V-MODA, a company which first made a reputation for itself with earbuds and at this point may be best known for its full size Crossfade headphones, is now looking to split the difference. The XS is a medium sized set of on-ear headphones which adopts many of the company’s best known traits: the familiar hexagonal shaped headphone cups aimed at better fitting ears than the circular cups employed by competitors. The dark metallic design. And the slight emphasis on bass over treble which gives the audio a kick without feeling out of balance.
The XS is the latest effort from V-MODA founder Val Kolton, a DJ who has been on a decade-long quest to create the kind of headphones he’d want to use during his own shows. And as per usual, there’s a lot to like here. The audio is pristine on a variety of different music genres. The fit is comfortable. And with this being a portable product, the XS does a nice job of folding into a hardshell carrying case.
The default configuration is a one-button cable with mic for wide compatibility. But for iPhone users there is the option to get a three button cable with volume control instead, meaning everyone can end up happy. Overall the $199 XS may not be quite as much of a category killer as its big brother the Crossfade M-100, but it’s still highly recommendable. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.