Hardware Review: V-Moda Crossfade M-100

For a gamer, dropping $300 on a headset is a hard sell. Why go for something so high-end when any old $50 headset will do the job? Because sometimes, going higher-end is a long-term investment that pays off.

The inception of V-Moda’s Crossfade M-100 headset is a story in crowdsourcing. Over 200 audiophiles, editors, artists, DJs and Grammy-winning musicians collaborated for years on the tuning and features, going through hundreds of prototypes. The results speak for themselves.

Aesthetically, the M-100′s “inspired in Italy, styled in Hollywood” design is evident from the packaging, to the case, to the headset itself. Sleek angles, red velvet, and stylized accents all come together to provide a look not unlike the headset equivalent of a Ferrari. You even have the option to customize the M-100 by interchanging the “shield” side panels on the ear cups with different colors, designs, or custom laser engravings.

While the M-100 may have the look of a Ferrari, it has the durability of a tank. You’ll find no fragile plastic bits — metal is used in all the important stress points. There are no flimsy cables to worry about, either. The M-100 comes with two rugged braided cables; one with a simple mic, the other with a “SharePlay” attachment that allows you to plug in a second headset or a set of earphones so that a friend can listen in as well. A jack on each ear cup allows you to choose on which side you want the cable to be.

An innovative hinge system seems to defy the laws of physics by allowing the headset and its cables to fold up and fit into a compact, portable case, which comes with a handy carabiner.

In fact, V-MODA has so much faith in the M-100′s durability that the headset comes with a two-year warranty and an “immortal life program.” This basically means that if the headset does break down at any time after the warranty expires, you’ll get 50 percent off a replacement.

As can be expected from an audiophile headset, the sound quality of the M-100 is fantastic. The bass is deep and the sound is full, without any signs of the tinny quality characteristic of cheap headphones. Further, the circumaural design does a fair job of blocking out ambient sound and preventing what you hear from bleeding out and disturbing people around you. Once the ear cups take the form of your head — which doesn’t take long at all — the M-100 is comfortable to wear, if a little on the heavy side. But that’s the price to pay for durable metal over cheap plastic — this headset won’t snap in half if you take it off too roughly.

I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the BoomPro microphone attachment (sold separately as a $30 accessory). This is an important factor for me, and I’ve returned a number of headsets in the past due to their mic quality alone. But the BoomPro delivers clean, un-muffled voice output with minimal background noise. As far as headset mics go, I’d say the BoomPro ranks up there with the best, which makes the M-100 a great headset for streamers and casters that don’t opt for a desk-mounted mic.

If there’s one downside to the M-100, it’s the price. At $310, cost is definitely a factor. For the gamer on a budget, I find it difficult to recommend the M-100, which leans much more toward being an audiophile headset. However, I know a number of gamers who have spent at least that much on a series of headsets over the course of a couple of years, due to them either being unsatisfied with the quality or, more often, due to the headset breaking. If you find yourself going through more than one headset a year, the M-100 may just be the right investment for you, given its military-grade durability and great warranty. If you’re a gamer and an audiophile, then the M-100 is an even easier recommendation.

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