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Old 03-13-2012, 01:01 PM
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Thumbs up Review: V-Moda M80 (on ear portable headphone)

V-Moda M80 (on ear portable headphone)


A very good looking headphone from a company that seems to care a lot about fashion on their designs. but who said good looking headphones cant sound good?


V-moda M80 and Eva Unit 001

First things first: If you just want the straight-to-the-point review and no blabbering, read only the blue bits and the picts


Accesories:
3 cables, an excellent hard carrying case known as exoskeleton, a clip to hel carry the bag, 3 cables and ¼ to 1/8 inches adapter. All this in a fancy hard cardboard box.


The good: exoskeleton case is so very awesome and useful and good looking. More cables than you’d need.
The nitpicks: none.
The bad: none. V-moda does not fool around giving you accessories.


Cables and plugs.

Build quality:
Two things come to my mind, tough and flexible. Headband flexes like few, I’ve manage to set it flat or twist it to the other side and cross the cups far from what seems normal.




The hinges that holds the cup is metal. And its hold with four screws per cup, the cup shell is plastic with a metal back plate.
The headband is some sort of fiber with a soft felt in the part where it touches the head. It looks very durable, but only time will tell.
The cables look well built, I have 3 cables in my package, one audio only (grey, 2 meters) , one with volume +/- and play/pause keys (black, 1.5 meters), and the other with mic (red, 1.5 meters), the audio only one soft and docile, the others two tend to become stiffy specially when twisted. The plug housing in all cables are minimalist, stylish, rubbery and flexible.

Physically, the attention to details by V-moda is remarkable. and I can throw this around with trust that it wont break, it can take the abuse, even more if you store it in the case, but I've been just trowing it inside my backpack, no case, no cover, Commando style!.

The good: flexibility in the headband, solid build, replaceable back plates. Detachable cord and you can use almost any cable extension (slightly jack only the massive plugs wont fit). It can take a lot of abuse.
The nitpicks: the cable from the cups to the headband could be held to the hinge to avoid it to pop up (the sony V6 prevent this with a clamp in the hinge holding the cable). 2 of the 3 the cables gets stiff and even more when twisted.
The bad: none.


Look:
Definitely stylish, not your standard rugged plain black headphone, but it doesn’t go as far as being pretentious either.
Body is mainly black (glossy or matte) with red bits here and there.




Bonus: V-Moda sells laser engraved custom plates for your M80, I send them this design (guess where is it from and win a cookie)


Comfort:
The headband is well padded and the clamping force is low, additionally the earpads are soft. All this sums up to have a very comfortable headphone. I can wear this for long listening sessions without a single problem.
After a while I forget the headphones are on, which is hard to achieve with an on ear headphone.

The good: top notch comfort. (your mileage may vary)
The nitpicks: none.
The bad: none.



Isolation:
Not the best, fair less than the Sennheiser HD25. I believe it might be due to the shape of the cups, oval shaped (hexagon) and the fact that they have vents in the back. It manage to block the high frequencies but creates some sort of tunnel like sound with the lower frequencies. I wouldn’t use it in a noisy environment, tried it at a football stadium and got distracted by the exterior’s noise every now and then.

It confuses me how V-moda advertises this in their website as “Noise isolating” and at the same time advertize the V-port technology.



Where sound/air goes out, sound/air comes in. right?

Edit: From V-Moda's owner himself I got the fact that this are semi-closed headphones, and it was made to gain some soundstage and bass, and it really works in that matter, covering the vents will end up in a different sound. at the end it was a good choice, at expenses of some isolation, you lose some you win some.

The good: block some noise.
The bad: Isolation could be better, not on par with HD25 and DT1350, but fairly more than open back headphones.



Sound:
Is you are expecting the M80 to sound the typical bass heavy fashion headphone, you’re in for a surprise, the midrange was the first thing that caught my attention.
I used this headphone right out of my Zune120, Cowon J3, ipod classic and clip+, also used iBasso D3 and Mini3 as amps but felt that the M80s doesn need the amplifier, it does well from the headphone out alone. but it does

Bass:
Not prominent, it isn’t as tight and detailed as other headphones like the DT1350 either, but enough as to know that the M80’s does not lack bass.
Extension is good enough as to perceive subbass when the track demands it.
They have punch, don’t hit as hard as the HD25, but definitely more punch and kick then the DT1350. you get the "bass is there" feeling but it doesnt dominates the sound.

Mids:
This is my favorite of the three. Very articulated, clear, fairly detailed and liquid. They make the HD25 mids sound recessed.
I’ve also being using the M80s to watch movies and listening poscasts, something I wouldn’t do with a headphone without articulated mids. These are responsible to make the M80 sound slightly bright, even at the lack of sparkling highs, maybe because the bump in the mid-high section of the FR graph.
The mids are perfect for vocals, specially female vocalist, piano and violins. like this:
Highs:
From the three ranges this is the one in the third place. See it this way, if you were to categorize the clearness, detail and how loud each range is, the highs would be in the background. I can safely say the highs feels tamed and lacks sparkle, without sounding dark.
This could be seen as an advantage considering that piercing and sibilance are out of the equation.

Sound signature:
I would say it’s a fun signature but not V shaped (oddly enough since V-moda seems to like to put a V in everything they made ) bass is not the priority, but you certain have decent amount of bass. Bassheads, you’ve been warned. The liquid, open and clear mids makes this headphone what it is, a pleasant non fatiguing portable headphone, specially good for vocal oriented music.


Soundstage:
The M80 offer more soundstage than one would expect from an ‘on ear portable’ as a Grado fanboy I have very little acknowledge about soundstage . I often get amazed at soundstage and how my beloved Grados lacks it. The M80 space doesn’t feel so cramped as the Sennheiser HD25, for my listening sessions, I’d compare the soundstage with the Beyerdynamic DT1350, or even a bit larger.

Separation and Details:
I find it to be very good, channel separation is very noticeable, which gives out a larger soundstage feeling, instrumental separation with heavy, faster and technical music (progressive metal) was good enough as not to feel cramped and neither lacking details.

Sound summary:
With the mids in the front row, the bass in the second and the highs behind them, the M80 offers a very different option from the two better known competitors, Sennheiser HD25 and Beyerdynamic DT1350.
I really enjoy the M80s, I like the fun yet different sound it makes, most fun headphones tend to be bassy and sparkly or recessed mids, the M80 defies that and the results are quite exciting. It was a pleasant surprise and I plan to use them a lot from now on, at expenses of the beyer DT1350, which was already getting little use next to the senn HD25.
A very welcome new option for those of us who believes that portable-fi should be about fun and comfort, after all I don’t want a clinical signature to analyze the music in a 30 minute trip or a 15 minute relax in between classes, I want to have fun and enjoy the music. The M80 does that for me, and plenty more, I’ve used this at the office for 2.5 hours straight without feeling tired at the sound or my ears hurt.


The good: Clear, liquid and articulated mids. Over average level of details, good soundstage, not overpowering bass. does not require amplification.
The nitpicks: None.
The bad: lack of sparkle, lack of extension in the upper levels.


Value:
I got this for free (on a give away, I'm lucky )and perhaps that and the fact that I like it makes me put a higher value rate.
But thinking as a potential customer, the actual MSPR from V-moda is $230, do I think its worth it? not really, but rarely a headphone worth its list price, none that I remember actually, audio stuff is just plain overpriced in general. And that is why street price exists. The actual price in amazon right now is 170$, I say it is very fair. .
Here’s the thing, it is a whole package, class A+ buld quality, very good sound, and the accessories, including the excellent exoskeleton case, it all sums up for a great portable.


Technical specs (from V-Moda's website):
Type: Supraaural (on-ear)
Speaker Drivers: 40mm.
Impedance: 28.5 Ohms
Frequency Response: 5 - 30,000 Hz
Sound Pressure Level: 105 dB
Weight: 180g (headphone only)

Size comparison:
The cups are hexagonal shaped, smaller than the HD25 and slightly bigger than the DT1350's.


Cup size comparison with the beyerdynamic DT1350


V-Moda M80 with clip+ and Zo2


Beyer DT1350, Senn HD25 and V-Moda M80

A few more pictures here

Pros: Many: Clear, articulated and fun sound, does not require amplification, superb build quality, great accessories, good looking, customisable, detachable cable.
Cons: Isolation could be better.


Hope this is useful to some one and hopefully I put enough picts to make it up for the lack of words .
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Last edited by Jörgemeister; 03-13-2012 at 03:25 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-14-2012, 07:04 AM
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Great review!!! Now I'm really pissed at myself for NOT buying them from Radio Shack, when I held them in my hand and passed on them for $99. These are now on the radar for me,...I gotta get a set.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:39 AM
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99$ ... woah that is some sweet deal, one does not simply... pass on a deal like that

I was at best buy like one year ago and they had a sennheiser HD25 open box and no bag or extra pads, the guy tells me "it has been on the counter for like 3 months for people to try it on, its on sale for 50$". I already had 1 pair but grabbed that asap. since then I have a replacement for my favorite on ear.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:16 AM
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Nice review! - http://anythingbutipod.com/2012/03/u...80-headphones/
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:25 AM
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The design is from the Hyrulian Shield found in most of the Legend of Zelda series.

NOW WHERE'S MY COOKIE?
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
woohoo! I made it to the front page, and the Eva 001 did too! thanks.

ps: it is not a full sized headphone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Some Guy View Post
The design is from the Hyrulian Shield found in most of the Legend of Zelda series.
NOW WHERE'S MY COOKIE?

PM me your address
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Last edited by Jörgemeister; 03-14-2012 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jörgemeister View Post
ps: it is not a full sized headphone
Well, supra-aural-ish, but still lots larger than, say, a PX100 or so. Looks full enough for me.
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jörgemeister View Post



The logo you talk about is Triforce. Each smaller triangle is the Triforce of Courage, triforce of Wisdom and the Triforce of power.

=)

Edit: Nevermind, saw someone else already answered you =(

Either way! Great review.
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:46 PM
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$99 at Radio Shack? Was that for a display model? Imo if these were priced at $99 all the time, they would probably be much more popular. At $230, or even $170, it seem quite pricey.

The frequency response chart of this seems rather flat. Is the sound better than on the Sony V6? The Sony V6 is back to $80 now. This has a replaceable cable, and comes with an extra cable.

At $100 or less for a new one, I might be interested in this. At over $100 though, I will pass on it.
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Old 03-14-2012, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JK98 View Post
$99 at Radio Shack? Was that for a display model? Imo if these were priced at $99 all the time, they would probably be much more popular. At $230, or even $170, it seem quite pricey.

The frequency response chart of this seems rather flat. Is the sound better than on the Sony V6? The Sony V6 is back to $80 now. This has a replaceable cable, and comes with an extra cable.

At $100 or less for a new one, I might be interested in this. At over $100 though, I will pass on it.
I think they were pricey at 230 usd indeed. but at 170 usd it is a fair price, considering you get cables and the case (i bough cases for most of my portables from slappa and they cost from 20 to 25 usd and are OK but the M80 case is a perfect fit and durable as a rock) also the build quality of the headphone is impressive.


M80 and V6 are very different in everything, the M80 is more enjoyable to my taste much more clarity and the details, plus the midrange sounds more realistic. V6 is full size and more comfortable than a headphone that rest on your ears.
both headphones seems to have top notch build quality and I know from personal experience el V6 can last decades, (my father had one).
but I cant honestly say for sure if there is a 100 usd difference between both or not.

for around the M80 actual price we have the HD25 basic edition (no extra pads, no case) and the M50 I think, I have the 3. And I would still pict the HD25, but having the M80 along with it makes for a good pair, you get variety. If I listened to mostly metal I'd pick the HD25. If i want something calmer I pick the M80.
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Old 03-14-2012, 04:24 PM
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I found a set, the LAST ONE, and I didn't buy it. Even my WIFE was pissed at me for THAT one. Oh, well, I guess I'll just have to wait for a nice sale on 'em.

And CONGRATS on the front page bro,...you earned it!!!
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:35 PM
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radio shack used to carry the LP2 at $99 and only very recently started carrying the M80. LP2 is the bigger of the two and has sloppier SQ. Because they have the same shape they are often confused for one another. So TDS, don't worry, it was probably the Lp2 and you probably dodged a bullet as the LP2 is generally considered underwhelming at $99.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:25 PM
whitenoise whitenoise is offline
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Thanks for the awesome review Jörgemeister!

I am currently looking for some portable headphones...your review may or may not have triggered this decision . After doing some research I got stuck as I face a difficult decision, should I get the V-moda m80, the aiaiai tma-1 or the HD25 1-ii??
-The m80 look awesome and are built like a tank but according to some they aren't that great for metal or other fast paced music, which is kind of a bummer.
-The aiaiai tma-1 got a lot of praise from dfkt, the only downside seems to be that they aren't that great for female vocals which doesn't bother me.
-Whereas the HD25 1-ii are regraded as "fun" earphones and many claim they are better for metal. However they seem to be quite sibilant.

I was hoping you could help me out or anyone that has experience with any of these headphones. Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDvsEGO View Post
radio shack used to carry the LP2 at $99 and only very recently started carrying the M80. LP2 is the bigger of the two and has sloppier SQ. Because they have the same shape they are often confused for one another. So TDS, don't worry, it was probably the Lp2 and you probably dodged a bullet as the LP2 is generally considered underwhelming at $99.
Actually, the LP2 is said to sound excellent - better than the flawed LP1. If they had the LP2 for $99 I'd have them already. I passed on the M80 because they're supra aural,... I didn't know I was making a booboo. But, if I EVER see the LP2 for $99 I'm jumping on them!!!
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitenoise View Post
Thanks for the awesome review Jörgemeister!

I am currently looking for some portable headphones...your review may or may not have triggered this decision . After doing some research I got stuck as I face a difficult decision, should I get the V-moda m80, the aiaiai tma-1 or the HD25 1-ii??
-The m80 look awesome and are built like a tank but according to some they aren't that great for metal or other fast paced music, which is kind of a bummer.
-The aiaiai tma-1 got a lot of praise from dfkt, the only downside seems to be that they aren't that great for female vocals which doesn't bother me.
-Whereas the HD25 1-ii are regraded as "fun" earphones and many claim they are better for metal. However they seem to be quite sibilant.

I was hoping you could help me out or anyone that has experience with any of these headphones. Thanks in advance.
Cant you get the 3? jk!

never heard the TMA1, and I think I never will, it is often reviewed as a dark sound, and I prefer the bright side.

I prefer the HD25 for metal, then hay more bass slam and more bass in general, guitars, listening to metal in the M80 gives me the impression of the sound being thin, but that can be easily fixed with a little eq or bass boost, I use them that way for metal out of my J3 and they works perfect. what player will you be using?

HD25 can be harsh on treble, and some people cant stand that, some of my friends included, specially if they are used to bassy headphones, and I cant find a way to make them less treble prominent with eq. but I dont really mind, I like that treble. but I like my metal energic and with lots of spark and slam.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:30 PM
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wow thanks for fast reply!
haha you are damn right i would get all 3 if i could
Before I forget I have a Cowon S9 and a pair of AKG k530 but i don't use them together, the k530 stay at home since they are too big for my liking to be walking around with. I use my Ortofon e-q5 or phonak PFE 112 with the S9.

What exactly is meant when the TMA1 are described as having a dark sound? As in cold? Or as in bassy? Both?

I am not a fan of harsh treble and sibilance, I spent a good few days trying to eq that out of my e-q5s. I tend to look for earphones/headphones that shine in clarity, accuracy and quality bass...haha not sure that helps. I guess I am leaning towards the TMA1s or the M80s which you described as very comfortable and "fun" sounding.
Thanks again for the help
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitenoise View Post
wow thanks for fast reply!
haha you are damn right i would get all 3 if i could
Before I forget I have a Cowon S9 and a pair of AKG k530 but i don't use them together, the k530 stay at home since they are too big for my liking to be walking around with. I use my Ortofon e-q5 or phonak PFE 112 with the S9.

What exactly is meant when the TMA1 are described as having a dark sound? As in cold? Or as in bassy? Both?

I am not a fan of harsh treble and sibilance, I spent a good few days trying to eq that out of my e-q5s. I tend to look for earphones/headphones that shine in clarity, accuracy and quality bass...haha not sure that helps. I guess I am leaning towards the TMA1s or the M80s which you described as very comfortable and "fun" sounding.
Thanks again for the help
dark is often refered as lack of treble and a lower tone or recesed mids, usually not good for vocal driven music, not necesarily bassy or bass prominent. but I havent tried the TMA1, perhaps dfkt can help you there.

the M80 is very clear and im sure S9 can pump its bass up a bit if you feel its lacking bass.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:55 PM
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Thanks and I read some more reviews on them and don't think I would like the dark sound of the TMA1. So I guess this brings it down to the v-moda m80s and HD25s. Which one is more comfortable? I have heard the HD25 have quite a strong clamp.
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:32 AM
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yes the HD25 clamps hard, it looses with time but still not a coomfortable as the M80. HD25 isolates a great deal more than the M80s because of that.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:44 PM
whitenoise whitenoise is offline
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okay so the sennheisers are down as well, I am pretty much sold on the m80s.
But I got one final concern, why do some claim the m80s can't handle complex and fast paced music? Several people on head-fi claim they can't keep up and get all murky. Whereas in your review you clearly oppose that view.

Last edited by whitenoise; 03-25-2012 at 08:45 AM.
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