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.
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!!
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?
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.