V-Moda Crossfade M-100 review: STFU and take my money!
What kind of headset can $300 buy you? A f**king awesome one, apparently. I had little familiarity with V-Moda and their headsets before the Crossfade M-100, but my god, what a great introduction. The V-Moda Crossfade M-100 brings all the boys to the yard for one simple reason – it does everything, and it does it well. It might not have some of the features of headset offerings from Turtle Beach and Astro, but with a headset this good, it doesn't need those features.
Since we're a gaming site, I'll write this from a gamer's perspective – obviously; that said, everyone watches movies and listens to music on an array of devices.
You only get to make a first impression once
First impressions are everything, that's one thing I've actually listened to my parents about. People jump to conclusions based on your appearance the first time they meet you. Just from the boxing, you'll start to feel things for the Crossfade M-100 that you'll ask an adult to explain to you. That nice leather handle and leather studs gives it an edgy look to it – but this is just a box we're talking about! Well, the feeling continues once you get inside the box.
The headset comes in a case that continues that style. It's a really nice case – soft touch, feels like it would be fine from a 20-foot drop... I didn't test that though. It's not a solid, hard case; it's got some give to it, but your headset will be safe in it. The headset is tucked nicely inside, with all cable accompanying it secured inside straps.
Features, design and comfort, OH MY!
As I said, the M-100 comes folded up inside the case; that's because they can fold. Remember, this headset is to be used with an array of products and situations: on-the-go, at your PC, sitting on the couch with the iPad – you name it. The headset looks industrial but sleek, with its black metal, diamond-shaped ear cups and metal headband that's covered in black leather. Extending down from the metal arms are each ear cup, which swivels. For travel, the ear cup's hinges collapse, folding inward.
M-100 feel really solid, but it's also light and comfortable. Honestly, I could wear this thing for hours on end without feeling an ounce of discomfort. Some of that is due to how light the headset is, but a lot of it has to do with how comfy the ear cups are. They're quite snug, which might take you some time to get used to, but it's still one of the most comfortable headsets I've ever worn. The interior of the ear cups use leather memory foam pads to encircle the ear, which blocks out a ton of noise. Sitting in the office, I have to take the headphones off to hear more than a muffle from anyone speaking to me.
There's some sturdy plastic on the outside of the ear cup, with a metal hexagonal plate in the center. Those can be swapped out to different colors and designs on the V-Moda website. You can even put your own designs or text on them. If customization is your thing, you can even choose different cable colors.
Movies, music, games – we got that audio quality!
Comfort and design are one thing, but how it performs is most important. What good is a headset if it doesn't have enough bass or can't handle the highs? The Crossfade M-100 is just flat out amazing – even when it came to gaming.
Now, the music I listen to runs the gamut. But when I get a headset, there's certain bands I listen to, you know, to see how it handles what I throw at it. I chose from a few different genres, from songs old and new. Among them were “Tom Sawyer” by Rush; a few tracks from John Mayer's new album, Wildfire; some Kid Cudi and Kanye; and finally, “Take the Power Back” by Rage Against the Machine. For good measure, I also threw in some Aphex Twin “Avril 14th” and Ben Folds Five “Philosophy.”
An interesting mix, I know, but it's a good mix of sounds, genres and instruments. The M-100 performed wonderfully. The bass from synth and drums were punchy when they needed to be, and provided a depth I wasn't expecting. At times, the bass could become overbearing, but overall, I wasn't expecting it to sound as good as it did. The upper register is crisp, but the whole range of sound was equally noted. They're one of the crispest, cleanest sounding headphones I've listened to music with. I didn't miss anything from extremely layered songs. Even when I switched over to a simple acoustic song, everything felt warm and lush. Nothing was lost in translation.
Movies were evenly presented. Action movies in particular are what I tested, and I felt like I was in my own private movie theater. As a gaming site, though, I spent most of my time playing games with it. While they wouldn't be my first choice for a game like Battlefield 3, they delivered an audio experience that made the game feel more cinematic. I heard everything I needed to, but you don't really locate the direction of sound like you can with other headsets. But then for games like Beatbuddy and League of Legends were perfect for the M-100.
Now, I mostly used the headset with my PC, but also tested it with my 3DS and Samsung Galaxy SIII. There was no loss in sound quality through any of the changes, in case you were wondering. I also used the BoomPro mic – which retails for $30 – that was included in my review package. It's a simple detachable, flexible boom mic that provided good clarity when chatting with friends on Skype. Now, you're not getting features from other headsets, like flipping the mic up to mute it, but it's a clear voice option on a great headset. If you're not using the boom mic cable, you'll be connecting the headset via a shareplay 3.5mm cable, which has a built in daisy chain so you can connect another headset. You can also have two inputs at once, as each ear piece has a spot for an input.
All of that said, I don't really see how you could use it with an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, so console gamers will have to look elsewhere.
If you don't get it by now...
I really love the V-Moda Crossfade M-100. What's not to love? It's sounds great, folds up, is built sturdy and is practical. It's got a hefty price tag, so if you're not an audiophile or a lover of music sounding great, you might not want to drop the cash on it. Also, if you're strictly using it for gaming, there are some options out there. But for all-around use, portability, and for lovers of music, the Crossfade M-100 has blown me away.