There've been few headphone introductions in recent memory as hotly anticipated as the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 ($310). V-Moda founder and CEO Val Kolton and his team worked for over a year on voicing the M-100, with considerable input along the way from the enthusiast community at Head-Fi.com (Kolton has called the M-100 the "first open-source headphone").
Well, it may have been crowdsourced, but the M-100 certainly doesn't smack of design by committee. Rather, the well-appointed M-100 (which follows squarely in the V-Moda design lineage) caters to its varied constituency with a variety of accessories. You can get a traditional mic/remote cable; a DJ cable that terminates in a 1/4-inch plug; even a gamer-friendly cable with an integrated boom mic. And it travels well — it actually folds smaller for travel than even the company's on-ear M-80). But it's not just compact and versatile — it's one of the best sounding portable headphones we've auditioned here at S+V.
Sensitive enough to drive with just about any portable device (though it also pairs well with headphone amps, such as V-Moda's own VAMP, of course), the M-100 offers a more audiophile-friendly sound signature and wider apparent soundstage than the M-80, and provides a clear alternative to the company's previous over-the-ear offering, the very bass-forward LP2. A smooth overall response with a bit of a midrange emphasis, a tighter, more controlled bass that previous V-Modas, and an extended treble make the M-100 a strong performer with pretty much any program material.
V-Moda have earned our respect for their skillful negotiation of the headphone boom — while many manufacturers have tried to fill every niche, V-Moda's offered relatively few models, but they've made them all count. The M-100 follows in that tradition, and if you're in search of a quality portable headphone, it's got to be on your short list.
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