V-MODA, a brand who specializes in high-quality headphones and audio equipment, recently launched its first Bluetooth speaker in the REMIX (read our review). But, that’s not the only thing that V-MODA is releasing this spring. Indeed, it’s back with a new set of Bluetooth headphones in the form of the Crossfade 2.
What’s in the box?
- Crossfade 2 Wireless
- Exoskeleton carry case and 2 V-PORT Vents
- Carabiner clip
- Reinforced 1-Button SpeakEasy™ Microphone cable
- Elegant V-Micro USB Cable
- Gold plated 1/4″ Pro Adapter
- V-MODA sticker
As we’ve seen time and time again, V-MODA knows how to craft a solid product. The same can be said here as the Crossfade 2 Wireless is built with premium materials that are both lightweight yet sturdy.
From the moment you take them out of the box you know you’re not getting a cheaply designed set of cans. In fact, the attention to detail starts at the box and its thicker cardboard with hints of fabric and leather. Interestingly enough, you have to cut a small section of ribbon to get into the box.
The Crossfade 2 Wireless features a soft padded headband; the ear cups have a memory foam wrapped in a soft (“durable vegan”) leather padding. These are over-the-ear headphones but they don’t come across as being too big. We found them to fit comfortably enough and just big enough to cover the ear.
V-MODA, as it is often wont to do, sticks with the industrial design and uses its fair share of visible metal and screws. The headphones look all at once very modern but also somewhat foreign. There’s plenty of the Milano studio and its Italian influence present but it’s balanced very well.
The left ear cup houses a microUSB port for charging, which we found somewhat odd. Given it was already turning to USB Type-C for the REMIX speaker, we figured V-MODA would opt for it in the Bluetooth headphones.
These are the type of headphones that you will want to hold onto for multiple years. Take care of them and you’ll have them at least five years. At that point, microUSB will no longer be near the standard it is today. Minor quibble? Sure, but it could be more of a nuisance or inconvenience down the road.
Over on the right ear cup, we locate the power and Bluetooth button, playback controls, the 3.5mm input, and microphone.
The headphones, while very comfortable to wear, can get a little sweaty after extended listening. We had these on when mowing the yard with a riding mower and using a weed trimmer and ended up needing to take them off a time or two. This was in late April and early May so we can only imagine things could get warmer in the heat of the summer. Summarily, we could not envision wearing these for workouts or in an active manner.
Generally speaking, we found the headphones to fit snugly without being too tight. Listening around the house and office was pleasurable, even for longer periods. We would have liked having full rotation on the ear cups but it’s not a deal-breaker.
Sometimes we like to put one cup up to our ear. DJ’s, for instance, need this in their headphones and will have to look elsewhere. The Crossfade 2’s, however, do fold up nicely and tuck away in the carrying case, a welcome difference from its predecessor.
As is the case with other products in the V-MODA portfolio, you can customize the headphones with 3D printed covers and materials.
Materials for 3D printed shields
- Fiber – 9 colors available
- Steel – Matte Black, Stainless Steel, Polished Gold, Polished Bronze, Matte Bronze
- Raw and Gold Plated Metals – Raw brass, Raw bronze, 14k Rose gold plated brass, 14k gold plated brass and Rhodium plated brass
- Precious Metals – Sterling Silver, 14k Solid Gold, 14k Solid Rose Gold and Platinum
Connection, Setup, and Controls
Connecting and pairing the headphones to a phone is as simple as powering them on and holding the button down for a moment. They’ll immediately seek for a device to connect with and you’re seconds away from listening to music.
As far as connection goes, the Crossfade 2’s didn’t stutter or start to disconnect until we tested for it. In other words, we had to put our phone down and walk away from it to figure out what sort of distance we could expect. Indeed, you’ll get about 30 feet from the source, which is par for the course.
When it comes to playback controls, you’ll use the right ear cup and its three buttons. One is your general multi-function while the other two are used for volume. Tap once and you can pause/resume playback; tap twice for skipping to the next track; tap three times to go back one track. A long press of the button will access Google Now (or Siri) for voice commands. We liked the response to the buttons as they definitely provide enough tactile feedback to know they’re pressed.
The V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones include a 430mAh battery which claims to provide up to 14 hours of playback. This might be the case, but we typically found ourselves charging up every 2-3 listens just to be safe. In essence, this would amount to at least ten hours between charging with us getting upwards of 12 hours a few times. Could you squeeze more out? Probably, but that will depend on your preferred volume level.
We tested a black pair of the Crossfade 2’s. Why does this matter? If you opt for the Rose Gold version of the headphones, you’ll get aptX support (HD audio) over Bluetooth. Nevertheless, the standard models are certified Wi-Res Audio in wired mode, and deliver “super-human” frequencies beyond 40kHz.
For those of you who like bass in their music, these are your cup of tea. Lows are very solid with a tight sound across various genres. In fact, some of you may find that bass somehow overshadows mid-range stuff like vocals and guitar. It’s not terrible, but there were occasional instances where we might have liked more clarity and space. We’ve certainly heard much, much worse and in headphones that aren’t all that much less expensive.
Highs came across very clear with a nice, balanced feel. You’ll pick up a lot of detail in your music, regardless of genre. Spoken word (audiobooks, podcasts, etc) is crisp and offers a good degree of pop to it.
When using the headphones for phone calls, the Crossfade 2’s performed as expected. Callers could hear us without difficulty — we didn’t have any complaints from people on the other end. The same goes for what we could hear in that it was loud and clear with only the rare instance of oddball noises or feedback.
Taken as a whole, we really like the V-MODA Crossfade 2 wireless headphones. They’re built with excellent hardware, are comfortable to wear for longer periods, and offer up solid sound.
Battery life is good enough to get us through a few days of listening without charging, which all we really need at the outset of a standard work week. If you’re more active and want to wear them for workouts or extracurricular stuff, you’ll need to keep a charger close by. Fortunately, the carrying case houses the headphones and the 3.5mm cord as well as the USB charging cable.
You might find the bass a little stronger than what you’re used to, especially if you’ve only owned cheap (lesser quality) headphones in the past. They’re certainly no worse than previous V-MODA models; a lot of listeners tend to appreciate that sound, anyhow.
If there’s a reason to pause when considering the Crossfade 2’s, it is going to be the cost. Not many people want to spend that much money on a pair of headphones. But, those who have before, or want to invest in something quality, the $330 price tag isn’t bad at all. Treat these nicely and we bet they’ll outlast most competitors. Factor in that you also get free engraving and customization with either 3D printed fiber or laser engraved aluminum and it becomes even more of a value.