I’ve reviewed countless audiophile headphones over the last six years, but nothing compares to V-MODA’s unique visual identity. Originally founded by DJ Val Kolton in 2004, V-MODA is the first audio manufacturer to popularize fashion headphones. Much like a luxurious sports car, V-MODA headphones are for enthusiasts who want more than just great performance. The company’s product lineup is as much about making an impression as it is about delivering superb sound quality.
Over the last two weeks, I had the pleasure of testing my first V-MODA model, the Crossfade 2 Wireless. It didn't take long for the headphones to become one of my most cherished pieces of tech in 2017. Unboxing the V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless is an experience on its own. The Crossfade 2 ship in a stylish, cleverly designed box that houses an exoskeleton hard case with the headphones and accessories tucked inside. The carrying case has a convenient carabiner clip that can connect to a backpack or any other object with a matching loop. The top lid carries small, removable vents called V-Ports that circulate air inside when the headphones have been in use for a while. Thanks to the headphones’ foldable design, the case is compact and perfect for traveling.
"The Crossfade 2 are a stunning pair of headphones. The body is constructed with premium materials, and I’ve yet to encounter another headphone design with such head-turning curves."
The package contains a 1-Button SpeakEasy Mic cable, a ¼” Pro Adapter and a USB charging cable. We also received a V-MODA BoomPro Mic to test multiplayer gaming chat performance, but the mic is sold separately. We received the matte white unit for review, which currently retails for $330.00 with free US shipping on V-MODA’s official website, as well as Amazon.
The Crossfade 2 are a stunning pair of headphones. The body is constructed with premium materials, and I’ve yet to encounter another headphone design with such head-turning curves. Personally, I’m a sucker for unconventional tech engineering, and the V-MODA signature aesthetic is truly out of this world.
The Crossfade 2 also happen to be the sturdiest headphones I ever held in my hands. You can twist the entire body in any direction, and it elegantly reverts back to its original shape. The steel skeleton extends outside the headband down to the earcups, and the twistable joints are firmly secured to ensure resistance against repetitive folding. The headphones are covered in Vegan leather (a big plus for animal lovers), and the ear cushions feel cozy without making my ears sweat. Weighing around 292-309g, the V-MODA Crossfade 2 aren’t exactly on the light side, but in practice, I never had a problem with the weight even after using the headphones for 13+ straight hours.
"You can twist the entire body in any direction, and it elegantly reverts back to its original shape. The steel skeleton extends outside the headband down to the earcups, and the twistable joints are firmly secured to ensure resistance against repetitive folding."
Customization is one of V-MODA’s key features, and the personalized earcup plates put other headphone manufacturers to shame. The custom plates are 3D sculpted in Italy and you can select from several high-quality materials: sterling silver, 14k gold, 14k rose gold, 14k white gold, platinum. You can have custom art or writing engraved, and I appreciate the downloadable templates on V-MODA’s site that let users easily specify the layout and material details.
Setting up the Crossfade 2 is effortless and the Bluetooth pairing takes mere seconds. The wireless range is advertised as 33ft, and based on my personal testing, I only experienced slight signal loss when reaching approximately 30ft. Battery life is equally impressive, and I was able to easily reach the listed 14 hour mark while listening on relatively high volume. This is especially exciting when you hear how well the wireless audio performs. As someone who always opts for wired headphones, I am genuinely blown away by the sound richness and clarity when using Bluetooth.
"Customization is one of V-MODA’s key features, and the personalized earcup plates put other headphone manufacturers to shame. The custom plates are 3D sculpted in Italy and you can select from several high-quality materials."
Having said that, wired connection is still the way to go if you want to experience all the power the Crossfade 2 have to offer. Wired connection provides pure hi-res sound (5Hz-40kHz) and you can use the included ¼” Pro Adapter for even better quality if you’re lucky enough to have an audiophile AMP.
I didn't expect such a wide sound stage going into my review, but boy do these headphones deliver. Listening to a live concert of Florence + The Machine beautifully highlights just how much breadth the sound can reach. The orchestral score mixed with Florence’s vocals provides an excellent mix of highs and lows that retain equal clarity and depth. Mids tend to get a little muffled by the bass, but I expected this considering the audio profile was defined by a DJ. If you’re someone who enjoys the extra kick in your music, then you can count on the Crossfade 2 to throw a serious punch.
Even though the sound profile favors hip hop, pop and generally bass heavy music, the deep lows carry over to other genres better than expected. When listening to an acoustic guitar performance, for example, there is enough clarity in mids without the low frequency channels drowning out the details. This balance makes the Crossfade 2 a great choice for varied usage.
"If you’re a tech hobbyist or professional who doesn’t mind spending a few extra bucks on luxury features, the Crossfade 2 offer a unique mix of personalization options and stunning, audiophile-grade sound."
Gaming on the Crossfade 2 is just as impressive. Shooters deliver a thunderous and immersive experience, and I can easily imagine these headphones being used for eSports. When combined with the BoomPro Mic, the Crossfade 2 make for an excellent gaming headset. The added mic is crystal clear and I had no problems communicating with my teammates when playing competitively. Just don’t expect studio-grade quality performance. For a $30 add-on, however, the BoomPro Mic does a commendable job.
Conclusion: The V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones are exceptional! It’s a product designed for a niche audience, but if you’re a tech hobbyist or professional who doesn’t mind spending a few extra bucks on luxury features, this model offers a unique mix of personalization options and stunning, audiophile-grade sound.
Final Score: A