V-Moda XS: XS Size With XL Sound

Disclaimer. V-MODA’s PR agency contacted me to check if we were interested in reviewing the latest XS. I haven’t reviewed any V-MODA headphones myself (it was a guest review) and so I happily accepted. They also had a surprise for us: we can give away one personalized version of the XS with our Headfonia.com logo! Keep reading.

box HFN Lieven round kader

 

The Beginning

V-MODA headphones have been extremely popular ever since the brand was launched a couple of years ago. For some reason Mike or me never got any official review samples and both the M80 and M100 review were done by guest reviewers.

I did listen to the M80 and M100 myself at a local meet and at Canjam Europe but I never got to listen to the new XS. As a result I was happy to get contacted by V-MODA’s PR agency. And the best thing is we can give one away for Christmas!!

Fashion

The XS is a portable and foldable on ear headphone but it’s also a Fashion Headphone, as it is called. To be honest I never was a fan of the V-MODA styling but that’s a very personal thing. The XS has been with me for a few weeks now and I have to be man enough to admit that the styling has grown on me. Even more, I quite dig the design now: it’s small and it looks so damn cool with our logo on the plates. Yes, that’s correct, the plates can be personalized.

It’s about the perfect size for an on ear portable headphone and it folds in to this tiny thing that fits tightly in the supplied mini hard case. None of my other on ear headphones, except for the B&W P3, folds up like the XS does. It’s clearly the winner in the folding category where today’s other contenders are the Beyerdynamic T51P, the Sennheiser HD25 and the B&W P3. Fashion wise the XS is the winner, with the T51P and HD25 taking second and third place. I really don’t like the B&W P3 styling, it’s a bit girly isn’t it?

The XS

V-MODA didn’t only pay attention to the design but of course also the sound, and that’s something that can’t be said of most Fashion headphones. The XS is a closed headphone that uses 40mm drivers in its design. Another major thing of importance to V-MODA is the comfort their headphones offer and a lot of R&D was done to give the customer the best comfort possible. One example is the “Close the gap” headphone band where there is no unnecessary space between the headband and your head. The weight (195g) is evenly distributed and even after a few hours of listening the top of my head feels just fine. An extra bonus is you don’t look silly at all, like when wearing the latest Philips Fidelio X2.

If you have read some of my other reviews, and I hope you have, you will know I absolutely do not like on ear headphones. I don’t like the feeling of my ears getting pushed against my head. Call me weird, I don’t know. After about an hour and half of use, my ears do start hurting a little. So while the overall comfort is extremely good, the XS isn’t the winner in the comfort category. That spot goes to the Beyer T51P which has much softer cushions. The XS is the runner up with the P3 in third.

The XS comes with an orange cable and an integrated mic. I used the XS in the last Ohm Image podcast where I was the guest of the week and according to Nathan sound was really good. The only issue I have with it is that you can hear friction way too much. The cable can be connected on either the left or right ear cup which seems to be common nowadays.

Durability and Customization

The XS was built according to the Military level MIL-STD-810G standards. Doesn’t ring a bell, right? That actually means the cable is Kevlar-reinforced and it can handle over 1 million bends where the industry standard is 100 bends. That also means the XS can stand over 70 drops from 1.5m on to concrete. I didn’t try it though, I’ll take their word for it. The steelflex headband can survive over 10 flat bends and the XS can survive severe high/low temperatures, humidity, salt spray & UV rays.

V-MODA offers custom colors and laser-engraving (optional), we kept it simple with our Headfonia design but of course you can do a whole lot more. Check that here.

VS The M80

What’s new then compared to the “old” M80 you ask? Let me sum that up for you:

  • Ultimate ergonomics for a perfect contoured fit with minimal “gap”
  • Extended highs & enhanced fidelity
  • Strictest quality control of < 1dB variance from unit to unit
  • World’s smallest on-ear hard case

As you can read, it mostly is a structural change but the sound has also been tuned a little. And that brings me to the sound part on the next page.

V-Moda XS: XS Size With XL Sound
3.8 (75%) 8 vote[s]

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

26 Comments

  • Reply December 16, 2014

    Headfonia_L.

    Just to be clear, the XS you can win does have the Headfonia logo on it.

  • Reply December 16, 2014

    MFerrosa

    Thanks L!

    • Reply December 16, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      My pleasure. I appreciate you taking the time to post a thank you 🙂

  • Reply December 16, 2014

    Guest

    umm

  • Reply December 16, 2014

    Philippe Gervaise

    Thank you! Just when I’m hunting for portable headphones, and had narrowed it down to XS or T51p 🙂
    Not sure I know for sure which one I should get yet. Would you recommend one over the other for someone who listen to a wide range of styles, from ambient to post-rock to industrial metal? You clearly say you like the T51p better, are they worth the price difference?

    • Reply December 16, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      You’re welcome. To me they absolutely are. The T51P is better in all fields. I have to admit the XS has more body/weight but quality wise the T51P is the best and is worth the exra $$

      • Reply December 16, 2014

        Philippe Gervaise

        My only fear is the peak in the T51’s treble that could sound sibilant to my ears (I’m very sensitive to some high frequencies). I’m used to HD25s, but I think they sound very different.

        • Reply December 16, 2014

          dalethorn

          You won’t be bothered by it out of the box – it’s when you raise the treble overall to a hi-fi standard (i.e. about 6 db lower than the T1 or T90) that the peak becomes very noticeable.

  • Reply December 16, 2014

    dalethorn

    If the T51p cable were not so fragile I think it would be worth the extra $100 – but I’ll take the XS as a much better value.

    • Reply December 16, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      You’re right about the cable yet I’d take the sound quality of the T51P over the XS any time. I suppose it depends how you’re planning on treating your headphones 🙂

      • Reply December 16, 2014

        dalethorn

        The granddaddy of hi-fi, J. Gordon Holt once famously said: “Who cares how long it lasts if it doesn’t sound good”, to which I replied: “Who cares how good it sounds if it doesn’t last”.

  • Reply December 17, 2014

    Edison

    I recently was searching for on ears portable and tried all onears available on the market. Eventually i got the t51p. What drove me crazy about the XS is the very low clamping force. It does’t stay secure on my head even when i’m sitting still.

    • Reply December 17, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      And the T51P is just that tad more clamping, isn’t it. Sound wise you’re better off too, you made a good choice 😉

  • Reply December 17, 2014

    Headfonia_L.

    Oh, vmoda (see what I just did there?) made me write V-MODA everywhere in case you’re wondering why I kept using caps 😀

    • Reply December 17, 2014

      dalethorn

      Yeah, they told me “It’s either V-MODA or v-moda, as long as it’s all upper or lower”.

  • Reply December 17, 2014

    Headfonia_L.

    We are now at 200 participants (17122014)

  • Reply December 25, 2014

    Headfonia_L.

    The Contest is over. Congrats to the winner!

    • Reply December 25, 2014

      Joost Peters

      Major thanks! I’ve never won something before 😉 Can’t wait to try the V-MODA out.

  • Reply December 25, 2014

    Anthony Kimball

    congrats Joost!

    • Reply December 31, 2014

      Joost Peters

      Thanks Anthony!

  • Reply January 4, 2015

    dalethorn

    The XS clamping might feel less constricting if the earpads are aligned perfectly to your ears. I always have to do a permanent headband bend forward.

  • Reply January 23, 2015

    Justin Myers

    I am a bit of a fan of the V-Modas. They do not sound that bad
    at all as long as you don’t need a lot of bass in your ears. I first came
    across them in my RSS app on my phone. Poc Network has a review and I killed
    some time by looking up a few others. The results were pretty good as they
    seemed to like them and everyone bragged about how tough they are built. I
    stepped (don’t judge) on my Sonys and busted them so that was something that
    stood out (haha). They are really bright on the ears making vocal and dialogue
    very up front. Not the best for action flicks since they are like having a pair
    of Kickers on your head, but they sound good. I am happy with mine. ( source: http://pocinc.net/blog/product-reviews/review-v-moda-xs-on-ear-headphones/
    )

    • Reply January 23, 2015

      dalethorn

      I’ve had 2 V80’s, 2 M80’s, 2 XS’s, 4 M100’s, one LP, one LP2, and 2 Verzas. There’s almost no difference in the sound of the V80, M80, or XS.

    • Reply August 21, 2015

      eleosphere

      The V-Modas are the most practical of these headphones by a mile. The T51p’s case and cable are a giant step back from them, the folding design is very practical and to me the ability to feed sound into another headphone to share a listening experience is fantastic in many situations. The refinement in the T51p’s sound is astounding for sure, though.

      • Reply August 22, 2015

        dalethorn

        I did a test-EQ on both – the XS was much easier to bring up close to neutral than the T51p. It’s when you get both signatures into a frame where you can compare the background qualities of each headphone that you’ll know which one has a better quality sound. The XS scores at least as well for me, and if you read where Val the maker talks about the dual membrane or radiator design that allegedly provides better bass with less distortion, then maybe that will provide some insight there …. but that’s just my finding, because they are very different types of headphone.

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