V-MODA Crossfade M-80 and V-80 True Blood Headphones Page 2

The goodness doesn't stop with the headphones either. The "exoskeleton" carry case is very nice! This is a clamshell case with zipper closure. The case "exoskeleton" is a fairly rigid synthetic material, pressure-molded to perfectly fit the headphones within. A red velour-like material is molded to the inside of the case, which provides some cushion for the headphones. Two pads are attached to the inside of the case with hook-and-loop, and provide elastic straps to hold down the headphone cables and accessories you might want to carry. Kolton says DJs will often strap their SD cards in there and remark how they used to put their headphones in their record crate, now they put their records in their headphone case. While the headphones don't fold and the case is a little larger than average, I absolutely loved the look, fit, and finish of the headphones and the carry case. A really sweet package.

Attention to Detail
Other then the B&W P5, there's no other headphone I can think of where the manufacturers attention to detail is so apparent. The V-MODA V-80 True Blood and Crossfade M-80 simply radiate style, quality, and performance. They do so not because the manufacturer put on a show of quality, but rather because V-MODA actually built quality into the product. A variety of telling claims can be found on their website:

  • Proprietary "Dual Driver" has two parts: a center dome, and surrounding flexure. Kolton claims the center dome is responsibe for clearer mids and highs, while the surrounding flexure improves bass response.
  • Meets MIL-STD-810G (military quality specification) for: high and low temperatures, humidity, salt spray and UV exposure.
  • Delivers variances across the spectrum of less than 2dB from unit to unit.
  • Survives 70+ drops on concrete from 6 feet.
  • Kevlar reinforced detachable cables and 45-degree plug strain relief can each bend over 1 million times.
Additionally, it's quite evident from talking with Kolton that V-MODA goes to great lengths to get feedback from artists, recording professionals, and headphone enthusiasts. He says he's spent many sessions with artists and a 31-band equalizer asking professionals to try to improve the product's equalization. Recently he sent numerous samples of the Crossfade M-80 to Head-Fi headphone enthusiasts for them to review from an audiophile's perspective. V-MODA now has two categories of full-size headphones: the "LP" versions for "Live Play", which fundamentally means they have enhanced bass response; and the newer "M" model, which stands for Modern Audiophile or Modiophile.

I don't know how V-MODA does it, but their maniacal dedication to bringing style, durability, and sound quality to headphones pays off in spades. These headphones simply radiate headphone goodness.

"Endorse Yourself!"
I've decided to cover these headphones amongst the other celebrity cans not so much because of the "True Blood" endorsement, but because they can be customized with your own logo. Kolton nails it when he enables folks to "Endorse Yourself!" You don't have to be stuck with Dr. Dre, Ludacris, or 50 Cent, you can put any celebrity you want on your headphones ... including yourself. The anodized aluminum shields are available in three colors currently and more colors are planned for early next year. For a $45 fee you can send your art into V-MODA and have it engraved on the headphone shields using a laser system.

I had Val put the InnerFidelity logo on the cans he sent up for review. It looks very good on the red and green shields (of the Crossfade LP2), but really pops on the black. Here's the important thing: I can't help but think of these headphones as special to me personally. Why? Because they are ... they have my logo on them. I think celebrating your own personality on your headphones is a great idea. It will bring a type of pride and joy to your gear that would be hard to duplicate otherwise. Personal audio, indeed.

Sound Quality
The V-MODA Crossfade M-80/V-80 is the first of the "Modiophile" headphones from V-MODA. (They are expecting to add a full-size, sealed, around-the-ear M-100 in the near future.) Kolton was looking to expand his audience beyond the DJ crowd and realized he would have to create a more neutral sounding headphone than the Crossfade LP and LP2. By golly, he did it. The V-MODA Crossfade M-80/V-80 is a truly excellent sounding headphone. Different, but certainly comparable and competitive with the likes of the Beyerdynamic DT1350 and Sennheiser HD 25-1 II.

The bass is very well extended for a headphone of this size, but slightly bloomy. The DT1350 had better extension and punch, but both bested the lows of the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II. I'm splitting hairs here in a lot of ways, all three are great sounding headphones.

(Here's the big surprise: the Marley Exodus were keeping with all three of these as well!)

The midrange has good balance with the bass and treble, and over-all there is a slightly warm tilt. Though a tad uneven, they provide a very natural and organically correct sound. The treble is well proportioned to the whole and delivers good snap without being harsh. The top octave is slightly reduced, and coupled with the warmish tilt give the headphones a very slightly muffled sound.

While the overall balance of the headphones is quite good, they --- like most headphones of this type --- are slightly confused or congested sounding. Compared them directly to a Sennheiser HD 800 and you would hear it clearly. This slight congestion prevents the kind of performance needed for good imaging, but did not prevent the headphones from delivering a very nice punch and dynamics.

A very good sounding headphone.


Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Raw frequency response measurements (lower traces in FR) show moderate variability in bass level as the headphones are moved from position to position. I'd say this is a moderately better than average result for this type of headphone.

Averaged and compensated frequency response shows a wide, gentle hump between 10Hz and 700Hz. Though not as flat as the Beyer DT1350, this indicates better bass extension than the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II.

Above 700Hz, the frequency response is a bit uneven, but does not show the large a treble spike at 10kHz often seen on similar headphones, again indicating the naturalness of timbre heard in listening. The top octave above 10kHz is about 3dB below ideal, in my opinion.

30Hz square wave show a fairly flat waveform top indicating the good bass extension seen in the FR, but fairly high levels of distortion on the THD+noise graph below 200Hz may be indicative of the "looseness" of the bass heard in listening. Above 200Hz, THD+noise performance is quite good.

Transitional edges of the 300Hz square wave shows little overshoot of leading edge, but fairly significant ring to follow, which may contribute to poor imaging heard.

Isolation plot and measured value of broadband noise attenuation at -10dBSPL indicate a headphone with moderate ability to shut out environmental noise. These will work fine for general purpose uses, but will not isolate well enough for extremely loud environments like airplanes and trains.

Fairly even impedance plot at about 33 Ohms and an efficiency of 39mVrms for 90 dBSPL at the ear means these headphones will get fairly loud and be driven well from a portable player.

Hard core DJs dancing around on stage might prefer the firm grip on the head of the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II or Beyerdynamic DT1350; and the B&W P5 might be preferred by the suit-and-tie, cosmopolitan gentleman, but for the other 99% of us the V-MODA Crossfade M-80/V-80 is probably the way to go.

I simply can't think of another headphone that does so much, so right. They look like a million bucks, they're built like a tank, the accessories are super tasty, the sound is among the best in class, and the ability to have custom graphics emblazoned on the shields puts the V-MODA Crossfade M-80/V-80 right over the top. I simply can't recommend them highly enough. I love these headphones.

Highly Recommended!

A really great thread compiling the Head-Fi Crossfade M-80 reviews.
V-MODA customgraphics information page.
Video of Val Kolton throwing Crossfade LP.

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