INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:
The V-Moda M-200 is an over-ear dynamic driver headphone that retails for around $350. I received the M-200 as part of the V-Moda Hardware Review Program. I had a few weeks with the M-200 before shipping it back to V-Moda. As compensation for taking part in the program, I received a discount code for use at V-Moda’s online storefront.
V-Moda was one of the first audiophile-adjacent headphone brands I owned as I started getting more interested in headphones and hi-fi as a teenager. Previous V-Moda headphones I’ve owned include the LP2 and the M-80. If you had told me then that I’d receive a loaned review sample directly from V-Moda to offer my thoughts and feedback on their headphones I would have been skeptical, to say the least, so this was a cool opportunity.
I have used the V-Moda M-200 with the following sources:
JDS Labs The Element
Qudelix 5K (3.5mm single-ended output)
My listening was conducted with local FLAC and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to:
XenosBroodLord's Music Profile | Last.fm
Listen to music from XenosBroodLord's library (245,394 tracks played). XenosBroodLord's top artists: Jeremy Soule…
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
The V-Moda M-200’s unboxing experience is appropriately premium for its price point, with a large, multi-compartmented black box and plenty of protective sleeves.
In addition to an array of documentation, the includes 2 nylon paracord wrapped cables, one terminated with a standard 3.5mm single-ended jack, the other with a proprietary 3.5mm balanced jack. I do not own any hardware compatible with the balanced jack, and I suspect not many other people do either. This is a curious choice by V-Moda that does not reflect the predominance of 2.5mm balanced devices or the recent industry movement to 4.4mm Pentaconn. The single-ended cable has a one-button mic/playback control setup, which I did not test, and an angled 3.5mm jack housing.
The package also includes a compact zippered faux leather protective carry case. The case has a unique angular design with subtle branded detailing and gives off an aura of durability. The case is comfortable to handle with a large zipper pull. A carabiner is also included.
BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN:
The V-Moda M-200 itself shares the same unique angular design language as the carry case. The design is anchored by the hexagonal metal faceplates, which are held in place with six small screws. My particular pair has copper faceplates with a white printed design, which I like less than the sleek black faceplates pictured on the box. The construction is mostly metal. The earpads and driver housings fold inwards and upwards to fit in the compact case.
COMFORT / FIT / ISOLATION:
The V-Moda M-200 provides good isolation from outside noise. While the earcups strongly compress the skull, which significantly limits comfort, secureness of fit is moderate at best. The headphones have a tendency to tip forwards and backward on the head. In addition, there is a hot spot where the lightly padded headband rests at the top of the skull. The earcups are shallow and the leather pads are not as soft as I would like, which limits the M-200’s utility for long listening sessions. Although I have mostly moved into IEMs from full-size headphones, the one pair of closed-back over-ear headphones that I own at the moment, the Aiwa Arc-1, are significantly more comfortable than the M-200.
There is much less bass than I was expecting based on my previous experience with V-Moda headphones, and overall, I think this is a good thing. I like the more neutral bass tuning on the M-200 and the speed and articulation of the bass are pretty good. The M-200 has decent sub-bass extension with fair bass texture and some slam. The bass resolution is good but not exceptional.
The biggest issue with the M-200 is the midrange, specifically in how it handles vocals. While most instruments sound fairly realistic, there seems to be a significant suck-out in the upper midrange that blunts vocal attack. Male vocals in particular sound muffled, though female vocals also do not sound as rich or vibrant as I would like. There is very little presence. The M-200 has a wooden, boxy timbre.
The M-200’s treble is on the smoother side and detail retrieval, while okay, is disappointing for the price point. Transients are slightly splashy in their delivery. The soundstage size is quite limited, but instrument separation is fair. The M-200 is easy to drive.
I typically do not comment on the reviews of others, but it is worth noting that impressions by other Head-Fiers on the V-Moda M-200 have been distinctly mixed, and there may be production issues in play. That said, the unit I received is a disappointing headphone, and I recommend approaching the M-200 with caution.