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V-Moda M200 Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 126 85.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 15 10.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 3 2.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 4 2.7%

  • Total voters
    148

JaMaSt

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Pro's EQ all their devices to a "reference"? Yeah, and what reference would that be exactly? Measured by what instruments? By what quality/fidelity standards?
Yeah. Don't "Pro's" deliberately listen on fairly mediocre monitors and headphones to judge how it would sound to the average listener?
 

JanesJr1

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I think it's really important to review products like V-Moda. I find products like V-Moda to be more off putting than outright snake oil cables, etc., - since this is exactly the type of $300 headphone someone will purchase at BestBuy thinking that they are stepping up their game. Most likely the person who buys this will never have spent $300 on a headphone and did no basic research prior to purchasing. It turns out to be nothing but a $300 "teachable moment".
I agree. My example, however, is not a sub-rosa-snakeoil brand like V Moda, but a mainstream brand, Jos. Grado. Late 90's, my first big-dollar headphone purchase, and they were flat, dark and unlistenable -- unless I entirely removed the earpads and surround, so that the drivers sat naked on the outside of each ear. Couldn't be seen in public with that alien gizmo on my noggin. Stereophile recommendation.

It wasn't me: I have four headphones now and I like them pretty close to vanilla-Harman. I bought three of my current four headphones based on ASR, rather than Sterophile, and am pretty happy.
 

GaryH

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Yeah. Don't "Pro's" deliberately listen on fairly mediocre monitors and headphones to judge how it would sound to the average listener?

some misguided recording engineers monitor and tweak their recordings through low-fidelity loudspeakers thinking that this represents what the average consumer will hear. Since loudspeakers can be mediocre in an infinite number of ways, this practice only guarantees that quality of the recording will be compromised when heard through good loudspeakers [1]. This is very counterproductive if we want to improve the quality and consistency of audio recording and reproduction.
Dr Sean Olive
 

JanesJr1

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But we've arrived at a point where a single sample measurement makes people think V-Moda is worse than snake oil cable company. That's a little hyperbolic, no? There's probably good effort gone into making the drivers efficient and play loud without distortion. That is infinitely better than what snake oil cable companies do. You can get more clean decibels with little effort (phone, laptop, etc) with V-Moda M100 or M200 than with more expensive headphones that also need amps.
I take your point, but we've been in a kind of EQ purgatory for a long time, where FR curves have been capriciously variable. For a long time, satisfactory headphone performance depended on luck, on serial refund-returns, on a "house sound" you already liked, or (for the unlucky rest of us) on learning how to EQ.

But have you ever tried to learn how to EQ? With the V-Moda, it looks like they didn't even try to produce a useable target curve (unless the test model was a bad production sample) ... Robbo999 knows a lot more about EQing than I do, but I know enough to be sure that he's right about these phones being a tough EQ chore.

Low distortion and high sensitivity, taken alone, do not create fidelity or define a product with "merchantable fitness:"
 

Koeitje

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How so? Maybe the manufacturer has a reputation? Idk. I never heard of V-MODA before now
Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaars ago their in-ears were very popular on head-fi.
 

Metronomy

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However, it must be said that I liked the aesthetics a lot and I must say very comfortable on the ears, I had also taken the XL pads. I really liked the materials. Fantastic carrying box. Unfortunately then if you make them play... Too bad really, happily replaced with an Austrian audio.
 

uwotm8

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In terms of wireless headphones that I see it's mostly JBL (cheap), Sony (mix of cheap and the wh1000xm) and Bose. I spot a rare Apple headphone sometimes, but the three brands I mentioned earlier probably have 80% of the wireless headphone market.
Istanbul metro default set is wireless on-ear/over-ear JBL and Nike AF1 sneakers:)
 

lewdish

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This was the first new V-Moda product made in collaboration with Roland, which you'd think they have of decent sound, however it was designed for studio listening supposedly which makes sense since this is Roland. However it's sad to see given the resources they had. A few years back when V-moda was doing their product launch they even advertised it through Head-Fi and posted their own FR. Strange how such a simple design had such variance in response for L&R from such a large consumer brand. In their own measurements they had what looked to be a 10db diff in lower bass response. I'm not entirely sure what the SA-1 coupler is and if its comparable to other standard coupler/microphones, but if its that far off im curious if that had anything to do w/ their engineering being so far off. V-Moda's graph was produced by JEITA which looks to be like some kind of collaboration grounds for various Japanese companies and resources. They may have played a part in the engineering and maybe that their own standard for audio broadcasting responses and lead to the tuning, though who knows...

The data does overall look comparable to Amir's measurements though, maybe this is something that Japanese audio engineers are doing these days in their headphone responses, though doesnt explain why the levels dont match closer on L&R. V-Moda has historically produced pretty "typical consumer" sounding products, and this looks more like they wanted to try something different, but maybe this is tooo different.... I have a pair of the Sony M1ST which I can imagine would sound pretty similar to this if Amir is interested in measuring them as well. They're Sony's current headphone monitor since they discontinued the CD900ST which was beloved by all studio users in Japan... If it measures wonky like the M200, it might explain what they are going for as an industry...


11294739.jpg
11294740.jpg



Combined overlaid for L/R ***
FOJdtQh.png
 

paulio_uno

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V-moda iems used to be over $100s. CHI-FI must of blown them away same iems are under $50s these days.
 

Nathan Raymond

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Pro's EQ all their devices to a "reference"? Yeah, and what reference would that be exactly? Measured by what instruments? By what quality/fidelity standards?

Like, I can't imagine if the imaging/color grading industry adopted this nebulous sort of adherence to some sort of "reference".
Why not take a look at a Sonarworks review and measurements of a headphone, like the Audio Technica ATH-R70X:

https://www.sonarworks.com/blog/reviews/audio-technica-ath-r70x-studio-headphone-review

Note that they have a section, "Observations on how headphones perform after applying SoundID Reference calibration", and also note that while their SoundID Reference comes with a target out of the box, it is a target that can be customized with a parametric equalizer.

You can compare it to the review and measurements here:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...dio-technica-ath-r70x-review-headphone.32498/
 

markanini

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Why not take a look at a Sonarworks review and measurements of a headphone, like the Audio Technica ATH-R70X:

https://www.sonarworks.com/blog/reviews/audio-technica-ath-r70x-studio-headphone-review

Note that they have a section, "Observations on how headphones perform after applying SoundID Reference calibration", and also note that while their SoundID Reference comes with a target out of the box, it is a target that can be customized with a parametric equalizer.

You can compare it to the review and measurements here:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...dio-technica-ath-r70x-review-headphone.32498/
You're referencing a commercial site. IME it's pretty random, some use tools to calibrate their work environment others don't, and the latter can be quite successful.
 

A Surfer

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For the record, I don't agree that V-Moda is akin to true Snake Oil marketing, unless I am missing something. These type of claims about the quality of the sound are everywhere and from pretty much every manufacturer as far as I can tell. Certainly their marketing spin is exceptionally optimistic and attempts to make their products sound perfect, but really, don't all audio companies do this? Snake oil claims for me anyway are claims that are clearly so far divorced from the possible that the claims are essentially void of any validity. As hard as it may be to accept, there may be some people who actually perceive the sound signatures in a favourable way. The majority of members here are probably not going to fall into that camp, but notwithstanding, I still don't think V-Moda are Snake Oil. I am open to evidence being presented to the contrary though.

For the record, I haven't owned, nor considered purchasing any of their products for at least 5 years if not longer so I have no skin in the game.
 

Robbo99999

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Roon has a clipping indicator which I always look at when performing EQ. It never lit up when the headphone started to generate static. So that is not an issue.
You might need to be careful when relying on clipping indicators, as in my experience the devs of the software will put in different tolerances when dealing with "overs". I've used same EQ's in both PEACE (Equaliser APO) and in Neutron Player, and the PEACE clipping indicator will light up a hell of a lot earlier than Neutron Player, relying on the clipping meter in Neutron Player gives you a significant number of extra allowable dB (ie allows you a smaller Negative Preamp). Neutron Player won't react to intersample overs either, when I measured some of my tracks using Orban Loudness Meter to determine the number & size of the intersample overs - Neutron Player clipping meter won't react to those. These software devs are putting different tolerances into their software re their clipping meters. I'm not saying that explains your observations, but it could be something to think about. Safest way is to ensure that Negative Preamp covers your largest boost on the Total EQ Curve, that way you don't have to rely on clipping meters that devs seem to design different tolerances for.

(I had a conversation with the dev of Neutron Player in a thread on his website, showing him what I found vs the clipping meter in PEACE, and he explained that he had to decide on the best sensitivity of his clipping meter - he didn't want to make it too sensitive).
 
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Nathan Raymond

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You're referencing a commercial site. IME it's pretty random, some use tools to calibrate their work environment others don't, and the latter can be quite successful.

I was responding to Tks who asked:

Pro's EQ all their devices to a "reference"? Yeah, and what reference would that be exactly? Measured by what instruments? By what quality/fidelity standards?

Sonarworks claims their "...tech used and loved by 140,000+ studios and 55+ Grammy-Awarded-Engineers worldwide":

https://www.sonarworks.com/soundid-reference/overview

Obviously at this point we don't know that Sonarworks is doing things right, but on the flipside, what evidence do you have that they are doing things wrong?
 

markanini

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Obviously at this point we don't know that Sonarworks is doing things right, but on the flipside, what evidence do you have that they are doing things wrong?
The anecdote in my last reply to you. But looking at the video side of things, there's a clearly defined visual model and colorimeters are utilized in a standardized way for setting up your display producing close to identical results across different tool sets. Contrasting that with room correction, there no universal standard for, off the top of my head, the target curve, amount of measurements points and their location, what Hz range is corrected, the mic polar pattern, the mic orientation, what type of averaging math is used, if any of the previous parameter's should be adapted according to room dimensions and RT values. That's just what I've gathered, Sean Olive gives some evidence of how different room correction tools produce different results: http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2009/11/subjective-and-objective-evaluation-of.html

So if room correction isn't standardized, there is no standard to comply with.
 

Nathan Raymond

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The anecdote in my last reply to you. But looking at the video side of things, there's a clearly defined visual model and colorimeters are utilized in a standardized way for setting up your display producing close to identical results across different tool sets. Contrasting that with room correction, there no universal standard for, off the top of my head, the target curve, amount of measurements points and their location, what Hz range is corrected, the mic polar pattern, the mic orientation, what type of averaging math is used, if any of the previous parameter's should be adapted according to room dimensions and RT values. That's just what I've gathered, Sean Olive gives some evidence of how different room correction tools produce different results: http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2009/11/subjective-and-objective-evaluation-of.html

So if room correction isn't standardized, there is no standard to comply with.

Point taken, but that's not exactly that important to what I was originally responding to when Tks wrote this:

Not kidding when I say this, but this is how I imagine the majority of "studio" or "mastering" pieces of audio gear to perform. I've been told multiple times by people that professionals simply do not care about fidelity, and performance out of their devices, all they would like is perhaps consistency - but primarily something that lasts, and warranty/support whenever the professional picks up the phone to call the company with requests for a certain service or information.

Professionals seem batshit insane to me if this is indeed the case. But it keeps ringing more true the more I see things like this advertised the way they are, yet the company not have gone bankrupt in the first two-three years of existence.

No question that if there were widely agreed upon clear and comprehensive scientific system for both measuring headphones/rooms and a consenus on the target curves to correct to, then there would be a straightforward way to judge a product's out of box compliance to the appropriate target and a way to judge a measuring and compensation system's ability to appropriately compensate (and the ability of a product to be compensated by those systems). But we're not there yet, are we? So back to my point, based on the apparent widespread use of tools like Sonarworks to at least TRY to conform to a reference target for speakers and headphones used in studios, it stands to reason that professionals DO care about fidelity, and they are not "batshit insane" like Tks implies they are.
 

usern

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Safest way is to ensure that Negative Preamp covers your largest boost on the Total EQ Curve, that way you don't have to rely on clipping meters that devs seem to design different tolerances for.
Unless the negative preamp setting is fixed by Amir, I do not find the EQ distortion listening tests be trustworthy. The distortion measurement would indicate that these headphones can take as much EQ as you want to give it.
index.php
All corrections were "gross" levels and conservative. Still, they made a huge difference in pulling the headphone out of the gutter. Fidelity was now good but you could not crank up the volume much, forcing me to move the bass correction forward (as seen above). Left down at 20 Hz it caused static at fairly low playback levels. Likely needs a cut off at or below 20 Hz to avoid that.
It does not make sense that headphone would produce static noise on its own. The error or bug is more likely in equipment use.

My M100 can take bass EQ no problem with proper preamp setting and can go extremely loud with it (actually my threshold to push the volume comes before they start to distort). M100 should be comparable in distortion to M200, the latter should be even better.

Another case where my experience with EQ and Amir's listening test with EQ diverge is 560S review. I would say you can push the volume very loud with elevated bass EQ while Amir says it is usable low to medium volume.
 
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markanini

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Point taken, but that's not exactly that important to what I was originally responding to when Tks wrote this:



No question that if there were widely agreed upon clear and comprehensive scientific system for both measuring headphones/rooms and a consenus on the target curves to correct to, then there would be a straightforward way to judge a product's out of box compliance to the appropriate target and a way to judge a measuring and compensation system's ability to appropriately compensate (and the ability of a product to be compensated by those systems). But we're not there yet, are we? So back to my point, based on the apparent widespread use of tools like Sonarworks to at least TRY to conform to a reference target for speakers and headphones used in studios, it stands to reason that professionals DO care about fidelity, and they are not "batshit insane" like Tks implies they are.
The key is using reference songs, basically commercial releases similar in style to what you are working on. This makes audio work feasible on speakers like the notoriously bad Yamaha NS10. Not how I like it but that's how it's possible.
 

Nathan Raymond

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The key is using reference songs, basically commercial releases similar in style to what you are working on. This makes audio work feasible on speakers like the notoriously bad Yamaha NS10. Not how I like it but that's how it's possible.

Funny you should mention the Yamaha NS10, since it is a domestic Japanese speaker known for it's mid-range, and the V-MODA M-200 were tuned by Roland, a Japanese company. It's commonly parroted that there's value in using something like the NS10 that emphasizes mid-range during mixing and production:

https://happymag.tv/yamaha-ns10/

A common opinion is that NS10s are so bad, that if you can make a song sound good on them, then it will sound good on anything. While there are elements of truth to this, it goes a bit deeper than that. NS10s are known to reveal problem areas in mixes with almost brutal honesty, the kind you’d only heard from a drunk friend after midnight. It’s said that they can act as a magnifying glass for mistakes, which has allowed audio engineers to go over problem areas with a fine-toothed comb.

More specifically, this magnifying glass sits in the mid-range to upper-midrange, which is arguably one of the most important areas to work on, especially for developing detail and presence in a mix. High end and low-end frequency reproduction tend to vary a lot depending on speakers.

You hear manufacturers all the time talking about deep immersive bass and crystal-clear highs, it’s what makes something sound big. However, the midrange is much less variable between speakers, from monitors and all the way down to portable speakers which are just about all mids.

Nailing the mids is important, it’s where vocals, guitars, pianos, the snare, as well as kick attack and character and clarity of the bass all sit. Needless to say, it can be a busy place, so getting it all sorted out first with the NS10, means that it will translate well just about anywhere.

Maybe that's what Roland had in the back of their head when they tuned the M-200? They'd certainly appeal to the demographic who thinks that's what they need in their studio.
 

Robbo99999

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Unless the negative preamp setting is fixed by Amir, I do not find the EQ distortion listening tests be trustworthy. The distortion measurement would indicate that these headphones can take as much EQ as you want to give it.
index.php

It does not make sense that headphone would produce static noise on its own. The error or bug is more likely in equipment use.

My M100 can take bass EQ no problem with proper preamp setting and can go extremely loud with it (actually my threshold to push the volume comes before they start to distort). M100 should be comparable in distortion to M200, the latter should be even better.

Another case where my experience with EQ and Amir's listening test with EQ diverge is 560S review. I would say you can push the volume very loud with elevated bass EQ while Amir says it is usable low to medium volume.
Yep, it's super simple to use a Negative Preamp that's large enough to cover off your largest boost in the EQ, no reason to rely on clipping meters that have different levels of sensitivity depending on the software in question. Distortion results of the V-Moda don't marry with Amir's EQ impressions, but I think he has acknowledged that and supposed that instead it might be due to something happening below 20Hz where he hasn't measured, although we don't know for certain that is the reason. I agree with you on the HD560s front, they're basically the best EQ'd bass headphone I have, joint with my planar HE4XX pretty much (and my closed back NAD HP50 when I can get the damn thing to seal properly!). When Oratory measured one of my HD560s units it tested very low in distortion too: HD560s Distortion.png
 
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