EVALUATION

V-MODA M-200 ANC Headphones Review: Are These a Sennheiser Momentum 3 Slayer?

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V-MODA M-200 ANC

9.00 / 10

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V-MODA follows up its M-200 headphones with an active noise cancelling successor; the M-200 ANC. These headphones impress thanks to their excellent craftsmanship, brilliant sound quality, and market-beating ANC. The ability to use the Voice In capacitive control makes the M-200 ANC convenient for use anywhere. Having that Roland prestige behind the headphones adds confidence to the purchase, but remember that everyone's ears are different, so one buyer's perfect headphones may not suit another buyer.

Specifications

  • Brand: V-MODA
  • Battery Life: 20 hours
  • Material: Metal, PU Leather, Foam, Aluminum
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Noise Cancellation: Active and Passive
  • Waterproof: No
Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Fantastic craftsmanship
  • ANC is superb
  • Good Bluetooth range
  • Qualcomm aptX HD audio codec
Cons

  • Slightly disappointing battery life compared to other ANC headphones
  • Not waterproof
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The $499.99 V-MODA M-200 ANC headphones are here, and boy, do they pack a punch. The Roland-owned audio brand (you know, Roland, who invented the TB-303 and the TR-808, cornerstone devices in most modern electronic music) revealed its noise-canceling cans at CES 2021, and to quite the fanfare.

But are these headphones any good? Do they justify the relatively high price tag? And are they better than other premium ANC headphones on the market?

In this writer's opinion, yes, they are. Read on to find out why.

What's in the Box?

v-moda m-200 anc headphones front profile

When you unpack your V-MODA headphones, you'll find the following in the box:

  • One pair of V-MODA M-200 ANC headphones.
  • One 3.5mm to 3.5mm stereo audio cable.
  • One USB-C charging cable.
  • One flight adaptor.
  • One EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) clamshell carry case.
  • Instruction manual

So that's everything you need to listen to music straight away, even if you unpack them in the middle of a long-haul flight, it would seem.

Excellent Craftsmanship

v-moda m-200 anc headphones left earcup

Let's move on to how these cans look, eh? They are over-ear headphones, meaning that they have two cups that sit over—not on—your ears.

The cups are also circumaural, which means the cups sit against your skull, with your ears inside the cups (hence over, not on your ears). This leaves space inside for the sound to breathe a little, and the cups feature cushions to provide comfort and passive noise cancellation.

The base headphones are primarily black in color. I say base, because you can actually customize these cans with your own design. We'll come to that in more detail shortly. The only shot of color otherwise is the red right/left labels printed inside the frame.

Well-crafted and robust hinges attach the M-200 ANC ear cups to the headband. The entire frame is made from durable metal, with PU leather covers for the earcup cushions and the headband.

You can adjust the position of the ear cups along a short, vertical track, allowing for different head sizes, or if you want to wear them with a snapback or beanie hat. The cups also pivot around their horizontal mid-point, to suit the contours of your head.

Thanks to those aforementioned hinges and the pivoting, you can fold the headphones tidily to fit in the carry case.

v-moda m-200 anc headphones folded in open case closeup

The left ear cup is free from any obvious controls. However, it carries the capacitive controls for the "Voice In" feature (again, more on that later).

The right ear cup is awash with buttons, though. At the top you have the volume controls, and nestled in between those is a multifunction button (MFB).

The bottom of the cup holds the USB-C charging port at the rear, the power/Bluetooth pairing button, the 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom, and the ANC control at the front. It is worth noting that the 3.5mm jack comes with a little removable plug, which helps prevent the ingress of dust.

There is an aluminum faceplate with air vents, on both cups, all held in place with tiny hex screws. This is where the customization comes in. When you order your headphones, you can add artwork to the faceplates, which V-MODA will then either print or laser cut onto/into the aluminum.

As you can see, I have customized my V-MODA M-200s. The right faceplate features the logo for my Melt Your Face techno events, and the logo from my favorite electronic music label, I ♥ Acid/Balkan Vinyl, which is ironic, seeing as Roland designed the instruments used to make this sort of music.

In all, the headphones are very nicely crafted, although I'd expect nothing less from a Roland-owned company.

How Well Do the M-200 ANC Headphones Operate?

Image Gallery (3 Images)

On to operating the headphones. Thanks to the array of buttons, there is plenty of control placed in your hands. The buttons are slightly damp when pressed, but that doesn't detract from the ease of operation. Having buttons means you don't accidentally press a control just by brushing the headphones with a finger, for example. This would be the case with capacitive controls.

As mentioned, the volume control buttons sit at the top with the multi-function button. The volume controls are responsive and adjust the sound as required, with no sudden jumps in volume, as with some headphones. Pressing both at the same time wipes the Bluetooth pairing history so you can pair with new devices.

The multifunction button, as you might expect, performs several tasks. These are:

  • Press once to answer a call, press and hold to reject a call or hang up.
  • Press once during playback to play/pause, press twice to skip forward a track, and three times to skip back.
  • Press and hold for three seconds to activate your smartphone's voice assistant.

The ANC button is very simple. It switches between ANC and no ANC. However, if you have the feature, you may as well turn it on. Especially seeing as you also have the Voice In feature…

Placing your hand over the left ear cup will reduce the volume and switch ANC off. This means you can hear the world outside in crystal clarity. Remove your hand, and ANC kicks back in, as does whatever you're listening to. This is an excellent feature; it means you can hear people speak without fumbling for your playback device and stopping everything.

You can further tailor the headphones using the V-MODA app. I found this to be a little on the basic side, with features like adjusting the ANC level, as well as access to an equalizer and some sound presets. Other than that, the app doesn't do a huge amount.

Operating the M-200 headphones works perfectly, and I had no issue using the headphones during testing.

Pitch Perfect Performance

v-moda m-200 anc headphones in use

If you're reading this review, then you probably want to know how well the M-200 ANC headphones perform. Well, I'm certainly not disappointed, and I don't think you will be, either. However, keep in mind that everyone hears differently, and what might be a perfect pair of 'phones for me may not be for you.

In my opinion, the headphones are excellent in terms of sound reproduction. Imaging is great; listening to the 2021 remaster of The Beatles' 1970 album Let It Be, the band could be standing in front of you playing live.

Spatially, the M-200 ANC headphones place instruments perfectly within the soundstage. When you listen to the above album, you'll hear that John Lennon is stood to the left, playing rhythm guitar. Paul McCartney is in front of you, singing his heart out while he tangles with his bass, Ringo drumming behind him. To the left is George Harrison, playing lead.

However, these headphones really shine when it comes to electronic music. Firing up Posthuman and Lauren Flax' Endless Summer EP and we're treated to some prime rave fodder, all perfectly presented by the V-MODA M-200 headphones. Bass kicks are booming but never muddy, with well-rounded bottom end that takes no shine off the other registers.

v-moda m-200 anc headphones headband

Mids are clear and vocal elements are present without being overbearing, as is the top end, with treble sounds like hats and synth stabs retaining all of their detail. Obviously, those all-important acid squiggles and squelches make for great listening on these headphones. This all helps the listener immerse themselves in their sonic adventure, and it takes a great pair of cans to reproduce sound with this level of character.

Even if you're not happy with the default settings, you can customize the sound levels in the app. More bass? Just open the equalizer and boost that bottom end. Simple.

This impressive sound quality is all down to the surprisingly petite 40mm drivers hidden away under the faceplates, along with Qualcomm's well-recognized and respected aptX HD audio codec. With this on board, transmitting the sound via Bluetooth won't affect the audio quality.

All round, the V-MODA M-200 certainly deliver on the sound front, both in wireless and wired configurations.

Should You Buy the V-MODA M-200 ANC Headphones?

In a word, yes. I wholeheartedly recommend the M-200 cans. In fact, they have now overtaken my trusted Sennheiser Momentum 3 headphones, which is something I never thought I'd see happen.

OK, so they might cost a little more than Sennheiser or Jabra's offerings. But, Roland and, therefore, V-MODA, is a well-trusted brand that has the chops to not only create great instruments, but to provide the perfect conduit for the music those instruments make.

A Sennheiser slayer? In my eyes ears, most definitely.

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