TestDrive: V-Moda Crossfade M-80 / V-80 Headphone Review
V-Moda has really stepped up their game with the new Crossfade M-80 mini headphones, a successor to their Crossfade LPs. The V-80 are exactly the same as the M-80, but rebranded with HBO’s True Blood flavor. As an update to their Crossfade LP’s, these cans are designed for consumers who are looking for a classy over the ear headphone model, but don’t require the size and, certainly the extra weight, of DJ style cans. The M-80 is not only one of the best looking headphones on the market, but also extremely well built and suffered absolutely no problems in our long-term test, which was conducted with five of our staffers (their comments are in quotes below).
The True Blood branded V-80 model features subtle nods to the hit HBO series
The M-80/V-80 is extremely well constructed with a “tasteful combination of metal, plastic, microfiber and fabric.” Considering that these headphones have been put through the paces by five heavy-use reviewers, there was little by way of wear and tear, which was not only surprising, but impressive. The black metal side plates can be customized with your own logo via V-Moda’s savvy customization program ( http://v-moda.com/on-ear-shields/ ). The headband is the perfect blend of comfort and security with microfiber along the top of the band and soft fabric on the inside. The leatherette pads are “soft and pliable, but firm enough to maintain their position over your ears.”
The elegant V-Moda M-80 has an understated aesthetic
For our test, we received the V-80 True Blood branded model. Although I’m a fan of the show, I was a little hesitant about rocking a pair of overly ostentatious “I Love Sookie!” headphones on my travels. Rest assured, V-Moda got it right. This is not “neon-grade Skullcandy ugliness,” but a subtle nod to the show with a small True Blood logo on either side and a blood red and black design scheme. The “restrained look” also translated to the other accessories including the black and red fabric cord and a small vial of blood as the zipper pull on the exoskeleton hardcase.
All our evaluators praised the sound quality of the V-80’s that “provided rich bass” and a “full dynamic range.” Tuned more on the “soft side of the sonic equation” the headphone were “never fatiguing” and “didn’t possess over bright midrange” or “biting highs.” The 40mm dual-diaphragm drivers certainly provided enough oomph for the bass to come on strong, but they were “held back just enough in order to not overpower the mid and high frequencies.” Most bass-oriented music on the V-80’s sounded “excellent” from eardrum shattering Dubstep to roots reggae. Classical music suffered the most from the 80’s bass-tuned sound, especially in the “lower midrange,” but the “staging held up surprisingly well.” If you like to listen to spoken word recordings, audio books, or are looking for headphones to watch TV, the V-80s are a “superb choice.” Male voices “particularly shine” and television and movie sound playback made the headphones the “first choice” of one reviewer on plane flights.
» Supraaural (on-ear) Headphones
» 40mm Dual-Diaphragm drivers
» V-PORT V3 Soundstage
» BLISS Noise Isolation
» Ergonomic Utilitarianism
» Lightweight, steel construction
» Ergonomic Steelflex Headband
» Exoskeleton hard case
» Military-Level quality (MIL-STD-810G)
» Kevlar reinforced cables (3-Button, 1-Button) passes 1 Million flex cycles
» Impedance: 28.5 Ohms
» Claimed Frequency Response: 5 – 30,000 Hz
» Sound Pressure Level: 105 dB
» 24k gold-plated 3.5 mm (1/8″ MiniJack) stereo plugs
» Weight: 200g (headphone only)
However, the highest rated attribute of the V-80’s was comfort. Every single evaluator cited the “supreme comfort” of the headphones. “I can wear the V-80’s all day without ever taking them off,” revealed one review, while another paid tribute to “the quintessential amount of headband pressure.” The “perfectly padded” earpieces also received overwhelming praise. One facet that I noted when comparing the V-80’s to comparably-sized offerings from other manufacturers was the actual size of the earcups. The distinctive oval shape allows the cans to “sit quietly” on your ears without irritating the pressure points or flattening the ear canal. Whatever research V-Moda conducted in this area “paid off bigtime,” the V-80’s are simply one of the most comfortable headphones currently on the market today.
The V-Moda’s unique exoskeleton hard case got mixed reviews. Some loved the case and the “solid protection” it offered, while others thought it was way too bulky and would have preferred “a folding headphone design with a softbag.” I personally liked the case and thought it furnished more than adequate protection, but only for packing the V-80’s in my luggage. In a backpack or smaller satchel, it would be too substantial.
The V-80’s come with two detachable kevlar-braided cords, one is a straight mini-jack to mini-jack connection, while the other contains a microphone with volume and mute controls for an iPhone. The microphone received poor marks across the board from all reviewers with one suggesting that “V-Moda should go back to formula” when designing future models. In my tests, I found the problem lies in the highly directional pattern of the mic. It words fine if you want to be “that guy” who has to hold the mic to their mouth when carrying on a conversation, but if “you want to avoid the douche-bag look, stick with the regular cord.” The cord did hold up well after hours of use, looks great, and disconnects from the bottom of one of the earcups for quick dismounts.
Accessories Included: The V-Moda M-80 / V-80 comes everything you see here
Aside from the iPhone microphone, which is just an added-value bonus anyway, the M-80/V-80 headphones won over the hearts of all our reviewers including myself. V-Moda really hit their stride with this model aesthetically, sonically and comfort wise and we have no reservations about giving the V-80/M-80 our highest honor, the Power Award. Fans of True Blood will love the clever and tasteful nods to the show, while anyone else can opt for the M-80 model and customize the interchangeable brushed metal shields with a gorgeous etching of their own design for just $45. Streeting now at $169.99 the V-Moda’s are Highly Recommended.
There’s not much we would change about the V-80/M-80 aside from revamping the iPhone mic cord. We’d like to see if V-Moda could incorporate a folding design into the next version, but only if it doesn’t interfere with the products brilliant comfort.
» FutureMusic Rating: 100%
+ Sound Quality
– iPhone Mic
“I just bought a pair of these for myself. ‘Nuff said.” —Angelina Lynn
“The iPhone mic cord was crap, but that was the only flaw I could unearth during my time with the V-80’s.” —Sondra Harris
“Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!” —Garth Fields
“The best prosumer headphones I’ve listened to all year. It will definitely be making our Annual Buyers Guide.” —Greg Geller
“Even Eric Northman would have no problem wearing the True Blood model…” —Dan Brotman
The V-Moda M-80 and V-80 both retail for $230 and are available now.