V-MODA Crossfade Wireless Cuts the Cord Not the Quality

V-MODA headphones have consistently impressed me with their build quality, design, and sound. In fact, V-MODA tends to serve up some of the best, cleanest audio I have ever experienced. Now they have brought that same aesthetic and audio excellence to a pair of wireless headphones. In a word… the V-MODA Crossfade Wireless Headphones are nothing short of unfreaking amazing!

The company refers to these $299 headphones as their “most advanced model to date.” That’s easy to believe since these are their first wireless offering. They work as wired headphones as well as wireless and apparently offer virtually identical sound quality whether you use the headphones in analog wired mode or as Bluetooth wireless headphones. In my testing of them, that claim certainly seems to hold up.

The headphones offer great sound without the need for a powered EQ. The result? “A refined and improved Crossfade M-100 sound in both wired and wireless modes.”

These sound great when used the way I have all of my previous V-MODA wired headphones. What most surprised me was that they sound pretty much exactly the same when I use them as wireless headphones. The sound is crisp, clean and loud. Yes, these headphones are an absolute pleasure to listen to in either mode. (And that is coming from someone who, at this point, has had the opportunity to listen so numerous pair of excellent headphones. These are absolutely at the top of the list!)

Here’s what the company has to say about their latest offering:

V-MODA’s acoustics development team sought to improve its renowned signature sound for virtually identical analog and wireless playback. The Crossfade Wireless went through years of precise engineering to design and tune wireless electronics while keeping the iconic V-MODA materials and shapes. The patent-pending dual-diaphragm 50mm driver is a refined version of the award-winning Crossfade M-100 that was crowdsourced by hundreds of headphone audiophiles and won 17 editors’ choice awards. Its speaker consistency is unrivaled and has been “hand-tuned” to complement the human hearing limit variance (+/- 2dB).

At first glance the Crossfade Wireless seem to be pretty standard when it comes to Bluetooth headphones. After all, these headphones only offer wirelessly connectivity of up to 33 feet. Sure they can be paired with two sources at the same time but the 33-foot range puts them in the ballpark with most Bluetooth headphones at a time when Plantronics has released a few different headphones that sound great and get three times the range. Digging a bit deeper however reveals that the headphones may have standard Bluetooth range but the sound is vastly different from most thanks to a special codec V-MODA is using. As they explain:

The audio codec determines how audio is sent to wireless headphones, and it is crucial for both delivering the best hi-fi audio and compatibility with a range of mobile devices and music files. The CSR BlueCore chipset utilized is the perfect balance of unequalized hi-fi sound and power consumption.

I love using the headphones as wireless headphones but also enjoy the fact that I can quickly and easily switch from wireless to wired mode. Simply plugging the included cable in immediately turns off the wireless connection and turns the Crossfade into pretty much the same headphones as the ones I reviewed… and raved about… a few months ago. In addition, when using the headphones in wireless mode, there is a hidden microphone that is optimized for phone calls and voice recognition. When you plug in the all-so-awesome rugged Kevlar-reinforced the 1-Button SpeakEasy controller takes over.

I was excited to read about these headphones when they were first announced and was even more excited to learn I had a review sample on the way. The review sample arrived and I wasn’t disapointed. In fact, I was blown away.

Features:

  • Go the Distance – Pair your Bluetooth device and enjoy your headphones up to 33 feet (10 meters)
  • Simultaneous Device Pairing – Multitask and pair the headphones with two sources at a time, such as smartphone and laptop for work or smartphone and smartwatch for a workout
  • Unlimited Hours – Up to 12 wireless hours of music, 30 minute quick charge for 3+ wireless hours and unlimited hours in analog wired mode featuring virtually undistinguishable sound
  • Hybrid Wireless + Wired – Enjoy the best of 2 worlds: wireless for freedom, cabled when you run out of juice or demand zero latency pure analog audio for gaming, videos, music/DJ performance or a Hi-Fi DAC/AMP (connects to PS4 + Xbox One controllers)

These headphones come with one of the signature V-MODA exoskeleton cases that offer rugged protection.

The included carabiner clips to the case and lets you attach it to your backpack or bag. The included audio cable is rugged Kevlar.

The included charging cable is too. In all, the packaging and inclusions are worthy of the $299 price tag.

And then there are the headphones. Many of V-MODA’s offerings fold up to fit into a smaller package. I was disappointed that these are not among those headphones and do not, in fact, fold up. That means the case is a bit bigger than some of the other models I have tested. This is far from a huge deal but is certainly worth noting. It is also worth noting that the headphones themselves look pretty much like the Crossfade M-100s when you first glance at them. The style is the same. The fit and finish are too. Yes, these headphones continue the trend of “minding the gap” and sitting closer to your head than many other headphones… including V-MODA’s initial offerings. The headphones have the same industrial design that looks serious and bold without being to boxy or machiney.

Then there are the shields.

A few years back Judie and I visited V-MODA at CES and saw the custom shields they would be rolling out. They now have the process down to a science and make it easier than ever to customize the headphones. The review sample came with a sample of custom shields and we will be doing a video and post taking a look at them. Suffice it to say here that the customizations is a pretty neat way to get a unique pair of kick-ass headphones at an accessible price. Here’s a video look:

There are differences however. Because these are wireless headphones they need to have controls for the wireless funtionality. They do but the buttons aren’t so obvious as to scream “Wireless!!!!” or break the headphones unique aesthetic lines.

If you have not gotten the idea throughout this review let me be clear… I LOVE these headphones. I love my work with Gear Diary and the fact that I get to try, and often review, a good number of impressive headphones. I’ve had a number that stand out as something I would immediately go out and purchase if the review sample broke or had to go back to the company. These are among them. Honestly, I love the Plantronics headphones I reviewed here and here and didn’t expect to find anything before the end of 2015 that came close to grabbing my attention. The V-MODA Crossfade Wireless have done just that. Honestly I don’t think I can recommend these over the Plantronics BackBeat Sense but I can’t recommend the Sense over these either. Both pair of headphones will blow you away with their comfort, features and sound. Honestly, I think anyone would be happy with either so the design and features will have to be the determining factors for each potential buyer.

If you want refined headphones that are light and have an elegant look that will fit into the office or your travels and has battery life and Bluetooth range that are so good it is hard to believe the claims — but let me be clear… The claims are absolutely accurate — you will want to check out the Plantronics Backbeat Sense.

If you want bold headphones that make a statement, offer crisp, clean sound and have the standard battery and Bluetooth range we have come to know, you might prefer the V-MODA Crossfade Wireless. Both freaking rock.

I enjoy both and when I purge by headphone collection later this month… Raina thinks my obsession with headphones is a bit out of control… I can tell you already that I’ll be keeping both the Plantronics and V-MODA offerings. That noted, the headphones in my bag as I currently fly to Las Vegas for CES are… The V-MODA Crossfade Wireless. I love how tough and well made they are. I love the way they sound. I appreciate the way they block out so much ambient noise despite not having active noise cancelation. And I love that they work with the V-MODA Boom Microphone cable I reviewed a few years ago. That means these headphones can also be used to monitor and record interviews on the show floor. Plus… They just look great.

You can learn more here. You can order yours here. [Affiliate link.]
Source: Manufacturer supplied review copy of the V-MODA Crossfade Wireless

Company Supplied Review Sample What I Like: Great look; Great sound; Good wireless functionality; Good wired functionality; Comfortable; Replaceable shield; Great protective case included

What Needs Improvement: Pricey but awesome

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.