As someone who has used V-Moda since 2013 with their LP model, you may say I have a slight bias towards the brand. Nevertheless, I shall, like always do my best on this review to bring you what I think is good and bad on the Crossfade Wireless 2, so that you can maybe see if this the headphones for you. As I have another V-Moda product, the LP, in hand, this review will be a loose comparison to the product to see improvements and other new features V-Moda has done to make it a worthy headphone capable to satisfying not just fashion forward people, but the general population and audiophiles as well.
V-Moda, isn’t a company that has a lot of history like the names of say, Grado, Sony, Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, etc., but they have quite a bit of it. V-Moda has a page regarding their history on their website, but to sum it up a few sentences, the founder of V-Moda, Val Kolton, spent a summer in Ibiza with great DJs and whatnot, and saw a woman, dressed beautiful, step out of a Rolls-Royce with headphones dangling around her neck that looks cheap, made of plastic. That sparked the idea of fashion minded headphones that not only looks good but sound good as well, and V-Moda was born. Can I say he went OCD because it was something that bothered him about the disconnect between tech and fashion? Well, either way, this is their latest product of such thinking, while combining wireless technology that people are getting into as well.
To make this product a bit different from their competitors, V-Moda have taken a different approach to this product as well. Focusing on the fact that wired connections still generally yield better quality than wireless, their wired connection is their first priority, making the wireless features a second, but still quite important feature for the Crossfade Wireless 2. In this review as well I shall highlight the differences between the sound produced wired and wireless, in addition to if they have delivered as promised in their claims.
If you have seen my earlier reviews, or even any of my other pages, you may know that I tend to listen more for the bass than anything, but I also to listen to the mid and high ends as well to bring you a complete review. I am a believer in that everything has to come together really well in order for it to be really good. Everything in moderation, even if I like a a little bit more bass in my music. As for music that I listen to, I tend to listen to pop, classical, Kpop, Jrock, R&B, Rap, Jazz and even electronic. I’m not very picky with my music, and I will listen to a lot of these genres to see how any audio products I review perform, and will give my best effort at an unbiased opinion on them.
- Type: Over-Ear Circumaural Bluetooth
- Drivers: 50mm Dual-Diaphragm (patent pending)
- Wired Frequency Response: 5 – 40,000Hz
- Sensitivity: 100dB @ 1kHz 1mW
- Microphone sensitivity: -42dB @ 1kHz
- Battery Capacity: 430mAh (up to 14+ hours music playback)
- Cable: 1-Button Reinforced SpeakEasyTM Microphone 3.5mm Cable
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Weight: 309g (with standard aluminum shields)
What’s included in the box
- V-Moda Crossfade Wireless 2 headphones
- Exoskeleton Case w/V-PORTS
- 3.5mm audio cable w/ single multipurpose button and microphone
- USB cable with Flat profile
- 1/4 gold plated adaptor
- V-Moda Sticker
Out of the box, V-Moda includes an exoskeleton carrying case that has 2 V-PORTS that are basically rubber-like seals you can take off and air your headphones out while in the case. Definitely helpful for post-workout odor resistance. They also include a carabiner clip, and inside the case, 3.5mm audio cables with a single button multi-purpose button and a microphone. The cable is ARAMID fiber-reinforced cables which are very durable. They also include a flat USB cable with V-Moda branding, so you can charge your headphones. Included in the box is a 1/4 gold plated adaptor and a V-Moda Sticker as well. With every V-Moda product, they offer a 50% immortal life program replacement, so once it’s over the warranty, V-Moda will buy it back from you, regardless of condition, and offer you 50% of the market price for it. But you’re basically trading in for it so you have to get product for this to happen, and buy it from them through their website directly.
In any case, the headphones themselves aren’t that heavy. They are 309g with the standard aluminum shields, but I have bought the custom 3D Shields from them, and that is lighter than the standard shields, bringing the overall weight down a bit. They are comfortable with padding on the headband the the cups. The padding on the cups are really comfortable, and that is quite a given, since they are made of memory foam. The padding of the headband is, based on other reviews such as the CNET review of these by David Carnoy (which you can see here), the padding is much thicker because it is heavier than the predecessor the first Crossfade Wireless, because it has a bigger battery. I’ve never had the predecessor, so I cannot be 100% sure about their differences. But in general I find the cushioning for the headband is quite comfortable, and the general pressure these headphones but on my head is more than the LPs that I have, but they aren’t uncomfortable. Then again, it might be because my LPs are older, and the tension it previously had is much less due to wear.
On an interesting note, with other people, such as my brother who I had as a test subject, with his self proclaimed relatively sensitive crown (upper head region), gave me feedback that he doesn’t like V-Moda headbands in general because they pose comfort issues for his crown. That was further proven after he tried these pair as well. They are however, more conforming to the head, which means less space between you and the band, especially between the area above your ears. They make you stand out less obnoxiously, unlike some headphones.
Having used these for a few months, I have used them both outdoors and indoors between my lectures when I study or as I commute between them. Either way, these are comfortable headphones you will notice on your head, but despite long 2-3 hour sessions these are still comfortable to wear. I cannot say much beyond 6 hours as I have not worn them for those extended periods of time, but the only issue is when wearing them for the periods that I do, these tend to get a bit warm if you don’t open them up to let a bit of air in. Wearing the dark colors outside is a bit weird I will comment. These will fool you into thinking it’s not as hot outside, especially for me because the hot air doesn’t reach your ears, and being outside will not heat up the inside fortunately. On the unfortunate side I do realize I sweat quite a bit first before these get the slightest bit warm inside.
Design-wise, since their first headphones, they haven’t a major refresh in design. It’s pretty much the same thing with a few tweaks for comfort, features, internals, more buttons, etc. They haven’t had a design overhaul, but I can’t complain. If it’s not broken don’t fix it right? They still look good, and appear to be durable, using materials that are of premium quality and are quite durable, such as metal the adjustable hinges, synthetic leather covering the headband, high quality plastics where used, gold plates ends on the cable, and fiber reinforced cables both on the headphones and the detachable cables, this is a product that wants you to use it with relatively no worries and will last quite awhile, while looking good.
They did improve their options for personalization in terms of the shield though. I have purchased these for myself, and I decided to get my initials engraved on them which you can see. These are the 3D printed fiber shields which you can get when you get the headphones directly from their website, and in this case it does lighten the headphones a little compared to the basic aluminum shields that came with it.
Overall, this is a rugged system built to handle being outside and showing off your headphones. The metal hinges that allow these headphones to fold in feel sturdy and won’t break unless you rough handle it with the purpose to break them. The wire that connects the left and right earcup are wrapped in the fiber like their audio cables so they should be be more than enough to last the lifetime of the headphones. I’ve been to school and back, and to school again with these headphones, so these are taken by me to travel around to, despite my instincts to just use these at home so they are more pristine. My findings were quite reassuring though. These didn’t break in any major way, except for a few scratches due to my fault which I consider as daily wear, these headphones held up and passed with flying colors. They’re still prone to scratches as I mentioned, but other than that you can comfortably take these outside and be confident that nothing major will break after a brush with another person you bump into. It also holds on snug enough to your head that you don’t see these hit concrete anytime soon as well.
Sound Impressions (quite a lot, I know, but bear with me)
In the beginning, I usually don’t pay too much attention to the sound quality as much, because there can be a break-in period for audio products, in which they can sound different after awhile of use in comparison to the beginning. The post break-in is where the sound is more final, and that is what I’ll be giving my review on. Just to mention the initial sound impressions, they were a bit constrained, like everything was more wrapped around and not very transparent. The high frequencies were quite harsh and the mid was quite not very pronounced. In the case of the low-end, they were a bit overpowering in comparison to the other frequencies and a bit muddy in my opinion. Afterwards, the sound opened up a lot more. High frequencies were not as harsh, the mids were more pronounced, and the lower end become more tight and not as overpowering because the other frequencies were coming forward more. I shall talk about more details regarding the characteristics below.
Speaking of the general characteristic, these V-Moda Crossfade Wireless 2 are a more refined version of their LP. Everything is more accurate, with a wider sound stage and better imaging. Just from the sound of these, I can say these have the potential to be a very good all-around performer for the different genres people listen to. Coincidentally, I have mentioned in a previous review that the sound characteristics for the LP are actually pretty good overall, for any genre, and this further proves they have taken that to the next step. Despite it being implicitly marketed to DJs, these are all around rather great headphones for any genre you listen to.
One standout genre with the headphones is the current pop genre feature a lot of bass, which this can deliver, and of which this headphones execute the best, as such with their predecessors based on reviews such as those of such as CNET Steve Guttenburg’s review of the V-Moda M100 (which you can read here as well). If you think now that I’m a bit biased towards CNET, there is another article by Tyll Hertsens from innerfidelity (here) that also proves V-Moda’s prowess in Bass. I do think they did tone down the bass a bit compared to the LP as they aren’t way over the top. As with the LP, the bass is one that you can feel, as well as hear being too overpowering at times. With the Crossfade Wireless 2, it’s warm and satisfying.
If you so incline, *importantly* with the headphones off, you can pump the volume to full and you can literally feel and see the headphones vibrating because of the bass. I wonder if it’s because of the 50mm dual-diaphram drivers which are bigger than average, with the typical size being 40mm for others based on my research. Although, there are more and more headphones which have 50mm driver nowadays. Nevertheless, the results for the bass are superb, and if you like some quality bass on your headphones, these are the headphones you should, at the very least, short-list in your top 3.
Other departments of this headphones are pretty good too though. The treble on these are well pronounced. They are quite transparent, quite sound accurate, but are a tad bit harsh, if I were to nitpick. The mid-range as well, are quite transparent, sound accurate, and quite smooth. Imaging-wise they are quite wide and deep in nature. They aren’t rated JAS (Japan Audio Society) High Res headphones (while wired at least), for nothing. Speaking of overall sound quality, these are a pair of emotional headphones. You can feel the music a lot more than other headphones I’ve tried, and you can feel the energy with the small details you notice with the headphones. The overall imaging characteristics are what I would say forward, meaning quite intimate with the listener, but at an appropriate distance. With that note, I should also address that I’ve been mainly talking about the headphone’s characteristics while wired, despite one of the main points of the headphones being it’s wireless feature.
Considering that the emphasis on these seem to be the best of both worlds, I’d say they do a very good job, considering they don’t sound too different vs. listening to them wired. The main difference is the step up in details and transparency when wired. You can tell these drivers are paired with a pretty good system in each cup. Usually Bluetooth headphones are made for purely wireless methods of listening, and aren’t quite the same wired. Those that are good while wired lack wireless features because “acoustics” (probably). But this pair of cans are different. These are some very good cans both ways. If you’re looking for more details, transparency, accurate sound reproduction plug them right in. If you’re looking for portability and convenience, just connect them via Bluetooth. You can’t really tell that much of a difference unless you pay attention, because you’re going to be more focused on the path ahead, and not as much as the music. It’s almost literally the best of both worlds, and maybe you can even consider them 2 headphones in 1 for the price. Definitely something I highly recommend you at least short-list in your top 3 because of this as well!
The V-Moda Crossfade Wireless are a pair of headphones that strive to bring the best of both worlds for anyone and any genre. They sound really good, with their best performing department being their bass reproduction. These will make you feel the music, as well as hear it, because you’re going to notice things with the sound accuracy of these headphones, as well as it’s imaging.
Obviously they aren’t as good as very large legitimate speaker systems that cost the high hundreds or in the single thousands, but come quite close. It also definitely is not perfect, but these are definitely one of the best wired/wireless headphones you can buy in this price range on the market right now. These are a pair of headphones that are comfortable as well as stylish, which makes it one that I find encouraging to take out and wear around campus, as well as know it sounds great. Despite the slight sound discrepancy when you wear them wired or wireless, you don’t really notice them, and they sound great either way. They are rugged enough as well, to the point where I don’t have to worry if I have to toss them aside for a moment.
If you’re on the market for a pair of headphones that has it all, the style, the great sound, the durability, customization, and the comfort, this is the one to go for. A highly recommended headphone which I now own and proudly display for years to come.
[Quick comment: I took all the pictures of the headphones with my DSLR this time. Didn’t they turn out really nice?]