What's Hot: Outstanding audio quality, sturdy construction, comfortable to wear.
What's Not: Expensive, but great headphones don't come cheap.
Reviewed February 5, 2014 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 is the follow up to the impressive Crossfade M-80 headphones with stronger construction, bigger ear chambers and a larger audio driver. The Crossfade M-100 offers immersive sound when playing music and movies, and clear audio when making phone calls. The M-100 comes in black and white, and works with all mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops.
The minute you see the Crossfade M-100's packaging you get a sense that this product was designed to impress not only through its sound but also through sights. The "Inspired in Italy, styled in Hollywood" statement seems bold, but as you cut the red ribbon (Hollywood flare) and open the sturdy snap that looks like a black tie (a touch of Italy), you realize that the packaging itself represents that statement literally. The Crossfade M-100 has a balanced blend of style and comfort. It's not flashy yet has a solid body and a quiet style. It's comfortable to wear with sturdy metal frame and adjustable length. The ear-cups are large enough for most ear sizes and the thick padding provides comfort and audio chambers for the ears.
When you think about shelling out $300 for a pair of headphones, one important factor is that they've got to last, and the V-MODA M-100 speaks quality in both material and build. The M-100 passes military standard test (MIL-STD-810G) with its STEELFLEX headband and steel frame, its aircraft-grade aluminum shields (faceplates), and its Kevlar-reinforced cable. The headphones can withstand 6 feet drops, high and low temperatures, humidity, salt spray and UV exposure. In addition, the M-100 comes in a form fitting exoskeleton case that's small and portable.
V-MODA seems to understand that headphones, especially the ones you might use with your personal electronics such as a smartphone or tablet, are also a part of your fashion statement. The Crossfade M-100 helps you express your view of fashion with a full line of accessories that include customizable metal faceplates with laser engravings, audio cords in different colors and more. The interchangeable metal plates, or Shields as V-MODA calls them, come in over a dozen colors and you can design your own graphics to be engraved onto the metal plates. Six screws secure the shields to the headphones.
As a companion of your mobile life, the Crossfade M-100 works with a full line of audio cables including the One-Button SpeakEasy Cable for making and accepting calls on your M-100 and the BoomPro Microphone that makes the outgoing voice on your calls clearer and louder. For the musicians who record and share music, V-MODA offers the CoilPro cable with a 1/4" adapter, and SharePlay Extended Audio cable for audio sharing.
What's In the Box
The Crossfade M-100 comes with the Exoskeleton carry case that has straps that allow you to store the included cables, a carabiner that you can use to clip the headphones to your backpack or travel case, the Kevlar reinforced SpeakEasy Microphone control cable, the Kevlar reinforced SharePlay audio cable, a 1/4" pro adapter and two V-CORK plugs that protect the M-100's audio ports when not in use.
Deals and Shopping:
While the strong construction of the M-100 warrants some of the big bucks you'll shell out for the V-MODA, the sound will carry that price with pride. The sound quality that the 50mm dual-diaphragm driver with unique built-in technology produces is better than many headphones in this price range. The music via the V-MODA M-100 comes alive and movies and videos sound vivid and clear. We tested the M-100 with several smartphones including the Sony Xperia Z1S, the iPhone 5s; tablets including the iPad Air, Samsung Galaxy tablets; and PC and Mac laptops and found the audio through the V-MODA very clear with full dynamic range and excellent channel separation.
Here are some of the characteristics we discovered while playing different genres of music:
Classical: Each of the instruments sounded clear and independent with excellent spatial separation. Each instrument had its own voice and rung fully in its dynamic and intonation. Mids and highs were sharp without being blown out or suffering any fatigue, and bass sounded full yet not muddied.
Instrumental: The V-MODA shined the most in reproducing instrumental tracks with the truest sound, such as acoustic guitar pieces, with clear and crisp audio, excellent spacial separation. The sound expressed the precise timber and intonation of the instrument and reflected the technique and playing styles of the artists.
Rock and Rap: The loud and thumping tracks in these music tracks had their intended effects through the M-100. Even when the volume turned to very high, the sound didn't blow out or distort. The bass sounded powerful yet not muddy. Vocals sounded very clear and crisp and even singers' inflection came through clearer and more distinct thanks to the true production of full audio.
Movies and videos: High quality music and sound effects came through clearly with full dynamic range. Voices sounded full and sound effects had excellent spacial separation.
The V-MODA M-100 has excellent sound isolation that prevents audio bleeding and it achieves noise isolation without active digital processing. The unique V-Port V3 Airflow System performs nicely at keeping noise out and keeping the audio in. The M-100 has frequency response of 5 to 30kHz and sensitivity of 103 dB at 1kHz 1mW. The super effective noise isolation makes the M-100 a great choice for those who travel often on the plane and layover at noisy airports. Once you put on the Crossfade M-100, it feels like you've entered a vacuum and a sanctuary from the background noise.
If you're in the market for a pair of high-end headphones that work with your smartphone, tablet and laptop and provide superior sound and excellent noise isolation, the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 is very hard to beat. The sound is highly fine-tuned, the construction strong and lasting and the size portable. The headphones are comfortable to wear during long plane rides and can block noise very effectively without adding digital processing static. The accessories available for the M-100 cover both fashion (interchangeable and engraved shields) and function (various cables), and the M-100 comes with a good number of accessories including a very protective and easy-to-carry case.