Style and Power: Vmoda M-100

edd_vmoda_m100_11

EQ ADJUSTMENTS

I have experimented a lot with EQ adjustments everywhere I can (phone, tablet, itunes, Foobar and JRiver) and it certainly sounds better as a result, but I just can’t seem to bring the sound to a particularly enjoyable place.

This iTunes modification had the (relative) effect of reducing the bass and bringing the mid-tones closer to a more neutral sounding pair of headphones, but it easily made the highs over powering and I had to keep changing it depending on the music. Most of the enjoyable bass was lost when the nasty upper emphasis disappeared and it made the presentation feel on the thin and brittle side.

This EQ adjustment from JRiver, while connected to the Audiolab M-DAC, is probably my most successful so far. A little more of a subtle push of the mid-tones, with a careful reduction of the bass as well. This made the sound almost as enjoyable as the M-80 (without EQ adjustment). It brought out more detail, mostly suppressed the muddy feeling and really made it possible to enjoy that rather awesome soundstage, but it didn’t turn them into a great hifi/audiophile headphone. These EQ adjustments are all well and good, but I don’t like feeling that I have to do them, especially as much as this.

 

The EQ adjustments available with Android applications such as ‘Power Amp’ (above) are pretty great (and I’m sure IOS has similar goodies). Spotify wasn’t quite so accommodating however and I’m sure that other software and/or equipment also lacks in this area. Even if you have the option available changing it for every application and switching settings for different headphones / different music illustrates my issues with EQ as a solution.

 

AMPLIFICATION
The M-100 behaves well with portable players like phones and MP3 players directly, both in terms of volume and general audio quality (respective of the above statements). In this regard it’s pretty similar to it’s smaller sibling, the M-80  Connecting the M-100’s to some cheaper USB DAC/amps from the likes of Fiio and Audinst did offer audio quality improvements, but not quite to the levels that I was hoping for. Stepping up to things like the Yulong D100 mkII or the Fostex HP-A3 (apox. £300/$400) saw much better improvements, but still not as promising compared to other headphones.

The Audiolab M-DAC gave a larger boost to the M-100. It’s audio quality reaching levels similar to the M-80  although still requiring EQ adjustment. Perhaps the most impressive presentation that I managed to squeeze out of the M-100 was with the Fostex HP-A8, considering this machine is nearly ten times the price of the headphones I’m certainly not suggesting that this is a reasonable option. Again I found good reason to EQ the sound, but less so here.

 

COMPARISONS

V-Moda M-80: On music without much high frequency detail the M-100’s sound almost dark because the bass is so overpowering. In reality the response is pushed at both ends (more ‘v-shaped’ than the M-80). The upper mid-range of the M-100 seems to have more punch to it, perhaps this is how it’s trying to be more ‘hifi’? If so I’m not convinced because the highs sound on the edge of fatiguing at times (just like the bass can be). With so little emphasis in the mid-range compared to everything else there is a strong feeling of colouration with the M-100. This is somewhat confusing considering a ‘DJ’ model already exists in the V-Moda range, that and the rather massive hype behind the M100’s as an ‘audiophile’ headphone that follows the M-80 led to a big shock when I first heard them.
The M-100’s isolation is improved a little over the M-80  perhaps due to the padding sitting around, rather than on, the ear and the seal being better and more reliable. Sound leakage is about the same, but the soundstage does feel better and this is quite an achievement considering the improvement in the isolation.
Comfort is a tricky one, it does sit around the ear so the initial feeling is much better, but the padding touches the outer edge of the ears. The lack of depth to the driver spacing means they are continuously pressing in on the ears in all directions and combined with the increased clamping force they get painful for me in less than an hour!

 

 

MUSIC
Here are some music tracks and how I felt the M-100 coped with them. These are tested in lossless format (where possible). During computer use these were played through JRiver’s MC17 player, using WASAPI event style to output to different DAC/amps via a generic USB cable. Phone’s and other portables were also tested.

  • Dvorak: “Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53” – I’m pretty sure that the violin is supposed to be the main attraction here, I mean it says so in the title right. Well without adjustment it sounded almost like a background instrument it was so recessed. With EQ however (see above) and connecting the M-100’s to the M-DAC this sounded very enjoyable indeed!
  • Natalie Imbuglia: “Left Of The Middle” – Pop music and female vocals can sound pretty great here with EQ, without it I get the sensation of a heavily recessed and muddied mid-range compared to a nice, neutral pair of headphones. I pushed the 2Khz range up by 4-6dB with good results for most music, but especially here it was needed.
  • Butch Clancy: “Diamonds Are Forever” – Fast dynamic and bright music like this sound pretty great, even without much/any EQ adjustment. With monstrously powerful thumping bass like this I was expecting it to be unbearable without EQ’ing (bass down, or the mid-range up) but this sound starts to make more sense with music like this.
  • System Of A Down (Toxicity): “Science” – Vocals with this band are presented extremely forward so only sound slightly recessed here, but sounds like guitar sound almost like they are playing underwater without any kind of EQ adjustment and that’s even on a fast amp like the M-DAC.
  • Alan Silvestri (Beowulf): “Beowulf Slays The Best” – Almost as much as with Classical this music required a good offset of EQ. Without it the drums became loose and boomy, the wind instruments have very little bite to them
  • Rodrigo Y Gabriela (11:11): “Santo Domingo” – Straight out of the Audiolab M-DAC and without EQ applied this track felt very muffled and like it’s echoing through a concert hall, which is insane. With EQ on the guitar really comes alive and with what bass is left over I would say that this sounds really neutral, detailed and engaging.
TV, MEDIA & GAMING USE
General TV, Media and Gaming qualities are average.  I cannot use the M-100 for more than an hour without feeling some pain due to a fair amount of clamp.  I am spoiled by my Sony MA-900, which to me is by far the most comfortable Headphone ever made.  I can wear that MA-900 indefinitely.  They are that good.  I find the V-Moda M-100 to be lacking and unresponsive when it comes to pinpoint accuracy.  Watching movies and general Internet Browsing are a bit of a chore compared to some other Headphones I own, but generally it is perfectly acceptable as an all purpose Media set.  It is neither great nor bad in this area.  It is just average.  Normal consumers won’t have any problems with it, but I fear Audiophiles who know more about Headphones will quickly realize the M-100 was not designed to be used for extended periods of time. 
I also have to lightly touch base on it’s Gaming Qualities.  Due to it’s powerful low end, general gaming is very enjoyable so long as you are not playing a First Person Shooter where your survival is heavily dependent on locating sounds around you.  The M-100 fails miserably at this.  Pick up a $70 Audio Technica AD-700 if you want pinpoint accuracy, as the V-Moda Headphones all fair poorly for this type of experience.

 

Edd and Julius talks about the build and features on the next page…

 

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  • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

    It’s a long read I know!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1490160412 Jack Harvey

      Terrific piece of writing! Great job!

      • Edd_N

        Thanks Jack :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/brythng Bryan Hiroshi Thng

    HD25/D2000/M50 vs M100?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      I’ve asked Edd and Julius to help answer that, Bryan.

    • Julius

      The Original and first incarnation of the HD25? Or the HD25-1 II?
      D2000 > M100 > HD25-1 II > M50 for clarity
      M100 > D2000 > M50 > HD25’s for Bass Quantity
      D2000 > M100 > M50 > HD25’s for Sound Staging Qualities. I think the Denon D2K is still more dynamic and cavernous sounding. More Depth, in my opinion and a better overall Dynamic Experience.

      • Edd_N

        I can chime in on that one as I’ve heard all of those (25-1 II also). I agree with Julius’ positioning accept I might put the M-100 lower on clarity.

        • Edd_N

          I’d also like to add:
          D2000 > HD25 > M50 > M-100 for Bass Quality

  • http://twitter.com/Original_Ken Ken Stuart

    Commenting here solely on the phenomenon of Head-Fi Hype, which certainly is not limited to any particular headphone:

    For hundreds of thousands of years, there was a very strong selection for
    the gene to associate in groups – “tribes”. Those with a weak social
    grouping gene ended up as dinner for the local predators.

    For most of the last 12,000 years of civilization, this was expressed in ways
    very similar to the original tribal grouping – people stayed where they
    were born, in close association with their relatives.

    Very recently, this association with place and kin has begun to degrade
    significantly, and so people have begun to express their social grouping
    gene over and over again, in a largely ineffectual way, in what people
    have described as the “Fanboy” phenomenon. The Internet fans the
    flames, by accelerating the degrading of place and kin groupings, while
    facilitating the Fanboy phenomenon.

    Hype
    is an expression of this phenomenon. Once you are a fan of a team, then
    you want it to be the Best Team Ever. In sports, the team can lose
    every game, but as a Fanboy of products, you can self-generate winning
    or losing by simply emphasizing every positive aspect and de-emphasizing
    the negative aspects, in other words “Hype”.

    Did Steve Jobs understand this phenomenon? Apple has certainly been one of the biggest beneficiaries of it – standing in line is an obvious waste of anyone’s time, unless the social experience is more important than the product.

    For me, the clearest statement of the importance of Hype, and the lack of
    importance of Content is “Unboxing”. I was amazed when I first saw
    that as part of a review. WHO CARES ?! If the best headphone in the
    world comes in a brown paper bag, big deal !

    Head-Fi = Hype, because like Apple, it is a social experience first and foremost.

    • Julius

      My Mind = Blown. Great post, loved every word. Ed and I are already being bashed for the way we formatted our review. I can’t speak for Ed, but I can say that I am proud of being one of very few Audio Journalists who cares a lot of the emotional experience rather than ONLY the technical side. Post 9522 in that giant M100 thread is very cute and pretty offensive to me. It perfectly describes the craziness surrounding the Hyped crowd and is a great example of how “out there” some users really are. I do not take a single word in that entire thread seriously. Not one word.

      • dalethorn

        Trying to find post 9522 – there are only 52 pages and less than 1000 posts on the m100/v100 thread.

        • Julius

          I think you are looking at the wrong M100 thread on Head Fi. The Vmoda M100 Discussion is up to 637 pages. Should be on the front page of the portables forum area. He even took a shot at what Tyll said and implied that Tyll was wrong for speaking about his subjective preference of around 5dB boost on the low end instead of whatever the M100 has. Personally, I think he is just sour over not winning the contest and getting a free M-100 hehe!

          • dalethorn

            OK, I found it. That Rpg guy is just splitting hairs, which is what I would expect of someone so embedded in a 600 page thread. There is an old saying about getting a life, and some of those need to broaden their activities. 600 pages!

            • http://www.facebook.com/stupidbunnysuit Timothy Jonathan

              RPGWiZaRD has a point, though. Those who have no experience with basshead cans in general might find something like the M-80 a little too bassy.

              • dalethorn

                Wow – maybe I’ve gone too far down the bassy road. I never thought of the M80 as bassy. Did you maybe mean the M100?

                • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

                  I thought the M80 is just well balanced definitely not bassy, just need more mid body.

              • Julius

                Not really, he has no basis what so ever for his statement. Look through his profile for threads and reviews he has started. I see barely a few reviews on real bassy headphones. Here is a good quote of his “I’ve tried XB700, Denon D1100, ATH-M50, Beyer DT770 Pro/80″ taken from this link where he was asking for guidance on what to buy because he just didn’t have the experience to decide for himself. That pretty much summed up his experience with bassy headphones.

                Here is my list of headphones I have actually owned and spoke of many times. Check out the date and this list is pretty old and doesn’t include any iems, denons, JVCs, Audezes, Hifiman, Stax or Kosses that I’ve actually owned in the past 2 years.

                http://www.head-fi.org/t/433318/shootout-105-portable-headphones-reviewed-bowers-wilkins-p3-added-11-11-12/1335

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Great Post, Ken. I wouldn’t say absolutely that Head-Fi = Hype though. The forums do have a lot of useful info.

      • http://twitter.com/Original_Ken Ken Stuart

        Unquestionably. If one has a question like “what mods work for the HE-400″ then there is no better place than Head-Fi to get a very good answer.
        Of course, the phenomenon we are calling “Hype” actually helps this, because if you are asking about the HE-400 or the iPad Mini or the Tesla Model 2, then you are helping someone to participate in the Tribal social activity.

  • dalethorn

    Yikes!!!

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Yikes on the length? Yikes on the headphone?

      • dalethorn

        The headphone perhaps, but such a major feature, a respected manufacturer, and a failure to make it above “good for portable use”. I want one of these, but it would be good to know how the sound would be if the bass were reduced a bit – if the mids were still not so good with some of the bass trimmed down.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Perhaps they were aiming for a different crowd. To me Vmoda doesn’t look like the type of a brand that’s designed to cater to the enthusiasts’ crowd. We have AKG/ATH/Beyer/Senns for that.

          From what I’ve heard their distribution chain mimics Beats heavily. So perhaps their link with enthusiasts is limited to the fact that Val are close with Jude.

          These are just speculations of course.

          • Julius

            Neither Val nor V-moda ever claimed the headphone was going to be a game changer. V-Moda never lied to anyone or provided misinformation about their products. They have remained always truthful about the sound qualities, Val really steps it up and gets active with the Head Fi community forums and answers questions when he gets the chance to. Anyone know any other CEOs of major companies willing to be an active part of the audio community in general? Nah, Kolton stands alone and has gained my respect a very long time ago for not punching anyone who provides misinformation or false positives about his gear. No doubt about it that some people over in that M100 thread made it out to be something it was never intended to be. This was made for a specific group of listeners, Tyll might have landed it on the nose by saying it was made for modern music enthusiasts, heavy Dubsteppers and Electronic genres. In that respect, the M-100 is awesome. But, in my opinion a $300 should be much more well rounded and not specialized. Don’t blame V-Moda for the poor word choices used by users on Head Fi who were actually giving their opinion on it before any samples of the finalized product were even released. Its their fault for the hype, not Val or V-Moda’s. I’ll defend Val and his company to the death if need by on this subject, they remained always truthful in a pit of flagrant liars swarming around him. Massive respect to him for keeping a level head about it all.

            • dalethorn

              I can’t claim that I’ve read everything, but I follow these things pretty closely, especially since (at this time) I’m still a v-moda Centurion. And I don’t recall Val saying he was aiming the M100 for a non-hi-fi demographic. I assumed his aim was similar to the M80, but with better bass, and even Tyll’s reaction seemed to me to be one of surprise. Do we have a statement by Val that explains this?

              • Edd_N

                I know what you mean. It wasn’t just the model numbers that made me assume the M-100 should follow the M-80’s signature. I can’t see why this thing wasn’t called an LP3.

                • dalethorn

                  I went to the V-MODA page for some quotes about the design. I think these are telling:
                  World’s Most Versatile Crowdsourced Headphone. M-100 is a master crafted
                  compilation by the people – over 200 artists, online audiophiles, editors, DJs
                  and Grammy-winning musicians collaborated for years on the tuning and features.
                  “BEST OF SHOW…cleanest-sounding headphones we’ve ever tested.” – CES, Beatweek
                  “Sounds so good – and so easy to carry around – I could imagine it covering most
                  headphone needs for most people, even serious personal audio aficionados…
                  There’s no reason not to buy the M-100″ – Sound & Vision
                  I heard all of these, and the M-100 (or M-80) is the one I would buy” – Headphone
                  Addict Larry, Rocky Mountain Audio Festival

                  “Very open and natural” – Engadget “Stands above other similarly priced
                  headphones

                  “UNIQUELY DEVELOPED alongside online audiophiles, musicians, editors.” – Head-Fi
                  Founder, Jude

                  • dalethorn

                    I think the key words are “master crafted”, “audiophiles”, “musicians”, “best of show”, “serious personal audio aficionados”, “very open and natural”, “audiophiles, musicians, editors, … Jude, founder”. — Looks like something aimed squarely at audiophiles, no? (In other words, I don’t see anything on the product page that gives even the slightest hint that this was developed for limited use, as a portable or anything else.)

                    • Edd_N

                      Thanks Dale! I can’t bring myself to look at the V-Moda logo any more to be honest so I appreciate the collection of data, it certainly helps to illustrate my feeling of deception. There are some pretty horrific statements on there!! Even if we were talking about something truly amazing like Grado PS1000 or Fostex TH900 some of those statements would sound over the top.

                    • dalethorn

                      Thanks Edd – not to belabor this negative experience, but most often when something like this comes up, if someone who sees the bigger picture (i.e. the manufacturer) could offer some input, maybe offer to send me a sample, it might make a real difference. It’s been very quiet and that’s odd.

  • Gurtej Virdi

    Great reviews, was an informative read. Have any of you heard the new sony mdr-1r? If so how does it compare to the M100. Thanks.

    • Edd_N

      Thanks Gurtej, I haven’t heard the mdr-1r, but am curious about it.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Okay here is the problem, I have listened to the 1R and am planning to do a review of it, but I don’t have the M-100.

      Based on reading Edd and Julius’ impressions it seems that the 1R is very different than the M-100.

      The 1R is very smooth and well balanced from top to bottom. Tonality is a bit to the dark side but not so much. Warm. Smooth. Good soundstage, a bit loose on the bass and a bit weak on PRaT. The tuning is actually very good IMO better than the Momentum (1R has more bass and less forward mid/treble), the Fidelio L1 (not as dark as the L1, better soundstage performance). My only problem with the 1R is the weak PRaT almost similar to the Momentum. You have a good amount of bass but it doesn’t punch that hard.

      • Gurtej Virdi

        Thanks for the response, looking forward to your mdr-1r review.

      • http://twitter.com/Original_Ken Ken Stuart

        That’s interesting about PRaT and recent headphones. Back when CDs began to be “remastered”, I noticed that they had better clarity and detail at the expense of PRaT (the remasters of the Jimi Hendrix CDs by MCA, as compared to the older Reprise CDs are a good example). This is in addition to the often cited Dynamic Range deficiencies of recent CDs.
        The implication is that PRaT is a quality that is not even noticed by some audio engineers…

        • dalethorn

          I wonder, in all of the remastering that’s going on, if any of those engineers have a grasp of advanced DSP and how it affects the end result, i.e. if some of the tools they’re using are doing things they’re not aware of. It’s not just “pulling up the bass or treble” anymore – it’s really advanced software that changes other things while applying compression and stuff like that. I wonder how many of those remastering engineers have ever heard of Fourier Transforms?

  • Edd_N

    I would like to add a little something about other bassy headphones. I don’t hate them, far from it. I still love the sound from a bunch of other headphones that some consider quite bassy, things like the Denon D2000, Sennheiser HD-25-1 II, Audio Technica ATH-M50, hell even the M-80 is still one of my favourites.

    My wife (who hates sibilance and loves bass) loves the Denon D1100 and I have to agree it does sound more interesting than the M-100 so I gave her the M-100 and she really quite disliked it as well. Here in the UK the Denon D1100 can be picked up for 1/10th the cost of the M-100! Admittedly the build of the Denon doesn’t come close to approaching the M-100, but can anyone justify a 900% extra cost for build?

    I am also a big fan of the Denon D7000. It’s more on the smooth side and doesn’t have the impact of the M-100, but it’s so more enjoyable than the M-100 and that’s just the bass. The mid-range is light-years ahead. I have had a play recently with the Philips Fidelio L1, Sennheiser Amperior / Momentum and Logitech UE6000 and they too sound very impressive to me despite being quite pronounced in the bass region (some more so than others of course).

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      I think bass is a necessity in headphones.

      • Julius

        I think the experience would have been nicer all around without the 8bD or so Bass Booster that was designed into the headphone itself, or the massive pitfall at 11k in the measurements, or the relatively flat midrange….or the hyper modernized street design of the earcups. I got called a Hoodlum by some old lady a few days ago when I was walking around the Mall. I yelled back to her “But…but! I am listening to classical music!” She walked away, slowly, but still walked away shaking her head and continuing to talk to herself. Eh….I’ll stick with my Fidelio M1 and ClearTunes CT200 as my main portables for the time being. The M1 is just too sexy to not want to wear outside. I get a lot of people asking about them. Nobody asked me about the V-moda headphones yet…

        • dalethorn

          I added a one-star review of the M1 to the Apple store, and so far nobody else has touched it. I would guess they’re not selling any.

          • Guest

            I still enjoy the M1 more than the V-Moda M-100.

        • Edd_N

          Ha! What a wonderful story. I too haven’t gotten any comments about the M-100, but then I think I walk around with such a scowl that I don’t exactly look approachable :P. Commuting in London tends to make me want to kill people in the most horrible ways, but I’d welcome someone asking me about the M-100. Maybe something like this – “Excuse me, those headphones look pretty, do they sound better than Beats”, *rolls eyes* and replies “I wish, but they do look pretty right”.

          • Julius

            Heh! I enjoy the M-100 for Dubstep and even some Classical music, but beyond that I own a few other portables that do a better job at any given Genre. I know that sounds like an odd mix, but the large soundstage and boosted low end makes classical music very enjoyable to me on the go. I wish the earpads were a little bigger so my ears didn’t get so soar so quickly, and also that they were actually easily replaceable. The Box has a quote on it that implies it was a collaboration with “online audiophiles and musicians.” If I were Val, I’d take a big step back and avoid listening to those people for any future design ideas. I’ve been a Jazz Guitarist for about the past 12 years or so and I can safely say DJs will use it on stage, but few actual Musicians would choose the M-100 to wear during a live gig, especially with that youthful design. It is nowhere near forgiving enough to be used for Live performances. The low end is too punchy and screaming guitars are like Ice Picks stabbing my ears when plugged directly into my guitar amplifier or mixing board that is fed into by all of my band mates. It is also not true to the recording enough to seriously be used as a Monitor. So…well rounded the M-100 is not, as Yoda would say. But fun? You Betcha! Give me a call, Mr. Kolton! I’ll help design a game changer for you. You need someone real helping you who will give it to you straight. :)

            • Edd_N

              Yeah ok that’s pretty true with me too – I do find Dubstep ok and classical if I add some eq… hmm I wonder if that’s enough to make them worth keeping. Just thinking what else this could fund…

              • Julius

                I tried to sell mine twice on Ebay, nobody was interested and I had it listed for significantly cheaper than the pre order price. That is a REALLY BAD sign that not one person on earth wanted the M100 before the public got theirs. A few of them popped up on Head Fi recently as well, so its a pretty terrible sign that people are already selling them off. I’d sell them all in a split second if I found buyers for any of them. I can see myself wearing a long trench coat with a 30s style gangster hat on, standing outside in a dark alley trying to get people to buy my headphones…

      • Edd_N

        True, but the big question is: How much, which is personal preference of course. Speaking of which I must try the Beyer COP, I wonder if they will include the changeable bass feature on a more high-end headphone one day. For me AKG often have too little bass and that became a big issue with the K550 and its dodgy fit.

    • e-rod

      Can you please tell me how exactly the M-100 compare to the D1100? I own the D1100 and actually like them a lot, despite the negative reviews. They excel in comfort, bass and soundstage. I was looking for an upgrade and was thinking about the M-100. This is the forst time I’ve seen someone compare the two and I’m surprised to hear you like the D1100 better.

      • Edd_N

        Hi e-rod, I do really like the D1100 sound! It has a pleasant bass presentation with very little sibilance. It can feel a little closed in and veiled compared to others at first but it’s nothing to really complain about for the price. The bass of the M-100 is much more bloated than the D1100. It can sound epic if we’re just talking about bass but it utterly destroys the midrange which the Denon does not. As far as build goes the M-100 is light-years ahead, they are a lot heavier and clamp harder but the leather is softer which has a nice feel initially. The size is similar externally but inside the cup there is less room and they can get way more irritating than the Denon ever could due to pressure on the ears. What you don’t get with the M-100 is the horrible creaking noises from moving your head 1/10th of mm. That Denon headband and it’s plastic arms are absolutely shocking for any price!

      • Julius

        Ed and I share a different view on this one. I felt the D1100 to be too recessed in the mid range and the upper region too harsh. Noticeably more harshness and all around more painful than the V-Moda M-100. I also enjoyed the Denon D1001 ( especially a modded verison ) much more than the D1100.

        I say skip the M-100 and the D1100 and shoot higher or lower. Higher being the V-Moda M-80 or Philips M1. Lower being the Phiaton MS400. V-modas M100 doesn’t really fit in anywhere and seems like the black sheep to me. Its right in the middle somewhere between portable and suitable for home use. Save the cash and get the Phiaton PS320, MS400 or the V-Moda M80 for your portable needs. The V-Moda design is just too tacky and too childish for me, where as the Phiatons just scream elegance and class. You can knab an MS400 for just over $100 US on Newegg refurbished. That is a crazy deal.

        For $320+shipping tax and the cost of extra shields the M-100 turned into a bad deal for me. Mostly because there are a lot of other “true portables” out there that do not look so thuggish and strange, but also some custom monitors like LiveWires and ClearTunesMonitors that only cost around $250-$350 that simply crush the M-100 and all the above mentioned portables. Take my ClearTunes CT-200 Customs for example ( $350 ). Shockingly great and my pick for this years best value. I am sure a ton of people want the sound qualities the M100 puts out for their portable experience, but I am not one of them. Despite enjoying the set for some genres and the praise I give it for its build quality and features, I just prefer something less punchy and more soothing on the go. Something smaller and less loud when it comes to styling and design.

  • Andre

    WOW! That was a great review! It’s going to be very depressing to a lot of readers but it was still great to hear. To me it sounds like the M-100’s are direct comparisons to those “dreadful rapper headphones (smiles)” and thats not exactly the best group of cans to compare yourself to now is it… There are so many horrible things I can say about that but I’ll keep those comments to myself thank you :) I didn’t have the highest of hopes for these cans once I saw that they changed from being On ear to Over ear which gave away the plan for these. They listened to the people that said that the M-80’s lacked bass and decided to “fix it” and ended up making it compete with the Beats instead of other lets say quality headphones…

    So with the recent test of the Beyer DT770/32 LE and the Custom One Pro’s would you say that the M-100 ranked last out of the three new models you guys have tested?

    • Edd_N

      I haven’t tried the DT770/32 LE or COP yet, although I will get the former very soon and the latter hopefully in the next few months. From what I know about the original DT770 I can say that it’s a much better hifi headphone than the M-100, Less bass of course but a much more entertaining listen.

      Yeah I also don’t get why people combine the M-100 with a Digizoid! I can only guess that they are addicted to bass like others are addicted to dangerous substances.

      • http://www.theideate.com/ Gorboman

        moar bass, eers bleedz :))

  • http://www.theideate.com/ Gorboman

    I’ve got the impression (from reading and light discussion) that M100 is more suited for the average consumer out there. I noticed that M100 excels in bass which also a base to my impression. However, I don’t get how some people want to pair the M100 with a Digizoid Zo. That’s like bass level over 9000!

    • Julius

      I think the Zo would go well with any source that has a nasty or lacking low end experience. This is why I mentioned the M-100 responding to EQ more absurdly than most portables out there. I can max out my J3 low end EQ and the M-100 still responds to it. Most other portables just stop producing “more bass” the higher I toggle. The M-100 just hits harder the higher I go on my J3. Impressive, considering the headphone already has a Bass Boost designed into it. Now…something like the Cowon J3 + Digizoid Zo would be utterly useless and would make even Vegeta cry.

      “Hey Vegeta, what does the Scouter say about the V-Moda M-100 and Digizoid Zo’s Bass potential!?”

      “Its over 9000 Decibelsssssssssssss!!!”

      Remember, friends don’t let friends double Bass Boost.

  • http://twitter.com/Rezasenk Reza W.A

    is that a batman logo on the centre of the stars?

    • Edd_N

      Yes it is, inspired by the Arkham City logo.

      • Julius

        The Arkham games are in my top 5 favorite PC games of all time. Ugh, not to get off topic but I really hope Scott Adkins gets picked for the next Batman, and furthermore I hope they follow the Arkham games with Mark Hammil playing the Joker. And it was a really nice logo Edd used!

      • Patty Daniels

        Would you be willing to share the artwork for this logo?!

        • dalethorn

          If you wanted to have v-moda replicate it just send them a screen copy and they could do it. For any other purpose it’s still just a line drawing, so making a computer copy should be just a screen copy, yes?

          • Patty Daniels

            Really! That’s great, so just perhaps this picture?

            http://www.headfonia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/edd_vmoda_m100_11.jpg

            or should i use his avatar thumbnail (at 120×120):

            http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/users/2982/2720/avatar92.jpg?1349938148

            • dalethorn

              Come to think of it, v-moda might not put that logo on your headphone unless Edd or the owner of that design gives permission. But, if you just extract the line drawing from the photo and submit that for laser engraving on a headphone only, they may do it. It would depend on how it looks to them, whether they remember it, etc. Then consider if someone who knows Edd’s design sees you with it, that could raise questions. If I were doing this I’d take the line drawing and make some changes, enough to make it unique.

              • Patty Daniels

                I suppose I’ll build off his creativity so I don’t entirely rip off his design. However, I got into Adobe Illustrator and was able to recreate it if anyone would like the initial design.

                @dalethorn Thanks for mentioning Edd may not be comfortable with it as that simply escaped my train of though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Vriens88 Joost Vriens

    Can anybody compare the M-100 with the B W P5? I was in the apple store a
    time ago comparing the Momentum with the P5. I thought the Momentum was
    going to be my type of headphone. But I fel in love with the tight
    punch of the P5, something the Momentums are lacking. Yes the Momentums
    were the brighter ones but they just did not have it for me.. Since I am
    listening to electronic dance music for most of the time I have also
    been interested in these M-100’s. I listed to VERY loud bass electronic
    music (hardstyle) and I don’t know if this is going to be fatuiging with
    the M-100. I also saw the AKG K267 Tiesto’s which are also made for
    electronic dance music.. Can somebody give me some advise? I know nobody
    heared the Tiestos at this time.. But some advise on the P5 should be
    nice.. Although my taste of music is very bassy, I do not concider
    myself a pure basshead headphone fan. But impact and punch is something I
    really love in a headphone!

    • dalethorn

      The momentum is a heavier, bassier sound than the P5 (I have both), but the M100 should be like the Momentum on steroids. Sounds like the wrong direction for your preferences.

      • Edd_N

        I’ve had a brief go with the Momentum (less so with the P5). The M-100 has a ton more bass impact than the Momentum, although not the most pleasant bass in the world it’s huge. You may like it, but since you say that you are not a pure bass-head I can imagine it’s the other frequencies that will be the make or break for you here. Mids – very overpowered and treble just a bit to happy and unrefined.

        • dalethorn

          The Momentum is my limit for bass. I enjoyed the Amperior for awhile, but in the end it just had too much upper bass. It’s clear that the only way I would review the M100 is with bass reduction on. People who object to such things have other options, thankfully. Then again, we are still in pre-production mode, and despite all promises to the contrary, if I were Val I’d want to see this M100 become a respectable general-purpose headphone, even if bassy.

          • Julius

            Val knows what he is doing. I’ll defend V-Moda to the death if need be, I really enjoy most of their products and I have extremely potent respect for Mr. Kolton. If the average consumer is willing to pay $300 for headphones, then the M100 is a really great choice over the other common $300 crowd of headphones as seen in popular electronics outlets like Best Buy and Walmart. The M100 reigns superiority all over them and as I said before, the general population will think they are getting a great deal…and they are. For what the M100 is good at, its very good. It is lacking in some places, but so what. So is the HD800 and LCD3. There is no perfect headphone out there and it just so happens the tonality and coloration of the M100 is not what I want in my personal portable experience. I prefer a more balanced sound with more warmth on the low end, relaxed highs and a very forward midrange. These are qualities the M100 do not have, I posted a really long M100 review on Youtube before my review here was published, but I had a user who threatened me for sharing the cons of the M-100 even though I said they were all very subjective opinions and that your view might be totally opposite of mine. The next morning, his comments were voted down by 30 people and were barred from being shown, he sent me a private message saying he would get his friends to dislike my video review. By the time I read it a few hours later, my video had almost 40 dislikes. Thats the level of severity that comes with being an audio journalist. People can be very rude. Hell, Jude even posted my old user name without my permission just recently, telling everyone who I used to be on Head Fi. Its a lack of respect for others opinions and nothing more. I hope you find a portable you can enjoy, Dale. As well as everyone else. It just so happens I enjoy my customs and a few other on ear portables more than the M100. Clarity means nothing to me if the presentation qualities do not all mesh with my ears.

    • dalethorn

      I have the M100, Momentum, and P5 now. Not much of a really good comparison possible, since the basic signatures are so different that speaking about clarity or other fine qualities, those qualities are dwarfed by the much bigger differences. My personal quick summary is P5: Pretty neutral, very slightly tilted to the right (warmer, softer highs) from flat or neutral. Momentum: Bassier than P5, richer sound overall (makes P5 sound bland by comparison), but very slightly more HF rolloff. M100: Very bassy, makes mids seem recessed. Slightly uneven highs can make some material sound brittle or glassy. I think the P5 and Momentum are good all-arounders, the P5 more for the conservative purist and the Momentum for the person who doesn’t care about purism or whatever and wants to enjoy its richer sound. I can’t advise on using the M100 played flat, since that’s basshead territory where I have no expertise. But with some bass reduction the M100 can be a pretty good listen, but it won’t be a relaxed listen, if that makes sense.

  • dalethorn

    Got my M100, in white. Waaay too bassy for high fidelity, so tried bass reduction. Perfect. Played everything, sounded excellent. With bass reduction, bass is flat to close to 30 hz, and may be down 3 db at 30. Ran test tones – pretty smooth except there’s a modest peak around 8 khz, and that seems to exaggerate sibilants slightly. Reduced 8 khz level by 3 db – perfect. Played flat, the M100 is never going to get a fair shake because of the exaggerated bass. WIth bass reduction this is a pretty good headphone, even for at-home listening on a good system. I had the sense just briefly that the sound signature might seem too technical for some users, but I don’t hear anything that needs more than a little time for brain burn-in. Tried classical (organ, piano, orchestra), jazz, rock, folk, house, … all sounded good.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks Dale.

  • Broc Kelley

    You folks seem to be the only ones with the koochpahs to give these cans a solid and honest review. Though I would label it more honest than unbiased, and that may seem condescending; your personality bleeds through every word from the comparison of $1000 studio cans to $300 modiofiles, up to and including that “music” selection of yours…. haha I jest, always glad to see an honest post. But, it’s hard to take your seriousness serious when you seem like a completely different person than me, unfortunately.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks, we do have different authors, each with their own writing style.
      Sent from my mobile device. Sorry for any mistype.

    • dalethorn

      I get a “pretty good” sound from ipod to LOD to analog amp, but from computer USB to Dragonfly or Audioengine D1, I think the M100 is up there with a lot of really good headphones. Not as “detailed” as the treble-happy DT770-32, but it compares well, on the mini-DACs I mentioned at least.

  • Pablo Augustus

    My first impression is that it barely covers my ears and barely makes it as a functional overear headphone. This is ridiculous as its been identified as a bassy headphone, is that the kind of phone you want barely fitting over your ears? NO!

    Nor can I abide the EQ recommendations on here. With the poweramp EQ as recommended I couldn’t even hear the bassline in reggae music from the 70s and 80s. I duplicated the EQ for the upper range but by 50%.

    To me the greatest feature of this heaphone is the cable with the mic higher up and a seperate switch element lower down. For snowboarding, walking the dog, these are the greatest headphones and thats what I’m using them for.

    They blast sound out like nobodies business so while I intended them for studio use they have simply replaced my beats solo HD monster and I’m not sure its better, I just love the cable and I can grab a call that sounds great on the other end while I’m 3 feet deep in powder.

    Buy these if you like but don’t treat them like audiophile phones and for me thats been great because I wouldn’t have dared take another equally expensive set snowboarding or skating but with these why the heck not?

    Embrace the bass and the many faults with these cans or quickly return them.

    • dalethorn

      The M100 is a very snug fit for me, barely making it as a circumaural headphone, just as you describe. But sound is another matter. Yesterday I spent several hours comparing it at home to the Beyer DT770LE, B&W P5, Sennheiser Momentum, ATH ESW9a and 11, and the $1000 Sennheiser IE800. With a *small* measure of bass reduction of 4 db or less, the mids and highs are clear and clean, but most important, the highs are smooth and perfect for (get this) orchestral music. Better than my other full size headphones easily. The IE800 has better tonality and overall fidelity than the M100, but it’s also overly bright and needs its own EQ, as do all of the other headphones I mentioned. The last headphone I had that needed no EQ? Maybe the Senn HD800 or 600. The Shures all had problems. The Grado PS500 had a bass hump. The Philips L1 was too bassy. The M100 has good potential, but very few people will find it.

  • rich torres

    While I agree with some of the comments here, I think the m100’s with some eq’ing can sound better than the m-80’s. They also isolate noise MUCH better than the m-80’s. I originally started off with the m-80’s, and was blown away by the sound, but really disapointed with noise isolation. They are terrible. So i upgraded to the m-100 and was satisfied with the noise iso, but left a lil disapointed with the sound. I kept going back to the m-80’s. After using some eq settings on poweramp, I have them sounding as good as the m80, but with more soundstage as expected with an over the ear. Are they worth spending twice as much?? Thats debateable, but worth it to me as I needed noise iso.

    • dalethorn

      I like the light weight and form factor of the M80, but in cooler weather the earpads take awhile to form a good seal, which is a nuisance. The M100 works right away, and comfort is adequate.

  • Audi Ar

    Vmoda M-100+RSA Intruder :headbang:
    Great Poison , Thanks Mike

  • chris0101

    Great review – very extensive too! I like a long review as it addresses pretty much everything.

    After a listen, I think I am forced to agree that the target market was not well … the audiophile community. I had been hoping for a more refined ATH-M50 with a super-wide sound stage. Looks like they got the sound stage wide enough, but yeah, the upper sounded distorted.

    Does anybody else find this can’s bass to be analytical to the point where it’s unpleasant at times?

    • dalethorn

      If you were to use a little bit of bass reduction on a M100, the result would be a smooth, almost flat, and distortion-free sound top to bottom. The bass emphasis never bothered me outdoors, but it’s too heavy for me for indoor listening. The distortion you heard I don’t understand, since the dynamic range of the M100 is very large, and under any conditions I’ve experienced, the sound is clear and clean.