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V-MODA Crossfade M-80 Reviews

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  1. 6154182938_3a4caa0df4_b.jpg
    The V-MODA M-80 is, to my ears, a worthy competitor to the likes of the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II and the beyerdynamic DT 1350, and is already one of my favorite portable on-ear headphones.
    V-MODA recently exhibited at CanJam @ RMAF 2011, and the response (especially to the new M-80) was very positive.  Last Saturday, V-MODA also exhibited at the Tokyo Headphone Festival, and was met with similar enthusiasm.  In some pre- and post-Festival listening in Tokyo, some seasoned Head-Fi'ers had a chance to listen to the M-80, all coming away surprised, impressed.
    V-MODA founder Val Kolton is serious about targeting the headphone audiophile market with the V-MODA M-series headphones, the first (and currently only) model from that line being the M-80.  How serious?  A few weeks ago, we met in downtown Chicago (he brought the V-MODA headphones, I brought many other headphones and a plethora of headphone amps), and we spent what ended up being two nearly sleepless nights doing nothing but listening to, and evaluating, several V-MODA headphones and prototypes in several rigs.
    In our forums, V-MODA asked for volunteers to serve as reviewers / focus group members to evaluate the M-80.  V-MODA picked the members of that panel, and each of them, after some time with the M-80, posted their reviews.  The purpose of this thread is to have one place for all of the M-80 reviews from those focus group members.
    earphonebest likes this.
  2. valkolton Contributor
    Greatest Sound for the Greatest Amount of People
    I wanted to thank Jude and everybody for the years of motivation and R&D this community has provided V-MODA, we wouldn't be here today if it weren't for you.
    Through the last few years in our focus groups with producer/musician/DJs and in more recent months with the Head-Fi community and Jude at events in Chicago, Denver and Tokyo we have gained a very deep knowledge of everybody's preferred sound profile.  Dozens of sound chain variables, a few of which include ergonomic fit, mastering/compression of songs and genres, sources, durability requirements and even audiograms have been studied with an open mind for the single goal of making great mobile hi-fi sound obtainable at a reasonable pricepoint.
    Modern  Audiophile M-Series
    The first product we chose to release for many Head-Fi'ers use case preferences is Crossfade M-80, which has been gaining many great reviews.  Although on-ears are the most challenging product to tune for the masses, we felt it was great to showcase our new R&D first with an ultra-portable and affordable solution.  
    Tune in for the future with your Crossfade M-80 Review 
    We encourage you to help us build a better future by telling us your feedback on what tracks, ergonomics, sources, software and preferences you have with M-80.  
    A perfect sound will always be an unobtainable Holy Grail with the infinite variables of the audio industry, but we CAN achieve excellence today with new hardware in addition to brilliant new software, sources and songs.  I look forward to also showing how we test through our new "TrueHertz" blog/entries we'll be posting.  It'll show all the variables we tune with and our quality control, if you have any questions please let us know and I'll be transparant by revealing more about our labs and research methodologies.
    We're amped to also release two new products in this range in the coming months that were recently mentioned by CNET, Playback and more... so stay tuned!

    Val Kolton
    earphonebest likes this.
  3. raddogz
    I'm sure many have already read the past reviews of M-80 and if you haven't well go look it up - it's really worth the read.  I've had my M-80's for not quite a week yet and these are the most comfortable ones I've had so far (granted my only other frame of reference are HD600's).  
    I've used the headphones so far with MacBook, iPhone 4 & 1g, iPad, and iPad Nano 3g and it's been stellar in performance.  So far without any use of amp these sound just fine with plenty of bass and nice highs as well.  
    Some tracks I've been listening too - Linkin Park - Catalyst (I think the bass got a little muddy), Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks (nice soundstage), Middle Class Rut - New Low (again nice soundstage & separation), Natalie Cole & Diana Krall - Better Than Anything, Baby Bash - Cyclone (the bass is nice tight ->actually my impression it was sick [​IMG]), Pyschokinetics - Big Time (the bass reaches pretty low), John Legend - Ordinary People.  Most of the above tracks were AAC and a few were 192kbs so I did take that into consideration when running through the different tracks in these headphones.
    As an overall - these headphones are a big A with just a stock source (less amp).  I found that with the cmoybb 2.03 (no bass boost activated) it increased the overall bass level but it seemed to make some tracks (bass heavy) worse and others (bass light) a bit better.
  4. dweaver
    The review section under Headgear seems to be struggling to show all the reviews, so I decided to re-post my review here for anyone struggling to see what was said.
    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 2nd 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.
    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.
    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 feeling a 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.
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  5. Armaegis
    Here is my comparitive review. The link title is self explanatory:
  6. Louis8ball

    V-Moda Crossfade M-80: A great phone for many different genres

    by Louis8ball, October 15, 2011 at 2:24 am
    ‹ Back to Item Overview
    -For the most part, a very well-rounded, full-bodied, smooth sound signature, very durable build quality, and extremely comfortable
    -Poor Isolation
    -Some of the cables might be a little too long for their intended purpose, and therefore may add unnecessary bulk
    -Treble could stand a bit more sparkle, clarity, and/or crispness
    [​IMG]   3c7706d6_PICT3525.jpg
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    When it comes to describing the sound of the V-Moda Crossfade M-80 on-ear headphones, two words come to mind:
    Smooth and Full-Bodied
    I think that it also bears mentioning that this review is coming from someone who does not have much prior experience with OE headphones. Most of my most recent experience has been more involved with IEs of differing brands and sorts, and styles. But I am one of the ten contestants who was fortunate enough to have been selected for the this Voyager group. And so, having spent a few weeks now with this set, I have formulated a few impressions I would like to share here with others of you who might be interested in these.
    Please take note, before I proceed that, in no way do I consider myself an expert in any conceivable manner or means when it comes to rating or reviewing audio gear. All I can do is share my impressions with you. Ultimately, you will have to make the final (informed decision), yourself, as to whether to purchase a set for yourself, or not. Please also keep in mind that there have been nine others of us in this group. And although we have all had the opportunity to discuss these headphones together at great length (in a private forum setting here at Head-Fi), we may not all necessarily agree with each other about every single aspect regarding these M-80s. So, just a few things for you to keep in mind as you read.
    For my own personal testing and overall impressions, I have been primarily using two different MP3 players, neither one of which has been amped or ‘Rockboxed’ (but I do adjust the EQ settings quite a bit).  These two sources of mine have been a Sony Walkman NWZ-E354, and a Sansa Clip+. And my music files have all been in WAV format (lossless). The music I have been listening to throughout my time of testing has varied quite a bit. It has actually run the whole entire gamut, from Christian Alternative Rock (bands such as Thousand Foot Krutch, Switchfoot, Skillet, etc), as well as some Classic Rock from the ‘60s. ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s (Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, The Moody Blues, CCR, The Rolling Stones, The Cars, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who, Heart, Journey, Boston, etc).
    I would like to break my review down into 3 primary groups:  Build Quality, Comfort, and then finally, Sound Quality. First let me say though, for the record that, although it is my desire to be as concise as I possibly can here, however it is entirely possible that I might miss something, or leave out an important detail or two. Allow me to apologize for this right here and now, in advance if it turns out to be the case that I miss anything important. And of course, don’t forget. . .there are nine others of us as well. So, by all means please read their reviews also, because what I might miss, someone else might do a wonderful job discussing with impeccable detail (and of course, vice versa).
    I’ll begin with a word about build quality. I really have to admit, I am very impressed. The designer(s) of these phones have obviously put some creative thought into the build quality and design. They seem very sturdy to me, constructed of very durable materials. I would venture to guess that these phones should be able to handle whatever abuse that the average user might administer, without caving in so easily to the day to day pressures of wear and tear that so many other (less durable) OEs out there might tend give in to. From the steelflex headband (protected by a stain-resistant suede-padded covering), to the v-angle steel acier, to the brushed metal shields which are placed over the outer walls of the earcups, these phones are not only Military-Grade durable, but also rather stylish and classy-looking as well. You can even have your own brushed metal plates customized with your own personalized logo or design, or even monogrammed with your initials --- all with laser-engraved precision, on either black, red, graphite or blue-colored brushed metal plates. Not too shabby, indeed, if I do say so (and I do)!!
    Next, a word on the overall comfort of these phones. Let me first say that I am an eyeglass wearer. And this being the case, I have tried a few OEs in the very recent past, one in particular, the Pioneer HDK-2000, only to have to get rid of them not long after receiving them (as a gift from a friend). They pushed too tightly against the frames of my eyeglasses and my ears, and therefore became very uncomfortable after just a very short period of time. However, I must say that with these M-80s, I have had none of that. These are super-comfy --- even after wearing them for long periods of time. The suede-padding which covers the headband, along with the ergonomic (soft) memory foam on the earcups both combine to make for an extremely comfortable listening experience, even for the long haul. I believe I could wear these for hours, and not get tired of having them on. This is definitely a real plus, especially when you consider that these are designed to be used on the “Go”. And while I don’t think that these would be awkward to wear in public places (actually, quite the contrary since after all, they ARE a fashion statement, are they not?????), however I can’t really say that they offer the best isolation from the outside world.
    And so this brings to the final segment, essentially, and in my opinion the most important one also, sound quality. In the final estimation, I really do like the sound of these phones. These are a rather fun set of headphones. They are a very durable set which can be used with many different types and genres of music, and are really great for day to day use. Although I might say a few things about these headphones which might sound like a complaint, please don’t misinterpret this to mean that I don’t like these headphones. I actually do like them. A lot. And I plan on using them on a regular basis. I am enjoying the sound of them more and more each day. But like anything else in life, they are not perfect. There could be some fine tuning or tweaking down the road which could (and would) make them even a better set of phones. But this does not mean that I don’t like them. I honestly do. Having said that, lets move on, shall we. . .
    During the time of my testing, my initial impressions after I first received these was that they seemed to be very well suited for a harder type of music genre, such as Alternative Rock (which, if you don’t know is typified by a bit of a harsher sound, maybe more of a Metal sound, perhaps). But then, after quite a bit of use (and a good solid break-in time), I started realizing that they are actually very well suited to quite a few different types of music (including Alternative Rock, but many others also). The following is a brief breakdown of how each of the main frequencies seem to respond with these M-80s.
    First, the bass. The bass is very solid, and hard-hitting. It packs a very good punch, and has decent ‘attack’. But, then for some strange reason, I don’t feel like the bass extends very well beyond this initial punch. What I am hearing is what sounds like a very quick roll-off --- at times too quick. The initial punch is certainly there, but then the decay or roll-off seems to come a little too quickly. But this does vary quite a bit from genre to genre. Not every music type reacts this way. But for the most part, this is what I experienced with these. Which, at times could be rather frustrating. Now, I for one am not really a ‘basshead’ in the true sense of the word. But when there IS bass in a track, I don’t just want to hear it; I want to feel it, too. And you certainly DO feel it, as a matter of fact with MOST music types you can feel it (if you have your EQ turned up high enough). But after that initial attack, it seems to roll off too soon for my tastes. As a result, I would not necessarily classify these as a ‘bass-lover’s headphone’. But on the other hand, it could certainly be said that the bass does hit hard, and is NOT muddy at all.
    If I had to say that there was one overall strength (for lack of a better word) of this sound signature, it would have to be the mid-range. Right out of the box I noticed this with these. The mid-range is spiked. It was spiked quite a lot right out of the box (too much for my tastes), but did become a bit tamed after a good bit of use. However, I do still hear what sounds like an emphasized amount of it. And for me personally, this doesn’t tend to be my favorite part of a song. So for my customized EQ settings on both of my DAPs, I have had to reduce the mids quite a bit (and boost both the bass and treble --- or the lows and the high-end frequencies). Now this is not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, if you like vocals, then they will come shining through with these M-80s. But the mid-range can be rather overpowering for some (like myself). Which is why I prefer to reduce this part of the frequency range on my player(s).
    I think I can say without any hesitation that the treble is the most difficult and complex part of the sound signature to come to terms with, regarding these M-80 headphones. And I don’t believe that I am alone in this view, either. I know that there are others in our Voyager group who feel the same way. The treble is a bit perplexing. It is an enigma, of sorts. What made the treble so difficult to come to terms with is, because for the longest time whenever I would hear it, although I knew something was wrong or missing. But for the life of me, I just couldn’t put my finger on what exactly that missing piece of the puzzle really was. It wasn’t actually until another member of our group (Armaegis) was able to properly articulate this point, that I was able to realize and understand what was really going on here with the treble. As Armaegis so tactfully put it:
     “. . .I think my expression of treble is might also be what others would consider upper mids. I feel like it has some sort of echo or resonance that blurs it. Cymbals and finger snaps just don't sound crisp enough, like they're coming through a veil. I can hear the initial ring, but it doesn't catch your attention. It's especially fuzzy when there's a lot of other music layers. . .”
    And, he also goes on to say (regarding the LOW end this time). . .
    “. . .Conversely, the low low end (<50Hz) to me feels like the initial impulse is too strong and it loses shape after that. Well, I can't say for certain that it's the impulse... low notes feel very strong and have plenty of "punch", but the actual tone itself doesn't quite feel right, with it getting looser the deeper we go. . .”
    I want to thank Armaegis for this. I really like the way he put this. He was able to put into words what (perhaps) many of us in the group felt, but just could not communicate properly. You see, the treble (or high-end) to me seems to be lacking a certain luster or shimmer to it (or perhaps the right word here would be SPARKLE). As Armaegis said, it doesn’t sound crisp enough, and I agree with him. It may be that V-Moda was trying too hard to compensate for sibilance, and perhaps they overcompensated a little too much. I can’t really say for sure. But you do get the point though. So, if you're looking for something that has a crisp, clear high-end sparkle and luster remeniscent of the RE0, then you'll want to keep looking. Consequently, I personally feel that this is one of the biggest downfalls and disappointments of the M-80 (but even still, all is not lost. They are still a very nice-sounding set of phones. They could just be a tad bit better, in my opinion).
    In closing, all in all I think its fair to say (as I’ve already said before) that I really like these headphones a lot. They are a fun set of phones. I am very thankful to have been selected as one of the Voyagers in this group, and I’m thankful to have been given this set of headphones. So, I would easily recommend these M-80s. To me, the sound signature is very full-bodied and smooth. It works well with a lot of different types of music. Additionally, the stage is nice too, open, airy, and 3-dimensional. There is a great deal of width and depth, and as a result I never feel claustrophobic listening to these (I never had the sense like I was inside of a sardine can, as I have had with other OEs --- and even with a few IEs which I have tried in the past).
    And so while I can most definitely recommend these phones, I am also going to be very hopeful that any improvements in terms of future-generation editions down the road will be even better, and will hopefully remedy the things which are lacking in this first generation edition.
    V-Moda, you have a lot to be proud of here. Not a bad first effort at all. Keep up the great work, and thank you once again for this opportunity!
  7. JamesMcProgger
    I'm going to copy/paste my review here too

    Pros: Many: Clear, articulated and fun sound, does not require amplification, superb build quality, great accessories, good looking.
    Cons: Isolation could be better.

    This review is part of the V-moda M80 voyage program, started in the thread: 'V-moda crossfade m80 audio-voyage reviewers wanted' and I was lucky enough to be selected to receive one M80 and be part of a group of discussion, and finally post my review here. We were asked to make an honest and free of prejudice review (as expected) so here is mine. Consequently this is my opinion but hopefully I managed to be objectively enough.

    V-Moda M80 on ear portable headphone

    First things first: If you just want the straight-to-the-point review and no blabbering, read only the blue bits.

    Build quality:
    Two things come to my mind, tough and flexible. Headband flexes like few, I’ve manage to set it flat or twist it to the other side and cross the cups far from what seems normal.
    The hinges that holds the cup is metal. And its hold with four screws per cup, the cup shell is plastic with a metal back plate.
    The headband is some sort of fiber with a soft felt in the part where it touches the head. It looks very durable, but only time will tell.
    The cables look well built, I have 3 cables in my package, one audio only (grey, 2 meters) , one with volume +/- and play/pause keys (black, 1.5 meters), and the other with mic (red, 1.5 meters), the audio only one soft and docile, the others two tend to become stiffy specially when twisted. The plig housing in all cables are minimalist, stylish, rubbery and flexible.
    Physically, the attention to details by V-moda is remarkable. and I can throw this around with confidence, it can take the abuse, even more if you store it in the case, but I've been just trowing it inside my backpack, no case, no cover.
    The good: flexibility in the headband, solid build, replaceable back plates. Detachable cord and you can use almost any cable extension (slightly jack only the massive plugs wont fit). It can take a lot of abuse.
    The nitpicks:  the cable from the cups to the headband could be held to the hinge to avoid it to pop up (the sony V6 prevent this with a clamp in the hinge holding the cable). 2 of the 3 the cables gets stiff and even more when twisted.
    The bad: none.

    Definitely stylish, not your standard rugged plain black headphone, but it doesn’t go as far as being pretentious either.
    Body is mainly black (glossy or matte) with red bits here and there.

    3 cables, an excellent hard carrying case known as exoskeleton, a clip to hel carry the bag, 3 cables and ¼ to 1/8 inches adapter. All this in a fancy hard cardboard box.
    The good: exoskeleton case is awesome. More cables than you’d need.
    The nitpicks:  none.
    The bad: none. V-moda does not fool around in accessories.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Cables and plugs.

    The headband is well padded and the clamping force is low, additionally the earpads are soft. All this sums up to have a very comfortable headphone. I can wear this for long listening sessions without a single problem.
    After a while I forget the headphones are on, which is hard to achieve with an on ear headphone.
    The good: top notch comfort.
    The nitpicks: none.
    The bad: none.

    Not the best, fair less than the Sennheiser HD25. I believe it might be due to the shape of the cups, oval shaped (hexagon) and the fact that they have vents in the back. It manage to block the high frequencies but creates some sort of tunnel like sound with the lower frequencies. I wouldn’t use it in a noisy environment, tried it at a football stadium and got distracted by the exterior’s noise every now and then.
    It confuses me how V-moda advertises this in their website as “Noise isolating” and at the same time advertize the V-port technology. 
    Where sound/air goes out, sound/air comes in.
    Edit: From V-Moda we got the fact that this are semi-closed headphones, and it was made to gain some soundstage and bass, and it really works in that matter, covering the vents will end up in a different sound. at the end it was a good choice, at expenses of some isolation, you lose some you win some, right?
    The good: block some noise.
    The bad: Isolation could be better, not on par with HD25 and DT1350.

    Is you are expecting the M80 to sound the typical bass heavy fashion headphone, you’re in for a surprise, the midrange was the first thing that caught my attention.
    I used this headphone right out of my Zune120, ipod classic and clip+, also used iBasso D3  ¿and Mini3 as amps but felt that the M80s doesn need the amplifier, it does well from the headphone out alone.
    Not prominent, not loose and neither boomy, it isn’t as tight and detailed as other headphones like the DT1350 either, but enough as to know that the M80’s does not lack bass.
    Extension is good enough as to perceive subbass when the track demands it.
    They have punch, don’t hit as hard as the HD25, but definitely more punch and kick then the DT1350.
    This is my favorite of the three. Very articulated, clear, fairly detailed and liquid. They make the HD25 mids sound recessed.
    I’ve also being using the M80s to watch movies and listening poscasts, something I wouldn’t do with a headphone without articulated mids. These are responsible to make the M80 sound slightly bright, even at the lack of sparkling highs, maybe because the bump in the mid-high section of the FR graph.
    From the three ranges this is the one in the third place. See it this way, if you were to categorize the clearness, detail and how loud each range is, the highs would be in the background. I can safely say the highs feels tamed and lacks sparkle, without sounding dark.
    This could be seen as an advantage considering that piercing and sibilance are out of the equation.
    Sound signature:
    I’d say it’s a fun signature but not V shaped (oddly enough since V-moda seems to like to put a V in everything they made [​IMG] ) bass is not the priority, but you certain have decent amount of bass. Bassheads, you’ve been warned. The liquid, open and clear mids makes this headphone what it is, a pleasant non fatiguing portable headphone.
    The M80 offer more soundstage than one would expect from an ‘on ear portable’ as a Grado fanboy I have very little acknowledge about soundstage ha!. I often gets amazed at soundstage and how my beloved Grados lacks it. The M80 space doesn’t feel so cramped as the Sennheiser HD25, for my listening sessions, I’d compare the soundstage with the Beyerdynamic DT1350, at least.
    Separation and Details:
    I find it to be very good, channel separation is very noticeable, which gives out a larger soundstage feeling, instrumental separation with heavy, faster and technical music (progressive metal) was good enough as not to feel cramped and neither lacking details.
    Sound summary:
    With the mids in the front row, the bass in the second and the highs behind them, the M80 offers a very different option from the two better known competitors, Sennheiser HD25 and Beyerdynamic DT1350.
    I really enjoy the M80s, I like the fun yet different sound it makes, most fun headphones tend to be bassy and sparkly or recessed mids, the M80 defies that and the results are quite exciting. It was a pleasant surprise and I plan to use them a lot from now on, at expenses of the beyer DT1350, which was already getting little use next to the senn HD25.
    A very welcome new option for those of us who believes that portable-fi should be about fun and comfort, after all I don’t want a clinical signature to analyze the music in a 30 minute trip or a 15 minute relax in between classes, I want to have fun and enjoy the music. The M80 does that for me, and plenty more, I’ve used this at the office for 2.5 hours straight without feeling tired at the sound or my ears hurt.
    The good: Clear, liquid and articulated mids. Over average level of details, good soundstage, not overpowering bass. does not require amplification.
    The nitpicks: None.
    The bad: lack of sparkle, lack of extension in the upper levels.

    I got this for free and perhaps that and the fact that I like it makes me put a higher value rate.
    But thinking as a potential customer, the actual MSPR from V-moda is $230, do I think its worth it?  no, but rarely a headphone worth its list price, none that I remember, and that is why street prices exist. I believe I could handle $180 for the M80 and be happy, but what do I know about prices, I am only a customer. [​IMG]
    Here’s the thing, it is a whole package, clas A buld quality, very good sound, and the accessories, including the excellent exoskeleton case, it all sums up for a great portable.  
    Technical specs:
    1. Type: Supraaural (on-ear)
    2. Speaker Drivers:  40mm.
    3. Impedance: 28.5 Ohms
    4. Frequency Response: 5 - 30,000 Hz
    5. Sound Pressure Level: 105 dB
    6. Weight: 180g (headphone only)

    Size comparison:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Cup size comparison with the beyerdynamic DT1350
    ===>>>More and larger photos in this album<<<===
    Hope this was useful to someone.​

    Linky: http://www.head-fi.org/products/v-moda-m-80-shadow-crossfade-m-80-remote-over-the-ear-headphones-shadow/reviews/5754
    daturi likes this.
  8. DigitalFreak
    Pros: smooth sound,good all arounder, comfortable, gorgeous customized headphone shields
    Cons: some of the cords are stiff and tangle prone, poor isolation, needs a touch of sparkle in the treble region
    Those of us sitting at the back of the bus who love our music reserve the right to practice a healthy dose of skepticism involving audio gear as we ride along the long winding road that is life.  Until said gear has passed our personal expectations thus meriting the mantra of GOOD GEAR any and all reviewers/reviews will be taken with a grain of salt. As natural born cynics we also expect those around us to practice a healthy level of free thought and approach our reviews with a healthy dose of skepticism. In the event there's violent disagreement concerning gear reviewed then please grab said gear throw it out the bus window grab your own much loved gear and by all means please join us fellow cynics at the back of the bus. Please be sure said gear being thrown out the window isn't mine.

                                                               Part I Overall Feel And Finish

    Overall I generally like the M-80 in my book it does a lot of things right. It's no giant killer by any stretch of the imagination and like any other product it has it's strong points and weak points. I've never done a review before or rather stated more correctly I've never done one for a audio company so if this comes across as a little amateurish please excuse my noobiness. In an effort to avoid writing a book I'm  going to try and keep this review to the point and will only touch on the stand out strengths and weaknesses of this headphone. I'll leave the more minor points to be discussed on the thread. I've taken the liberty of using my current collection of headphones as benchmarks and will be alluding to them in certain parts of the review in order to further hammer home my points.

                                                                Form Factor And Durability
    The overall fit finish and feel on these headphones is very good and it's lines are crisp clean and it seems to be well assembled. The headphone seems to utilize quite nice high quality materials and I really like the Kevlar cords that come supplied with the headphone. When I first received these headphones the most surprising aspect was how light and small they were and my first impression was these would never stand up to any kind of punishment. After various intentional headband twists, cord pulls, and real world testing by having them knocking around in my crowded backpack for a few days my view has drastically changed. Whether they can take the same punishment and outlast my HD25-i-ii only time can tell but first initial impressions are very positive. Shortly after writing this review I posed the question to Mr Val Kolton of V-Moda on whether his company would be providing replacement parts for it's M-80 in the event of a part breaking. Mr. Kolton promptly responded as follows:
    A very welcome response and a huge plus for M-80 owners. My hat goes off to V-Moda for going the extra mile with it's product and it's customer support.

                                                          Packaging Fit Finish And Extras
    The product's packaging and presentation is excellent and is easily on par with Monster's offerings. The consumer gets a very durable carry case to help protect his/her investment as well as 3 (2 with audio controls) Kevlar covered cables in different colors. All cables have a 45 degree jack and in my book the 45 degree jack is a smart move on V-moda's part. The dark cable with no controls has a rather nice feel to it but the two cable's with audio controls for whatever reason feel rather stiff and are overly tangle prone. Only time will tell how well they fare. Along with the cords you get a large metal clip that will clip the headphone case to your purse backpack carry on etc. The inside of the carry case has two Velcro mounted carry areas with straps that function as storage for the extra cables supplied and if not wanted they can be pulled out for home storage. The inside is also covered in a nice red velvety material that will keep your cans safe from scratches.  In short the case is compact sturdy fits over the gear like a second skin has style and functions very well as a mobile solution for safely carrying your whole V-Moda gear around at all times. It's safe to say V-Moda took notice of Monster's extravagant packaging and has upped the anty with their own take on style. Kudos to V-Moda for going that extra mile and giving that extra little attention to detail.
    The M-80 fit for me is very good and I give it high marks. Fit for me is a concern considering I wear glasses and the M-80 very pleasantly surprised me with it's comfort. I'm finding clamping force is just right and ear pain is non existent after 3 hours. The most comfortable fit I've ever had would go to the P5 with the M-80 breathing down it's neck in second place followed by the DT1350 in third and the HD25 in fourth. Last spot goes to the poorly ergonomically challenged iGrado.

                                                                Customized Plate Options
    The fact the consumer can customize their plates and make their headphones stand out and different from anyone Else's is a killer extra for me. In a sea of bright red Beats, overly loud SkullCandy artwork blue Sennheiser Adidas, and the standard no frills plain Jane all black headphones it's a very welcome sight. I'm hoping as time goes on V-Moda will take this idea and run with it and offer even more customization options. Right now the only color options for the M-80 is the all black or black with red accents. A few more color options down the road such as blue green etc would probably be welcomed by many consumers. A personal suggestion towards V-Moda why not really let your hair down and offer different background color options for the custom plates to match with different form factor accents? I'm sure there would be enough consumers who would jump on the option.

                                                                Mobility - I'm Always On The Go
    Making a mobile headphone that works well means addressing many different problems compared to a headphone designed for use on a home rig. In my line of work I'm always on the go day in day out and log by far more hours on a mobile headphone then my home headphones. For someone like me a good mobile headphone isn't a luxury it's a necessity. I could write page upon page discussing the finer points on what makes a good mobile can, we all could, but for the sake of trying not to wander off topic I'm going to touch on the two that are by far the most important for a mobile can, noise leakage and isolation.

    First the good news, noise leakage or lack there of is very good on the M-80. I've had these cans blaring away at around 60 to 70% volume setting on my iPod Touch on a bus with someone sitting right beside me reading without disturbing them. I've also been in a library and have yet to hear any complaints involving noise disturbing people around me. If I crank the volume to it's absolute max I will notice some noise leakage but let's be realistic cranking headphones to maximum volume is not only dumb and asking for hearing damage it's just not done by the average consumer.
    Isolation is a slightly different story for the M-80. My now gone Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphone in my opinion is the best isolating mobile headphone I've ever owned. Behind it I would rank the DT1350 a distant second with the  HD25-i-ii in third and the M-80 running behind in fourth place. I'm finding the HD25 -i-ii isolates out the low drone like noises (engine drone while riding on a bus) better then the M-80 and the DT 1350 easily further isolates out that drone twice as much. The P5 say what you will about it it's isolation is spooky quiet. Coming up in the dismal deal breaking you should be ashamed of yourself last place is the iGrado. V-Moda needs to take a second look and work on this problem. Poor isolation in a mobile headphone can be a real deal breaker for some consumers.
                                                                                   Part II
                                        Sound - In The House That Head-Fi Built Sound Reign's Supreme


    I find the sound of this little headphone very interesting and it took me a few days to really wrap my head around it's sound signature. If I was to try and describe the M-80 in one word it would be smooth as in smooth as silk. If you're looking for edgy treble with pristine almost ethereal like highs you won't find it in the M-80. It's not analytical and comes nowhere near being classed as a detail monster nor hot in the treble but it will provide good detail across the frequency ranges. If you're looking for deep thick lows that slams visceral like bass into your cranium you also won't find it in the M-80. It does have good bass slam but it's nowhere near what would be classed a bass cannon. What the M-80 will do is give you a slightly bass centric sound signature with clear highs good detail across all frequencies and when the music demands it it'll muscle it's full bodied bass to bring forward good percussion. Put simply it's clear has good detail and the highs mids and lows don't try to overpower one another but instead play nicely together. It's a headphone that has been very shrewdly engineered and will appeal to the bass head who wants to hear a mid range and has grown tired of overpowering muddy lows. The M-80 will also appeal to the treble head whose gotten tired of the analytical and wants a slightly warmer fuller bass with nice authoritative slam but still wants a decent amount of detail in his music.

                                      Sennheiser HD25-i-ii Adidas, Beyerdynamic DT1350, iGrado/Grado SR60i

    Easily the strongest suit in the M-80's audio signature. V-Moda claims to have invested countless man hours into this headphones bass over the last 5 years and I believe them. The DT1350 easily has the deeper extension but it's bass is quite thin compared to the M-80 and it's bass slam is quite poor. The HD25-i-ii on the other hand although it doesn't extend as much as either the M-80 or the DT1350 it delivers very nice authoritative slam with it's mid bass hump. The M-80 compared to the Sennheiser is no slouch and can also slam pretty good and it does it in all the right places and does it smoothly with better control avoiding bass bleed into the mid frequencies. Which of these 3 cans do better bass in my opinion comes down to how the listener prefers to take his audio poison. If you don't care about slam and prefer detailed deep reaching down into the dungeons lows the Beyer delivers in spades. You want a more visceral like boomy slam the Senn will be your poison of choice. Personally I give the the M-80 the nod in this area. It extends not to badly will deliver good slam when it has to and above all controls itself better then the Senn.

    Mids are generally good on the M-80. Although I give it good marks across the board it doesn't do anything special that makes it stand out to my ears. Vocals I would say are very good on the M-80 slightly edging out the  more mid recessed lusher sounding HD25-i-ii but it takes a back seat to the DT1350 with its glorious vocal reproduction. Guitars also gets a good  grade and the M-80 returns the favor to the DT1350 whose guitar tonality can at times sound slightly off especially in hard rock and metal. When it's compared to the iGrado with it's much more aggressive nature and forward mids it's still left playing second fiddle though. I have to admit though I am openly biased and think nobody can do guitars like a Grado. I will also say although the Senn gets third place it was a tough call for me and I place it very marginally behind the M-80 for guitar reproduction.  Overall mids gets a ranking of very good and I feel it does it's job fairly well and gives the M-80 a nice cohesive sound that works well for it.

    If I was to pick a sore spot for the M-80 it would be it's high's. It's not bad per say  and I think it meshes in well with the general smooth sound signature V-Moda is going for. When I compare it to the HD 25-i-ii DT1350 and iGrado I had to rate it low compared to these other cans. I'm finding the treble region on the M-80 works generally well for most type's of music but when paired with more aggressive metal sub genres such as death metal thrash metalcore or melodic death metal the treble regions short comings manifest's itself. The problem I'm hearing is the M-80 high's are for a lack of a better description overly polite. A polite treble range doesn't work very well in metal when the music demands edginess and shimmering cymbals and at times the treble region seems almost recessed (it isn't) when compared to the pounding drums and driving guitars in the music. That being said there is good news as far as the highs are concerned. Sibilance control is quite good on the M-80 and badly recorded music with overly sibilant vocals gets smoothed over and sounds quite nice on it. As far as the moshing metal head is concerned it's not a total loss and certain metal sub genre's such as doom symphonic metal old school heavy metal some power metal nu metal and progressive metal seems to pair acceptably well with the M-80 highs. Soft rock jazz hip hop hard house and trance seems to work especially well with these sort of high's and although polite the upper treble range still seems to release enough energy to belt out that nice loud crash and smash when the music demands it. Overall I'd have to rate the M-80 highs a mixed bag of pluses and minuses.


    b0000 likes this.
  9. valkolton Contributor

    To answer your question, yes M-80 is a very modular headphone and we'll offer replacement pads, parts in the future. The pad and most parts are user replaceable, even the driver in fact.
    I think we are on to something on why the V-MODA M-series sound signature goal is on clarity, yet rich mids with present mid vocals and precise bass. I'm not a big fan of BAT and many top-heavy headphones or speakers.  I've always tried to push the limits of dynamic drivers in both my home and club systems.  I love studying the psychoacoustics in staging and seperation - there is so much to be done that hasn't been done before (see pic below).  
    It's also a volume thing as mentioned earlier, many audiophiles listen low and commoner/newphiles/bassheads listen loud.   >90dB or even 100dB-120dB!  i
    ... this is the juice... 2 driver sound, 1 driver efficiency and QC levels that can pass my OCD standards (it's patented too). I think we finally nailed the product line for Head-Fiers after many years. Consistency, efficiency, ergonomics, durability and of course sound is even more important than the styling.
  10. roma101
    The M-80s are truly one of a kind right now in the portable headphone market. I wanted to get them in hopes that they'd have good soundstage, sound bigger/fuller with more body to the music, and have good timbre quality. I can honestly say that these cans have met my expectations and more (they have amazing build quality and look gorgeous too). They're versatile with genre, punchy and lounge-y at the same time, and have great clarity.  While I do wish they isolated a little more, it's really not a huge issue (they isolate fairly well just not as much as something like the HD25). Also, the comfort is top notch. 
    I also want to comment on how awesome it is to see a company who cares a lot about a community of audio enthusiasts and keeps us in mind when making their products. More companies should follow suit. I'm excited to see what's in store with the M-series! [​IMG] Seriously this is a great first can in the M-series and just to know it'll only get better from here... I can't wait.
  11. DigitalFreak

    Thanks for the clarification Val my review has been updated accordingly and my hat goes out to your company. By the way guys check THIS OUT looks like the M-80 really made a splash at Can Jam
  12. Tyll Hertsens Contributor
    Just wanted to chime in here and mention that I have measured the V-80 TrueBlood version of the M-80, which is identicle acoustically. Measurements are here: http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/VModaV80TrueBlood.pdf .
    I also wanted to say that I love these cans.  I think it was Steve Guttenberg at RMAF who said "these are Beats done right." I couldn't agree more. If you've got a freind that's looking at Beats or Ludacris cans, steer them over to V-Moda. 
    Great job, Val!
    b0000 likes this.
  13. roma101
    One of my first thoughts also was that this is what beats should have been. 
  14. DigitalFreak
    I did a comparison at an Apple store with a Solo vs my M-80 and it wasn't even close. The M-80 blew the Solo out of the water. I still can't figure out why people love Solo's so much.
  15. dweaver
    YUp, I have listened to a couple of different Beats models and the M80 sleyed them handily.
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