There is no shortage of headsets in today’s market, in fact, shuffling through the options could seem like an endless task to an interested buyer. For the past few weeks I’ve dedicated all of my daily commute to testing out the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 series.
I had a list of requirements for headsets going into the review, ranging from performance and versatility, to overall design and I’ve grown to expect long-lasting durability in any headset within this price-range. I’ve tested dozen of headsets in the past and out of all them the latest Crossfade design impressed me the most.
When I first heard that these headsets met military-level MIL-STD-810G quality standards, I imagined a large and obnoxious design that would feel more like I should piloting a helicopter rather than getting onto a subway. I was pleasantly surprised to see the overall design choices for the V-MODA M-100 series. They are among a very few amount headsets I’ve tested this year that I actually enjoyed they way looked, offering amazing sound, without the bulkier pieces of other brands.
If you share my hatred for large, overbearing headsets when you are on-the-go, then you will happy to know that V-MODA didn’t continue with that trend in the new Crossfade model. The design features hexagonal ear cups with a brushed-steel finish (though other customizable options are available). The look was completed with a leather trim in a complimenting color (mine were white). The headset also features the popular detachable cables, which you can replace with a variety of options from the manufacturer, one of which have an in-line microphone for handsfree calling.
The headset was designed to work with a wide-array of devices, all of which were as seamless as plugging the headsets in and enjoying them. For my tests I used an iPhone 5, a Macbook Air, an Alienware X51 R2 desktop and a Google Nexus 7. I imagine most customers will use this headset as their primary headsets while on the go, and this is the first area that I was instantly pleased with the device.
A simple hinge above the ear-cuff allows the Crossfade M-100 to compact itself into the small, but well designed clam-case, one that will also hold your detachable cables. The patented hinge, called the CliqFold, offers a very satisfying click when the earmuffs fold inward and are locked into position. Overall the hinge is very durable and was well tested against my day-to-day use over the last few weeks.
As for sound, the headsets performed beautifully and not just with music. Speaking through the inline microphone was incredibly clear even when I was outside on the busy streets. The sound with calls, games and audiobooks was on-par with even the most expense headsets I’ve had the privilege of testing in the past.
While the sound coming through the headset was enjoyable, the headset was equally efficient at blocking all of the outside noise. Although these aren’t traditional ‘noise canceling’ headsets, the M-100s had an amazing ability to cancel-out the ambient noise and distractions of my daily commute, or my daily walk through SoHo. They have the same performance as ones that offer the ambient noise canceling tones, but they do offer an improved functionality over others that claim to offer “noise isolation”.
Regardless of music-genre the Crossfade M-100 performed with the utmost clarity and precision. All of that terrific sound is created by the well-chosen hardware hidden away inside. A patented 50mm Dual-Diaphragm driver controls and amplifies the bass, while preventing bleed into the mid-high range. Extreme audiophiles might find issue with a few of the more sensitive situations, like sound-editing or use with sound-engineering, even testing the range against Vinyl recordings you might notice some bleed among the mid-range if you have a sensitive ear. For the general public, or if you have become accustomed to the higher-end headsets of today, I wouldn’t suspect there would be any issue with this device.
As I stated earlier I expect that music, calls and audiobooks would be the primary use of the headset but I also put it through the paces as a gaming headset, because I found that an optional headset-mic could be added to the device. This was overall the most surprising test that I encountered.
I’ve tested high-end gaming headsets for years and I was happy to report that the overall quality and the ‘plug-and-play’ nature of the M-100 series made them an excellent option if you are looking for a pair of ‘overall headsets’ that could be used on-the-go and in the home. The headsets lack the same overall software customization that you may have become accustomed to with other gaming headset brands, but what they lack in traditional gaming software support, they make up for in simplicity and clarity. Of course you can always use a third-party software to enhance the headsets in-game, like Razer’s sound-software, which worked effortlessly with the headset.
There is an ambidextrous approach to the headset cables, a common addition to headsets nowadays, offering a left-or-right input option for the detachable cables, This simply allows the cord to sit by your left or right arm. A simple stopper is in place to cover the hole of the input that you aren’t using, a nice touch that other headsets overlook. Though simple, without it dust and debris could get into the input and its inclusion speaks to the well thought-out design of the device.
V-MODA has some terrific guarantees to go along with M-100s, the durability of the headset is well backed through the company and it was easy for me to see why. After being thrown in and out of bags, stuffed into jackets and desk drawers, the headsets are just as clandestine as when I first opened the box. The company shares a few of the details regarding each element of the headsets on the website and on the box itself. Specific additions to the standard design of headsets enhance each part of the design. This includes a kevlar-reinforced cable/plug bend and carefully constructed frame that allows 70+ 6-foot drops on concrete. It is obvious that these headsets were designed to be yours for the long-haul and the perform extremely well under-pressure.
From the sturdy Steel frame to the low-key metal shields that decorate the headset, the M-100 series is a finely crafted device that looks simple and minimalistic, but at the same time offers the same sound and functionality of those overbearing, giant headsets that have become popular.
The exoskeleton case, or clam-shell case as I called it earlier, is the perfect size in my opinion. The headset fits snug into the carrying case, which has an elastic straps to keep the chosen detachable wires in place. Included in the case are your cables and 1/4″ adapter and there is ample room for any small storage-media or other wire-adapters that you may carry around. The Carabiner makes adding the case to your standard laptop bag or carryon an instant process.
Overall the the higher price of the headset may make it out of reach for some customers. The dual-functionality of the headset going effortlessly from a terrific gaming headset to a powerful music/audiobook listening device make it a top choice for someone in my position. Few headsets have mastered the sound and design that this headset offers, they are portable and durable and perform well when tested against even the most expensive brands on the market. At the very least they should be on your list to comparisons shop, and if you get a chance to test them out you should defiantly do so. Overall I couldn’t be happier with the headset, they are now the first thing I put into my bag in the morning before I head to the office.
more info: V-MODA