buy, then the conversation takes a turn to the design, construction and how they can get a pair.
Another thing, when you play a song with these, and if the songs have any parts were the music pauses....talk about incredible. Not a single noise can be heard from these...I mean dead silence. No buzz, hum, nothing. Absolute, superior silence. This reminded me about two weeks ago when one of my co-workers was bragging about his Beats Active Noise Canx feature, I asked if I could try his while he listened to my M100's. I will tell you that the Beats did a fantastic job of blocking out the noise, but at the same time, they trap you with that ho-hum sound, which isn't great to begin with. When we swapped back, he told me his Beats were better. My M100's lacked the Bass he likes. He was right. I hadn't found that sweet spot at that time and I failed him. Plus, I found out that one of the cords (the mic) cable must be bad. I switched to the share play cable and I honestly believe it sounds much better with that cable. It's all I use now. BTW, he's a Beats customer and they are convinced they are the best headphones. I will see him again this week and I plan on doing this little experiment again.
So, bottom line. Get a player with an EQ setting, not that crappy "pick from a menu option." You need to control every aspect of this headphone and when you hit that sweet spot, you will know. I am so addicted to these, that no other headphone comes close to making me regret this purchase. Plus, factor in how great the look, how they are built, and the layered sound presentation, and I will pick these over any headphone that lacks this substance at this price range.
Hope this helps.