V-MODA began in 2004. It was founded by Val Kolton, who has a background as a DJ, music producer and audiophile. The company originally focused on offering stylish earphones of exotic quality, materials and appearance, but has evolved into a manufacturer of higher-quality earphones and headphones. The Crossfade M-100 is the company's flagship over-ear headphone, offering passive noise isolation, audiophile-quality design, and excellent attention to detail, with a unique folding design that allows the product to fit into a compact case. The headphones come in three base colors: Matte Black, Shadow, and White Silver. There are 15 side "shield" colors and 15 designs to choose from for the shields. You can also use your own personalized text for the shields, or you can have your own logo or artwork imprinted on the shields, all of which can be ordered directly through the company's website. The headphones are customized in Hollywood and can be shipped within three to four days. The M-100's retail price is $310, which includes one Kevlar-reinforced SpeakEasy mic cable, one SharePlay cable, one 6.3mm (1/4) adapter, and a storage case.
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The M-100 uses a very strong "Steelflex" headband, steel frame, and interchangeable aircraft-grade metal shields. The included case, which V-Moda calls Exoskeleton, is very compact and precisely surrounds the headphones. The headphones can be folded very compactly so that they can travel conveniently. In addition, the M-100 is tested beyond "military quality" specifications in the areas of plug bends, concrete drops, headband bend tests, high and low temperatures, humidity, salt spray, and UV exposure.
Overall, the M-100's sound quality is pleasing, with perhaps slightly forward and overemphasized mid- and low-bass frequencies. Clarity, spaciousness, depth, and soundstage are very good. Female vocals are nicely reproduced, with a slightly forward sound. When pushed, the headphones play nicely, with little signs of stress. Sounds in the upper frequency range, such as cymbals, did not smear and sounded live. The M-100 did a wonderful job of reproducing Natalie Merchant's voice on the 10,000 Maniacs' MTV Unplugged album (Elektra). Soundstaging and clarity were pleasing. Holly Cole's It Happened One Night sounded natural, with a smooth and detailed reproduction of her voice. The M-100's sound isolation is similar to other products in the passive category that lack batteries or active noise cancellation, providing a more purist approach. As a result, sound isolation is limited.
The ear pad and cups are comfortable and fit tightly, but not overly so, giving you the confidence that you can be active while wearing these headphones. However, the faux leather could get a bit uncomfortable over time. I say that cautiously, as I am not suggesting that real leather would be a wise choice, either. The overall size of the headphones is compact, so you could wear these while working out or running without having them look out of place.
The SpeakEasy mic cable worked well. The microphone worked well with my iPhone, and I was able to easily answer and end calls with the microphone button.
Read about the high points and low points of the V-MODA M-100 headphones on Page 2.