Saturday, June 9, 2012

FaceOff: Skullcandy Mix Master Mike vs V-MODA V80s ... FIGHT!

Hello peeps!

I'm amazed that I haven't updated this blog as often seeing that I've bought more headphones lately than I've bought underw... Ok ok... TMI I know. :-p

Anyway, I figured I should do this write up seeing that I had the notes already made a few weeks ago and that I had the time.
Now, usually I don't go around buying "on-ear" headphones because usually I find ALL of them kind of uncomfortable (not sure if it is due to me wearing glasses, having tiny ears, the combination of those or just being used to over-ear headphones) but once I saw the V-MODAs, I knew I had to have them! They're a relatively new company and I just loved their style. They do have over-ear offerings but I decided to go with their HBO branded True Blood  headphones. It's really a stunner!
And speaking of "brandings" and cool-looking, the first time I saw the Mix Master Mike's, I wanted to try them. They looked over the top (as most of Skullcandy line looks) but actually had a couple of features that I found interesting even though they are targeted to DJs and... I'm not.

Skullcandy Specs:
* Speaker Diameter: 50mm
* Driver Type: Mylar
* Magnet Type: Neodymium
* Frequency Response: 20-20K Hz
* Impedance: 19 ohms
* Cable Type: PU Coil, TPE
* Cable Length: 0.8m Relaxed
* Plug Type: 3.5mm Gold Plated with 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter included.

V-MODA Specs:
* Type: Supraaural (on-ear)
* Speaker Drivers: patent pending 40mm Dual-Diaphragm 
* Impedance: 28.5 Ohms
* Frequency Response: 5 - 30,000 Hz
* Pressure Level: 105 dB
* Standard Cables: Kevlar® reinforced, 52” 1-Button mic cable, 52” audio only cable
* Plug: 45 degree, 24k gold-plated 3.5 mm (1/8") stereo plug
* Weight: 180g (headphone only)
If specs don't tell you anything, then keep reading! (don't worry, they usually don't tell me anything either! Most of the headphones carry similar specifications and most of them sound different to one another!)

Build Quality, features, comfortability and looks:
Mix Master Mike sport an all black motif and it's BIG. Also, they are all plastic, a finger-print magnet and they make a lot of noise (squeaky) so I'm pretty sure it's not going to be as durable as other Dj headphones on the market which are big and rugged but do not feel flimsy like these Skulls. These are around-the-ear and seal very well bringing a bit of passive isolation. But the most important thing on these are a couple of features that Skullcandy brought to the table:

1) The right earpad carries a Mute button! Yep, push it and sound goes away (pretty cool if you need this for Dj-ing or... applyable to me, if you work in a cube area and have people coming to you asking questions, don't need to press pause, lower the volume, etc. just press the button! Very nice.

2) When the earcup is rotated 90 degrees, it actually produces a stereo sound on that earpiece! Yep, not mono!

3) Two cables are included and both feel pretty good. Also, you can connect one of these on EITHER END of the earpads (i.e. if your console, mp3 player, etc. is on your right-hand side, you can connect the audio cable on the right earpad. If your sources are on the left-hand side, you can connect the audio cable to the left earpad! NICE!) And speaking of earpads, the "leather" material used on them is not too fluffy and they are very soft so I actually felt part of the outside plastic when listening to them. It became uncomfortable during long listening sessions. Too bad!

All in all, build quality suffers a bit.

V-MODAs all I can say is... WOW! Love the Black and red combination (True Blood Trademark) used throughout the headphone. First time I took them out of their case, my jaw almost dropped. I THOUGHT THEY WERE BIGGER but they are SO TINY! Once I placed them on my hand... ok... they are tiny but FEEL rugged, definitely WAY BETTER than the Skullcandy MMMs! These, as mentioned before, are on-ear so they don't cover your whole ear. Clamp is good and do not isolate as good as the Skullcandy's. They are STEEL headphones (like I said, rugged) mixed with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo naming conventions that although rugged, they look and feel great and comfortable. Also, since the headphones were designed to be stylish, you can also make your own logos and submit them to V-MODA to create your own "shield" (part of the cup). How cool is that?

These also come with a couple of cables (one designed for use with cellphones and one audio-only) but lack the features that come with the MMMs. Actually, they don't have any features! LOL (understandable seeing as these are NOT for Dj-ing uses).

Even though I don't like on-ear headphones, these I found more comfortable than the Skullcandys probably because I didn't have a piece of plastic bothering my ears! The little earpads are quite comfy.

Point goes to V-MODA.

What's in the box (Accessories)?:


* Skullcandy Mix Master Headphones 
* Straight cable with Mic3 
* Coiled DJ cable with angled input 
* Carry case + Clothing pad (to clean all the smudges you WILL leave behind! :-p ) 
* 6.3mm gold-plated adapter


* V-MODA for True Blood® V-80 headphones
* Exoskeleton blood vial hard case 
* Detachable Kevlar reinforced 1-Button mic/audio cable 
* Detachable Kevlar reinforced universal professional/home audio cable 
* Carabineer clip.

Point goes to both (great accessories!!)

Sound Quality:
This is where it gets interesting! First time I put on the Mix Master Mike's I was pleasantly surprised! The headphones sound was warm and very inviting. Bass, similar to a lot of what's on the streets right now, is overpowering but good. It takes over really quick on every song in every genre so if you the reader don't appreciate that, these headphones are NOT for you. Mids I found rather good but lower-mids were actually gobbled up by the bass. Still, vocals were very clear, guitars sounded good but not really too forward. Treble definitely rolls off... they are 'there' but you wont find the clarity that a lot of genres need. With this comes the illusion that there's lack of details... it's not lacking too many details, just sparkle up top. 

So all in all, WARM, BASSY headphones but delivers good mids. Wasn't a fan of the highs... The thing is though that they were very easy on the ears in the sense that NO fatigue set it at all. I would have used them for hours on end if it wasn't for the earpads being so soft that I could feel the plastic press my ears...

V-MODA's though? A WHOLE DIFFERENT SOUND. I was actually kind of expecting another "bassy" headphone since this seems to be the "norm" of most companies today. But no. To my surprise (yep, I was surprised twice! :-p) they are really great sounding throughout the whole spectrum! Bass is NOT overpowering at all but it definitely can extend and provide good sounding sub bass. Listening to Drum and Bass, Electro-pop, Techno and Dub was a pleasure. The Mids, crystal clear. Female vocals were great, guitars exploded left and right and you felt you were not missing anything. Since bass is not overpowering, I didn't really noticed it "stealing" from the Mids. The Highs, really really great! You get clarity, sparkle and great details. I was surprised that such little cups and this type of construction would provide such a great sound! 

Basically, the V-MODAs deliver on every end, from low to highs with good clarity, precision and power.

Both of these headphones are very easy to drive. I tested them with my Nuforce Icon HDP Dac/Amp and my portable setup which consist of an Archos 7 and a JDSLabs c421 amp.

Point goes to V-MODA.


I have to say, both of these headphones deliver great contents, and a very good sound. One caters to a specific crowd (Dj's) and the other to mostly everyone. If I have to recommend one of these to a "normal" person, my vote definitely goes to V-MODA! They are stylish, seem VERY durable, and it sounds extremely good especially for the price.

If you are a DJ and like the features from the Mix Master Mike set, then by all means get it. I believe the price is kind of steep though so if you could buy it for $200 or so, I think it's a good deal. 

Anyway, rating-wise, and taking into consideration the package contents, sound, and... PRICE:

V-MODA V80s: 4 out of 5 chocolates!! 
(if it would have come with an extra set of shields, a solid 4.5 :-p )

Skullcandy MMMs: 2.5 out of 5 chocolates!! 
(good sounding but extremely expensive and it doesn't seem to be durable due to that extreme use of plastic.)

Extra pics:


fEast91 said...

Is that a JDSLabs C421 portable amp I see?

Angel Melendez said...

Yes it is.
Also had the JDSLabs CmoyBB 2.03. Great little amps and great customer service!