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Review: V-Moda’s modular Crossfade M-100 headphones

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The consumer headphone market has exploded of late. There’s a much higher consumer awareness for audiophile grade solutions. V-Moda has played in this space since 2004, offering up high quality audio in a stylish package. The M-100’s also add the trick of being modular.

The Crossfades are well accessorized. In the box you’ll find the over-the-ear cans, two different kinds of cables, and a Batman-like carry case (Michael Keaton era Batman). The ear cups are closed back, with metal plating, and in traditional V-Moda fashion, there are lots of angular shapes influencing the design. The fit and finish are subtle and premium. They’re the kinds of headphones a futuristic knight in armor would wear. While the look is edgy, it’s also sophisticated. V-Moda quickly got out of the habit of flashy, attention grabbing looks, which is appreciated given some of the competition in this space.

Sound quality maintains this aesthetic. The M-100’s add a pleasant color to most music styles without feeling overly hyped. There’s a touch of that “Smiley Face” EQ at play, where bass and highs are augmented, but the Crossfades avoid over-hyping the sound. Listening to dance, hip hop, and hard rock, there’s some punch, but thankfully not so much bass that it overpowers the mids. Highs are crisp and detailed without getting overly sparkly or harsh. The M-100’s are at their weakest listening to Jazz and Classical, as those sonic characteristics slightly blur the relationships between various acoustic instruments, but even at their weakest they’re still very good.

The over-the-ear and closed back design provides noticeable noise reduction, and the fit is snug without being uncomfortable. It’ll be a comfortable listening experience for extended music or movie sessions.
The Crossfades can be cabled on either ear, and V-Moda provides a plug to protect the jack not in use. The M-100’s come with a headset cable allowing you to answer calls, and an innovative “Share” cable which has a built in Y-adapter. It’s pretty handy. While traveling and watching a movie on a tablet, I was able to easy share the audio with my wife without having to pack a separate adapter.

This modular cable design means you can tailor the Crossfades to specific usage scenarios. V-Moda sells additional cables to plug in. The CoilPro provides a studio-grade heavy-gauge coiled cable with locking points and springs on the cable boots to insure connections and cable longevity. The M-100’s + CoilPro cable seem at home in the recording studio.

If you’re into online gaming, V-Moda also offers up their BoomPro attachment which has a goose necked mic for online chat. It’s a very high quality mic (see attached video for a sample), and the neck is graceful and easy to adjust for proper placement. Both CoilPro and BoomPro are sold separately for $29.99 each. Being able to replace the cable also means these phones should last a bit longer. Often the cable is one of the first parts to wear out, and replacing it on the M-100’s isn’t prohibitively expensive.

The M-100’s have a street price of $299, which will price them out of some consumer’s grasp. However, if you’re looking to invest in a long term relationship with your headphones, the Crossfades offer up a premium build, excellent sound quality, and are a flexible solution for a number of different applications. They’re certainly worth your consideration.

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