Testing and Sound Quality
This is my subjective analysis of the sound signature of the V-MODA Crossfade M-100. I have two sources of my audio; first is my desktop PC with a Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 WIFI-BK motherboard, featuring a Sound Core 3D and OP-AMP: TI Burr Brown OPA2134. But I’m using an external DAC/AMP instead, the iFi Nano iDSD. I have also tested the M-100 with a portable DAP, the Hidizs AP100 paired with an iFi Micro iDSD or with the Alo Audio The International+ Optical Edition. Most of the audio I listened with are in FLAC format (lossless). For comparison purposes, I used the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, Bowers&Wilkins P7, V-MODA XS and Grado SR225e. Yeah, I know the Grado SR225e’s sound signature is nowhere near the M-100, but just to give you an idea.
Like most of the headphones on the market, out of the box the Crossfade M-100’s headband’s force is a little bit strong and you may feel the clamping force specially on around your ears. What I usually do is put a box in between the ears cups or clamp it on my PC’s tower case (which is just a little bit wider than my head). I let it rest there for a few hours or up to 24 hours, depending on how strong the clamping force is. After that, the strong clamping force should have lessened already, making it more comfortable to wear specially for prolonged period of listening.
I have been using the M-100 a couple of months before taking down notes regarding its audio quality or sound signature. So how does the M-100 sound like? As you can see from the title of this review “Built for Bass Lovers”, the M-100 has a warm sound signature, very warm if I may add. The bass is fuller, thicker and is pretty dominant or should I say the stronger characteristic of its sound signature. If you like EDMs or similar genre you will definitely enjoy the richness of its bass.
There is definitely a significant amount of bass going around in the M-100. But the bass is not very tight and sometimes becomes uncontrolled depending on the music you listen with. The bass doesn’t really over power the mids and highs, but I think it’s also a little bit loose and sometimes becomes a little bit boomy for my taste.
I think the mid range on the M-100 is a little bit laid back or toned down. The vocals are not dominant and you may not enjoy the sound of a female’s voice specially if the artist’s voice is the focus of the music. The upper frequencies of the highs are also rolled off. This means that you won’t hear any harsh piercing sound and there is definitely no amount of sibilance present on the M-100. But because the highs are rolled off, it lacks sparkle and you may lose some detail that are present in the higher frequencies.
Compared to the ATH-M50x, the Crossfade M-100 has more amount of bass. I can still remember that I read a comment from a customer complaining that he was disappointed with the ATH-M50x because he feels that bass section is lacking and is not as warm as he thought (based on the reviews he read). That person should have gotten the M-100 instead. However, the bass in the M-100 is not as tight and controlled compared to the ATH-M50x. I also feel that the B&W P7 has a cleaner bass and better slam compared to the M-100.
When it comes to the mid range, I thought that the M-100 had a similar sound with the V-MODA XS. But the mid range in the XS is a bit forward compared to the M-100 which is a little bit toned down. The XS also has more details when it comes to the higher frequencies.
When it comes to treble or the highs, the ATH-M50x has a better treble extension compared to the M-100. You get more detail and clarity with the ATH-M50x, but like I said earlier it has lesser amount of bass compared to the M-100. When it comes to clarity and detail and neutrality of the sound, the Grado SR225e is the clear winner. It has better sound staging compared to the rest of the headphones I compared in this review, and it has definitely the sparkle. But the SR225e is not a bassy headphone and it’s definitely not for DJ-ing and the likes. You will also need a specific DAC with Headphone amplifier than can bring out the bass in the SR225e, or at least make it more present.
Price and Availability
The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 has been in the market for quite some time now and are still very much available today. The M-100 has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $310 USD, but there are some retailers selling it for a lesser price. At the time I posted this review, in US you can get the M-100 for only $299 USD from B&H Photo Video here. In Canada, you can get it for CDN$ 329.99 here, and in UK you can get it for £250.00 here.
The M-100 is available in three different variants; Shadow, Matte Black Metal and White Silver. You also get a limited 2-year warranty for the M-100.
V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Review: Conclusion
The V-MODA M-100 has been in the market for more than a couple of years (if I am not mistaken). But it has still stood its ground is still one of the best headphones for bass lovers. In terms of built quality, I think it’s very sturdy (specially the headband) and is made with durable and high quality materials.
Comfort-wise, the memory ear pads feels very soft, smooth and comfortable. You may want to loose the clamping force a little bit before using it for a prolonged period to avoid straining your head. The CliqFold mechanism is also a great feature of the M-100. You can simply fold the headphone into a smaller and compact form and tuck it inside its carrying case. In terms of sound quality, well you need to back read about my subjective sound impression of the M-100.
Despite that the Crossfade M-100 looks like an over-ear version of the V-MODA XS, they don’t have the same sound signature. The XS has a different sound signature that is geared towards a wider range of genres compared to the M-100. Most of the time, I find myself listening with David Guetta or Lindsay Stirling with the M-100 since I don’t find it suitable while listening with other types of genres like classical, rock / heavy metal, jazz and etc. Not that I am saying you can’t use the M-100 with these types of genres. It’s not just my cup of tea for other genres.
Overall, the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 is a well-built headphone with great amount of bass and I can highly recommend it for bass lovers who are looking for a richer and fuller bass region that doesn’t disappoint.