We thought V-Moda’s studio-inspired $350 M-200 headphones were pretty sweet when we reviewed them in 2019, but for all of their strengths, they’re still a wired-only set of cans and they don’t have active noise cancellation (ANC). Today, on the first day of CES 2021, V-Moda fixes these omissions with its $500 M-200 ANC — a wireless, ANC-equipped version of the M-200. This isn’t a preview; you can buy the new cans on or V-moda.com today.
All of the classic V-Moda design elements have been preserved with the M-200 ANC. You get a well-cushioned headband, an articulated set of hinges that let the headphones fold up into a small, hard-shell carry case, aluminum “shields” on the ear cups that can be swapped out for an endless range of customization options, and magnetically attached ear cushions.
V-Moda has also preserved the M-200’s key audio elements like the 40mm drivers, which use neodymium magnets with CCAW (copper-clad aluminum wire) coils. These drivers are rate for 10-40,000Hz when used in wired mode, which puts them well into hi-res audio territory.
But with the addition of wireless functionality, there are several new specs that add to the experience. V-Moda claims the M-200 ANC will get 20 hours of battery life on a charge, which puts them neck-and-neck with the $400 Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and Apple’s recently released $550 AirPods Max, but it’s not as long as Sony’s 30-hour claim for its WH-1000XM4, which jumps to 38 hours when you turn ANC off.
On the Bluetooth side of the equation, V-Moda has gone all-in with high-quality codecs. It supports aptX HD as well as AAC and SBC. Control buttons are mounted on the top surface of the right earcup for playback, calling, and ANC functions.
Because they’re wireless, you can customize several aspects of the M-200 ANC using the V-Moda app. You can tweak EQ with adjustments for bass, mids, trebles, and highs, choosing from six presets or by selecting your own sound signature — something that wasn’t possible on the M-200. The same app lets you choose from 10 different levels of noise-cancellation.
The M-200 ANC are equipped with a Voice-in feature that temporarily drops the audio volume and shuts off ANC when you cover the left earcup. Sony and Apple have a similar feature, but their cans also enable an ambient sound mode so you can have a clear conversation with the outside world. V-Moda hasn’t specifically said that the M-200 ANC have an ambient mode, but we’d be surprised if they didn’t.
V-Moda also hasn’t mentioned if you’ll be able to use the M-200 ANC with a balanced audio cable, something that helped to set the M-200 apart in a crowded headphone landscape.
It’s great to see the addition of Bluetooth, ANC, and customizable EQ, but at $500, the M-200 ANC are going to have stiff competition from Apple, Bose, Sennheiser, and Sony.
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