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V-moda M-80 Review: Can Lifestyles sound good?

  1. Extra
    V-moda Crossfade M-80 review.
    Note: I really am not much of an audiophile. My headphones before this were MDR XB500’s and the only reasons I chose these over the Senn HD-25-1-ii was the looks, and that I liked the M-80’s sound a bit better. I also have about 50 hours on this, and I think they have reached their expected performance. If anything changes, I’ll post it here.
    Also, really sorry for the lack of pictures. I'm having an upload problem, and my webcam is bad, too.
    This is the first part that really pulls you in. These are packaged very nicely. There are plenty of pictures on this, though, so I wont go into detail. The snake skin-like handle is held in by two metal studs, and looks great. After popping open the box, you’re greeted by a piece of cardboard that says “V-moda” with some foam on the bottom.
    Taking this out reveals three things, the case where the headphones reside, and some literature for V-moda and user guide/warranty information. After taking out the strikingly awesome case and unzipping it, you’ll notice the headphones, two cables, a 1/8 -1/4 adapter, and a carabiner. The two pieces holding the accessories are Velcro attached, and can be removed.
    The headphones: Like the package, these are very, very great looking. The stock black metal plates are very sleek, though I do plan on purchasing custom plates soon. The on-ear pads are hexagonal in shape and are quite uncomfortable for the first few hours. After using them and stretching the headband a bit, they are much more comfortable now. The housings and their contents are held in place by two metal “arms”, which are attached to the headband. The bottom of the headband is made out of a mesh-type material and is hard at first, but softens up after a while. The top has red stitching and V-moda in red lettering is visible.
    The wires also come out of the housings, into the space between the headband and housings, and into the headband on each side. The cable is very tough, however, and I don’t have a problem with it.
    Durability: These look and feel incredibly tough. The metal arms and plates inspire confidence, and the detachable cables and ear pads only increase the lifespan of the M-80’s.
    As I said earlier, the cables are detachable and are Kevlar-reinforced. This means that unless you’re really trying to ruin the cable, you’re going to be fine. One cable has a mic and remote, and the other just has a mic. Any 3.5mm-3.5mm cord will do, and it is plugged in underneath the left driver housing.
    Who cares about whatever I said above this if they sound terrible, right? Well I can certainly say V-moda got something right in the entire lifestyle headphone company. Seriously, this is the first fashion headphone I’ve tried where the sound matches the price.
    The sound: Everything is played on an iPod touch with songs ripped in 320 Kbits/sec in MP3 format. I guess I am the lowest common denominator here :p (Though, I guess this is how V-moda thought how the headphones would be used, as I remember Val Kolton of V-moda saying that the M-80’s were made for devices like the iPod, and that an amp  just “amplifies” their sound).
    Overall, I noticed that the bass was tight and hit hard. It didn’t feel too loose, and I didn’t have any problems with it interfering with the mids and highs. The mids, however, felt a bit recessed, though it’s not much of an issue, I just wish they were more present. The highs were really nice, and when the cymbals, (especially the high-hats) wanted to show, they did.
    Songs used for testing:
    Fast Lane-Bad Meets Evil: Slightly reccesed mids and tight, hard hitting bass are noticeable hear, though I feel as though Em’s voice sounded a bit “boring”, something I hadn’t noticed on different headphones. Royce sounded fine, though.
    Deliver Us – In Flames: Friden’s growled vocals sound spectacular on this track, and I think the M-80’s handle growled/screamed vocals much better than clean vocals. Odd. Guitars also blended in very nicely, and I liked how they complemented Friden’s growled voice. Bass was also controlled, but hit hard.
    Into the Nothing – Breaking Benjamin: Szeliga’s drum work excels here, and Ben’s voice didn’t sound as far back as in the other songs I listened to. Too bad it’ll be a while before any new material comes out.
    Everlong – Foo Fighters – Another song that shows how great drums sound on these, and Grohl’s voice sounded nice, if not as pronounced as I would like. Maybe using an EQ to fix this may help.
    Papercut – Linkin Park: This song actually made me feel a bit confused. Excellent guitars and drum work, but it took a awhile for me to appreciate Chester’s voice work with these headphones. His voice sounded like Eminem in Fast Lane, a bit boring. I think burn-in helped with this, though.
    Conclusion: Are they worth 200$? In my opinion, yes. They sound like 200$, feel and look sturdy, and look fantastic. V-moda finally made a lifestyle headphone that sounds like its price should indicate.
    And that's my non-audiophile review of the M-80's.
  2. Audio WannaBe
      Hey great review! Your review all the more assures me that my leap of faith to order the M-80's was the right choice. By the way, do they really significantly improve in sound quality after burning in?
  3. Extra
    Thanks! The sound certainly changes for the better after a while, though the softening of the pads after a couple hours also helps. Also make sure you've got the right fit with the headphones, as that affect Sound quality too.
  4. Audio WannaBe
      So does the M-80 have a "sweetspot" like the Beyerdynamics DT1350 where you have to get the headphones to a precise position before you get aur-gasmic sound?
  5. Extra
    In my experience, it's actually pretty flexible. Comfort is actually the main quality that is affected when shifting the pads to a different position.
  6. dbdynsty25

    They are definitely not that finicky when it comes to position so I wouldn't worry about that at all.

    I also do not feel the sound changes all that much. They may loosen up a bit with the fit and the conforming of the ear pads to the users ears which in my opinion is the biggest factor in the reproduction of the sound. It really does take a few hours to break them in in terms of the fit of the headband and the memory foam ear pads.
  7. Extra


    I really do think the pads caused them to sound better to me after a couple hours. I never did have a problem with the headband or comfort in general though. Guess I was lucky :p
  8. Audio WannaBe
    So how would you guys rank the isolation? By the way, I know I have asked this on another thread before but the headbands are made of a mesh-like material that looks like those they use on some bag straps, so after using the M-80 for awhile, when your sweat goes onto the headband would the headband smell funky?
  9. Extra
    The isolation is good, especially for lower frequency sounds, and oddly, crickets. I can't hear a single chirp with these on, even without music.
    Like I said, they are great if you're on a bus, and I find that I really can't have a conversation with these on my head if someone else is speaking normally.
    Oh, and I've used these on my 15 minute walk to and from the local store in the sun, and they still kind of have that "new" smell, even after a week.
  10. dbdynsty25
    Any cloth product will smell eventually. It's just fact. Clean your head and rinse the band occasionally if it bothers you that much.
  11. Audio WannaBe
    Wait, do you literally mean it or like rinse as in take a wet cloth, wet it and wipe the headband. I've tried FeBreze bag strap before and it made it smell worse when the strap absorbed sweat.
  12. dbdynsty25

    Of course. But this is a dumb discussion. It's common sense isn't it? If something smells you wash it. Carefully obviously.
  13. Pwn3r4Life
    What about ear fatigue?
    Sound signature?
    How's the clicky cable? (You know what I mean I forgot what its called?
    How's the mic sound?
    Comfort when wearing on neck? Do they have fold flat ear cups?
    Is that black hardwood on the cups? Look alike? Black metal?
    Sorry about so many questions I just am really curious because I have only heard crap about this brand and I'm researching on-ears in this price range.
  14. smfoo2
    Does any of yours bass sound little bit distorted at first. I let them burn in for 4 hours and then listened to it. Found bass little bit distorted on certain tracks like all of the lights-kanye west.
  15. Audio WannaBe
    Correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't the bass in "all of the lights" supposed to be distorted?
    @Pwn3r4Life - Check this M80 review thread started by jude: http://www.head-fi.org/t/578207/v-moda-crossfade-m-80-reviews
    Hope this helps to clear your doubts after you read them.

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