V-Moda's $299 Crossfade M-100 headphones look like a slightly larger version of those headphones, but they are vastly different — in a good way.
The strengths of the Crossfade M-100s are the weaknesses of the XS headphones: The latter, smaller product didn’t offer enough balance sitting on one’s head, or even just playing music — the bass was given too much priority, leaving mids and highs sounding way too drowned out.
The Crossfade M-100 headphones don’t have any of these problems: In fact, they might be the best-sounding pair of wired headphones I’ve ever worn. They sound better than many of the headphones on this list.
The sound quality and balance of the Crossfade M-100s is far improved over the XS headphones: Audio comes through crystal clear, and the bass doesn't drown out mids or highs, which sound super crisp and clear. Songs felt detailed and layered, and I got no sense of distortion in any of the music I tried listening to, no matter the genre. You won’t find better sound quality from a pair of wired headphones.
Unlike the on-ear XS headphones, which felt like they might fall off from too much head movement, the over-the-ear Crossfade M-100’s sat on my head with no problems. They’re also super portable: the cups can be folded in, and you can pack the headphones in a neat carrying case V-Moda gives you with your purchase.
There are a few issues worth noting, however: Business Insider's Jay Yarow noticed there was an unpleasant scratching sound whenever the headphone wire bristled against his jacket, and it's true, it's there. For some reason, the headphone's wires create an annoying scratching noise whenever they rub up against anything, especially towards the top of the cord. While walking, or on a windy day, this can definitely affect your listening experience.
I had no issues with overall comfort, but Jay said the headphones felt a bit uncomfortable after wearing them for a long time, despite the padded headband. Still, he says the V-Moda product sounds better than his Beats Solo2 headphones, and I'd argue they're even a little better than Audio Technica's bestselling ATH-M50 headphones.
In all, there’s a lot to love about the Crossfade M-100s. The soundstage is truly spectacular — deep and yet so sharp — and the physical design is durable, attractive, and super portable for a pair of wired headphones. Hopefully V-Moda figures out how to make sure its wires don’t create unwanted noise just by making contact with an object, but if you’re mostly using these headphones while sitting, you won’t notice any issues. These are special headphones sure to please audiophiles and wow any casual listeners.