When the press release came into the Gear Diary e-mail account about the release of V-MODA’s first over the ear styled headphones I jumped — literally jumped — at the chance to review them. I had recently reviewed their Remix Ear Buds and was thrilled with them, so I was excited to see what they’d done next.
The Crossfades were developed over a lengthy process of collaboration with professional musicians, producers and DJs. V-MODA set out to create an over the ear style headphone that not only sounded great but looked equally so.
By crafting the Crossfades from luxurious materials and lightweight metal V-MODA has done just that.
When I was a Chef, and in culinary school, I believed in the philosophy that really fine food could taste good even if it was served on paper plates with plastic utensils. Meaning that the packaging wasn’t really that important. My instructors often argued with me, and perhaps I was wrong. The moment you pick up the box containing the Crossfades you know something exciting is waiting inside. The sturdy box is held closed with a ribbon that you’ll have to slice to open and there’s a leatherish, croc-skin style tab across the top.
The back of the box reveals the Crossfade’s specifications. These headphones feature 50mm dual-diaphragm high-definition drivers. According to V-MODA this allows them to deliver “deep vibrant bass, organic mid-range and crystal clear clarity on portable devices without the need for any batteries.” These drivers allow the headphones to deliver multiple driver sound with “efficiency of a single driver.”
Inside the box, the headphones are stored inside a heavy-duty carrying case; I’ll get to that later though. Also included are an instruction manual and warranty card. In addition to V-MODA’s one year premier warranty, the Crossfades come a “replay replacement program.” You can get 50% a new pair for life. If your Crossfades become damaged you’ll be able to replace them for half of their full retail price.
The hard shell carrying case unzips to reveal the headphones, a carrying clip, two cables and a 1/4″ adapter.
The Crossfades come with fabric coated cables which are next to impossible to tangle. They’re also extremely light. Both connectors on each of the cables are Kevlar reinforced and feature 24K gold-plated plugs. One of the plugs, the one which is meant to be plugged into your device, is set at a 45º angle. You get two cables: one is a straight audio cable, and the other features an inline remote control which is also equipped with a microphone so that you’ll be able to take voice calls on your iPhone in stereo.
You also receive a 1/4″ adapter for DJ and pro audio system compatibility.
The cables are detachable. This helps with storage but also makes traveling with the Crossfades easier. You could theoretically leave one cable in your gym bag and the other at home, keep one in the car and the other the office etc.
The Crossfades ooze an industrial, modern looking style. The lightweight, metal accents are really unique. They are available in 3 variations. White Pearl, Gunmetal Black and Phantom Chrome. V-MODA was kind enough to send me a pair of the Phantom Chrome for this review.
The headband of the Crossfades is nicely padded. I found the extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
The ear cushions are super cushy (no pun intended), and this also contributes to the comfortable feel of the Crossfades. You can see just how thick they are in the photo below. Both the headband and the ear cushions contain memory foam which helps not only make them feel so good as they conform to the shape of your head, but it also assists in reducing outside noise from interfering with your listening experience.
A small indicator inside the headband guides you to place the headphones on your head in the correct orientation.
And you can extend the headband with a metal extender to achieve that ideal fit.
Small screws accent the chrome finish and complete the modern, industrial look.
With all the metal you’d think the Crossfades would be super heavy. But that’s not the case. Weighing in at only 280 grams they are light enough to be worn almost anywhere, including the gym, at home, or on the go. V-MODA added their own mark on the Crossfades by creating the metal plate that covers the ear cushion in the shape of a “V.”
The hard shell “exoskeleton” case protects the Crossfades during storage and or travel and the included clip can be added to the case.
Good looks and a comfortable fit are important characteristics for headphones to posses, and the Crossfades have both. But let’s face it, sound is where it’s at when it comes to headphones. If a set looks great but sounds poor, then they’re just not worth it. The Crossfades are plain and simple, flat out worth it. Not only are they some of the most comfortable headphones I’ve tried, their sound is up amongst the top of my list as well.
I tried them with my iPhone 3Gs, my 3rd Generation iPod Touch, my iPad, my Mac Book Pro and on my iMac, and they shined everywhere. Listening to music on all my devices was as rich and crisp as I could have hoped for. Like other high-end headphones I’ve tried in the past, the Crossfades allowed me to hear music like it’s not heard when using a cheap pair of earbuds. Every note, of every song comes through just like you were sitting in front of the artist while he/she is playing it. I achieved the best overall listening experiencing while playing my iPod’s library on my 3Gs.
My only complaint about the Crossfades? They do seem to put out a ton of bass. On my iMac, while listening to iTunes, I found music sounded best when I adjusted the iTunes equalizer to the “bass-reducer” setting. After that they sounded great. And the microphone that’s built into the inline remote isn’t the greatest. While calls are totally livable and achievable callers on the other end of my telephone conversation reported that I didn’t sound “perfect”. However, it’s important to remember, these are headphones meant for listening first. Talking through them is a secondary feature, as far as I’m concerned. As long as I can make and receive a call in a pinch I’m pleased.
If you’ve been looking for a pair of high-end, over the ear style headphones, then you need to consider the V-MODA Crossfades; all it’ll take is a moment. Slip them on, and you’ll find that the comfortable fit and high quality sound makes them an excellent competitor to the popular Beats By Dr. Dre. … and at a lower price.
The Crossfades are the result of four years of research and development. Good things usually don’t come quickly; V-MODA has done it right, taken its time and perfected its product.
M.S.R.P. – $249.99
What I like – Incredibly comfortable; rich sounding; strong bass; good mids; very clear.
What I don’t like – Telephone calls are not crystal clear with inline microphone