In A Nutshell
I’m chosen the V-MODA M-80 as my pick for the Best Portable Headphone Of 2013. This headphone is extremely durable, and it has excellent sound. It comes with a two year warranty, and life-time warranty that allows you get 50% off a replacement headphone.
The Design Details
Out of all the portable headphones I’ve tested, the V-MODA M-80 is the sturdiest so far. It sports a steel frame, a bendable Steelflex headband, metal earphone sheilds, a microfiber suede and replaceable memory foam cushions. This headphone can be bent, twisted, sat on, and pushed and pulled beyond intended limits.
The M-80s have kevlar reinforced cables, and they can be bent over 1 millions times, according to the company’s tests. The kevlar keeps the cables from tangling too. Also, the cables will detach from the headphones if you accidentally yank the cable — this is very handy for people like me who are rough on their gear. Pictured below are just some of the portable headphones I’ve managed to break over the years (usually due to a cable bend).
V-MODA also says the headphones have been tested for MIL-STD-810G environmental conditions — basically, exposure to high and low temperatures, humidity, salt spray and UV exposure.
Sound and Vision Magazine said this about the design:
Interestingly, even with all the steel, the M-80s aren’t particularly heavy. They’re probably the most comfortable on-ear phones I’ve tried. Usually this category is my least favorite headphone design, given they rarely fit well on my head. Headphone comfort is about as personal as you can get in consumer electronics, so YMMV. On my head at least, there wasn’t a lot of on-ear pressure needed to keep them in place.
The Sound Details
The m-80 headphone is up there with best sounding sub-$200 portable I’ve tested. It has a rich, warm sound with food fidelity but plenty of bass. This is what Stereophile Magazine has to say about the sound:
It’s time to get into the musical qualities of the M-80 in greater detail. At this point in my listening, the highs are smooth and extended, and the midrange sounds just right. Then there’s the bass. Ooooh, the bass. Compared to other portable headphones I’ve had, the bass is tighter and more detailed, yet has greater impact. I can not only hear 15 hz softly and 20 hz strongly, but I can hear the beats of those frequencies, albeit at 20 hz it’s too rapid to hear as a clearly enunciated staccato sound. And this is not just harmonics playing tricks – the 15 and 20 hz fundamentals with low distortion are obvious and well defined.