The V-Moda Crossfade M-100s are simply the best headphones that you can get in this price range. You don't need to read the rest of the review; just accept the fact that these will be the last headphones you ever buy. For the rest of you that are still reading this, I hope to be helpful. Let's walk through our first interaction with these amazing cans.
Beats have long been the most attractive headphones available, due to their bright colors, uniform appearance, and overall lack of ugliness we are used to with over the ear headphones. The M-100s lack the brightness of the Beats headphones, but make up for this with a classy look and the fact that they just LOOK high quality. However, their great appearance can't be truly appreciated until you put them in your hands.
These headphones are made of high quality materials and everything is 100% functional, from the headband to the leather material to the covers themselves. The hinges are unique and fold up to leave quite a small footprint for over ear headphones. On to the actual reliability of these headphones, it can be put quite simply. You will never break these unless you try to. That's it. These headphones can probably be used as a helmet substitute (slight hyperbole). If for some reason they get caught in the blast radius of a nuclear explosion and break, V-Moda will help you replace them at 50% off MSRP. It is very rare for a company to do that, and that proves that they are proud of their product.
Inside the extremely well packaged container, you will find the headphones, two auxiliary cables, a case, and some other unimportant oddities. The headphone cables are wrapped in kevlar (going back to build quality) and the leads at the end are extremely high quality. One of the ends are even set at a 45 degree angle, which helps prevent tugging and pulling on the cable to help save your device as well as the cable itself. One of the cables is shorter (3 feet I believe), orange in color, and has the inline pause/play button as well as a separate microphone attachment. I never use the microphone, but it does seem to be of decent quality. The other cable is twice as long, black in color, and has an inline splitter so a friend can listen in with their S@#*!y Apple Earpods. The semi-hard case that comes with the headphones is very nice, just like most high end cases are. I was able to put the headphones and the cable in very easily, with room to put a few other very small items inside.
And now....le plat de resistance...Sound Quality:
The sound quality is amazing. It is tough to believe that you can get crisp highs and insane bass response out of one set of headphones, but you can. These are by no means audiophile headphones, but if you were an audiophile you wouldn't be reading my consumer retail review. These are aimed at the average listener, and they excel in every aspect. You will fall in love with all of your music all over again. You will hear notes/rhythms/lyrics within songs that you have never heard before because the soundstaging ability of the M-100s is incredible. All of the drivers receive their proper signals, and you can finally listen to music the way it was meant to be listened to. I listen to everything from Classical to Reggae to my personal favorite, Rap/Hip-Hop (WU-TANG FOREVER) and I have never once been disappointed with the M-100s as far as sound quality goes. You simply cannot beat these at the price. The only way these headphones get better is if you hook them up to an amplifier. You will cry tears of joy because you will be more overjoyed than the day your first-born child came into the world (slight hyperbole).
I have fairly large ears, and sometimes these headphones get uncomfortable after long periods of time. After an hour or so, I used to take them off to readjust, but I wear them so frequently now I no longer have that problem.
The inline cable should have volume control. I have gotten used to settling for a temporary pause if I need to, but I think that this is a simple, easy detail that should not have been overlooked. The only way I could excuse it is if they could not build one that would be as reliable as the rest of the product, but I still want it.
Noise leakage and noise isolation is excellent on these headphones and better than all that I can think of in its class, especially for passive noise cancelling, but I wish it were a little better. I usually listen to my music on max volume or near max volume, so most users will probably not have this problem.
This is, in my opinion, the only option when it comes to headphones in the $300 and under range. It's tough to even draw a comparison, and the closest a product can probably come are Sennheiser Momentums or Pioneer HDJ-2000s. Both of those are excellent products if you simply have to have competitive options, but I believe the M-100s edge them out in nearly all categories, and blow them out of the looks category. I hope you all have enjoyed my first ever review, and I hope you found me informative in your decision. I wrote the review because it took me several months to pick a pair of headphones, because I enjoy champagne on a beer budget. These are by no means beer budget, but the value is off the charts. Thank you for reading, and good luck choosing (although the real choice has already been made)
9.5 out of 10 (for the small aforementioned complaints)