V-Moda M-200 assessment: Studio cans with surgical precision

“Capable of reveal particulars that lesser headphones miss, the M-200 are wired winners.”

Extremely detailed and exact sound

Mids and highs are extremely clear

Prime-notch supplies

Very comfy

Balanced audio cable and enter

Restrained bass response

Flat EQ received’t be to everybody’s liking

Earcups could crowd bigger ears

-Moda M-200It’s been seven years since we received our fingers and ears on V-Moda’s $310 M-100 Crossfade headphones. On the time, the comparatively new audio model impressed us with the M-100’s mixture of killer appears to be like and high-end audio chops.

Now, the corporate is again with its follow-up, the $350 M-200. Can the brand new child on the block nonetheless earn our reward though most new headphones at this value are actually wi-fi, and the unique M-100 are all the way down to $250?

Time to seek out out.

Design

Headphone design is a difficult enterprise. You’ve received to steadiness consolation, portability, weight, ergonomics, type, and naturally, audio efficiency. The V-Moda M-200 rating extremely in all, with only some minor quibbles.

Supplies and workmanship are glorious. The M-200 mix strong metallic earcup pivots and hinges with tender and supple artificial leather-based.

The ear cushions connect to the earcup magnetically, which can make changing them a snap when that day ultimately comes. In contrast to many headphones I’ve tried, the cushions really feel simply advantageous whether or not you put on them with eyeglasses or not.

Consolation, portability, weight, ergonomics, type, and naturally, audio efficiency. The M-200 rating extremely in all.

The “FlexSteel” headband — because the identify suggests — may be twisted far sufficient to allow you to use the headphones one earcup at a time for fast monitoring or DJing, but it maintains its form when used usually.

I didn’t use the M-200 for months upon months, so I can’t attest to how a lot abuse they’ll take, however their construct high quality evokes plenty of confidence.

Although barely heavier than another high-end headphones at simply over 10 ounces, the M-200 really feel completely balanced as soon as they’re in your head. Between the agency however comfy clamping pressure exerted by the headscarf and the match of the earcups, there’s nearly no motion in any respect. I wouldn’t rush out to go jogging with these puppies on, however you definitely may.

These with smaller heads could discover the headscarf’s minimal dimension a tad too giant. I wore them this fashion they usually had been excellent for me — however solely simply.

As comfy as I discovered them, in case your ears have a tendency to stand out from your head, you might discover you’re conscious of them touching the internal lining resulting from a really shallow house between the cushions and the internal floor. Lower than a half-inch separates the perimeters of your head and the interior grille that protects the motive force. Some headphones, like Sony’s WH-1000XM3, have three-quarters of an inch or extra, which provides a a lot roomier really feel.

My solely minor critique of the M-200’s design is their lack of a sideways rotating hinge for the earcups. Due to this, there’s no technique to lay them flat when worn across the neck, making for a considerably uncomfortable expertise. These impressively skinny metallic earcup pivots really sat proper on my collarbones and I couldn’t go away them there for quite a lot of minutes.

Connections and cables

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

As a set of wired headphones, you received’t discover any buttons, switches, or contact controls on the M-200. Two three.5mm ports on the backside of every earcup are the one interruptions to what’s in any other case a really clear look.

The left port is supposed for the standard headphone jack (one thing that’s turning into laborious to seek out on smartphones these day), whereas the proper port is reserved for individuals who have entry to a balanced stereo output.

Balanced outputs are even rarer within the private audio world, however are fairly frequent amongst audiophile-grade gear and in skilled studio environments. They’re prized for his or her near-complete elimination of interference from one channel to a different, one thing that very discerning listeners declare they discover in unbalanced headphones.

What’s spectacular in regards to the M-200’s balanced audio design is that it not solely makes use of a single cable but in addition a single enter — most balanced headphones find yourself splitting their balanced cables into left and proper connections.

V-Moda contains each a balanced cable, in addition to the extra typical unbalanced stereo cable, which comes with an inline mic and a single-button distant for dealing with cellphone calls and play/pause options on most smartphones.

A customized look

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Out of the field, the M-200 look incredible in my view. Designing headphones that don’t appear to be they’re making an attempt to swallow your head is tough — particularly after they’re an over-ear mannequin.

These candy aesthetics may be enhanced together with your selection of swappable metallic “shields.”

And but, the M-200 are smooth and low-profile, due to the hexagonal form of the earcup outer shells and the metallic pivots, which seamlessly proceed the arc of the headscarf.

These candy aesthetics may be enhanced together with your selection of swappable metallic “shields” (the very outer panel of the earcups). These add to the M-200’s value, however in order for you your headphones to be a mirrored image of your private type, it’s $30 nicely spent, and the choices are virtually limitless.

V-Moda kindly despatched us a set of customized Digital Developments shields for our assessment — customized logos are but an alternative choice.

Portability

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

As a result of the M-200’s earcups don’t swivel, the included hard-shell journey case has turtle-like proportions to permit for the additional top. The ensuing bulbous form goes to be laborious for most individuals to comfortably stick in a backpack or laptop computer bag, so V-Moda features a carabiner that permits you to clip the carry case to the skin of your bag.

Regardless of the marginally awkward form, the case is definitely fairly small, and the M-200 carry out an admirable job of folding into the tight house whereas nonetheless leaving room for each cables. An inner pouch for cable adapters would have been a pleasant contact — particularly because you’ll must convey one alongside until your smartphone occurs to have a headphone jack — however alas, your adapters might want to float freely in the primary cavity.

Sound high quality

One of the simplest ways to explain the M-200’s sound signature is “scalpel-sharp.” The sheer quantity of element they’re able to render is astonishing, particularly within the mids and highs, which generally find yourself competing with each other in lesser headphones.

Not so with the M-200, which create a separation of frequencies that permit every instrument and every voice to be appreciated to the fullest.

As with the M-100, this precision can at occasions be achingly shiny. My smartphone’s quantity management wasn’t nuanced sufficient as I attempted to seek out the proper steadiness of amplification that might let me benefit from the M-200’s very good definition with out inflicting ache.

Sadly for these hoping for a repeat of the M-100’s spectacular bass-forward stance, the M-200 have a restrained low-end, ensuing within the “flat” EQ that’s so valued by audiophiles and professionals. However many people who don’t fall into these classes could also be unprepared for the M-200’s correspondingly mild bass response.

The sheer quantity of element they’re capable of render is astonishing, particularly within the mids and highs.

Even on tracks that go to nice lengths to create low-end you’ll be able to really feel in your chest, like my go-to Growth Growth Pow by the Black Eyed Peas and Hans Zimmer’s Time, the M-200 take a restrained method to bass, favoring nuance over energy.

It may be scrumptious: This steadiness brings out all the great thing about an acoustic guitar on a observe like Highway Trippin’ by the Purple Sizzling Chili Peppers, and full-orchestra classical items are a pleasure, particularly when you like nothing higher than selecting out your favourite instrument.

However it can be disconcerting: This degree of purity has a level of assault that these used to an adjusted EQ, like the type that makes an attempt to heat up the sound, will discover disagreeable at occasions.

When describing a headphone’s soundstage — the imaginary house during which the music performs — we frequently use phrases like “vast” or “immersive.” However as soon as once more, the M-200’s distinctive traits evoke a distinct set of adjectives. The location of musical parts is remarkably exact. Whereas listening to tracks that I’ve heard dozens, if not lots of, of occasions, I discovered myself all of a sudden conscious of subtleties — like a backing vocal or a light-weight use of a tambourine — in a approach I hadn’t been earlier than.

To be clear, it’s not that I used to be unaware of those parts. However the M-200 allow them to occupy such a clearly outlined house on the soundstage, it felt as if I may flip in my seat and truly see the instrument or vocal in query. For those who’ve by no means heard this degree of precision earlier than, it’s assured to convey a smile to your face.

Our take

Granted, $350 is lots to drop on a set of headphones that aren’t wi-fi and don’t have energetic noise cancellation. However for individuals who search sonic perfection, the V-Moda M-200 ship a virtuoso efficiency for lots of of dollars lower than different audiophile choices.

Is there a greater various?

Discovering a set of audiophile headphones with a balanced audio enter may be shockingly costly, making the M-200 a extremely accessible mannequin with this characteristic. As such, it’s in a category of its personal.

For those who dig every part in regards to the M-200, however you’re frightened that their flat EQ may not be to your style, look no additional than V-Moda’s personal M-100 Crossfade, or M-100 Crossfade Grasp. They lack the balanced enter, however you’ll discover the sound hotter, the costs extra inexpensive, and the designs nearly similar, together with the customized protect choice.

How lengthy will they final?

The V-Moda M-200 include a really beneficiant two-year guarantee, however the firm additionally gives what it calls its “Immortal Life Substitute Program,” which offers reductions on new V-Moda merchandise ought to the M-200 fail after the guarantee interval.

That’s a pleasant security internet, however given their very good development, I doubt you’ll want it.

Do you have to purchase them?

Sure. So long as what you’re after is supreme audio precision in a cushty and classy set of wired cans, the M-200 are assured to fulfill.

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