V-MODA XS On-Ear Headphones Review
Overview: V-Moda has just released a brand new headphone addition to their premium headphone lineup called the V-MODA XS. The V-MODA XS on-ear headphones sport a very sleek and slender design which also folds into a very compact package for easy transport and storage thanks to the all-metal Cliqfold hinges also found on the popular V-MODA M-100's. Check out our review to see if they can live up to the M-100's high standards.
Review Video & Demo
Setup & First Impressions
V-MODA has been delivering some of my personal favorite DJ headphones to date and I’ve been using the Crossfade M-100’s in the DJbooth for performances and for all around listening needs on my laptop and smartphone. None of the V-MODA headphones have ever let me down and they can hold up to lots of abuse. The new V-MODA XS headphones have an on-the-ear 40-mm driver design similar to the V-80/M-80 models that we reviewed a few years ago found here. The Crossfade LP2’s and M-100’s are very similar, with an over the ear design (50mm drivers) which have slightly bigger sound and better isolation. Check out our Crossfade M-100 and Crossfade LP2 reviews for additional reference since the overall shape and aesthetics are similar. If you take a quick glance, you may not even notice the differences between the M-80 and the new XS, but when you break them down inch-by-inch you start to see some of the differences and refinements that have been made with the sleeker XS headphones.
Like the all of the V-MODA professional headphones, the new XS are designed with extremely high-quality build standards in mind. The V-MODA XS takes a lot of its design from the original on-ear M-80/V-80’s to deliver a sleeker profile when on the head and adds the new Cliqfold hinge that now gives the user an option to fold the headphones into a smaller form factor for easy transport and storage. The V-MODA XS come in two base colors including Matte Black and White-Silver (reviewed). The matte black is completely blacked-out in every area with the white and silver models sporting a nice and clean look throughout. Like all other V-MODA headphones, the XS look great by themselves and they have a nice overall aesthetic to them with interchangeable earcup shields for complete and personal customization. They have removable metal faceplates on each earcup that can be replaced with other designs or custom logos (sold separately) available on the V-MODA website. All you have to do is go to the V-MODA website and upload your image or post your text and they’ll make you some custom shields to set yours apart from the rest.
The V-MODA XS are mostly made out of metal with some plastic thrown in to keep the weight down. Just as with other Professional V-MODA headphones, they feel nearly indestructible. There is some plastic in design to save on weight, but the shields, Frame, and headband all have steel reinforcements meaning they’ll withstand abuse for years to come. The top of the Headband can bend and flex in ways I did not think was possible, while the actual sides that connect to the earcups (a common point of headphone failure) are all metal and built to last. The all metal horse-shoe shaped bracket that actually holds the earcup now has a Cliqfold (centerfold) metal hinge that allows the headphones to fold. I’m extremely happy to see that this folding hinge section is all-metal and has a locking-click to them when they are extended or folded into their final position. This is the same hinge system that is used in the V-MODA M-100’s and professionals everywhere are loving them. One of the only gripes that I had with the V-80/M-80’s was that we could not fold them down into a smaller form factor. V-MODA listened to the people with this complaint and has now changed the design to accommodate traveling users. The padding on the headband is about an inch or so thick and provides good cushion for long performances or extended usage. The underside of the headband is lined with a “jersey” style material that won’t easily absorb sweat during those heated performances.
The earcups themselves are on-the-ear style 40mm drivers which were big enough to sit comfortably on my ears. It seems like the same exact drivers from the V-80/M-80 were used for these headphones since they sport the same size and the same sound characteristics as these. The XS headphones are on-the-ear in design which only did an acceptable job of isolating the outside sounds from interfering with my monitoring needs. Over the ear LP2’s and M-100’s handle the isolation and leakage concerns much better, but the XS headphone isolation was definitely good enough to DJ with. The memory foam in the earpads is very comfortable and they are fully user replaceable. So if the earpads ever wear out or get damaged, replacements can be obtained directly through V-MODA. The earpads are really soft and plush with a leather covering surface. These headphones are very comfortable.
The V-MODA XS headphones are also very sleek when they are on the head. The angle of the cliqfold hinge and the way the headband meets the earcups make these headphones extremely low in profile when they are on the head. They are definitely smaller on the head when comparing them to their non-folding V-80/M-80 counterpart. This is really good for those who want an understated look when they are in the DJbooth or out and about.
The monitoring volume handling of the V-MODA XS is very high with crisp and clear sound throughout. The XS come with a very small and compact hard carry case called the Exoskeleton Case which provided more than enough protection for these cool headphones while also looking stylish and small in the process. There isn’t much room for anything else, but you could easily store the headphones, the cable, and a flash drive with ease.
The V-MODA XS headphones also comes with a Kevlar reinforced cable that is built to last for the lifetime of the headphones (or more). The Grey Kevlar cable has a “one-button” remote and Microphone built-in for smartphone usage. The XS headphones are aimed towards the average consumers so they don’t come with a quarter-inch adapter to connect to other devices such as mixers and controllers. At the bottom of each earcup there is an 1/8th-inch output connector so that users have a choice of which earcup they want to plug in their audio source and they can also now daisy-chain additional headphones to the free/open 1/8th-inch port. This is a really cool feature that will allow DJ’s to share the monitoring experience or for casual users to share whatever they are listening to with a nearby friend.
The Sound quality of the V-MODA XS Professional headphones was great. From what I could gather, the XS and the V-80/M-80 headphones have the same 40mm driver with the same 5-30k Hz response range, so the sound characteristics also remain the same. The highs were very crisp and the lows were heavy and punchy. The levels of the lows, mids, and highs don’t drown out one another nor did I hear any bleed through of the highs over into the lows or vice-versa. The 40mm drivers were adequate enough to produce deep bass without crazy distortion. There isn’t any real bass rumbling like some other over-the-ear model headphones, but they do exhibit a sense of deep bass without the crazy vibrations. Even at high volumes, distortion was basically non-existent. They deliver excellent 3D quality sound all around, with adequate isolation and leakage protection as well.
Conclusion / Recommended For
The new V-MODA XS headphones are a great and high-quality set of headphones for both inside and outside the DJ booth. The XS have a rock-solid Durable Metal (Steel-Frame) construction with the new Cliqfold metal hinge design for easy transport and storage. The XS are very sleek, lightweight, and comfortable while providing great sound with adequate “on-ear” sound isolation and leakage properties. Just as with the M-100’s, the new XS has dual inputs so users can daisy-chain additional headphones for share-play and they also have replaceable metal faceplates to customize the style and color of the headphones.
The only minor gripes that I could find with the headphones is that the XS don’t have the 360-degree swivel that some DJ’s use for their monitoring style, but this will only pertain to certain DJ’s who must-have this “one-ear-off/one-ear-on” feature. The other minor gripe with the XS is that they don’t come with a quarter-inch adapter for professional mixer/controller users.
Other than these minor issues, I am going to recommend the new V-MODA XS Professional Headphones to any DJ who wants a sleek and lightweight set of on-ear headphones for their monitoring experience that they can use for DJ booth performances and for general all-around listening needs on any device. So if you are in the market for an on-the-ear style headphone, then be sure to check out the V-MODA XS before making your decision…
Pros & Cons
- Durable Metal (Steel-Frame) Construction Built to Last
- Metal CLIQFOLD Hinge design for Easy Transport & Storage
- Sleek, Lightweight, & Comfortable When In Use
- Great Sound Quality with Adequate Sound Isolation/Leakage
- Dual Inputs to Daisy-Chain Additional Headphones for Share-Play
- No 360-degree Swivel point
- Quarter-Inch adapter Not Included
Written by djblaze on 05/7/14
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