So, I'll have to pre-empt everyone that this merely an introductory impression of the M-100 I heard today, 'cos I listened to them in 3-5 minute segments quite a couple of times over a 3 hr period throughout the dinner. But to it kick it off, I'll have to re-iterate, the M-100s today are a far cry from what I'd heard in the prototype brought to the Fujiya May Headphone festival.
Straight into the Sound
The bass I've heard today are much more textured, smooth and refined. I recall seeing some post in this thread about the LP2 type bass, at least in my opinion, it's not comparable - I'm not gonna be shy about this to say that I'm probably not too much of an LP2 fan but, I'm definitely like the M-80 and after tonight, M series as a whole. In fact anyone who searches my impressions of the May M-100 prototype may recall that I even mentioned that the bass was somewhat boomy but today's experience was a completely different. In fact I find it hard to accept that it's even the same iteration of the product. This is probably one of the most welcoming surprises in today's quick listen.
As for the highs, not only they're definitely more apparent but also more refined - again in comparison to the May M-100 prototype. I believe in my past posts, I had already mentioned that the earlier prototype had more forward trebles than the M-80. Well today's listen was more transparency in the trebles. Now, this isn't a "sparkly" treble like Grados or even HD-25's, I'd describe it as between neutral to forward. In my mind when listening, I couldn't help comparing it to FitEar's TO GO! 334's presentation of the treble (which I've grown to love), and found the similar category.
For the mids, well I loved the M-80 mids and as with this I love it too. Unfortunately I wish I paid more attention to it in comparison to the M-80's but I didn't. So I don't wanna comment more about this until I get more listening time to the M-100's.
Along with the mids, I can't comment more about the soundstage (width and depth), and timbre too 'cos I do need more listening time in a controlled environment. I do hope I'll get more time with the M-100 to be able to comment on those attributes.
The albums I did listen to in today's brief impressions include Tron Legacy, Black Eyed Peas E.N.D, Lana Del Rey's Born to Die, Gerry Mulligan's "Night Lights" (Jazz), and an 80's pop of which I'm trying to recollect which album it is. Although I've not tried electronic music (e.g. YMO, Jean Michel Jarre, Kitaro), or classical, for what I briefly heard today, at least to me it's surprisingly an all-rounder headphone.
The Fit and Operation
Isolation! To the best of my recollection of the LP2's and M-80s, I feel the M-100's isolate better than those other models - I'm gonna need to head back to the store to test out the LP2s and M-80's again to confirm. Note that it's not where the SigPros or HD-25's are at, in terms of isolation, but at the same time it doesn't give you a headache if you get what I mean. I reckon that it's isolation is at the right level where it doesn't clamp too hard on my head (Aside: I sold my HD-25's 10 yrs back 'cos I couldn't bear wearing them more than an hr at a time). With the M-100 pair I tried today, I think I would be comfortable wearing them for hours.
One feature I couldn't stop playing with was how the headphone collapses, this is just simply neat (sorry for an 80's term slipping out here ;-)). Operationally this hasn't changed from the earlier prototype, but the "snappiness" of how it does it just feels so much more precise, decisive and industrial. It just snaps back in with no concern of alignment or fidgetiness. Despite the more "moving parts", I don't think I'd be worried about durability of the hinges. They are big and industrial. I couldn't stop playing around with it snapping it open/close continuously.
As for the case, the shell (as far as I remember) is still similar to the ones I saw in the Tokyo May Festival, however it's still not finalised yet. It's was and is still a very cool looking clamshell case.
In case you guys were expecting the new split mic from remote cable, the cables in the pix were onizukajp's M-80 cables with the integrated mic/remote controls in a single unit. Also notice how low profile the headphone is?
I'm probably going to end it here for now as after-all this is initially supposed to be a brief impression and I've written more than I expected. But I do wanna close this with a big thanks to V-moda's Val & Gavin (V-Moda Asia Pacific), VentureCraft's Hamada-san and Nemoto-san, and Focal Point's Chris, V-Moda's distributor in Japan, for welcoming myself and onizukajp tonight. And an added thanks to VentureCraft for hosting the dinner too - 2nd time in 2 months for fellow Tokyo Head-fiers!
L-R: Nemoto-san, Chris, Hamada-san, onizukajp, Val, me (AnakChan), Gavin
P.S. in case anyone asks, yes the VAmp was also featured in today's gathering, but that'll be in a different thread ;-).