The Crossfade M-100 impresses the moment it leaves the box—and heck, even the box is impressive. It’s about half-the size of a typical headset box, with a smart, leather-like carrying handle. Tucked inside is a hard-shell carrying case complete with a clip it’s about the size of a grapefruit.
Out of the box
The Crossfade M-100 is clearly designed for travel, with hinged ear cups that fold inward into a compact ball of flexible steel and metal. The included cables—a mobile unified cable and a mic/stereo adapter cable—coiled neatly and fit inside taut, elastic straps inside the case. The tough case and the Crossfade’s flexible steel construction ensure the Crossfade M-100 is highly durable—certainly more so than most full-size headsets—and travel-ready. (Watch out for those steel hinges though—they pinch hard!)
The Crossfade M-100 is compatible with PC, Mobile devices, and the PS4/PS3/Vita out of the box. It’s also compatible with the Xbox One, but you’ll need to purchase the Xbox One stereo adapter ($25). A ¼” adapter, mobile cable+mic, and 3.5mm mic/stereo cable are included.
Drown out the world in comfort
Despite its steel construction, the Crossfade M-100 is light and provides outstanding comfort and (even better) excellent noise isolation. The M-100’s thick memory foam ear cushions do an excellent job of reducing external noise. I found the included ear cushions to be a little small for me, but you can buy optional ‘XL’ ear cushions for an additional $20. (These were included with the review unit and I highly recommend them if you like larger ear cups.)
I was a skeptical of the Crossfade’s M-100 comfort at first because the headband seemed thinly cushioned, and headphones with good noise isolation usually clamp onto your head with a vice-like grip (I’m looking at you, Turtle Beach XP7).
The Crossfade M-100 easily drowns out the din of air/train/bus travel, crying babies, etc. And that’s before you even start cranking the tunes and the Crossfade M-100 shows you its impressive audio performance (see below).
And the Crossfade M-100 never really got uncomfortable for me—at least not by itself. They did pinch my eyeglass frames into my head a bit, but I never found them painful or overly warm, even after listening to them for more than hour.
V-Moda Crossfade M-100 features and specifications
- 50mm Dual-Diaphragm Drivers (Patent Pending) designed to prevent bass from bleeding into the mids and highs.
- Frequency Response: 5 – 30,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 103 dB @ 1kHz 1mW
- Microphone Sensitivity: -42dB @ 1kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ω
- Weight: 280g
- Steel construction and internal components
- Analog Noise Isolation
- Steelflex headband
- Hinged, folding design
- Interchangeable metal ear plates (optional/not included). Ear plates can be customized with colored ear plates and even custom laser-etched logos.
- Dual inputs for connection sharing with another headset
- Hard shell form-fitting case with carabiner clip
- Memory foam cushions
- ¼” adapter
- 2-year warranty
Also included with review unit
- XL memory cushions ($20)
- Boom Pro Mic with inline remote clip ($30)
I first tested the Crossfade 100 with my LG G3 smartphone and listened to a variety of songs in different genres (hard rock, classical, etc.), just to get a sense of how it sounds. The Crossfade M-100’s superior noise isolation, strong bass, and excellent clarity quickly endeared them to me.
I could easily see these being my go-to headset for all music, movies, and games for travel and vacation. (I would probably use them—and certainly recommend them—as a primary desktop headset as well, although I prefer to use different headsets for travel and for my desktop.) I’m already clearing space for them in my travel bag for E3 2015. Sure, they take more room than ear buds and smaller headsets, but the sound quality and noise isolation are more than worth the extra space.
The M-100’s perform as well for gaming as they do for music and movies. Explosions are
big and ‘boomy’ and overall clarity is excellent.
The only (minor) downside is that the Crossfade M-100 doesn’t support surround sound, although given limited PC game support for 5.1/7.1 and the fact that headset surround sound is never as good as ‘the real thing’ (i.e. external speakers), this isn’t really a big issue. The M-100 also lacks common—but extraneous—gaming headset features such as LED lighting, or software-driven features like voice morphing and other soundscape effects (if any of those are important to you).
The included mobile-microphone actually does its job very well for phones or gaming, but if you want a more traditional boom-mic with an inline controller, you’ll need to purchase it. V-Moda included their Boom Pro microphone ($30), which is a flexible boom-mic attachment similar to what most gaming headsets come with.
And like the rest of the Crossfade M-100, the Boom Pro Mic is made of flexible steel. I can be crammed into the hard shell case with everything else, or you can make it fit a little better if you remove one of the included cables (the mic/stereo cable or the unified mobile cable).
An additional nice touch—especially for travelers—is that the Crossfade M-100 enables you to share a connection with another headset through a 3.5mm passthrough connector. This is very useful if you want to watch a movie on a plane with your kid, for example.
Overall: 9/10 – Highly Recommended
The V-Moda Crossfade M-100 delivers outstanding, pure, analog stereo audio in an extremely well-designed, eminently portable, and comfortable package. It’s one of the best headsets you can own and worth every penny of its admittedly steep $300 asking price (more if you opt for additional accessories). Regardless, it’s money well spent—especially with V-Moda’s 2-year warranty.