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V-MODA XS - V-MODA M-80s upgraded - Pictures and more! [Discussion, Questions] #FirstthreadtocoverXS - Page 26

post #376 of 747

:(

I don't mind paying the customs, just wish they'd speed up the whole process. Anyway can't wait to try them out.  I like that it's even more compact than the M100, move around a lot so good that it has a small footprint in the bag.

post #377 of 747

I posted my initial impressions on another site a couple days ago. Thought I'd put them out here as well. Many of these initial impressions will likely make it into my final review of the headphone:

 

__________________________________

 

Ergonomic Impressions: My V-Moda XS came in yesterday at around 12:00 noon central time. I used them from 12:30 to around 10:30 pm. These are the single most comfortable supraaural headphone I've ever used, and are up there with the most comfortable headphone I've used period (that includes the Paradox w/ Suspension Headband). I only took them off to eat and to watch this past week's Cosmos episode with my wife. Most of that listening was from my desktop rig (ALAC/FLAC files > JMRC > USB to ODAC > UHA-6S.MKII > XS). I did spend about 45 minutes walking outside to the bank and drugstore to pick up a few things as well.

It only took around 4 minutes to find my optimal fit - which was 3 clicks down for me, but YMMV. The odd part about the XS is that they don't *feel* secure, but they are. With most on-ear phones, the headphones are secured by the force of the on ear clamp. In this case, there is very little clamping force because of the redesigned Steelflex headband. Most of the force is carried by the far larger contact area between your head and the surface of the band, leaving the earpads free to be as loose or as tight as you need them to be for seal and stabilization only. 

I don't have enough accolades for the design of these things. They are light enough to keep around your neck while on the go and not feel encumbered or impeded in the least. They isolate exactly the same as the old M-80s - which means not very well. They still have the same bass vents from before. For me, this is a plus as I don't want to get run over by a car navigated by some Chicago driver on a smartphone. 

Re: Sound: The XS are still new and I don't want to let "new toy" bias overcome my better judgment. So, normally, I wouldn't say much at this point. I usually take around 3 weeks or so to make a final judgement on a new piece of gear. But, since you're making a buying decision soon and I have a few minutes, here is what I've got on my notes from yesterday's listening. 

Playlist (in order of listening, a few tracks on each with the exception of Moondance and One Nil which were full album listens. Included because headphone tastes are often genre specific.): Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago & Bon Iver; Van Morrison, Moondance; The Outfield, Play Deep; The Who, My Generation/Best Of & Quadrophenia; Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home & Highway 61 Revisited; Athlete, Tourist; Modest Mouse, We Were Dead...; Paul Simon, Graceland; Gin Blossoms, New Miserable Experience & Congratulations I'm Sorry; George Harrison, Let It Roll; The Beatles, Help! & Let It Be; Jim Croce, The Way We Used To Be; Neil Finn, One Nil; Sixto Rodriguez, Cold Fact & Coming From Reality; Leonard Cohen, Songs of Love and Hate. 

To my ears they are a substantial improvement over the M-80, especially in treble extension, bass evenness and bass tightness. If anything, I think that the two threads on head-fi are undervaluing the sonic differences - seeing them more as a shrunken, clikfold M-80. I think - or at least certainly hope - that future measurements will bear out the improvements I'm hearing here. If it doesn't, well, then I shouldn't quit my day job  ;)

The XS's treble response extends higher than its predecessor without becoming unduly bright or piercing. Cymbals and strings have the appropriate sparkle, while still lacking the expected bit of top end air. That's such a general statement that you can say it for most headphones, so put another way: the treble on the XS doesn't sound shelved like it did on the M-80. Despite the better extended highs, the XS retains the M-80's pleasant character. It's still a slightly warm headphone. Moreover, harmonicas and trumpets don't gain extra harshness. There is no added vocal sibilance, which to me is still the great crime of the HD25 and Amperior. My go-to test album for sibilance is Rodriguez's Coming From Reality, where the song "Cause" sounds like it was recorded with a backing orchestra of tearing paper. On any headphone that adds sibilance, that song becomes a torture device. On the XS, that track is still listenable. 

Most of the time, the XS's bass output felt extremely even and well balanced.  When measured, I don't think that the XS is going to seem particularly bass elevated in its frequency response. But, at times, certain tracks felt more bassy than I thought that they should. (In particular, in the opening bass notes on Paul Simon's "Graceland" and the bassline in Van Morrison's "Glad Tidings"). I switched back and forth to my Paradox, which I think makes a great palate cleanser, and even though the tracks sounded less bassy on the Paradox it wasn't immediately apparently to me why that was. Probably because I'm just so new to this, and most people would have figured this out faster. I didn't figure it out until I listened to The Who's "Baba O' Reilly": the synthesizer track, which sweeps back and forth, felt more narrow on the XS than it did on the Paradox. When I went back to the curious bass tracks and compared them again, it was clear: the XS's imaging/soundstage seemed taller than it was wide and my narrower perception of space on the XS made the bass stand out more. 

The above might sound particularly negative, like I'm pointing out some sort of flaw in the XS. But keep in mind that this is a closed supra-aural headphone. It's been my experience that this type of headphone images poorly and even good ones tend to come off flat. The Amperior certainly does. Poor ones come off extremely muddled and confused. Given its headphone type, I found its ability to feel reasonably spacious pretty impressive. 

As far as the mids: I rarely listen to purely instrumental music, so mids are important to me. The M-80s did mids very well and the XS continues to do mids very well. The upper mids might be a bit forward; I'll have to confirm that on further listening. If you look through my playlist, its indicative of my genre preferences and I think that the XS sounds very good with the type of rock music I've listened to on it thus far. Both vocal and instrument timbre sound natural and not artificial. Jim Croce and Paul Simon sound fantastic. Lisa Germano sounds ethereal while performing background vocals on Neil Finn's "Turn and Run" and "The Climber," as she should. Isaac Brock's syncopated vocals have all their appropriate squawk. Leonard Cohen's baritone stretches appropriately deep and sounds full on "Avalanche." Ringo Starr probably sounds better than he should on "Act Naturally." His drumstick tapping sounds great too. I plan on listening to some soul today, and I expect Sam Cooke to sound as great as he ought to. 

TLDR: After a day of listening, these sound pretty damn good. I'd buy them over the DT1350, Amperior, HD25-II, and of course the original M-80s. Measurements are certainly needed to confirm this, but I think they sound much better than their predecessor. If you want a light, fashionable headphone that sounds good for on-the go-use (and works with the V-Moda boom mic) I think these are the headphones you want.

post #378 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom22 View Post
 

i do notice a bit of bass bleed into the mids (nothing huge) but definitely noticeable,

 

for the m80s did anyone listen to them extensively (or burned them in) enough for that bass bleed to disappear?

 

if so how many hours of listening and burn it? i'm burning them in now (i'm still new to burn in, and i worry about the drivers on the xs!--> i'm doing it along with my jvc fxd80s (using the dual inputs =) haha putting it to good use!)

 

I didn't notice any change in the M80 from last year to this year, and my XS sound just like my M80 so I don't expect them to change either.

post #379 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kon Peki View Post

I didn't notice any change in the M80 from last year to this year, and my XS sound just like my M80 so I don't expect them to change either.

Thanks everyone! I guess ill just have listen to them *groans* and immensely enjoy them smily_headphones1.gif
post #380 of 747
Thread Starter 
So after using my XS for two weeks, the pads have finally broken in. I can and have worn these for hours on end with no ear pain. It's like a over ear without the fuss, but it'll never replace over ear. It may dominate in ears, but in ears will always win the war on portability.
If I had to give the XS an award, I'd give it best sounding and portable headphone for its size [based on price] (on ear). Bearing in mind you can probably get better sounding EARphones (iems) that are more portable, but I like headphones more than earphones, and the two are different.
Edited by Existence - 4/13/14 at 5:30am
post #381 of 747
Thread Starter 
The XS also shine under a good DAC (FiiO E17). Makes everything better.
post #382 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Existence View Post

The XS also shine under a good DAC (FiiO E17). Makes everything better.

I have an E17 too, what do I have to get for it to work with an iPhone 5s? (The DAC that is)

post #383 of 747

Just posted my V-Moda XS review: http://www.head-fi.org/products/v-moda-xs/reviews/10826

 

Njoy!!!

post #384 of 747
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daphen View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Existence View Post

The XS also shine under a good DAC (FiiO E17). Makes everything better.
I have an E17 too, what do I have to get for it to work with an iPhone 5s? (The DAC that is)
You can't, pretty much. You could get the fiio LOD (line out dock) and another attachment, but you'd need two 30 pin to lightnings, I think.

Not worth it, that's why I'm buying the Verza.
post #385 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Existence View Post


You can't, pretty much. You could get the fiio LOD (line out dock) and another attachment, but you'd need two 30 pin to lightnings, I think.

Not worth it, that's why I'm buying the Verza.

Lame. 

 

I'm looking at some dedicated players atm. Seems more worth it than buying an accessory to my phone. 

With phone's there are problems like space and battery life. However. This isn't really XS talk. Sorry for derailing. 

post #386 of 747
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daphen View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Existence View Post

You can't, pretty much. You could get the fiio LOD (line out dock) and another attachment, but you'd need two 30 pin to lightnings, I think.


Not worth it, that's why I'm buying the Verza.
Lame. 

I'm looking at some dedicated players atm. Seems more worth it than buying an accessory to my phone. 
With phone's there are problems like space and battery life. However. This isn't really XS talk. Sorry for derailing. 
The XS is good with any DAC, but bearing in mind portable digital DACS on their own in an amplifier (not attached to a laptop) is fairly new tech.
post #387 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinValentine View Post
 

I posted my initial impressions on another site a couple days ago. Thought I'd put them out here as well. Many of these initial impressions will likely make it into my final review of the headphone:

 

__________________________________

 

Ergonomic Impressions: My V-Moda XS came in yesterday at around 12:00 noon central time. I used them from 12:30 to around 10:30 pm. These are the single most comfortable supraaural headphone I've ever used, and are up there with the most comfortable headphone I've used period (that includes the Paradox w/ Suspension Headband). I only took them off to eat and to watch this past week's Cosmos episode with my wife. Most of that listening was from my desktop rig (ALAC/FLAC files > JMRC > USB to ODAC > UHA-6S.MKII > XS). I did spend about 45 minutes walking outside to the bank and drugstore to pick up a few things as well.

It only took around 4 minutes to find my optimal fit - which was 3 clicks down for me, but YMMV. The odd part about the XS is that they don't *feel* secure, but they are. With most on-ear phones, the headphones are secured by the force of the on ear clamp. In this case, there is very little clamping force because of the redesigned Steelflex headband. Most of the force is carried by the far larger contact area between your head and the surface of the band, leaving the earpads free to be as loose or as tight as you need them to be for seal and stabilization only. 

I don't have enough accolades for the design of these things. They are light enough to keep around your neck while on the go and not feel encumbered or impeded in the least. They isolate exactly the same as the old M-80s - which means not very well. They still have the same bass vents from before. For me, this is a plus as I don't want to get run over by a car navigated by some Chicago driver on a smartphone. 

Re: Sound: The XS are still new and I don't want to let "new toy" bias overcome my better judgment. So, normally, I wouldn't say much at this point. I usually take around 3 weeks or so to make a final judgement on a new piece of gear. But, since you're making a buying decision soon and I have a few minutes, here is what I've got on my notes from yesterday's listening. 

Playlist (in order of listening, a few tracks on each with the exception of Moondance and One Nil which were full album listens. Included because headphone tastes are often genre specific.): Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago & Bon Iver; Van Morrison, Moondance; The Outfield, Play Deep; The Who, My Generation/Best Of & Quadrophenia; Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home & Highway 61 Revisited; Athlete, Tourist; Modest Mouse, We Were Dead...; Paul Simon, Graceland; Gin Blossoms, New Miserable Experience & Congratulations I'm Sorry; George Harrison, Let It Roll; The Beatles, Help! & Let It Be; Jim Croce, The Way We Used To Be; Neil Finn, One Nil; Sixto Rodriguez, Cold Fact & Coming From Reality; Leonard Cohen, Songs of Love and Hate. 

To my ears they are a substantial improvement over the M-80, especially in treble extension, bass evenness and bass tightness. If anything, I think that the two threads on head-fi are undervaluing the sonic differences - seeing them more as a shrunken, clikfold M-80. I think - or at least certainly hope - that future measurements will bear out the improvements I'm hearing here. If it doesn't, well, then I shouldn't quit my day job  ;)

The XS's treble response extends higher than its predecessor without becoming unduly bright or piercing. Cymbals and strings have the appropriate sparkle, while still lacking the expected bit of top end air. That's such a general statement that you can say it for most headphones, so put another way: the treble on the XS doesn't sound shelved like it did on the M-80. Despite the better extended highs, the XS retains the M-80's pleasant character. It's still a slightly warm headphone. Moreover, harmonicas and trumpets don't gain extra harshness. There is no added vocal sibilance, which to me is still the great crime of the HD25 and Amperior. My go-to test album for sibilance is Rodriguez's Coming From Reality, where the song "Cause" sounds like it was recorded with a backing orchestra of tearing paper. On any headphone that adds sibilance, that song becomes a torture device. On the XS, that track is still listenable. 

Most of the time, the XS's bass output felt extremely even and well balanced.  When measured, I don't think that the XS is going to seem particularly bass elevated in its frequency response. But, at times, certain tracks felt more bassy than I thought that they should. (In particular, in the opening bass notes on Paul Simon's "Graceland" and the bassline in Van Morrison's "Glad Tidings"). I switched back and forth to my Paradox, which I think makes a great palate cleanser, and even though the tracks sounded less bassy on the Paradox it wasn't immediately apparently to me why that was. Probably because I'm just so new to this, and most people would have figured this out faster. I didn't figure it out until I listened to The Who's "Baba O' Reilly": the synthesizer track, which sweeps back and forth, felt more narrow on the XS than it did on the Paradox. When I went back to the curious bass tracks and compared them again, it was clear: the XS's imaging/soundstage seemed taller than it was wide and my narrower perception of space on the XS made the bass stand out more. 

The above might sound particularly negative, like I'm pointing out some sort of flaw in the XS. But keep in mind that this is a closed supra-aural headphone. It's been my experience that this type of headphone images poorly and even good ones tend to come off flat. The Amperior certainly does. Poor ones come off extremely muddled and confused. Given its headphone type, I found its ability to feel reasonably spacious pretty impressive. 

As far as the mids: I rarely listen to purely instrumental music, so mids are important to me. The M-80s did mids very well and the XS continues to do mids very well. The upper mids might be a bit forward; I'll have to confirm that on further listening. If you look through my playlist, its indicative of my genre preferences and I think that the XS sounds very good with the type of rock music I've listened to on it thus far. Both vocal and instrument timbre sound natural and not artificial. Jim Croce and Paul Simon sound fantastic. Lisa Germano sounds ethereal while performing background vocals on Neil Finn's "Turn and Run" and "The Climber," as she should. Isaac Brock's syncopated vocals have all their appropriate squawk. Leonard Cohen's baritone stretches appropriately deep and sounds full on "Avalanche." Ringo Starr probably sounds better than he should on "Act Naturally." His drumstick tapping sounds great too. I plan on listening to some soul today, and I expect Sam Cooke to sound as great as he ought to. 

TLDR: After a day of listening, these sound pretty damn good. I'd buy them over the DT1350, Amperior, HD25-II, and of course the original M-80s. Measurements are certainly needed to confirm this, but I think they sound much better than their predecessor. If you want a light, fashionable headphone that sounds good for on-the go-use (and works with the V-Moda boom mic) I think these are the headphones you want.

This is a really great review.  A lot of things you say fit my impressions as well.

 

I own the Amperior, the M80, and an old HD25-II (mid 1990's).  I think a comparison between the Amperior and the XS would be very useful.  My experience with the Amperior is that it is a very exciting-sounding headphone when first worn, but it's sound wears thin after a while due to a slightly-agressive treble.  The XS is much less fatiguing for long-term listening.  

 

EDIT:  Just pulled out the Amperior and did some quick checking back and forth between it and the XS.  Definitely hear the hot treble on the Amperior that is much more tame on the XS.  If I pull back the treble on the Amperior using targeted EQ -- say -5 dB at 9.6kHz with a Q of 1.5 which is centered right on the response spike of this headphone-- it makes the Amperior much less fatiguing, and more in line with the preferable XS.  There are other sonic differences between these two, but that is the biggest difference to me.  

 

Lately I've been moving away from aggressive EQ to fix sonic problems, and the XS is much closer to my targeted frequency response than anything else I have in a portable over-ear. 


Edited by jazzman7 - 4/13/14 at 10:45pm
post #388 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Existence View Post


You can't, pretty much. You could get the fiio LOD (line out dock) and another attachment, but you'd need two 30 pin to lightnings, I think.

Not worth it, that's why I'm buying the Verza.

You can get the E17 to work with an iPhone but you need a Lightning-to-USB adapter followed by a USB hub that is either powered or somehow sneakily hides the power draw of the E17, which then serves as the host port for the E17.  I've gotten it to work, but it is trial-and-error on the USB hub.  YMMV.

 

A better choice is the HRT microStreamer with the Lightning-to-USB adapter; no hub needed.  Be prepared to charge the phone often, though.

 

post #389 of 747
Quote:
Originally Posted by esteebin View Post
 

If you know someone that works for Best Buy, they can get the V-moda XS for $105 using their employee discount.

It showed $111 for me... no need to keep it a secret since its already been posted ;). Working for BB has its perks (especially if you're an audiophile)! It is against policy to use the discount for friends\other people however. Just fair warning, I knew someone who lost his job because of that. Not worth it!

post #390 of 747

Got one from Amazon, listened to it briefly at work, took it home to burn it in, and one of the click adjusters inside the headband broke after unfolding the headphone.   The earpiece just slides up and down without stopping at any point.  AARGH!!!!!  Ordered a replacement from Amazon and will send this one back.  I sure hope this is an isolated instance of what is supposedly a bullet-proof design.  Never had the problem with the M80.

 

Sounded very good while it lasted, though.  [sigh]


Edited by JML - 4/14/14 at 4:35pm
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