With apologies to the folks at Apple-owned Beats, I think V-Moda makes some pretty nice headphones. I've been using a pair of custom Crossfade LPs for years, and the sound quality and comfort of the 'phones always makes me glad I've got 'em. Today I tried out a pair of the company's new XS On-Ear Headphones (US$212.00), a model that's made for the "Modern Audiophile." Are they better than the V-Moda Crossfade LPs? Let's give them a test.
- Driver: M-Class Dual Diaphragm 40mm
- Cable: 1-button SpeakEasy Mic cable, Kevlar-reinforced
- Warranty: 2 year + 50% "Immortal Life" warranty
- Dual inputs
- Cliq-fold design with Exoskeleton carrying case
- Sound character: Balanced, precision bas, vivid mids, crystal clear ultra wide highs, 3D sound stage
One thing you can say about V-Moda's headphones is that they are durable. In the three years or so that I've had my Crossfade LPs, I've dropped them countless times, smashed them into backpacks and suitcases, and they still look brand new.
Compared with the "over-ear" Crossfade LP, the XS headphones look tiny. They're made to ride on the ear, not to enclose it, so the ear cups are much smaller. The Steelflex headband is also not as wide as that on the Crossfade LP, and it's padded just as well as its bigger brother.
The XS comes in two colors -- matte black and white silver -- but audiophiles can customize the 'phones with metal shields that go on the ear cups in 14 different colors, 15 different designs, or you can send in your own design. The Kevlar-reinforced cables are orange, so you probably want to find a color that compliments that tone.
I love the little turtle-like Exoskeleton carrying cases that V-Moda provides, and the XS folds neatly into the case for secure carrying.
Enough talk about how they look; what about the sound quality and comfort? To make the call, I compared the XS headphones to the Crossfade LPs, listening to the same music on both pairs of headphones.
In terms of sound quality, I'd rank the XS headphones higher than the Crossfade LPs. The sound quality was solid across the range, with kicking bass tones and crisp highs. It didn't matter what genre of music I was listening to; the XS headphones gave me consistently better sound quality. Of course, sound is somewhat subjective, so your mileage may vary.
When it came to comfort, I think the XS headphones really stood out. I wasn't initially thrilled about the idea of on-ear headphones since I find the over-ear type to be very quiet. But having less weight to carry around really made the XS 'phones more comfy in the long run.
Wearing on-ear and over-ear headphones in public seems to have caught on, so if you're still stuck with your pair of earbuds, you need to stop. Spend the quid on some decent headphones like the V-Moda XS and you'll increase your listening pleasure for years.
The V-Moda XS headphone is the latest of the company's M-class series, which is aimed at modern audiophiles who appreciate what the best electronic equipment can do with sound reproduction. These headphones are incredibly comfortable and produce sound that will surprise and delight you.
Rating: 4 stars out of 4 stars possible