CanJam at RMAF - Outstanding Exhibitor: V-Moda

Val Kolton started fashion headphones. I remember when I first saw his meh-sounding gemstone-adorned in-ear, and just shook my head. I certainly didn't get it. But he's been working like mad since I first experienced his stuff, and I hadn't been paying attention. I've been hearing quite a buzz lately and when Jude enthused about his gear in the hallway I just knew I had to check out what's going on with V-Moda. I was blown away.

Not in the audiophile sense, but in the quality of approach and dedication to getting it right, Val has nailed it. The V-Moda Crossfade series are the best hip-hop, trance, house, ambient, whatever headphones I've heard to date. That's a bold statement to make from a first trade show listen, and I don't make it lightly, but these headphones flat-out rocked. I can't wait to rummage though the line at length. And the build quality is out of this world. Customizable too! I could go on-and-on but I'll wait for the review.

Also shown by V-Moda were "The Fader" in-ear hearing protection attenuator. I'm very interested in hearing safety, and Val's interest in it is yet another indicator of his well rounded approach. I think a company like V-Moda is well positioned to sell hearing safety to the younger crowd, and I'm really happy they're doing something about it.

I'm featuring V-Moda as a manufacturer because of a great vision and a successful and balanced approach. Val wants most of all a cool headphone. Style is very important to him. But he knows that sounding good is also a part of why headphones are cool, and he and his team work very hard on technically achieving the desired sound. They've got a bunch of headphone test gear like mine and evidently know how to use it.

A quote from Steve Guttenberg at the show: "You can think of V-Moda like Beats done right." I think Steve's spot on. Really great job, Val!

LFF's picture

Those two names shouldn't even be in the same sentence as V-Moda is really getting it right while Beats remain utter crap.

That said...I have "The Fader" and it is a remarkable hearing protector. I wear them to the movies, concerts and clubs all the time. They are constantly with me. What I find remarkable is how well they attenuate noise levels yet allow speech to remain perfectly intact and intelligible. You really have to try them out!

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I like driving with the window open. But then I have to turn the radio up really loud if I want to listen to the speakers, which make the level way to high for safe listening. So, on the way home from CanJam, I put in my Faders, opened the window, cranked up the stereo, and enjoyed surprisingly good sound while tooling down the highway. Good stuff.
John Grandberg's picture

...the "Beats concept" done right. That is, the idea of a stylish headphone that has the sound to back up its appearance.

Like it or not, you have to give a little credit to the Beats line for bringing attention to the aesthetic aspect of headphones. Go back a few years - many headphones were utilitarian in nature unless you went high end. Examples: old black Beyerdynamic DT770/880/990 vs their new silver counterparts. Sennheiser HD595 vs HD598. Beats does not get all the credit for this, but I'm sure other companies looked at the profits being made by Beats and wanted a piece of that action.

More on topic, The V-MODA Crossfade M-80 is a very impressive unit. I'm really enjoying it, and look forward to your impressions Tyll.

Armaegis's picture

Indeed. Val has a somewhat OCD and at times brash approach, but you can't deny his devotion to his products. The new M80 competes very favourably against other portables in its price bracket. Now if we could only get some orthos to tickle his fancy, I'd love to see him develop something with those.

chesh78's picture

I'm a bit like Cinderella in reverse here, coming to the party late, but to add my tuppence worth the Crossfade LPs are pretty damn awesome as far as urban / dance music goes - and the way they handle bass is pretty much like nothing else in this price bracket. It's like having two boomboxes strapped to your ears, only you can also hear more subtle sounds too. Plus they look awesome, are clearly built to last, and it's obvious how much painstaking attention to detail has been lavished on them during the design process (I mean, c'mon - putting kevlar in the cables so that they wear harder and remain tangle-free? Genius!).

In comparison, the Beats are plasticky, gimmicky, over-priced, over-bassed and ubiquitous to the point where their 'coolness' is rapidly becoming 'uncool'.

Paul Tom's picture

It is obvious from the picture that this person is an absolutely brilliant exhibitor. Nowadays the companies are focusing more on exhibition and display rather than the quality of the products, as they have realized that the first look is what attracts more customers rather than quality. !!