Military Grade Construction
Superb Sound For $200 Dollars
Replaceable On-Ear Shields
V-Moda Buy Back Program
Highs Could Sound Better
Ear Cups May Be A bit Small for Larger Ears
Microphone Picks up a large Amount of Ambient Sound
No Volume Control From Control Module
What’s In The Box?
V-Moda is known their excellent presentation of their boxes and the XS does not disappoint. The box uses a great color pattern and also a very nice design to display its features.
Inside you will find the following:
- XS Headphones
- XS Exoskeleton hard carry case
- Kevlar reinforced SpeakEasyTM Microphone control cable
- V-CORK (2)
- V-MODA Six Star service
- V-MODA Sticker
Build & Design
The V-Moda XS is a lightweight and head-conforming pair of over the ear headphones, built with Military Grade construction, allowing for more than 1 million cable bends and up to 10 flat bends. And when they say Military Grade construction they mean it, they were tested using the MIL-STD-S10G standard. Now, I’m not sure what that means exactly, but rest assured that these will stand the test of time. Even if they don’t for some reason, V-Moda provides a 2-year Warranty. Beyond that they have a buy back program, where you can trade your no longer working V-Modas for up to 50% off a new pair.
The headphones collapse down and this gives you a nice click. The headphones collapse to the point where they can fit into the palm of your hand, which is significant for headphones of this construction. Each earcup has a replaceable metal plate on it, which is cleverly called On-Ear Shields. They are customizable and replaceable. When purchasing the headphones you can submit your own image to have engraved. The headband is soft, but under the soft exterior there is a steel band on the inside. Each earcup has a visible wire going into the headband. The wire is covered Kevlar and it does a great job at staying out of the way.
Above each earcup you will find the V-Moda logo in orange and also the markings that displays which what side of earcup you are looking at. The color scheme is black with a subtle hint of orange which is simplistic, but it works.
With the headphones only weighing 6.7 oz or 190g and being able to collapse down to the size of my palm, these headphones are extremely portable. The XS Exoskeleton hard carry case that it comes with has a spot for the cord, and also a clip so you can snap it on to your bag, belt or whatever you like. This makes taking the XS’s with you on the go easy, and something that does not require much planning.
You quickly forget you are wearing headphones. I’ve worn these headphones for over 4 hours at a time. Each time I did not have fatigue like I normally do with over the ear headphones. Mainly due to the light weight, and also due to the highs being a bit soft. More on this in the Sound Quality section.
The V-Moda XS’s SpeakEasy cable feels sturdy and I have no worries that the cable will withstand the test of time. I’ve been known to roll over my headphone cables with my computer chair and I’ve ruined some pretty expensive audio equipment by doing so. The speakeasy cable is removable, and also is heavily shielded.
An often forgotten feature is the microphone that is included on the SpeakEasy cable. The microphone is 4 inches down on the cable. It lets you to take a quick call, granted it’s not a great mic, but its just an added feature to tick off the list.
The 1-button control module is about 12 inches down the cable, which enables you to answer and end calls. Access your default voice assistant app, and also stops and plays music from the default music player.
One additional feature is the dual input. It is located on the left ear cup. When not in use the hole is covered by what V-Moda calls the V-Cork. This allows you to have two sets of headphones listening to the same thing. Any brand, any style, and any type. After testing it, I couldn’t hear any loss of quality. This may not be something you are looking to use, but it’s just another thing to add to the long list of unique features this headphones has.
The most important part of any good headphones is the sound quality. V-Moda heavily promotes the statement “mind the gap” when referring to the XS headphones. All headphones have a gap between the actual headphone and your head, thus some of the sound never makes it to your ear. The XS has a more snug fit compared to other headphones. For me, they are comfortable but each person’s tolerance may be different. In doing this, V-Moda is making sure that you are hearing the best representation of sound.
The overall sound is balanced and neutral and it sounds fantastic for all types of genres. I even tested these headphones with a few audio books, just to hear how the voiceover from the male narrator was interpreted.
The highs extend nicely, and come off with some nice punch. They also are not as fatiguing as you would get with other headphones with powerful highs. The high-hats and cymbals all come off powerful and crisp. Although the highs sound very good, there is still room for improvement to sound great.
The mids on the XS are picked up easily. The mids are emphases due to tight bass on the low end, and the highs being as punchy as they are. The mids are exceptional and you can easily pick up different instruments when listening. They sound fantastic and really keeps you enjoying the music.
Since the XS are so tight to your head the bass is emphasized greatly. Bass comes in low, tight, and it also has a sense of depth to it. There are no noticeable rattles even when running bass tests. The bass is full-sounding and that allows for quick and punchy sound.
Soundstage for the XS is great for something of this size. Most smaller headphones cannot provide you with an expansive soundstage, but these are able to provide that for you. You are able to place instruments very well. It sounds like a moderate size auditorium. Quite frankly, I was shocked
The XS does not only provide military grade construction, it provides a warm, precise and dynamic sound. The mind the gap statement is not a gimmick, rather it’s something you feel. V-Moda is proud of these headphones, and they should. They have a great warranty to back it up, and they want to retain you as a customer. For me, as a consumer, that means a lot to me know that a company puts their name behind their products. You don’t see that often anymore.
For sub $200 dollars these will compete with the Audio Technica M50x’s as the go to headphones. For audiophiles The XS’s may not be able to compete with the M50x’s in the sound department, but they hold their own. What they can provide that the M50x’s cannot is the military grade build quality, dual inputs, and portability.Check Out The V-Moda XS On Amazon