Built tough, great range, great for gaming, sexy ad campaigns and an Editors’ Choice winner. The V-Moda XS on-ear headphones are yet another solid pair of headphones for those looking for something to wrap around their ears. This pair will excite the ears of a gamer more than anything, yet satisfy those looking for something mobile to carry around with their phone.
Although they don’t cross the line of audiophile quality, the XS prove to still pack a solid range of sound and crisp high ends. Bass response is slightly above average but sounds good and they can deliver a lot of volume before any distortion sets in (which hopefully most people won’t experience as that’s just way too loud).
Listening to music was pleasing with these phones, outside of a few tracks that seemed a little exhausting due to how bright these can get. The bass is enjoyable while listening to some dubstep samples, without rattling your brain around like you would a pair of Kicker or Beats.
They performed ok with movies. Some scenes sounded a little brighter than they need to be while others sounded just fine. There is definitely more focus on the upper frequencies with these.
Using these while playing Battlefield 4 for a gaming test spin however, they provided excellent levels and accurate presentation of the sounds around you. This made playing a lot of fun, and they do a decent job of blocking out the outside noises around you as you do so.
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They claim to offer noise cancellation, which seems mostly due to the memory foam they use. You are not going to get the same as you would a powered noise-canceling pair of headphones like the Bose, but their isolation is still noticeable and helpful.
They are built tough. Mostly constructed of metal, immediately out of the case they feel like something you just grabbed out of an ammo case. Even with the metal construction though, they are still light in weight and feel good on the head. V-Moda seems to have found a perfect balance.
V-Moda states that the XS has been fully tested to military-level MIL-STD-810G quality standards through a series of tests that includes drops to concrete, flat flexing of the metal band, kevlar-reinforced cable and harsh weather conditions and UV activity.
The headphones are available in both white and black, but the outer metal “shields” on the ears can be customized multiple ways by either swapping them out with other colors (sold separately) or sending them into V-Moda for custom laser etching (for an additional cost). They can also etch them if ordered through V-Moda directly (still an additional cost). They can be removed via a series of small screws.
They pack down nicely to fit into a small semi-hard shell case (with a carabiner attached to it), consuming very little room. This is great if you’d like to toss them into a bag or purse. Giant points for mobile-friendliness.
There are dual (2) inputs for the headphones. One is already open and waiting and the other ear has additional input for either inserting the optional boom mic (for enhanced voice communication in games, skype, etc) or SharePlay (used for sharing your source with another listener’s headphones). Both optional cables are sold separately and are kind of pricey.
They come with the carrying case and the kevlar reinforced cable with inline controls and mic. You do not need the optional boom mic, as it is only for added enjoyment while using the headphones (as mentioned) for gaming, skype and so forth. The cable that comes with it (with in-line controls) offers a built-in mic for general phone communications.
The small plastic piece mentioned in the video is for sliding into the slot where the cables plug into the headphones. The only use for this is a spare in case you lose the one that already comes inserted into the second input (for when you are not using the input, to protect it…from…dust and…whatever it is that you may for some reason want to protect it from).
These headphones feel solid. There is no doubt they are built tough, and they sound pretty good. They aren’t perfect, and we don’t like them better than the Sennheisers we recently reviewed, but they (V-Moda XS) are marketed to a slightly different crowd as well (mostly the gaming community) and still sound terrific. They are built to last a very long time, and great for mobile travel. We decided to give them an 8 out of 10 along with our Editors’ Choice award. The price is a little high for what they are, but they are also slightly balanced by build-quality.
- Type – On-Ear Supra-aural
- Drivers – 40mm Dual-Diaphragm High Fidelity (patent pending)
- Frequency Response – 5 – 30,000 Hz
- Sensitivity – 105dB @ 1kHz 1mW
- Microphone Sensitivity – -42dB @ 1kHz
- Impedance – 28.5?
- Weight – 195g (headphone only)
- Plug – 45 degree, 24k gold-plated 3.5mm (1/8″) stereo
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