The "shields" on the outside of these headphones can be customized with a variety of colored metals, including gold if you want that bling look. The customization can also extend to a number of different engraved designs, or you can upload your own design for a truly one-of-a-kind design.
Your cable can be plugged into either the left or right side of the headphones depending on your personal choice, and V-Moda thoughtfully provides small plugs to fill the open socket.
The M-100 is supposed to be less bulky than the Crossfade LP or LP2, but the only difference appears to be on the amount of padding used on the earcups. The earcups click into place when you unfold the 'phones, attached to something V-Moda calls "cliqhinges."
The M-100s are very comfortable, even for those who wear glasses. I spent about an hour listening to music and they didn't cause any discomfort during that entire time -- even on my big head. You don't need to worry about dropping your M-100s, either -- they're "Tested Beyond Military-Level Quality MIL-STD-810G Test Standards" according to V-Moda.
You'll note that I referred to the M-100 as a noise-isolating headphone in the intro paragraph. That's because it does not use digital noise-cancellation technology to block out exterior sounds. Instead, those sounds are merely deadened by the ear cups. The quiet environment that I'm in is at about 43 dBA, and without music playing I could easily hear wind noise, cars driving by, etc... However, crank up the music to a tolerably loud level, and all of the background noise fades away.
I have to admit that the sound quality of the M-100 headphones is remarkably full across the entire frequency range. Bass lines thump along clearly, while high-frequency tones are crisply rendered. Although I'm sure these are designed for use listening to more modern music, my testing covered the range from classical to alternative and everything sounded great. In many cases, I felt like I was in a good-sized concert hall or room -- the sound presence was "big".
Who is it for?
Anyone who wants audiophile-class sound reproduction in an attractive, comfortable, and customizable pair of headphones
Able Planet Musicians' Choice Stereo Headphones
Now let's take a look at a headphone at the other end of the price spectrum. Able Planet makes some of the nicest noise-canceling headphones I've had the pleasure to listen to, so I was intrigued to hear that the company has come out with a line called "Musicians' Choice" that is much more affordable than the higher-end "Clear Harmony" and "True Fidelity" line.
The headphones I tested were not noise-canceling or even noise-isolating, yet I found that they did a remarkably good job of blocking outside sounds. I was listening to music while someone ran a vacuum cleaner right near my desk, and I was surprised with how well that sound was muffled. There's one removable cable that is shipped with the Musicians' Choice headphone, outfitted with an inline volume control wheel. Rather than the fancy-schmancy hard case you get with those V-Modas, you get a drawstring bag to carry your headphones in.
Style-wise, these are rather plain-Jane headphones featuring a circular earcup design. Since ears aren't necessarily round, I found that the earcups tended to mash into my ears and were less tolerable for long-time wear than other headphones I've used. The earcups are held together by a lightly-padded polycarbonate band that flexes to fit your head, and the cups can be adjusted up or down on each side. The earcups come in nine different finishes, so you'll be able to find one that matches your personal style. I went for a bright green pair just for the heck of it.