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V-MODA M-100 & VTF-100 Appreciation Thread: Images, Impressions, Reviews. - Page 3

post #31 of 924

Here's my review after an exhaustive day of auditioning the M-100 while flying.  Please don't excoriate me for not being as technical as some of the more seasoned members, but hopefully this well help others like me.

 

Heere is my multi-faceted review so that if anyone else is in my shoes they might get some help.  (My shoes are a budget conscience person who appreciates good music, doesn't have a huge history with high end headphones, but is looking for as close as possible to a single do-it-all product.)

 

iPhone/iPod portable use

Although my iPhone 4s is probably going to remain how I drive these guys the most, I have also been playing with my old 20 gig iPod (4th gen I think) and am quite pleased.  I think Anakchan has covered the technical terms, so I will break it down a little differently.  For me, one of the things that I noticed was the way that I was immersed the music in a way that I haven’t yet been with my IEMs.  My first moment of this came with the squeezebox (read below), but I was even able to get it on the plane listening to Jimmy Buffett’s Boats Beaches Bars and Ballads.  If you closed your eyes you could visualize how the stage was set up when the songs were recorded, seeing Jimmy up front, his background singers spread on both sides of the stage just slightly behind him, etc…  It really did put you that into the music.  The harmonica portions just sang with beautiful clarity and detail to complement the rendering of the vocals and guitar.  The experience was so enjoyable I spent probably 2x as long listening to music today as I have on previous flights in the last few years.

 

The iPhone 4s does what I would consider an adequate job, which is really not a fair statement.  The M-100s driven this way really sound great and everyone I let hear them is blown away (except my wife, but that’s another story), but now that I have heard other sources I have to say it’s not my favorite.  That’s partially me though -- Had I plugged them into my phone and stopped there I still would have loved these headphones, but the bass punch isn’t quite there and the general tone to me is just less pleasing.  (still learning the terms and I want to say that the mids seem more recessed).  Right now though, partially because of all of my experimentation, when I hear a wonderful sounding song I can’t help but think…what what this sound like with __________ (insert amp/DAC combo here)  I am going to keep tinkering with this setup though.  Mainly, all of my iPhone music has been either Rhapsody or Pandora, so I need to put some high quality tracks on there to ensure that I am giving the cans a fair shake when being driven by my 4s.

 

 

Being driven by my bedside Squeezebox at night

I can’t decide whether I should be excited or sad about this setup.  I am super excited because it sounds AMAZING, but sad that I really feel that I need to spend more money on my mobile setup now in order to try and get this level of fidelity on the go.  If you aren’t familiar with the old pre-logitech SLIM Devices products they were well known for solid components and design to produce high quality digital audio players.  In my house this is probably my best DAC/Amp setup for driving headphones…for now…  Listening to a lot of my standard tunes each and every new song that came on just put a smile on my face.  To maybe put some folks at ease, even in a perfectly quiet environment with a fairly high power amp I did not find the bass to be over powering or obnoxious.

 

This basically took all of the great immersion and sound characteristics that I mentioned above, but improved to a drastically noticeable degree.  I am actually a little disappointed sitting here typing this that I don’t have my boom with me at my bedside to be listening right now.

 

 

As gaming headphones paired with my Astro MixAmp

Prior to just recently this has been about 50% or more of my listening and I have been impressed.  I have spent a few evenings playing World of Warcraft (don’t laugh) which is a game renowned for its soundtrack and audio in general and I have to say, it has never sounded better.  The audio track is amazing and there is a whole new level of immersion to the game now.  This is one of the areas that the bass of the M-100 really shines.

 

<random detour> The other night while playing I got a phone call, so I thought I’d try something fun.  I had the game running into one ear and plugged the boom mic into my phone on the other side.  There was a seamless integration between my gaming and the phone call.  It was pretty cool.

 

Probably just as important is the mixamp and M-100 on a full 5.1 surround  sound game.  I fired up Halo Reach and went to town to see if the headphones would be able to hold their own in this setting.  The M-100s ability to accurately represent full surround sound was, in my opinion, a testament to the fabulous soundstage that it has for a closed can.  I have to imagine that the 598s do better in the surround sound arena and that the “gaming” headphones with super bright highs do better for enemy location, but for an enjoyable night of gaming, I can’t imagine much could top these.  The bass was strong and accurate, the background music was warm and the mids and highs made for an enjoyable, but realistic weapon firing sound.  Toss in the boom mic and I think the M-100 is a serious contender for someone that wants an audiophile/gaming headphone.

 

On an airplane with and without faders in

OK, so first things first about the M-100 in general as out and about headphones.  I spent from 0400 to 1900 today in airports/airplanes, so I got to do lots of experimenting.  I also took some of my IEMs with me etc…  In the airport, these are amazing and killed my IEMs, there is just enough isolation that the cans are able to shine to their maximum potential.  On the airplane, I am still torn.  I measured the background level of my last leg at 87 dB and it was a little quieter than my middle flight.  For music that has a constant background beat they are awesome and allow you to get the immersion that you get from less noisy environments, but for pieces that have very dynamic volumes and for movies I found the quiet scenes were having to compete with the background noise quite significantly.  I actually found myself constantly messing with the volume while watching Avengers, which is something I don’t typically do with my Shures, but admittedly some of this was due to the pilot making major changes in engine RPM etc…  However, the overall experience was still very positive and I think in many scenarios the sound was still superior to my less expensive IEMs and often rivaled my Shures.  I FOR SURE appreciated the bass boost while in these environments.  When competing with the drone of an engine that extra punch was very welcomed.

 

With the faders in a few things come to mind.  First, HOLY COW this is quiet, even without music playing there is almost no outside noise coming in.  Followed quickly by a second, wow, I can’t do this for long.  For me, there just isn’t enough room inside the headphone in order to have my ears, much less a pair of plugs in.  I went ahead and did some testing anyway and I can say that the faders do well, but still pull the mids way back and mute the highs to a quite dullness.  I was able to EQ a lot of this out such that I would probably use this as my default setup, if only I could live with it for more than 5-10 minutes.

 

As an aside – I wore just the faders for a bit on my first flight and actually found them quite enjoyable once I got them set.  I should have brought all the different size tips with me though as after an extended time wearing them my initial choice was wrong.

 

Closing Thoughts on Comfort

I really really wish the bigger pads were already out for these headphones.  As it is, I am going to give it the rest of this trip to see if I can get used to it, but a few times throughout the day I really was fatigued by wearing them.  For me, at this price point, I need to be able to wear them on these all day trips in order to justify the cost over my IEMs that I can wear for 3-4 hours at a time.  Granted, I went over 14 hours with most of the day having them on, but I was having to move them around here and there and sitting here now, 4 hours after I have last put them on, my ears are still a bit unhappy with me.  As much as I love the sound I am concerned that they aren't physically built for me, even though sonically they are exactly what I wanted.

 

Closing Thoughts on Build Quality

These headphones are really wonderfully built.  I have posted my thoughts in other places, but after more and more time with them, I just want to reiterate how much I enjoy picking them up.  It really gives a sense of money well spent because of the solid construction and attention to detail.


Edited by jonnio - 10/16/12 at 6:07am
post #32 of 924
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadpatch View Post

It's always nice to be different.... even if it's just the model number on the side. 

 

Hey how popular are V-Moda in the US. Here (Europe) they're almost completely unknown. The Hifi magazine that I read has only just featured the M-80 (and not loved them, much to my disappointment) :(. 

 

I was wearing my Crossfade LPs (which I've had for about 15 months) at the community college I go to and some lady noticed them and said to her friend at a table right near mine "Those are the Crossfaders. See those? They're Crossfaders."

I had to shake my head at that but at least that's one person finally that noticed what they are. Most people that see me wearing them go "What headphones are those?"


Edited by TheLoiProject - 8/31/12 at 8:25pm
post #33 of 924
Thread Starter 
VTF units are being packaged as we speak, pre-release/shipping will probably be very, very soon!
post #34 of 924
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRSxIgnition View Post

VTF units are being packaged as we speak, pre-release/shipping will probably be very, very soon!

I would expect in about a week or so.

post #35 of 924
Awesome! Where did you guys hear about the dates?

I guess you guys will get them before me, it will probably take a few days to get to Europe.
post #36 of 924

What does VTF stand for?

post #37 of 924
Quote:
Originally Posted by our martin View Post

What does VTF stand for?

Very Totally Friday... sorry I have no idea :P.

 

Hey I just noticed that the page for the VTF-100 has been removed from the VModa website... 0.o ... Not sure if this is a good or a bad sign. I don't have any email notifying me of any changes to my order. Anyone else heard any news? Perhaps they are just making way for the M-100 page.


Edited by Quadpatch - 9/8/12 at 10:08am
post #38 of 924
Quote:
Originally Posted by our martin View Post

What does VTF stand for?

 

 Variable Tuning Frequency... wait a minute... that's for HSU subwoofers. Nevermind

post #39 of 924
Thread Starter 
It's probably just some wordplay on "WTF" by Val.

If it has a deeper meaning, I don't know it.
post #40 of 924
Thread Starter 

Just to let you all know - the VMODA M-100 & VTF-100 are in the Closed Mid-Fi Portable Battle 2012.

 

Drop by with your thoughts - and provide reviews once you get yours! 

post #41 of 924

V-Moda M-100 Unboxing Picture Post

 

Warning: Picture Heavy

 

Today I received a production version of the V-Moda M-100. As I was not a part of the pre-release run these aren't the VTF-100s with additional accessories, etc. As such there are no pictures of the additional accessories. This is the retail on-the-shelf stock package.

 

I also have to thank you very much to the V-Moda team (Val, Gavin, Bill), and to VentureCraft (Hamada-san) for making this happen for me. I feel very privileged to be able to get these in my hands so early post production. I deeply and truly appreciate this gesture by them.

 

As mentioned in other posts in other M-100 threads, I won't be giving a sonic review in this post. I'll make one after the M-100 has been run in overnight at least. As a end-user, I personally do believe in burn-in, some headphones required more than others, some longer than others too. But at least in the past V-Moda headphones I've owned, I gather the M-100 will be similar to them where most of the changes are within the first few hours and thereafter, the improvements taper off over time (diminishing returns).

 

Along the picture post, though, I will be giving my thoughts about the construction, fit, comfort, etc. in note form.

 

Packaging

 

As can be seen, V-Moda has pretty much kept to the similar concept & design of the packaging as with their other models. The exception is the colour now is orange rather than deep blood red. As always the product is packaged with style.

 

 

 

 

The Clamshell Case & Contents

 

The carry case now has more clamshell design since the M-100 can collapse. As with the other cases for other models, it's a reasonably hardshell. Aesthetically it looks really clean and classy. The zipper slider is now seamless and the zipper tab (at least for this white M-100) is the same as the white M-80 zipper tab - note that the M-80 shadow case, the zipper tab was more normal. V-Moda has added more style to their packaging.

 

 

 

With the clamshell open, included (aside from the headphones of course), are 2 cables - a 1 button SpeakEasy cable, and a SharePlay audio cable. Also included is a 1/8"->1/4" 24k gold pro adapter. And of course a carrying spring clip.

 

 

 

I'd like to add a quick note about the cables. Not microphonic!! I wonder if this is the reason the material weaving pattern had changed from the M-80's.

 

 

The Headphones

 

The Hinges

The way the M-100 collapses is unique and well thought of.

 

 

These hinges are heavy duty. I remember when I first saw these at the Tokyo Fujiya Spring Festival, I mentioned in the forums that I thought they looked chunky and they don't seem to flow with the V-Moda lines. However I look at them now and they don't stick out like a sore thumb the way I first thought. It's probably as simple as their colour blending into the headbands and fork.

 

 

 

 

A close up of where the headband forks attach to the cups. I think these have remained the same as the other V-Moda headphones :-

 


The Headband

Having seen a few different M-100 prototypes, this is one component where I've seen it changed back 'n forth. In the May '12 Fujiya Spring Festival, the M-100 had an LP2-styled wider headband. Whereas in June '12 with Val & Gavin's visit to Tokyo the M-100 prototype then had a more M-80 slimmer styled headband. This final white production version has gone back to the LP2-styled headband. I know that the M-100 will be offered in Shadow too and I'm wondering if that will have the M-80 slimmer styled headband or not.

 

 

The Cups

At least with the thee white M-100s, the cups have a satin white texture. They do seem to be quite durable ABS too (ABS??). Although I'm not about to try any destruction tests on my first day of having them in my hands.

 

 

The face plates are vented with the standard 3-V ports (sorry, not peeling off the skin protector yet).

 

 

Now really the important side of the cup. Here's your 50mm driver protected by a thin diaphragm porous material (sorry, at this stage I'm out of technical jargon ;-)...I'm tired). The foam memory cushions seem to be the same as the LP2 (Val to confirm?).

 

I'm sure readers will ask about isolation and for I would rate their isolation as average (as with LP2 and M-80). In later planned reviews when I compare the M-100 with other competing headphones, I can give an isolation comparison too. The clamping force is strong and I may need to adjust it for my head size.

 

As for fit, to me these are true circumaural and my ears fit inside the cups. However I'd say that it's a just perfect fit. i.e. if you do have large ears, then your ears may not necessarily fit inside the cup. This however is true for the LP/LP2s too.

 

 

The other features which I've glanced through but not talked much about is the dual headphone jack port, one per cup. I've tried switching back 'n forth but I have not attempted to have both plugged into different sources. That may be an interesting test later.

 

Pictorial Conclusion

 

I think V-Moda has given the M-100 a lot of thought into every detail from functionality to styling. All else, the M-100 has followed the trend of it's predecessors and sister models of aesthetics, durability and comfort.

 

However I feel competing products are quickly learning from V-Moda's design and aesthetic philosophies and stepping up to the challenge very quickly. It would be interesting to see what V-Moda comes up with next to stay ahead of the challenge.

 

 

Next Post Review - SQ

 

But after I've burnt in and given the M-100 a good listen. And so the burn-in begins.

 

 

P.S. Please let me know if any inaccuracies, inconsistencies, or clarification. I'd be happy to fix this post.

Edit #1: Added circumaural fit comment.

post #42 of 924

M-100 Sonic Review

 

The M-100 is probably one of the most long awaited headphones this year. Ever since it's announcement a year ago, Val has kept his customers and e-audience updated and involved throughout the entire development process of this headphone. This frequent interaction is a risky and daring move as it leaves very little room for the product to fail and still expected to impress upon delivery. And has he pulled it off? Now as the early-bird VTF-100/M-100s are being delivered on customer doorsteps throughout the world, I believe he has!

 

Disclaimer: My M-100 review has been based on my personal sonic capabilities, and in addition, my sonic preferences based on the genre of music I like.

 

Headphone Fit

 

I have an average headsize and the M-100 fits quite well on me. The ear cup-size is just the perfect fit for my ears. There's little room to play though which means that if you have large ears, then it may be a tight fit. The headband and clamping was initially tight however as advised by Val, flexing the headband and wearing the headphones regularly, the pads eventually mould to one's head shape. This not only makes the headphone more comfortable but by having a proper seal, also improves sonically. After 2 weeks of having the headphones this was an accurate advice.

 

When I'm home I wear my glasses and the M-100s don't cause any discomfort even them on. The arms of my glasses also arch out a little (i.e. they don't sit flush on the sides of my face) but I'm still fine with the M-100s sitting on them.

 

I find the isolation on the M-100 to be on par with the LP2s. They're quite decent but using it on the trains, some higher frequency ambient noise leaks in enough to be distracting. However there's very little leakage out. The person sitting next to me can hear "noise" from my headphones but not identify what kind of music I'm listening to.

 

Sound Signature

 

By far the strongest sonic trait of the M-100 is it's rendering of its bass. At least to my ears, this is the defining signature of these headphones. Before getting into the nitty gritty details, overall I felt the headphones had a somewhat U-shaped signature. In my conversations with Val, it's really more the prominence of the bass and slight forwardness in the trebles give this perception. The mids are somewhat more neutral/flat however due to the characteristics of the bass and trebles, the perception appears U-shaped.


Bass

 

As mentioned previously, the bass rendering is the most prominent feature I picked up in the M-100's sonics. This was the same trait I personally fell in love with even on the June M-100 prototype. I can't say honestly if it's the same then as now or if it's improved (my sonic memory can't go back that far) but I can say that it wow-ed me then and continues to wow me now in the production model. I won't call myself a bass head but the M-100's bass traits have enlightened me on how to appreciate good quality bass. It has resulted in an addiction that has led me scouring for new tracks that emphasise on this quality.

The bass on the M-100 to me has done something few headphones have achieved before. It's reached deep (and I mean really deep!) yet extremely well controlled. Where other headphones attempt to reach that deep resulting in boomy or bleeding bass into the mids, the M-100 maintains a tight control of the bass. However it doesn't end there and only gets better. On tracks that do emphasise on bass, there is this beautiful 3D rendering that's fluid and reverberating. I've called it the "rumble" but Val has more accurately described it as "purr". 

 

Mids

 

To my ears the mids are somewhat pulled back and as mentioned above Val describes it to be neutral/flat which I can see where he's coming from. For me, I find this particular signature less ideal for strong vocal tracks but good for more modern R&B, Hip Hop, and Electronic genre. Because of the bass are well controlled and doesn't bleed into the mids, my ears still can focus on it and there's clarity and detail in the mids. However, for my personal sonic preferences this factor has made my M-100s to be more genre specific.

Trebles

 

The trebles make a comeback but just above neutral. Back to my conversations with Val, he confirmed my opinions. It's approx 1-1.5dB but nothing like the other treble-forward competing brands out there. This in itself is a positive trait especially for those who are sensitive to sibilance. From around 8kHz onwards it peaks up and mostly flattens. I would state that in my early days of listening to the production M-100, I felt I wasn't getting enough treble however, over time I don't know if the earpad moulding, the burning in, or me getting used to it's signature I found the trebles have been creeping up to be a little more forward and I'm appreciating it a lot more than 2 weeks ago. It's airy, transparent and micro-detail.

 

Soundstage & Imaging Presentation

 

When I first heard the soundstage I felt it was large but nothing to be impressed about. After getting my hands on a few more headphones that are in competition to the M-100, I realised I was wrong! I had merely been used to very high end headphones. The soundstage actually feels quite large by comparison to other closed headphones around the same category. In addition, primarily due to the bass 3D rendering, the imaging is beautifully textured. The combination of these two factors make the instrument separation (and therefore ability to focus on instrument detail). The way I'd summarise the soundstage and imaging to my ears is that some of the other headphones sound like a big gig in a small pub/bar but the M-100 sounds like a gig in a concert with you sitting around the 5th row from the front.

 

Other Non-Sonic Features

 

Do I really need to comment on the durability? If not known already, the V-Moda headphones are extremely durable and V-Moda spends a lot of time on testing these headphones to ensure they meet their tight standards prior to production. Even with the new collapsing hinges, they feel extremely rugged and durable. When you hold a the M-100, it doesn't rattle, it doesn't shake, and it doesn't convey any sense of flimsiness. It's like German engineering with an Italian design.

Another special feature is the dual headphone jack. Val & I actually tried plugging in two different sources - each into each earcup. WIth the right kinds of source, you can actually mix if you wanted to! It's quite a surreal experience.

 

Conclusion for Now


I have to say, to my ears I'd still classify the M-100s to be somewhat coloured, and for my personal use, not reference headphones since I feel for my sonic preferences the M-100s are genre specific. I've mentioned this to Val and he understands. However this coloured-ness in itself is an extremely positive feature and in fact a great selling point for this headphone. As mentioned before, the strong deep bass is so well controlled and rendered that it's made me (and others I'm sure) wanting to find new music tracks to exploit this feature.

 

Combined with the ruggedness and compactness, and low profile of headphones, I do find myself grabbing the M-100s more when I go out and about the city. If I just want to enjoy music these are the headphones I'll grab.

 

Sample music I enjoy with the M-100's :-

 

TRON Legacy (check out the C.L.U track!)

Sting's Brand New Day (More specifically A Thousand Years track)

Bond's Viva!/Wintersun & Born

Vanessa-Mae's Art Of War

Alex Gaudino's Destination Calabria (ok I admit, I do like the video a lot too)

Il Divo Il Divo (makes my hair at the back of my neck stand!!)

The Postal Service Give Up (Such Great Heights track)

Jamiroquai A Funk Odyssey

Akon Freedom

Ne-Yo Year of the Gentleman

Sean Kingston

 

Where can the M-100 improve?
 

In my mind, the M-100 is the top in its class of which I wouldn't hesitate in recommending. However, it's also reaching up to the next level and category. There's potential for the M-100 to come close to competing with some of the higher end headphones. In my honest opinion, the next few features for V-Moda to focus on for the future would be (aside from the M-100s current features), are further detail and increased resolution.

post #43 of 924

RESERVED FOR COMPARISON REVIEW

post #44 of 924
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the posts Anakchan. I will link them all to the Closed Mid-Fi Portable Battle 2012 Discussion, so that more people will be able to understand what the M-100 is about, in comparison to the many other closed portables being released soon.

 

For the review, be sure to compare them to other headphones you may own, and be detailed on your analysis - that way, more people can get a clearer idea of these headphones.

post #45 of 924

Nice pictures AnakChan, can't wait for your SQ review.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › V-MODA M-100 & VTF-100 Appreciation Thread: Images, Impressions, Reviews.