Fans of V-Moda's popular Crossfade M-80 on-ear headphones ($230) may not immediately notice that the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 ($310) is actually larger than its over-the-ear cousin, or that its hinged headband allows it to collapse into a small bundle. The M-100 has an engaging, lively sound that lets you hear lots of detail, but never sounds harsh or too bright.
The bass, always a V-Moda strength, is punchy and deep so it's the sort of headphone that brings out the best in rock, or any bass-heavy music, but not at the cost of rendering classical or acoustic jazz less appealing to the ear. If you're a versatile audiophile or a DJ that needs a rugged headphone that doesn't compromise on fidelity, the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 is a worthwhile purchase.
Design and features
The V-Moda M-100 over-ear headphone is a close relative to the company's popular M-80 on-ear headphone, with a few notable differences. Its CliqFold metal hinges -- a feature the M-80 lacks -- allows the M-100s to fold into a small bundle, and that adds value for traveling audiophiles. The M-100's ear cups' metal shields are user-replaceable and can be customized with a laser engraving of your own logo or artwork by V-Moda. Despite the obvious size differences, the M-100s are relatively light, weighing in at just 280 grams.
All V-Moda headphones are exceedingly rugged and overbuilt, and the M-100 is no exception. Designed to survive 70-plus impacts from a height of six feet onto a concrete floor, the steel-reinforced headband can be flattened 10 times and still return to its original curve. The faux-leather-covered, memory foam ear cushions are all user-replaceable and provide a tight, noise-blocking seal.
Pressure on the wearer's head is moderate, so the M-100 stays put as you move about, but I felt the pressure was a little too high at first. Reverse bending the headband eased the pressure, and as I wore the headphones my concerns about comfort faded away. The lightly padded headband applied some pressure to my head, but I would still give the M-100 a moderately comfortable rating.
The headphone comes with two gray Kevlar-reinforced cables: a 36-inch wire for Apple, Android, and Windows with a compatible in-line one-button remote and microphone, and a 78-inch "plain" cable. Both cables terminate with a reinforced 3.5mm plug at each end, and both can connect to either the left or right ear cups.
The unused ear cup connector hole can be fitted with a tiny V-Cork plug to prevent dirt and debris from entering the ear cup -- it's a small accessory that illustrates V-Moda's admirable attention to detail.
The long cable also has a secondary 3.5mm input that V-Moda calls SharePlay, which lets a friend plug their own headphone to the V-Moda cable and listen at the same time. V-Moda also sells an optional "Boom Pro" mic for gamers or broadcasters, as well as an optional coiled cable with a locking connector for DJs.
Accessories include a 6.3mm, gold-plated adapter jack and a sturdy "exoskeleton" clamshell carry case. The cardboard box that the M-100s come in also has added value; its external paper wrapping with pictures and info about the product can be discarded, and the M-100's crème-white outer cardboard box can be reused as a carrying case.