V-Moda likes to say their new Crossfade M-100s ($310) are the first pair of “crowdsourced” headphones on the market today. Put simply, that means they culled product feedback from forums and social media, and solicited input from audiophiles, journalists, and enthusiasts to create them.
I applaud the endeavor—working with so much public input definitely had the potential to backfire on them; have you seen the Homer car? But V-Moda, somehow, someway, was able to weave the wisps and whispers of public and professional feedback into a a set of headphones so good, they just earned the highest review score I’ve ever given.
Blacker than the Batwing and with the same armored-metal look, the V-Moda M-100s are nefariously good-looking and remind of what the Dark Knight himself would wear while crusading through the streets of Gotham. My review model came in a matte black finish, and also came with two detachable kevlar-wrapped cables, one black, one orange, which added adeptly to the M-100’s understated but handsome style.
The M-100s could withstand the daily punishment of even the most angst-filled teen
But these metallurgic scoundrels weren’t built to just look pretty. V-Moda used metal in the exterior, hinges, and construction of the M-100s so that they could withstand the daily punishment of even the most angst-filled teen. In fact, according V-Moda, the M-100s are built to withstand 70+ 6-foot drops and the abuse of over a million cable bends. I tend to believe those claims; the M-100s’ build quality feel military-grade, and I’m pretty sure they contain more metal than a new-model car.
Of course, none of the above would would matter if the sound quality of these crime-fighting BatPhones didn’t did deliver acoustics as pretty as their armored exterior.
With many headphone sets delivering sonic mush, I love it when the sound of a pair of headphones surprise me, and the M-100s definitely did that. When I first put them on, I hardly took them off for a straight 48 hours, wearing them most everywhere, most likely looking like the worst kind of acoustic snob. I didn’t care, I honestly felt compelled to keep them on because my music sounded so good through them.
When I first put them on, I hardly took them off for a straight 48 hours, wearing them most everywhere
Too many phones I’ve used pump out either too much bass or too little; I think the M-100s strike an astute balance, using bass as a strong support of the music, but not overpowering it. The bass, mids, and highs were also quite clean. I didn’t notice a lot of muddy notes floundering about, especially in the lower registers, and that made me happy. All in all, for the $300 the M-100s will cost you, you’d be hard-press to finder a better-sounding pair.
On to some other neato features; V-Moda calls the hinges on the M-100s ClickFold, and say this patent pending design is what allows the headphones to be folded up into such a small form-factor. Regardless of the marketese, they work brilliantly and function with a super satisfying “click” each time they’re opened or closed.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, not one but two detachable cables are included with the M-100s. What I didn’t tell you though, is that with dual inputs, the M-100s can actually use both cables at the same time. This lets you mix two different sources of audio into the headphones (though I’m not sure why you’d want to do that), or instead let you to daisy-chain the M-100s together with other headphones, you know, in case a friend wants to jack in to your tunes.
Memory foam ear cushions provide the padding in the M-100s. They do a good job isolating outside noise when the music is up, but noise-canceling they are not. They are comfortable, though, for longer sessions of 2-3 hours, my ears did get a bit sore. But comfort is relative—your mileage may vary depending on your ear size.
Why oh why does a company make headphones for mobile devices without volume controls
Why oh why does a company make headphones for mobile devices without volume controls on-wire, I do not know. V-Moda hath committed this sin, including a one-button control in-line on the M-100s that can be used to pause, start, or skip songs, but volume controls are relegated to the music device itself. But V-Moda isn’t the first to commit this grievous err, nor, I’m sure, will they be the last.
For their most excellent sound signature, beautiful and cool aesthetic, and obsessive attention to even the most mundane details, the V-Moda Crossfade M-100s have earned the highest honor I can bestow upon them here at Cult of Mac: the seldom issued five-star review. This is actually the first time I’ve given all five stars to one product, but the M-100s are worthy; among their peers in the $300 price range, I have seen no equal.