V-MODA Crossfade M-80

Average User Rating:
4.34444/5,
  1. 12Rounds
    4.0/5,
    "Excellent portable cans, Very good with most genres"
    Pros - Looks great, Portable, Excellent build quality, Very good SQ, Decent noise isolation, Easy to drive, EQ's easily
    Cons - Microphonics at low volume, (Applies to bassheads): Not enough bass, Can get warm fast (for people with bigger ears)
    Hey guys, here's my review of the m-80 from a consumer standpoint. I'm not an expert on sound description but hopefully this review could be helpful for someone like me (not an audiophile, but enjoys good sound quality).
    I don't consider myself an audiophile by any means as I don't really do any critical listening. I usually listen to my music on the go (train, bus, walking), at work, at the gym and at home while doing other stuff.
    My sources are my 2nd gen iPod Touch (out of a fiio e6, as the audio jack doesn't work anymore), Sansa clip+ (mostly for the gym and running), Sony Ericsson Xperia arc and out of my Dell laptop. Almost all of my files are 320kbps. I value looks, sound and durability. I mostly listen to EDM, a lot of NIN, some rock and some hip hop, plus the occasional movie/tv episodes on the laptop.
     
    I just got into this hobby (since September of last year) and I've returned or sold the following headphones in the past 6 months or so:
    - Sennheiser hd428: returned, first foray into "good quality" headphones, I didn't use an amp, so they sounded pretty weak out of my iPod. Plus the cable seemed pretty flimsy.
    - Sennheiser HD-25 Adidas Originals: Returned, didn't like the plastic build and the look, the sound was pretty good though. Clamping force was a bit too strong for long session listening.
    - Sony MDR-XB500: First basshead headphones, liked the comfort and bass, but hated the noise leak, lack of isolation, and the slow nature of the sound. Returned.
    - V-Moda Crossfade LP: Second basshead headphones, liked the build quality, packaging and bass but had some problems with the fit (the shape of my ears made them akward to obtain a good seal and they got uncomfortable after 30 min-1h = sweat building up in the back of my ears), the weight (nice materials but i felt they were heavy on my head) and the sound signature didn't go well with some of my NIN. Sold.
    - Skullcandy Mix Master: I based this purchase based on Tyll's review over at innerfidelity. Loved their sound (good bass, mostly a DJ oriented sound, sounded a bit closed in, good for electronic music but not as much for other genres) and design but didn't like the glossy plastic, the mostly plastic build and the skullcandy logos made them look cheap. For 340$ (that's with taxes), I didn't feel like they were worth it. Returned.
     
    Here's what I currently have:
    - Koss Portapro: great headphones, had them for 2 years, I just can't use them on the go as they're open headphones.
    - Shure SE215: first iem, had them for 2 months. Great for the train commute, although i hate fiddling with them when putting them on. The fit isn't as secure in my ears (I tried all the tips included) and I have to push them back in now and then. I still use them for the great isolation though.
    - Sennheiser PMX680: My sports headphones. I used them mainly for running but I recently stopped using them as I don't like the headband design (clamps too much). Decent SQ when running (the bass is what you'll hear most when running).
     
    As you see, I'm pretty picky! I was looking for something portable, that sounded great unamped, closed but not completely noise isolating (need to hear my surroundings for safety reasons and at the office, if my phone rings or someone talks to me), that is well built and durable. Having owned a v-moda product before, I followed the progress of the m-80 closely in the past few months and they seemed to meet most of my needs so I ordered a pair last week. It took them 4 days to get to Canada. Very fast delivery time. Unfortunately, I had to pay full price as there were no coupons at the time, so they cost me 249$ with the 20$ shipping costs. They luckily included a 3rd audio cable (no mic, no buttons) which was the only one compatible with my cellphone. I listened to them for about 10 hours. No noticeable burn-in (my ears are perhaps not well trained to notice the difference).
     
    Sound wise, these are fairly balanced and flat compared to some of the headphones I previously owned. I usually prefer a more "consumer friendly" V-shaped sound. The bass is punchy, tight, clean and doesn't bleed a lot into the midrange. They won't satisfy the bassheads out there though. The problem here might be that the bass is not boomy and isn't always present compared to basshead cans like the XB500 or the LP. These weren't marketed as basshead cans so I was expecting this. For long listening sessions, this is great as you won't get tired of being constantly punched in the face by bass. I still think they're good for EDM. They do respond easily to EQing but with my cheap fiio e6, all it really does is boost the volume. I usually prefer keeping the EQ flat. The mids are very good. Vocals on trance songs sound lush, smooth and quite inviting. The highs are on the warmer side which is a good thing as I plan on listening with these for long sessions and a bright can can get tiring. Tracks like "Not so pretty now" leave you wanting more in terms of the brightness of the hi-hats/cymbals but detail is quite good from such a small pair of headphones. Again, you can EQ them. Instrument separation is decent and soundstage is okay/good for a small closed can. This might be due to the v-port vents. They can cause sound leakage at high volume. Isolation is decent with music playing but at low volumes (at the office, for example) you can hear background noises such as people talking and phones ringing, and, disappointingly, there is some microphonics. The rubbing of the cable on my shirt collar is quite noticeable at low volumes. Finally, I used them for interval runs on the treadmill and they stay on quite well, although I'd recommend using earbuds for longer runs as your ears won't sweat as much.
     
    EDIT (18/03/2012): I've since returned them because of comfort issues. My ears are a bit bigger than average and they got warm after 30 min, This can be attributed to the on-ear design. I've always had comfort issues with this type of design (same issue I had with the Hd-25 Originals). I still recommend them to anyone looking for a fun, close to audiophile sounding headphone. The 60 days test drive is plenty enough to decide whether to keep them or not. 
  2. sdonati84
    5.0/5,
    "Great headphones for the price"
    Pros - Build quality, great balanced sound quality, beautiful carrying case
    Cons - cable could be more flexible
    When I received my M-80, the first thing I noticed was the premium packaging. Build quality is really great, these headphones have really a premium feel. Also the case is unique. 2 cables are included, one with only mic (compatible with most phones and players) and one for apple products. The cables are a bit stiff, I don't know if they will become more flexible with usage.
    After 24 hours of burnin, here are my considerations about sound. Currently I own also sennheiser IE8 so I will do a little comparison.
    Differences between IE8 and M-80 sound signature are not too big. Both have a warm sound signature. M-80 has deeper, more controlled and more detailed bass. M-80 bass is more real and doesn't sound as "close" (like being in a cavity) as IE8. M-80 mids are wonderful and really smooth and don't have that veiled sound caused by mid bass peak as the IE8.  M-80 mids detail > IE8 mids detail.
    Highs are normal, not harsh, not sibilant at all. They are similar to IE8 ones with a bit less detail.
    Sound stage is obviously bigger than IE8 as it's a headphone.
    In conclusion, it's a great headphone for the price. I think it sounds better than IE8 over all, so I'll use it as my main headphone and IE8 when I need ultra-portability. What I like most is that it sounds really lifelike, not artificial and I can't stop listening to it.
  3. Jzbass25
    5.0/5,
    "Quaint Newbie Review"
    Pros - Looks, Value, Sound Quality
    Cons - Iphone Cable is a bit stiff, can be a little uncomfortable after extended periods but that can be fixed with some adjustment
    I wrote this review in a forum post but I will copy paste it for you guys.
     
    I'm still a pretty new "audiophile" but I've been a musician for all my life so I will try and do an "ok" review. I'm actually studying electrical engineering and economics in college to hopefully go into the musician/audiophile gear business for myself. Anyways here is some newbie reviewage for you guys :wink:


    I've had my M-80's for about 3 weeks now, they're so amazing. They still get a little uncomfortable after a few hours but Im tweaking the headband to become more and more comfortable. I am really sensitive to this though because I have migraine issues that stem from muscles in my face(head)/shoulders/neck, I usually can't stand glasses for too long because of this. I also want to add if you wear glasses with these you may need to readjust to get some pressure off the glasses arms and to get a better seal. This happens to me with my sunglasses ever so slightly, but if I wear my normal  glasses instead of my sunglasses I don't seem to notice any extra pressure or lessining of the seal.


    They have the best build quality I've ever seen, come with some great accessories, I got these when he was giving away free faders, shields and audio only cable. (not sure if he's still doing this). The faders are great, except they're pink so I may not wear them to an animals as leaders concert or something =P.  Right now I have 1 red shield and 1 original black brushed shield on my m-80, both look great but I sort of wish I could get a brushed red shield.

     
    I use the audio only cable the most but on the go I use the iphone cable since I have an iphone. The iphone cable is a little stiff however, the audio only cable is more plyable but longer so it may not be as good for travel. Overall great cables, of course better than the custom 3's that I have...and that broke... haha. In the future I may buy a red audio only cable or some other custom cable just to give some more options and looks.


    SQ is very good, to my ears it seems pretty flat (which I love). My basshead friend wanted a little more bass out of them but I found they had more than enough bass for me, bass extension is very good too. The bass is also punchy and not bloated in the slightest.


    Mids are smooth, flat and crisp. Not much to say other than I love the mids and I don't think I'd change them at all.


    Highs are present, not recessed like I saw maybe 1 or 2 people say.

    Treble is a little more warm than some other headphones I have but I don't have a problem with that at all. The only thing I could really ask is possibly a little more definition and sound stage but both are fairly good, I would say the soundstage is bigger than my custom 3's but some instruments aren't as defined sometimes.
     

    Isolation isn't bose q3 level or in ear level but they work well. While walking around and listening to music I can still hear car noise and wind noise but it is very windy in orlando and I notice wind noise with iems in too. Voices are basically gone when listening. Sidenote: I don't listen to my headphones very loud, about halfway on my iphone. Some may hate the isolation not being dead quiet but I like to be aware of my surroundings especially since cars like to try and hit you around campus so I am giving isolation a 5/5 on the Joe scale of meaningless numbers ratings I only use once.


    None of the cables have any microphonics and I haven't had time to test the mic on the iphone cable, some complained about the mic getting microphonics but they include a clip for the cable now.

     
    I haven't had much time with headphones past this pricepoint so I can't tell you how they compare to anything more expensive but I can say I prefer these to beats, bose q3's and senn hd 555's, all of which friends own but they let me testdrive. Sidenote: I didn't notice much of a different from break in but I didn't take many notes around this time

     
    For reference, I listened to a huge assortment of Dream Theater, Steve Vai, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Blues Bros, Paul Gilbert, Soundtracks (LOTR, Inception, hyrule symphony), Guthrie Govan, Animals as Leaders, Victor Smolski, Victor Wooten, Super Bass (the group not the song), Marcus Miller, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and some hip hop and pop songs I had friends send me. (Can you tell I like raw guitar and bass? haha)


    I mainly listen through my ipad or iphone with either high bitrate music or, if I can, apple lossless files. I have a biosciencegeek cmoy and I noticed the bass comes out a little more but seems to be slightly bloated with the cmoy; however, the amp is tailored to my custom 3's so don't think amping these are "bad." I don't think they need amping though. On my desktop I have tested with my audio card and also my m-audio recording interface as a DAC. I think the m-audio makes things a little clearer but nothing too noticeable. I can't really comment on how these sound with expensive DAC/Amps but I wanted to mention my small findings.
     

    Lastly, the looks... if natalie portman was a headphone, the m-80's would be it (or her, whichever way you look at it). These things are classy and wild at the same time, very expressive too if you get some custom shields. The carrying case is a work of art in itself as well, it almost reminds me of a romanticised H.R. Giger piece. Also like I said before the build quality is very very good which only adds to the sexiness of the phone. I hate when headphones have that fingerprinty hard plastic nonsense. I'm more of a metalhead myself (pun intended)
     

    Overall I am very very impressed and feel like a more complete person just owning a pair haha. The main drawback to these is if you are like me and just starting out in the audiophile world it will make you lust for more; however, every time you look or listen to these you will remind yourself you don't need anything better... well until you are out of school and a rich audio-whore.


    I can't wait to check out the m-100 once they're released (and once I have some damn money, college makes me poor haha). Who knows maybe V-moda will give a few test pairs out to some lucky folks here on head-fi and maybe I'll be one!


    I hope you guys enjoyed my quaint review, I may have some mistakes or poor grammar here or there but I have a slight migraine and just realized it is 3am so I should probably be asleep. I seemed to have lost track of time listening to my headphones!
     
    Little update: I used the mic and with my iphone and it works great, my friend could hear me fine and there wasn't too much excess noise she said. I wasn't even wearing the shirt clip!
  4. Kagelou
    4.5/5,
    "Sounds great, extremely portable, and turns heads~"
    Pros - balanced sound, very portable (small+light), comfortable even with glasses, looks great
    Cons - wind noise is noticeable, somewhat weak highs
    So here's my first mini-review. Kinda late, but I like these so much that I had to write a review for them xD
     
    Intro
    One of the reasons I bought the V-MODA M80 is because I wanted a portable headphone that has good SQ and yet has the ability to turn heads. I also wanted my portables to have very good build quality and decent isolation because I will be using them during travel. Another factor for my ideal portable cans was…well, portability!  I wouldn’t want a huge heavy set of headphones on my head during travel, especially during the summer. Now, I have been trying to stay away from on-ears because the last one I tried (TMA-1) hurt my ears. After reading other reviews of the relatively weak clamp force and good comfort of the M80s, I decided to give on-ears another shot, since over-ears would tend to get sweaty and hot during the summer, and IEMs tend to hurt my ear canals after long use.
     
    Build/Design
    The M80s look very stunning, and I’ve already had people I don’t know ask me what company they are. I like the mostly black and some red look on the M80s, and the shiny cups give it a nice touch. Build quality is top notch, as they are “light but heavy”, which basically means that they are light enough to not bother me when putting them on but I can trust that these can withstand some beating because it has a “good weight”. V-MODA also gives you an exoskeleton case for your M80s if you don’t feel comfortable just throwing them in your bag.
    Another great add-on to these cans is the ability to customize them with your own art. You can send in a black and white picture at 300dpi and they will engrave the picture onto the custom shields. The picture I sent in was around 2000x2000 pixels at 300dpi, so I’m pretty sure as long as it meets the qualifications, you should be all set.
    Note on custom shields: If you email V-MODA and ask them to engrave a different image on each shield, they WILL do it for you at no extra cost. My shields have a different image on them, and they both look perfect.
     
    Isolation
    Isolation was one of the factors that made me hesitant about the M80s. I read that since it is a semi-open design, isolation was not on par with other portables in the same price range, such as the HD25, DT1350, and the T50p. After getting my M80s and using them outside for a couple of days, I would say that I had no need to worry. I’m not going to say that they completely shut out outside noise (because they don’t), but they do isolate enough so you can focus on your music. When my music is off, I can easily have a conversation with someone, but when my music is on, most outside noise is unnoticeable.  I actually think that they let in the right amount of outside noise for you to be aware of your surroundings. After all, I don’t want to be run over a car or something because I couldn’t hear them beeping.
    One thing I have noticed though is that these do not isolate against wind very well. A light breeze won’t be too bothering, but I think anything above that will be noticeable. Not too much of a problem, but just thought I would mention it.
     
    Comfort
    Ah, another factor that had me worried. Ever since I tried the TMA-1, I have stayed away from on-ears because they pushed my glasses (which I wear all the time) into my head and were quite painful. I assumed all on-ears would do this, but I took a chance and made the right decision. The clamp force on these a relatively weak (compared to my M50s) and the pads are nice and soft. At first they did hurt a little on the outer edge of my ear, but once I found the right setting for myself (10 adjustments each side), I would say these are very comfortable and I can probably have them on for 2~3 hours without any problem. The headband has microfiber padding which is more than enough to let these very light headphones rest on your head without pain. As I mentioned earlier, the clamp force on these are weak, so I wouldn’t recommend them for people who would run/do exercise with them. It may just be that my head is small, but I have noticed that these move around if I shake my head a bit.
     
    Accessories
    I got my M80s during the limited time offer, and it came with a pro-audio cable (kevlar cable without buttons), V-MODA faders (concert earplugs), and ¼” adapter. In addition to this, my M80s came with the normal accessories it comes with, which is a very durable exoskeleton case, a 1 button microphone kevlar cable, and a 3 button microphone kevlar cable. I am EXTREMELY pleased with all the accessories they give, and believe that all of these accessories at this value is unbeatable. I am especially pleased with the exoskeleton case because I can store the extra cables and adapter in there while protecting my M80s from any possible damage.
    Someone did mention this in another review, but I will also mention it because I feel it is important. The kevlar cables are great as they reduce microphonics and increase durability, but sometimes they get twisted and create a little knot. If you do not undue this knot, the cable will be slightly stuck in that direction, and it may be a nuisance.
     
    Sound
    So, still being a somewhat noob at describing sound, I’ll try my best to portray what I hear through these headphones.
    I use my M80s as my portable set, so I run them through my Cowon J3 with no amp/DAC. I can’t say what they would sound like through an amp, but I can say that these run fine without one. My J3 is more than enough to power these, and they sound great even with only minor tweaking of the EQ.
    I don’t own the original Crossfade LPs, but I have heard them at a store and remember that they were bass heavy. I was expecting the same with the M80s (not as heavy as the LP though), but noticed that that wasn’t the case at all. The bass is certainly there, but I wouldn’t say that they are overpowering. I really like how the M80s present the lower frequencies, as they tame them very well and are more of a “quick punch” compared to my ATH-M50s.  The mids are definitely the focal point of the M80s, as I noticed vocals and guitar to be forward compared to the M50s. They are very smooth and rich, and are spot on to what I was looking for. The higher frequencies is where the M80s sort of lose their shine because I feel that there is less control in that region, and there’s not much “sparkle”. However, this was expected through reading the other M80s reviews, so I wasn’t really disappointed/surprised.
    I have different EQ setting on my J3 for each IEM/headphone I own, but the M80s have the least tweaking out of all of them. There’s really not much to change except the treble region and some of the lower mids.  
     
    Conclusion
    So, did I make the right decision to go with the M80s? I’d say I’m VERY pleased with my purchase! The M80s are definitely going to be my main portable set, as I love how they sound AND how they look. They are comfortable to have on for several hours, and offer decent isolation. These are almost spot on to what I was looking for in my ideal headphone, and I can trust them to last me a very long time. Even if I somehow break them, V-MODA’s 2 year warranty would cover me, and after that, their Immortal Life Program would make my next purchase 50% off. V-MODA’s customer service was great, and I can trust them to answer any future question I have. I can safely say that I’m going to be set for quite a while on my portable rig^^
     
    Here are some pictures just so you can get an idea of how small these really are. Sorry for the mediocre quality pics >_<
     
    What came outside of the M80 box. The little pouch is part of the custom shield set, and the shields come with extra screws and a special wrench.
    [​IMG]
     
    M80s and the exoskeleton case.
    [​IMG]
     
    M80s and ATH-M50s
    [​IMG]
     
    Rough dimensions of the earcup
    [​IMG]
  5. Pwn3r4Life
    4.0/5,
    "Fantasic"
    I made this review a long time ago, before I knew a lot about audio. I have removed the bulk of the text to avoid misleading anyone. In short summary, these are good. Decently well balanced, boosted bass, polite treble. A good all-rounder and very durable. Everything I could say has been said.
  6. TheGeorgeBrown
    4.0/5,
    "My personal review of the V-Moda M-80 headphones"
    Pros - Great sound, build quality perfection, superb packaging and accessories, customisable, iphone compatable
    Cons - not enough bass in my opinion, start to hurt my ears after about 30 mins of use,
    I am not really an audio expert so I'm not going to try and go into details of which I don't fully understand also these are my opinions I may like my music to sound different to how you like it, so let's crack on :)
     
      First impressions with this product are very impressive, the box is beautifully styled with great visuals, snake skin handle and a ribbon you have to cut to open it. This definitely a box I want to keep lying around. Once you get inside you are greeted by a very complete package; along with the headphones (obviously) you get a hard shell carrying case, 3 cables (Apple, Android & regular), a 3.5mm to 1/4 inch adapter, stickers and leaflets. V-Moda also threw in a pair of their Faders which are earplugs used to block out sound at a concerts/ crowds/planes. So I am already impressed at the quality of this without even trying the headphones yet, and all this comes with a 2 year warranty plus V-Moda's Immortal Life Program. V-moda are certainly a very generous company.
     
    On to the actual headphones now. V-Moda advertise these as nearly indestructible, and they certainly are. You can feel how solid they are and you can literally bend them in any direction without strain. You could throw these headphones around and they'll be perfectly fine, so they're good for rough users. Kevlar lined cables are also a pretty nice feature, even though they include 3 of them I can never see myself using them.
    The headphone fit on my head nicely the side adjust with a satisfying click and the cushions rest on my ears comfortably with their memory foam padding. The only problem here is when I wear them for periods of 30 mins+. The pads really start to hurt my ears so I do have to take them off for a while before going back to wearing them, this might just be me though as I have heard other reports that they are very comfortable headphones that you can wear for hours.
     
       Right, the sound. Firstly I am admittedly quite the bass head, the music I listen to mostly consists of Hip-hop, Dance, Dubstep, R&B... Now this doesn't mean I don't know quality, this is just my preference of music I do listen to other genre's too and I have quite a wide library. Now having said that when I chose these headphones I was expecting them to deliver quite a punch judging by reviews of V-moda's other headphones and the DJ styling of these. However the M-80's just don't sliver the bass I'm looking for. You might like to  say they are just too perfect haha. I think V-moda has marketed these to the wrong audience really, they have too much of an audiophile signature for a headphone of this look. Ignoring my fondness for bass, this is a perfect headphone, the sound is just amazing so don't be put off by me if you like other genre's of music. There is some good bass, i just like a bit more of a kick like I was expecting there to be. I just find myself having to turn the bass boost up on everything.
     
     So to finish up. Great pair of headphones for someone looking for style and quality. Not really recommended for bass heads, but if you're like for a pair of audiophile quality headphones that you can wear on the streets without looking like a bit of a weirdo these are the perfect choice for you.
     
    Thank you for reading
    - George
  7. Armaegis
    4.0/5,
    "great looks, great sound: a fashion headphone I don't mind wearing"
    Pros - aesthetics, soundstage, balanced sound, build quality
    Cons - weak isolation, treble clarity, subbass cleanliness
  8. project86
    4.5/5,
    "Great sounding portable headphones "
    Pros - Very nice sound, excellent build quality, looks nice too
    Cons - doesn't isolate all that well
     
    M80-1.jpg
     
    m80-2.jpg
     
     
     
     
    INTRO
     
    I was chosen by V-MODA to be part of their “M-80 audio voyage” program. They chose 10 members from the forum and gave each one a free set of their new Crossfade M-80 on ear headphones, complete with custom engraved side panels. With an MSRP of $230 for the headphones plus $20 for the custom engraving, that’s theoretically $2,500 being given away to forum members – quite a generous showing from V-MODA. In return for this, we were asked to participate in a private sub-forum, discussing our impressions, giving feedback, and ultimately posting our reviews for the rest of the community to see. We were assigned an impartial 3rd party moderator and were never told anything as far as limitations to our opinions. If all 10 of us hated the product, V-MODA would have given away $2,500 worth of gear in exchange for 10 negative reviews.
     
    Some of the other reviews are already posted, so I won’t duplicate their efforts as far as documenting every feature, nook, and cranny of the M-80. I’m going to make this relatively short and to the point. My contribution is going to focus mostly on the subjective aspects of fit and sound. I’ve probably got more experience with higher end headphones than most of my fellow audio voyage members, so I’m coming at things from a different angle than many of them. In contrast, many of them seem to have more experience with this class and type of headphone, so by no means am I saying I’m the most experienced or qualified participant of the group. We all have our various strengths and knowledge base, and that should make for a variety of perspectives.
     
    I do have to mention one thing though – historically, I’ve never done well with supraaural headphones. The ultra lightweight style such as Koss Sportapro is comfy enough, but anything with some actual mass to it has left me uncomfortable after about 10 minutes of use. I don’t like using Grados with the comfies or the bowl pads. The last “portable” on-ear style headphone I tried was the Audio Technica ESW9. I thought I heard some potential for good sound in there somewhere, but the comfort (or lack of it) was such an issue that I gave up on them rather quickly. I suspect this had more to do with me than the ESW9 as I know a few people who find them very comfortable.
     
    DESIGN
     
    The M-80 is a compact on-ear design. When I first saw it in photos, I thought is would be much bigger than it really is. But it does seem to be in line with other portables such as the Beyerdynamic DT1350 and T50p. Check out pictures to get an idea of the styling – it really is a striking pair of headphones.
     
    For custom engraving, I chose a skull design, which I think turned out very well. Unfortunately I forgot all about that company out there who makes (mostly) cheap headphones and puts skull logos on them… so in a way I regret my choice. But it still looks good so I shouldn’t complain. The design allows for easily swapping out the panels, so I could always switch to a solid black or solid red look if I wanted to.
     
    The M-80 seems to fit my head better than any similar headphone I’ve ever tried. I have a big head, and correspondingly large ears, but the oval shaped pads of the M-80 do a good job of maintaining a seal. I find them more comfortable now, after a few weeks of use, than I did at the beginning. I think the pads have actually somewhat formed to the shape of my ear, but I’m also probably building up a tolerance for the pressure. I assumed they would have a vice grip when brand new, but it wasn’t so bad actually. Over time I do feel that they have loosened up by a small amount, but it didn’t require any deliberate bending. Doing so would probably speed things up though so it is an option.
     
    Noise isolation: For my head and ears, the M-80 does not block a ton of sound. It is better than my open headphones like Grados, but inferior to my Ultrasone Edition 8 (which is small but still covers my ears more fully). And there is no comparison to any of my custom IEMs as far as isolation, but maybe that goes without saying. Examples – I can hear the refrigerator running if I sit within 10 feet of it. I can clearly hear cars driving by if I am outdoors. I can hear people talking to me at normal levels in the same room, and generally make out what they are saying. This is when no music playing. Once I play audio then background noise is less intrusive, but it obviously depends on the type of music and the volume it is played at. In their defense, the M-80s did not seem to leak any sound. I never got complaints from family members when I listened loudly in the same room as them. And this somewhat low level of sound isolation is not any worse than the Denon D7000 or Audio Technica W series models, despite those covering your ears completely.
     
    BUILD
     
    I find the M-80s to have a very robust build quality. These are one of the few headphones that I’ve dealt with where I believe I could drop them, sit on them, throw them in a backpack and forget about them as I travelled around… and they would make it through in good shape. V-MODA provides an excellent case, so you should be able to avoid this level of abuse, but it’s nice to know that they should last a long time. V-MODA gives a very generous warranty as well: 60-day “Test Drive” return policy, 2 year warranty, and 50% off replacement for life after the 2 years is up. They can probably afford to do all that because realistically there should be very few situations where an M-80 could actually be damaged.
     
    PACKAGE
     
    The M-80 has one of the most comprehensive packages I’ve seen in a while. Inside the (rather cool looking) box, you get the headphones themselves, a VERY nice “exoskeleton” hard case, a carabineer clip for attaching the case to things, and several cable options. People in the audio voyage program received 3 different cables: a longer regular cable for home use, a shorter cable with a mic and a single button, and then another short cable with a mic and 3 buttons. Their website only lists the M-80 as coming with the two shorter cables so I’m not sure how that works. Personally I got the most use out of the longer cable since I mostly listened on my big setup at home. It appears to be a standard 1/8[sup]th[/sup] inch connection, so custom cables could be easily swapped in if desired. I liked the Kevlar material of the cables, and they felt worlds better than the black rubbery stuff used by many others.
     
    EQUIPMENT
     
    This is the associated equipment I used for evaluating the M-80:
     
    Source: JF Digital HDM-03S, Squeezebox Touch, NAD C446 (all media server/player type devices)
     
    DAC: Violectric V800, Anedio D1, Audio GD Reference 7, Yulong D100
     
    AMP: Violectric V200, Analog Design Labs Svetlana 2, Matrix M-Stage, Yulong A100
     
    Cables: no nonsense options from Signal Cable, including Analog One and Analog Two interconnects, Digital Link coaxial, and Optical Link toslink connectors
     
    Portable: Just so I wouldn’t be a snob, I tried some more humble portable players – Sansa Clip+, Sansa Fuze, iPod 5g
     
    Music: I played a wide variety of stuff, ranging from MP3 rips of low quality punk albums all the way up to 24 bit/176.4 kHz HRx files from Reference Recordings.
     
    I let the M-80 burn in for over 100 hours prior to using them, just in case.
     
    LISTENING
     
    My first impression of the M-80 was that is sounded surprisingly “big” for such a small headphone. Bass was big. Soundstage was big. Overall presentation was big, meaning that it had more of a forceful impact to it versus the delicacy displayed by some of my other headphones. But this was not unwelcome. I never expected a $230 headphone to be perfect.
     
    The sound signature was certainly on the warm side, with bass being in the large to very large range. I was fairly impressed with the bass impact. While not quite on the same level as my other heavy hitters – the Lawton Audio LA7000 and the Unique Melody Merlin, it was still very satisfying. Kick drums had a convincing heft to them without being overbearing. Double bass, contrabassoon, tuba, and pipe organ all had deep extension and fairly good control. Once in a while I got the impression that there was a slight bleed-over into the midrange area, but this was infrequent, and when it did happen it was fairly minor. But again, overall bass performance was quite good. The fact that it is plentiful seemed to fit perfectly with my expectations or desires for this type of headphone. I don’t think I would want a completely neutral reference type sound from a headphone of this variety, and the M-80 seems just about right to me.
     
    Mids seemed somewhat on the forward side but not overly so. I felt a good solid connection to vocals of both the male and female variety. I was halfway expecting (dreading?) a major V-shaped sound signature… there is a big V right at the beginning of the company name after all. But thankfully that was not what I experienced. These slightly forward mids are greatly preferable to the recessed mids I had feared. Because they have a lot of body, the mids keep pace quite well with the aggressive bass, and it tied in with the smooth highs which I’ll discuss shortly. I did notice that the mids fell short of ultimate resolution as compared to some of my higher end headphones. Subtle nuances were at times glossed over in favor of a more straight forward presentation. Considering the price and the form factor, I think this was a good choice to make. People are much more likely to be listening to these straight from an iDevice, portable DAP, or at best a portable amp, compared to some of the reference quality equipment I listened with. That’s not to say they sounded bad on higher end gear; I think my favorite combo was the M-80 with the ADLabs Svetlana 2 tube amp. It seemed to bring out as much micro-detail as could possibly be obtained and did great things for the highs.
     
    As I mentioned, when describing the highs on the M-80s, the key word is smooth. If you are used to a sparkly presentation like the K701 or even Beyer DT880/DT990, these might initially seem a tad dull, but you would probably get used to it soon enough. Personally I felt that they struck a nice balance between being smooth and having good extension. In our private sub-forum, V-MODA founder Val Kolton discussed his disdain for false detail created by excessively bright treble, so obviously that same attitude shows through here. In most respects I agree with him, and once again I think the right choice was made here considering the type of headphone we are dealing with. I would not call this a “dark” headphone at all but some people may wish for slightly more zing to it on the top end. Proper amp matching can help to a certain extent, as can equalization, but this is never going to have the tipped up highs that some people might be looking for. I have no experience with the Beyer DT1350 but from what I’ve read that might be a better way to go for people chasing that sort of experience. As for me, I think the only downside I would occasionally complain about is the slight lack of that “airy” feeling as compared to some other headphones. I suspect that the M-80 has a significant drop off in the higher range, perhaps above 9-10 kHz or so. There is very little actual musical information up there in terms of fundamentals – in most cases (vocals for example) it is simply “air” in that range. Violins, flutes, piccolos, and cymbals all have overtones that extend well above 10 kHz, and all of those can still sound pretty darn good through the M-80s. Personally I don’t do a lot of critical listening of jazz or classical while on the go anyway, so it really isn’t an issue for me.
     
    I want to talk a bit about soundstage. This headphone seems like it would be particularly variable when it comes to soundstage reproduction and imaging. This is not due to V-MODA doing a bad job with QA; Val Kolton has talked repeatedly about his efforts to minimize variability between samples. The real issue is with this type of headphone in general. Circumaural headphones are usually sized in such a way that they have just enough clearance to go around your ears, with maybe a little bit of extra wiggle room. Most users should be experiencing a fairly similar relationship between driver and ear. In contrast, the supraaural “on-ear” style can be placed any which way, usually determined by what is most comfortable to you. With all that room for placement, users could be getting very different impressions of soundstage size and accuracy. That being said, my experience with the M-80 was surprisingly positive. I didn’t think a sealed headphone with such a small cup would be conducive to a big soundstage, but that’s certainly what I got. We aren’t talking about a massive HD800 or K701 stage, but still quite respectable and “open” sounding. Maybe the “V-PORT” technology has something to do with this. Imaging is quite accurate, and would be respectable even for a full sized open headphone. So while the lack of treble bite might not be ideal for classical music, the open and spacious presentation helps make up for it.
     
    I do not think the M-80 demands a potent amplifier to sound its best. All of the amps I tried had more than enough drive to push it to extreme levels, and even my portable devices never seemed underpowered. As always, quality is a factor, and my better sources and amps did bring out the strengths of the headphones more then my lesser models. But ultimately this is not a headphone that is ideal for discerning minute differences between gear. And it isn’t really meant to be either.
     
    CONCLUSION
     
    I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised by the V-MODA Crossfade M-80 headphones. My expectations were admittedly somewhat low, but they won me over in pretty much every aspect. Packaging and accessories are brilliant. Build quality is top notch and very fitting for a portable model. Comfort, a subjective thing to be sure, is better (for me) than any similar type of headphone I’ve ever tried. These things alone add up to a great user experience, even if that was all the M-80s had going for them.
     
    And then there’s the sound. Large, solid, impactful bass that mostly stays well controlled. Warm, full mids that make any genre seem engaging. And a smooth balanced top end that is reasonably detailed but extremely forgiving of poor material or equipment. I enjoy these. A lot. Even at home when I have plenty of “better” options, these are still fun to listen to. That seems like a successful product to me.
     
    Could they be improved? Of course! Every headphone has room for some tweaking, no matter how good. I could list all sorts of things that I might change – but in the end most of my issues basically stem from the limitations of the supraaural style of headphone. And this “dream headphone” of mine certainly would not be sold for $230. But for what it is, and what it accomplishes at that price, I tip my proverbial hat to the V-MODA Crossfade M-80.
     
    So, Val…. How about that M-100?
     
     
     
     
     
     
  9. dweaver
    4.0/5,
    "Beautiful heaphone that bridges the GAP between audiophilia and mainstream audio with mixed results"
    Pros - full sound with plenty of bass, clear forward midrange, large sound stage.
    Cons - treble can be to polite and lacks detail, midrange can be harsh on some tracks
    DSCF2378.jpg
    I would like to thank VModa for including me in their VModa Crossfade M80 voyage.
     
    OK when I opened my package from Vmoda I was surprised at how small the retail packaging was. Then as I opened it up I was pleasantly surprised at the high quality custom moulded case inside. It was solid and very posh. When I opened up the case my breath was actually taken away for a second or to by how beautiful the headphones were. I had decided to go with red custom shield and man do they ever look good. I unfortunately gave to complex a picture to VModa when sending in everything and consequently only have my initials on the headphone but they still look soooooo nice.
     
    I then turned my attention to the cables that came in the case and box and with the package. They were all high quality cloth covered cables that look very strong and durable. But I do have to say they are quite bulky when using with my iPhone in my pocket and I have to be careful I don’t kink the iPhone cable. But over all I have to give VModa props for making well-built cables.
     
    Over all I have to actually give VModa props for everything they have done from an appearance level. These headphones simply exude class and craftsmanship.
     
    I then put them on and had my first moment of trepidation. Well actually I had been having that trepidation all along because I wear glasses and every on-ear headphone I have tried has been a pain to my ears physically. Unfortunately that trepidation was initially warranted as they did cause my ears to hurt. But as I wore them I did notice they started to feel softer and after a while the pain disappeared completely in one ear and was only very minor in the other. But I did and up bending out the headband as they show in the VModa video which has helped them become even more comfortable without becoming too loose. OVERALL I would say they are the most comfortable on ear headphone I have tried.
     
    Also up front I will say that I tried these while on the train and found they were OK, but just OK in regards to blocking out enough sound without cranking up the volume. So if you’re using an IEM for your commutes and wanting to switch to headphone, these may not be quite isolating enough, but it will depend on the volume level you’re used to listening at. On the other hand aside from strong winds (they don’t handle wind to well) I did find these very nice for walking on the street as they did allow enough sound in to allow me to be aware of traffic and my surroundings better.
     
    OK so enough with all the fluff and stuff, HOW DO THEY SOUND!
     
    My initial impression was actually pretty positive as I took them out with me for a walk with my dog. I even had a moment where I busted a move in the middle of the street listening to Cold Hearted Man by AC/DC. I worked my way through a choral and violin piece, both which sounded nicely detailed and full.
     
    But when I got home and hooked this up to my small desktop amp and my home computer with Little Dot DAC and started to try some other songs I did notice the bass was quite a bit more than I was used to from my GR07 IEM’s and even my Denon D7000 to a degree. Plus they had the dreaded cavern effect (echo-ee sounding)!  This effect was not as bad some small headphones I have heard like the Denon A100 but it was a bit disconcerting. Some may like this effect but I find it’s a poor alternative to a real sound stage.
     
    I then threw on my trusted burn-in files and left the headphones to cook over night.
    The next day I took the headphone with me to work and tried using these on the train with mixed but ultimately unsatisfying results. I turned up the volume to a bit more than I like and then they drowned out enough of the train sound that I was able to enjoy some music. But this ultimately left my ears feeling a bit fatigued at the end of the train ride.
    Once at the office I used them when possible as I worked throughout the day. The first thing I noticed was most of the cavern effect I had heard the night before was mostly gone much to my relief. But as I used them I felt I still had to turn the volume up a bit more than I like to hit the sweet spot dynamically speaking where the music sounded right. I do think some of that may have been from my train ride though and my initial ear fatigue which then was extended by my turning up the volume at work. Later that night I was starting to hear some of the dynamic sound I like at lower volumes.
     
    I then left them to burn-in again for the 2[sup]nd[/sup] night.
     
    The next day I took them with me to work but used my GR07 on the train as I decided I preferred the better isolation and lower volume levels. This allowed me to then just use them at work without any ear fatigue. Between the lack of ear fatigue and the continued maturation of the headphone I noticed a marked improvement in the dynamics of the headphone as everything just sounded and felt more vibrant. The bass had also lost all of the cavern effect and while being much heavier than I am used to was starting to sound very nice.
     
    I have since then let these burn in for another 40-50hrs plus head time and feel they have started to stabilize. I imagine there will still be small changes but they are now very close to what VModa designed them to sound like.
     
    So where do they fit in sound wise?
     
    My hope for these was that they would be a portable alternative to my VSonic GR07 IEM and my full-size Denon D7000 Headphones. Both the GR07 and the D7000 have many similar characteristics such as full deep bass without a midbass hump, clean mids that are not affected by the bass, and nice detailed treble extension (the treble on both is often considered sibilant by other head-fi members but is exactly how I like my treble). Finally the GR07 (and the D7000 to a slightly lesser degree) have an amazing transparency allowing me to hear emotional component or grit of my music.
     
    The M80 unfortunately has the dreaded (for me) mid-bass hump.  The hump is not as heavy as some products I have owned such as my Sennheiser IE8 but it’s more than I personally like and it also encroached on the midrange a bit making them warmer than I prefer. The midrange, aside from being warmer than I like on the other hand is fully present and enjoyable for vocals and is very nice for vocals. I would say the midrange is more forward than the GR07 and a lot more forward than the recessed mids of theD7000. The treble is unfortunately as much of a challenge for me as the bass. Without using a lot of technical jargon, I find cymbals have more emphasis on the crash than on the shimmer and decay. This has the tendency to make these a bit harsher than I like for some of the music I listen to as it over emphasizes that part of the music and any music that is in the same sonic range. Finally in order to get some of the transparency and emotional content I like I find I have to turn up the M80 louder than I would like.
     
    But as I said that was my hope. So now that my agenda is OUTED. How do these sound on their own without my motives in the way?
     
    Here is a list of music I used while testing. I have decided to only listen to these songs with the M80 and give my thoughts on just them alone. I may occasionally give a comment about another headphone that I feel does something better or show how I like the M80 better but intend to keep such comments to a minimum.
     
    Celtic Music
     
    Loreena McKennit – Stolen Child – female Celtic music : This song has strong female vocals from Loreena that are beautifully rendered by the M80. They are slightly warmer than some of the headphones I own but this added warmth does make music like this sound even richer. I also like how the bass line of the song is portrayed as it is a huge part of the atmosphere of the song. The various bells and chimes used in the song also sound very clear well rendered.
     
    Loreena McKennit - Lullaby – Thunderstorm at the beginning tests sound stage plus Shakespearean speech in middle is nice as a vocal test : The thunderstorm sounded very good with the M80 capturing the sense of expanse a thunderstorm has in real life with good crashes and rumbling. The speech also has an authoritative quality to it due to the added warmth. This song also has an echo quality to the speech which on many headphones can sound hissy versus an echo, the M80 manages to carry the echo off well.
     
    Elemental – Carrighfergus – A male sung Celtic song : The warmth of the midrange again adds a nice weight to the male singing.
     
    Overall I really like how Celtic music sounds on the M80. The M80 seems to be built for this type of music.
     
    Jazz
     
    Patricia Barber – Miss Otis Regrets – female jazz singing, jazz guitar, and cymbals, I look for strong emotional conveyance in this song : The singing is much like what I heard with the Celtic music but I do notice slightly less emotional response in the singing than I get from my GR07. The bass of the song is also a bit too strong for my liking as I again prefer the GR07 or the D7000. Cymbals are a bit to subdued for my liking as well losing to much of their shimmer.
     
    I think Jazz will be a hit and miss for this headphone depending on whether the bass and the treble suit a person’s preference. In my case I want slightly less bass and more treble. I do not have a lot of experience with Jazz though so do think others with a Jazz back ground will be a better judge of the genre and the M80.
     
    Hardrock
     
    AC/DC – Cold Hearted Man – Hard Rock with some grit : Guitars sound very good with lots of growl, the male vocals also sound warm and authoritative but loose some of the grit I like in this song. The cymbals are not as crisp as I like but also never come across as too harsh or over power the guitars. The bass sounds deep but not quite as crisp as I like.
     
    AC/DC – Let There be Rock – Hard rock with grit and a quite busy sound : The speed of the song is managed by the M80 but only just barely and for those who love busy sounding music I suspect you would find the song to be a bit too muddy for you especially at the end.
     
    Heart – Magic Man – Classic Rock with a heavy beat : The bass is close to perfect for this song and the guitars again sound very nice. The cymbals of this song also sound clear and right for this song as any more shimmer would come across as too much. I also like placement of the instruments on the sound stage of this song.
     
    Over all I think the M80 does this genre pretty well. Only falling down on very fast paced songs and needing a bit tighter bass for some music.
     
    Classical Rock
    Eagles – Hotel California : The bass guitar sounds full without being over bearing. Background cymbals are a bit lacking in clarity. Singing comes across nicely. This song is a hard one for most headphones to sound right, the Sennheiser IE8 for example sound hollow for this song in my opinion. The M80 while not nailing it does a good job with this song.
     
    Kansas – Closet Chronicles : The vocals come through clearly as does the cymbals and the electronic sound this band was famous for. This is another song hard to get right, often coming across as fake sounding (think cheap Casio keyboard quality). The M80 actually does this band’s music justice.
     
    Supertramp – Rudy : Railroad tracks sound very good and atmospheric. The piano sounds very good in the song as does the vocals. I like the bassier sections as well. The overall atmosphere of the song is well portrayed and is on the same scale as my D7000.
     
    The M80 actually does a VERY good job with classical 70’s rock. I think it’s one of this headphones strongest genre’s.
     
    Classical Music
     
    Arvo Pärt - Summa: Summa for Strings –Classical Strings : The texture and vibrancy of the cellos in this song are very present and wonderfully rendered by the M80. I also love how it does the violins. The overall atmosphere of the song is also well done pulling you into the song.
     
    Arvo Pärt - The Woman with the Alabaster Box – Classical Choral : Choral vocals are very clean and atmospheric with a string ethereal quality.
     
    The Red Violin - III. Oxford - Pope's Gypsy Cadenza : The violins sound clean but to polite losing the raw energy the song has in the movie. While pleasant to listen to, it just misses the emotion of the music.
     
    The Cleveland Orchestra & Pierre Boulez - Petrouchka - Scene 1: First Tableau – Classical Orchestra : While I cannot speak from a technical perspective in regards to instrument placing in regards to orchestra’s I did like how the instruments came across as being place throughout the sound stage. I also liked the instrument separation and over sound.
     
    I think the M80 does well with this genre except when there is a raw energy required for the song, then it’s politeness takes away from it.
     
    Some final comments:
     
    In general I think the M80 is an excellent entry in the portable headphone market. They are well built and definitely offer a full warm sounding headphone that will meet a lot of people’s musical tastes. They are not perfect though, but then again I haven’t found a portable headphone that is as of yet.
     
    If you like a warm sound with strong bass, a forward midrange, and treble that is a bit on the polite side, and a nice big sound stage then I would say the M80 may be just right for you. I also think this headphone will lend itself well to being EQ’d since you would be reducing most areas versus feelinga  need to increase the sound.
     
    If on the other hand you prefer subdued bass and a much stronger emphasis place on the treble and detail then I would look closer at the Beyer Dynamic DT1350.
     
    If you don’t mind a headphone that is larger (actually over ear) that has a more classic V shaped sound, then the Denon HP700 may be more to your liking.
     
    Personally I prefer the M80 myself as it fit's most of my music genre's well enough for me and the ones it doesn't are not the ones I listen to the most and I do have other alternative headphones as well.
    DSCF2391.jpg DSCF2405.jpg DSCF2392.jpg
    JamesMcProgger likes this.
  10. swbf2cheater
    4.0/5,
    "A Smooth Ride "
    Pros - Large Soundstage, Build Quality, Very Well Rounded, Plenty of Bass, Great Mids, Smooth Highs
    Cons - While the Highs are very smooth, they lack detail, sparkle and any engaging qualities
    I was lucky enough to be a part of the V-Moda M80 discussion group, I would like to thank V-Moda for allowing me to review this set of magnificent headphones and wish them great success in the future...
     
    P9300070.jpg
     
    So nice to see an American brand produce a portable Titan worthy of going toe to toe with all of the best on ear portables out there.  The M80 is truly worth every penny you'll end up paying for it.  I don't think anyone will feel disappointed after listening to this set.  
     
    Build Quality and Accessories 
    P9300081.jpg
     ​
    The M80 comes packed with some really nice goodies that only sweeten the deal beyond its excellent sonic qualities.  Inside the gorgeous box you are greeting with some paper work and a splendid zipper hard case.  Inside, the M80 lay patiently, tucked snugly and neatly surrounded by a stunning red velvetish material.  I was stunned V-Moda cared enough to offer THREE different cables, two shorter cables, roughly 4ft long with volume/mic controls in a darker Kevlar reinforced material ( not some typical rubber casing we often see ) and another longer cable absent the controls that is just a little longer than the others.  The cable quality is excellent, however the only con in the Kevlar material choice that I foresee is knotting.  All three cables are prone to getting stuck in small looped knots, it takes a bit of force to get it undone and the cable is noticeably harmed and twisted in that area from that point onward, forever maimed.  Despite that, all the cables sound the same and have low microphonics, the M80 cables are really nice and leave all of its competitors in the dust.  Thankfully, you have the option of using your own 3.5mm cable, pretty much anything should fit into it except the giant, super thick plugs out there.  Detachable cables FOR THE WIN!
     
    It also comes with a belt clip and in my case ( as well as all the Reviewers selected for this discussion group ) A sexy personalized set of outer shields.  For a little extra, V-Moda allows you to customize your own name plates that replace the stock plates of the M80.  Kind of awesome, if you ask me.  There is no question now that this M80 is mine! All mine! Thankfully if there are problems or if I wish to customize more plates or perhaps re-install the stock blank plates I can do so easily with the included tools provided by V-Moda.  
     
    Sexy...I know, right? 
     ​
    PA140097.jpg
     ​
    As for the overall build quality, I would give it a solid 8.5/10.  The headband is extremely flexible but very strong at the same time.  The user should easily be able to bend and shape the band to needed specifications if need be, one can force clamping issues away ( or the lack there of ) very quickly with a gentle bending at the top and center of the band itself.  You'll never have to worry about potential snapping.  
     
     
     
    The earcups are solid, not quiet as solid feeling as the Beyerdynamic DT 1350 IMO.  I would rate the DT 1350 at only slightly better at a 9/10, I still have yet to see a truly rugged and supremely built portable set of headphones in this price tier that I am willing to say earns a 10/10 in build qualities. Despite that, I am deprived of any feelings that invoke poor build quality in any way.  The set has just enough weight to it to make me feel comfortable saying it is a solid piece of work.  Build Quality is still in the excellent range all around.  
     
    I am not too happy about the lack of padding on the earpads.  The set is by no means uncomfortable, quite the opposite, actually.  I think on ear sets should always have more padding than they do, having to rest on the sensitive parts of my ear for potentially hours every day?  Well, I prefer more padding and the M80s earpads lack enough foam to rate them highly. I think they could have stuck more padding in there to make it a bit more comfy and less likely to squish all the way down to the flat area over the driver, becoming totally level with it.  If you have a giant mutant head, odds are good you will experience this.
     
    P9300085.jpg
     
     
    Sonic Qualities
     
    Well, where to begin?  Lets start with the lows.  Bass is strong, deep and satisfying.  Pretty much everything I want in a portable set.  I find it neither super special nor lacking in the slightest. It gets the job done, the M80 is very fun to listen to Dubstep or anything bass heavy.  It has a ton more bass than the DT 1350 which left me sad every time I used it, always wanting more bass.   Not at all the case with the M80, its very satisfying, well colored, large and on the boarder of thick sounding but never overly boomy.  It can be boomy on some tracks with super high bass, it can also distort at these levels but then again everything  in this price range would distort with really high levels of bass. I would really have preferred a cleaner bass experience, for my tastes it is on the thick side but I wouldnt go as far as saying its muddy.  It makes for an immensely fun experience. 
     
    The mids are excellent.  Vocals are immensely engaging, smooth and textured.  I am absolutely stunned an on ear set of headphones like this can sound great with vocals from jazz artists or even big band.  From Michael Buble' to Seth MacFarlanes new old school Sinatra-ish Album, right down to classic Rock vocals this set performs on an immensely satisfying level.  Forward and broad, excellent placement.  Impressive to say the least.  
     
    Highs are smooth and clean, the problem here is that they are not engaging at all.  I am left with a bit of a lacking sense during classical tracks and especially so in Fusion/Metal Guitar.  Highs are not sparkled and do not extend high, but guess what...thats how V-Moda designed it to be.  They wanted it to be smooth and not make your ears bleed.  Highs are still satisfying enough to use the set on a daily basis, I just wish they were a bit more engaging...wish they had a more bite to it...ya know?
     
     
    The set is immensely well rounded, I cannot find any one genre that sounds bad on it.  The Soundstage is for the lack of a better word....AMAZING ( for an on ear set ).  It outshines the DT 1350 which itself has perhaps the largest sound stage in the on ear world that I am aware of.  Height, Width and overall Depth are all very nice and odds are good the first time you listen to them your thoughts will be "WHAT!? I did not expect this set to sound this large"  Truly impressive soundstage for an on ear set of headphones.  Excellent in every way, not overly spacious but also not congested.  It still sounds like a closed set of headphones, it does lack an airy sense to it.  Despite that, the stage is well beyond satisfying.  Hard to believe an on ear set can sound good with classical?  Well, it does.  It sounds every bit as good for classical and big band stuff as it does fusion and rock.  
     
    Isolation is a quality all the reviewers in this group had mixed feelings with.  I found it to isolate nicely, others found it to not isolate well.  V-Moda DID IN FACT DESIGN IT TO BE AN ISOLATING HEADPHONE...at least somewhat.  Depending on the shape and size of your ears, it may or may not isolate well for you.  If you are looking for good isolation, I would look elsewhere and avoid the possibility of being let down by the shield shaped pads and earcups vs something circular and known to isolate well like the HD 25 ii or the DT 1350.
     
    Amping...or lack there of?
     
    I find no need for amping at all with the M80 beyond just my Cowan J3 or Desktop PC.  It is very efficient and sound excellent right out of a decent source.  Just my opinion, you might want to check in with other reviews for their experiences with amplification and how it affected the sound of the M80.  My pico slim does absolutely nothing for it beyond changing the coloration to something more metallic, made it worse in a lot of ways including sound stage qualities and overall kick factor.  The set is not too punchy but has a fair amount of that snap to it without being at all harsh, just enough to consider it very engaging and fun. I am not at all sure the Tube sound will mesh well with the M80.  
     
    Overall, I am rating this set a solid 4/5.  It is immensely well rounded, well built and fun to listen to.  This is by no means a neutral set of headphones, this baby is geared to rock out with a nice forward presentation that is not overly warm but also no where near neutral.  The M80 has more pros than cons, personally I want yet more clarity and a cleaner bass experience, maybe even some sparkled highs, but for what its worth the M80 is a winner.  I think the future of V-Moda looks very bright.  
     
    I'm sold and I think most others will be, too.  Great Job V-Moda, Val is a genius...nuff said
     
    -Mike
     
     
     
     
    JamesMcProgger likes this.