What's Hot: Very durable and comfortable to wear, excellent noise isolation, great audio quality in playing most music genres, games and movies.
What's Not: Lacks some spatial separation.
Reviewed by Tong Zhang
V-moda makes some great quality headphones and headsets, the Crossfade M-80 is no exception. The Crossfade M-80 is designed to work with your smartphones, laptops and tablets to offer clear audio and strong bass. The M-80 model is also a combination of ultra durable materials and extreme comfort. It ensures long gaming playing sections don't end up with sore ears or stiff necks. For gaming, listening to bass heavy pop and rap music, the V-moda Crossfade M-80 is one the best headphones designed for mobile devices. Where it's lacking is in spatial separation that gives you the best sound in Classical music and some movies with audios mastered to accentuate spatial separation. The Crossfade M-80 comes in two color themes: Shadow with black headphones with dark red accents and cables, and White Pearl with white headphones and grey accents and cables. There is also a special edition that's labeled V-80 which is the Shadow model but with True Blood branding in partnership with the HBO's hit show series.
V-moda put a lot of energy into the design of the M-80 to make it both durable and comfortable. First of all, the headset uses high quality materials including a sturdy yet flexible metal frame wrapped with breathable soft padding that contours to different head sizes and shapes well - we had different people tried them on and all reported the headphones felt comfortable to wear. The v-angled headphone arms are also sturdy metal that won't break with use and add the strength for noise blocking. Behind the earmuffs the housing hides the 40mm Dual-Diaphragm drivers with soft memory foam pads and metal cover shields. The memory foam cover feels soft yet has some body to it, so that the padding doesn't get depressed with long period of use. The metal shielding has a small open sport, V-Port V3 Airflow System as V-moda calls it, that give some extra audio flow to create more 3D sound. V-moda also offers the cover shield in different colors and special engraving service that lets you design your own graphics for the shield.
The V-moda Crossfade M-80 comes with two audio cables, one with a music play/pause control and the other with volume controls in addition. Both cables have a built-in mic and both are 55" long. The tangle free audio cable has Kevlar reinforced layer so that your audio cable doesn't wear out before your headphones, though it matters little since the audio cable doesn't have built-in lines but connects to the headphones via a 3.5mm port in the left ear driver. You can just replace it if you lose it. The 24k gold plated 3.5mm audio plug has a 45-degree angle to connect with smartphones, tablets or notebooks which makes it easy to use and you won't press on the cable or connecting point when you push the 3.5mm plug in or pull it out of the your mobile device.
For the price you are paying, V-moda makes sure you feel pampered with the package. The Crossfade M-80 comes with a exoskeleton carry case that's molded to fit the content it stores, which includes the headphones, two audio cables and a carabiner to attach the carrying case to your backpack.
The V-moda Crossfade M-80 has military level quality (MIL-STD-810G) for those who use their smartphone, media players and laptops in the field. The M-80 is also smaller, about 53% smaller than V-moda's over-ear headphones that are designed to use in the office or at home. The smaller form also means it's lighter, weighing just a little over 7 ounces with the cable include. The steel construction is lightweight and the Kevlar reinforced cable passes 1 million flex cycles. Other rugged tests include surviving 70+ drops from 6 feet to concrete surface, 10+ times flatten the headband, as well as high and low temp, humidity, salt spray and UV exposure. So whether you are going to the field or the beach, the Crossfade M-80 can survive much better than those headphones designed to work indoors.
The sturdy form also means the M-80 has super effective noise isolation thanks to the design. The headphones have sound variance of less than 2dB without active noise cancelation. If you turn audio volume to comfortable listening levels, you won't hear ambient noise easily. It's very effective at blocking talking voice and airplane noise.
If you are looking for headphones to play games, most pop genre music and movies, the V-moda Crossfade M-80 offers super immersive audio experience. Sound quality is very good in Mids and Highs while the bass is noticeably stronger in all style of music and movie sound FX. The 40mm drivers deliver good power without losing a lot of clarity. Most genres of music have balanced sound with a bit more accentuated bass. For tracks in Rap, Pop, Electro and Dance genre, the M-80 excels at delivering powerful beats and thumping sounds. With vocal heavy Pop songs, the headphones give the vocals enough clarity with a good balance to other tracks of instruments. The presentation of these songs has a balanced quality overall. Gaming on your smartphone, tablet or notebook with the M-80 is a joy. The powerful drivers bring out every little detailed sound and powerful bass. The bass also comes in handy in playing movies that have loud explosions with rumbling booms and thumping gunshots.
The only thing that's lacking on the Crossfire M-80's audio delivery is superior spatial separation, and effect that truly sounds 3D and makes you feel like you are in the room where the music is playing. You will only notice this in Classical pieces and some movies where spatial separation is purposefully place to bring out the effects. We compared the M-80 with the Sony MDR-V300 ($70) when playing Classical music pieces, and found that the M-80 doesn't create the space or dimensionality that the Sony creates. While the instrument pieces seem to come from somewhere in the room on the Sony, they seem to come in directly into your ears on the V-moda, missing the space that gives you the illusion of a 3D environment. Again, this is more noticeable in Classical playback in music. You won't notice it a lot while playing movies, but in some sound effects that might require sound coming from a 3D distance, the M-80 might miss that delivery as well.
If you are looking for headphones that have good volume, balance sound, strong and vibrant bass, the V-moda Crossfade M-80 fits the bill. And if you plan on taking your headphones on the road, in the field and use it for long periods of time, the V-moda is very durable, rugged and entirely comfortable to wear. The headphones have incredible noise isolation and build quality is excellent. You can make phone calls with the included audio cables, and carry the entire package in a cool rugged protective case. Audio quality is great for gaming and playing most media content, the only issue we had with it is lacking spatial separation in Classical music playback. It's an excellent choice for mobile users if you can afford the price, but audiophile might want to look elsewhere.