Crossfade M 100
Wondering whether you should buy the Crossfade M-100? These headphones are widely lauded for their excellent build but is it true? Let’s find out.
Crossfade M 100
You know how there’s an arch in Nagasaki that withstood both the nuclear bomb and the earthquake and tsunami in 2011? That’s what we thought of when we saw the V-Moda Crossfade M-100. Built like a tank, tested beyond military-level laboratory tests and dropped 70 times just for good measure, it’s safe to say that durability won’t be an issue with these headphones.
But durability alone isn’t the reason you buy headphones that cost a good $250, so let’s see whether sound quality and comfort were neglected in favor of indestructibility.
|Name||V-Mode Crossfade M-100|
|Weight||0.62 pounds (0.280 kg)|
|Driver size||50 mm|
|Frequency range||5 Hz – 30000 Hz|
Just looking at the warranty should make it clear how confident the producers are in the build of these headphones. The Crossfade M-100 comes with a 2-year warranty, which is already great by itself. Plus, if they break after this 2-year period, you can buy new ones from V-Moda for half the price. That’s confidence in your product, and it’s not misplaced.
Like we’ve said, the Crossfade M-100 is built like a tank, with mostly metal parts, giving it a premium look and feel that is to be expected considering the price tag on these headphones. The little plastic bit used on the ear cups is also very hard and durable. The steel-flex headband is exceptionally elastic and can take all kinds of abuse.
What’s more, despite the metal parts, the headphones are still relatively lightweight at only 280 grams, which adds to the overall comfort.
Speaking of comports, the ear pads use memory foam cushioning. The layer of cushioning isn’t so thick as to feel like the headphones are hugging your ears, but they’re decent and you can get away with wearing them for a good few hours at the very least before feeling any discomfort. The clamping force is also such that you could comfortably jog with these headphones on, while still managing not to press too tightly.
If you do end up finding the cushions too thin, especially so that your ear makes contact with the driver, then you can and should get thicker XL cushions. In addition to being more comfortable, they help with the noise isolation and expand the soundstage a bit, so they’re definitely worth the $20.
Next up, let’s consider how good these headphones are at isolating sound. Right off the bat, you should know that the M-100 doesn’t feature active noise canceling, so it all comes down to the materials in and around the ear pads.
Frankly, it’s a bit lackluster. First all of, they don’t even keep all the sound in, though truth be told, you’d have to turn to volume up to eleven for the sound to leak out. Still, if you like listening to music during your commutes and don’t want to bother the people around you, you’ll have to mind the volume.
Of course, the only thing worse than the noise coming out is the noise coming in. You’ll have to have music playing moderately loudly to completely block out near-by conversations, and even then the lower frequency sounds will go right through.
We know these headphones only have passive noise canceling, but for their price, this feels like an oversight, especially when much cheaper headphones like the Monster NTune have done a better job of it. Considering these are portable headphones, this definitely feels like a flaw, small as it is, and it’s the only thing keeping the build from being a solid 10/10.
The Crossfade M-100 excels at portability. The extreme durability evidently helps, but there’s so much more to their design that makes them great at this. For starters, the ear cups are collapsible and, once collapsed, the headphones can fit inside your hand, so they should also fit inside most reasonably spacious pockets.
Their durability is such that you don’t have to worry about throwing them into your backpack, but you absolutely can take the extra step to ensure their safety by using the carrying pouch that is included, which is by far the best one we’ve seen so far. It’s hard-shelled and compact and, frankly, it very well looks like the carrying pouch Batman would use to keep his headphones safe as he’s running around crime-fighting.
It also helps that the M-100 uses detachable cables and features an input on both ear cups. This makes it so that you don’t have to suffer dangling cables around your body, but if you want to take full advantage of it you can use it for daisy-chaining, which basically lets you connect another pair of headphones to the free input on the M-100 and play the same music on both.
Besides this, you can take the opposite approach instead and connect each ear cup to another source.
What’s more, one of the two cables you get also has an extra input dangling off of it, so you could technically connect three headphones to a single smartphone; just don’t expect the sound quality to remain the same across the board if you do this.
Both of these cables also feature in-line controls with a microphone and a single button for taking and ending calls and also controlling playback. Unfortunately, as is the case when you have only one button, there’s no volume control, which is always disappointing.
The Crossfade M-100 headphones come in three color variants (black, white and shadow), but they also feature a degree of customizability that is quite frankly unmatched by its competitors. This customization comes in the form of the aluminum ear shields that are attached by six screws and can be replaced.
The best sting about them is that you can design your own shield on the V-Moda’s website. You can pick the materials and the design, which isn’t limited just to the premade designs and monograms; you can actually make custom, laser engraved ear shields of, say, your logo or pretty much anything else.
Of course, a pair of headphones may very well have the unequivocally best comfort, longevity, portability and everything else, but be a dud if the sound quality isn’t on point, especially at this price range.
So how exactly does the Crossfade M-100 fare in this regard?
First of all, it’s important to highlight that these are still bass headphones. The bass isn’t overbearing like it was in some of V-Moda’s previous outings. The sound signature isn’t nearly as V-shaped and treble, while midrange especially get their chance to shine. But it’s not as if the bass was sacked to make room for the other frequencies either.
The dual-diaphragm 50 mm drivers still give the bass lots of power and oomph, but instead of making it bloated, they make it detailed. If you’re a dedicated bass head, there are better options out there for you. The rest of the casual consumer demographics should be more than satisfied with this sound.
V-Moda headsets have found popularity in particular among DJs for the strong bass that still allows for clarity in other frequencies.
Overall, the sound is warm, rich and detailed, although the highs are a bit forward.
Fans of classical music can find more suitable headphones for this price, but the M-100 does justice to modern genres like metal, hip-hop and electronic genres. You won’t regret buying them if they’re within your budget.