To measured the M-100’s performance, I used a G.R.A.S.43AG ear/cheek simulator, a Clio FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and a Musical Fidelity V-Can headphone amplifier. I experimented with the position of the M-100’s earpads by moving them around slightly on the ear/cheek simulator to get the best seal and the most representative response curves.
The M-100’s frequency response measurement suggests a fairly even tonal balance, with a little extra midrange emphasis in the mids around 900 Hz, the usual bump in response in the 3 kHz region, and a gradually declining treble response. Adding 70 ohms output impedance to the V-Can’s 5-ohm output impedance to simulate the effects of using a typical low-quality headphone amp has no significant effect on frequency response.
V-Moda fans might be interested to see how the M-100 compares with the physically similar Crossfade LP2, so I measured the right channel of each headphone and put both of the measurements on one chart. You’ll note an obvious difference in bass response, but this is probably due to the LP2 not getting as good a seal on the ear/cheek simulator. (I tried moving the earpiece around into many different positions, but this is the best bass response I was able to get out of it.) In this comparison, the significant differences appear to be at higher frequencies. Compared with the M-100, the LP2 seems to have a slightly stronger midrange emphasis and a stronger, narrower lower-treble peak in the 3 kHz region, yet typically -4 dB less output between 4 and 7 kHz. This indicates that the M-100 listeners would likely notice a smoother yet more extended treble response.
Total harmonic distortion (THD) at 100 dBA is very low at frequencies above 100 Hz. Below that, it’s generally around 2%, rising to a max of 3%. Impedance averages about 34 ohms. Isolation is somewhat below average for an over-ear headphone, with reduction of -7 to -20 dB above 1 kHz.
I didn’t have the rated impedance to calculate the level for the sensitivity measurement, but given that the Crossfade LP2 is rated at 32 ohms and the M-100 measures very close to that, I took an educated guess that the M-100’s rating would be 32, too. Average sensitivity with a 1 mW signal at 32 ohms impedance is 102.7 dB from 300 Hz to 10 kHz, 104.6 dB from 300 Hz to 6 kHz. — Brent Butterworth
If you've been a fan of V-Moda's previous headphones, you'll likely find the M-100s a nice synthesis of everything that's come before, with additional refinements. Add to the package the enhanced portability and nifty accessories, and the new headphone seems like a real winner.
The M-100 sounds so good — and is so easy to carry around — that I could imagine it covering most headphone needs for most people, even serious personal audio aficionados, aside from those folks who need more overwhelming bass (and who — if they want V-Modas — might be better served by an M-80 or LP2). The forthcoming cables for DJ use and gaming will only extend the new V-Moda's flexibility..
Sure, it's a $300 headphone, but that's not out of line for a quality product that covers as much ground as this one does. If you're in the market for a portable headphone — or even something for home listening — this holiday season, you definitely need to check the Crossfade M-100 out.
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