Originally Posted by amigomatt
Well, they might have less distortion on paper, but which sound the best? I know it's out of place to comment on headphones you've not heard, but from the impressions made about the V-Modas from the pages of this forum, I'd put money on the NADs sounding better. Does anyone own both?
I own both. I actually picked up the HP50's to replace the V-Moda M-100s. (And they will, once I put up mine on the FS forums likely sometime next week.)
Everyone has different taste preferences, genre investments, and enjoys different sound signatures - I can't really say which you'll prefer. The HP50s were better to me, and they are certainly the more sonically even headphone of the two. I felt that the mids on the V-Moda's were too recessed and that the bass was overpowering the rest of the spectrum. I was used to my Amperior's more forward mids, and so the V-Moda's recessed midrange messed with my listening enjoyment. This was what drove me to try to replace the M-100s in the first place.
The M-100's are not as detailed or resolving as the HP50's or Amperiors - but that actually played to an advantage on poorly recorded or mixed tracks. (The HP50 is a bit less forgiving of poor source material.) The M-100's treble rolls off in the last octave - you can see it in their frequency response graph vs the HP50s too. The benefit of their lack of upper range energy/extension is that if source material is sibilant, you can still listen to it without extra displeasure or discomfort. It all takes a back seat to the M-100's bass. My genre preferences are rock-centric. I listen to a lot of folk and acoustic guitar driven music; it was really unnatural to hear Cat Stevens "Father & Son" and have the opening bass notes sound like they were coming out of a mid-80s El Camino with spinners.
The HP50 wins on digital imaging and a sense of spaciousness - though the M-100s (especially with XL pads) are no slouch here as far as closed phones go. The HP50 has much better isolation than the M-100s. Again this is a matter of personal preference: if you need to be able to hear in a busy environment/on the go, the M-100s win here. If you want to block out ambient noise and/or listen to music at lower volumes, then the HP50 wins by a mile here.
The M-100 wins on build quality. If you are careful with the wingplates (see the V-Moda owners thread for more on this problem), the build quality is superb. I already had to return my HP50s for a headband defect (which also turned out to be a sound one too). With the new pair, I still feel like I have to be a lot more careful with these than my Beyerdynamic DT250-250s, Amperiors, V-Moda's (both M-100 and M-80s are built very solid). I also really loved the looks of the M-100s as they just plain looked and felt great, especially with the XL pads. Ultimately, that wasn't enough to justify keeping them around.