On a near-daily basis, I have to significantly lower the volume of a show, movie, or game in order to not affect those around me. My wife and I work at home, we home-school, and we all share an office. This means that audio is a privilege, not a right. Having fun and getting the best experience from entertainment has to come second to everyone else’s need for a productive environment. I’ve tried many noise isolation earphones over the years, with varying levels of success. I’ve been looking for a game-changer for years, and I’ve finally put my hands on one: The Crossfade M-100 by V-MODA.
The M-100 comes stacked up with a pile of features, which at first felt like overkill, but have proven to be invaluable. The best example of this is the Kevlar-protected audio cable. Why would I need military grade protection for my audio cable? I’m used to babying my rubber cables, keeping a stash of Sugru at the ready, in case of reparable damage. The first time I accidentally closed the cable in a drawer, thought “welp, that’s that – Sugru isn’t going to stick to fabric.” I removed the cable, noting that it had pinched in the hardware of the sliding mechanism. There was zero damage.
Elated, I grabbed the packaging, and flipped through the information, looking for details. Unable to find them, I brought up the website, and went through the specs. The audio cables are guaranteed over a million folds in the cable! The cable has also proven to be impervious to adventurous kitten teeth. The icing on the cake? The cables are replaceable, and come in several styles. The default is a cable with a simple mic about three inches down the cable. Also included is a SharePlay cable, which has an audio-port splitter built in. Both earcups feature ports, meaning you can plug your audio into either ear, and can even daisy-chain other audio into your ears at the same time!
If the built-in mic isn’t sophisticated enough for your needs, you can use the BoomPro microphone with a flexible boom mic. A clip secures the mic to your shirt, and a mute button and volume controls directly on the cable improve usability. This accessory is my favorite for Skype and podcasting.
The output is amazing. Superior noise isolation translates into a fun trick; my family doesn’t even know I’m listening to music unless they can see an interface on my screen. Even standing right next to me, Jenny can’t hear my (obnoxiously loud) audio, which has brought smiles all the way around our home. Metal plates on the outside of the earcups provide a neat way to personalize your gear, but also provide an extra layer of noise reduction. The earcups fit easily around (not over) my wife’s ears, and completely cover my ears.
Unfortunately, I have big, dude-sized ears, meaning the default earcups don’t quite surround my ears the same way. Again, V-MODA has a fix: XL memory cushions, another amazing accessory. These cushions are easy to install (they just snap in), and feel like heaven over my ears. The shape and quality are great enough that I cannot hear the crickets outside if I put them on, even if I have no audio playing!
Now, let’s get to the audio itself. The speakers feature a 50mm dual-diaphragm driver. Separate rings keep the bass from leaking into the highs and lows, creating a dynamic sound that feels immersive and realistic. With unmatched clarity, I can hear the snappy sound of hi-hats that normally get lost using other headsets. This clean sound comes without need for batteries for artificial processing, making the earcups lighter and less high-maintenance.
The M-100 comes in a stylish carrying case, with almost zero branding compared to similar cases such as Beats by Dre. The case includes small storage units inside, allowing users to store the cables separate from the unit, protecting the jacks.
The only con on my list? The $310 price-tag. Totally worth it, but dang. The M-100 delivers for every penny spent, and would probably outlive mammals in an apocalypse. There’s no denying that an M-100 would be an investment, but I swear by them, top to bottom. The BoomPro rings up at $30, and the XL earcup cushions come in at $20. The setup I’m rocking costs a total of $360, but stands up to the cost, and will last a lifetime.
Now, the part you’ve been waiting for! V-MODA has teamed up with us to do a giveaway for a lucky GeekDad reader! Enter to win a $310 Crossfade M-100 unit!
Good luck, everyone!
Disclaimer: V-Moda provided a review unit for the purposes of this review.