Price: $180 (MSRP $230)
Wear style: On-ear (Semi-closed back)
In Short: One of the best portable headphones if you are okay with no folding or shifting capability. The sound signature inches toward darkness, making for relaxing yet immersive listening.
The M-80 combines a unique industrial look with a modern sound. The earcups are miniature and pictures do not do the M-80 justice when it comes to size comparisons. Since they are on-ear, most people will not find them as comfortable as the Crossfade LP series, but they are still good for several hours at a time and offer decent portability (thank you detachable cables). There is a small vent on the side of the cups which decreases the isolation and increases leakage, but not by a ton. At low to medium volumes they will not bother those around you.
The mids are the focal point of the M-80. They are some of the best at this price and make the M-80 what they are – smooth, clear, and relaxed. Bass is next up in the hierarchy. It lacks some definition at the extreme lows but it is full-sounding, soft, and delivers plenty of impact. They are not bass-head cans but will satisfy most everyone else. It can keep up with fast songs better than the HD-25 and TMA-1, which is saying something. Treble is laid back and lacks some crispness and sparkle but not enough to call the M-80’s presentation dark. The soundstage is good as well – certainly a step ahead of the HD-25-1 and maybe even the Beyer DT1350 (looks like that small vent does some good after all!).
The M-80 has plenty of competition at the $200 price point (namely the Sennheiser HD-25-1 and Phiaton MS300) but firmly stands ground as one of the best portable sets around. It is fun to listen to, built like a machine, and gains some style points along the way.
The M-100 is currently in development so if you can hold off until then we recommend doing so, but if you need a headphone immediately you will have no regrets in buying the M-80. [Update 1/16/14: the M-100 has been released to positive reviews, although personally I had comfort issues with mine – over time my ears hurt because they would press up against the inside of the metal headphone driver housing]
|Features||Tilt cups, In-line microphone and controls|
|Color options||Black, Black/Red, White|
|Sensitivity||105 dB PL/1mW|
|Frequency Response||5 – 30,000 Hz|
|Cable||3 ft (.9m) single-sided and detachable with angled plug|
|Warranty||2 years + lifetime 50% off replacement (Immortal Life program)|
|Included accessories||Hard carrying case with carabiner, two cables with microphones (1-button and 3-button)|