Wireless headphones are made possible by trade-offs. The cable might be gone, but you'll sometimes be stuck with a spotty Bluetooth signal, a battery that drains too fast or a high price tag in its absence.
Many wireless headphone models fall victim to these problems, but thankfully, V-Moda's Crossfade Wireless isn't one of them. Stocked with bass-heavy sound, 12-hour battery life and a strong Bluetooth tether, this $300 (about £206, AU$430 plus international shipping charges) package is aimed at those who are serious about music. While these cans nail the fundamentals, some of the finer details fall by the wayside.
When it comes to the design of V-Moda's Crossfade Wireless, you'll likely find yourself in one of two camps: those who abhor it or those who fancy it. On the whole, the set does a lot right, but it also has its share of design missteps along the way.
Modeled after the wired Crossfade M-100, the Crossfade Wireless continues V-Moda's trend of grungy design, now capped with 3D-printed hexagonal plates, which you can replace to add your own personal flair. A few moments of handling the Crossfade Wireless will give you the impression that it's built with durability in mind, an awesome quality to have on your side, especially since you'll be taking these on the go.
The headband is coated in black leatherette on its top and a breathable mesh material on the bottom to reduce the hair dampening effect, or "headphone hair," the sad state that many over-ear and on-ear headphones tend to leave you with after about an hour of use. On each of its ends, the headband is capped in matte plastic and dressed with a sharp metallic details in the shape of a "V". You know, for V-Moda? If you look hard enough, these not-so-subtle brand markings are all over the Crossfade Wireless.
Extending down from within the headband are its metal sidearms. These give the headphones durability while offering the ear cups about 90 degrees of swivel to accommodate to different ear and head shapes. Unfortunately, you won't find the foldable earcup design that V-Moda's Crossfade M-100 has. Without it, the Crossfade Wireless isn't as compact or flexible.
To aid in comfort, V-Moda installed memory foam ear pads, which provide passive noise isolation while listening. Along with the sidearms, a clothed cable makes its way down into each ear cup. There's no hidden cable wizardry going on here.
The list of physical features on the Crossfade Wireless are split amongst each earcup, with the microUSB port located on the left, and the rest on the right. To get into more detail, the right cup hosts a microphone, an on and off switch that boots into Bluetooth discovery mode when flipped on and held still for a few seconds.
The multimedia controls used to change songs and volume wrap around the top of the 3D-printed plate. These, too, are shaped in a "V" sort of way, albeit inverted.
The panel is broken up into three buttons, the center one being the play and pause button. You can also tap it to answer phone calls, or tap it two times while listening to music to skip the song and three times to move back a song. Lastly, there's a 3.5mm input, in case you want to save battery and connect it via the included wire.
For the price, you'll find a pleasing bundle of included goodies. Along with the flat microUSB cable and braided 3.5mm cable, there are a few surprises inside the box. Any sort of carrying case is a positive when dealing with expensive headphones, and the one V-Moda gives out with your purchase is especially tough.
You'll also receive a hex tool in case you want to customize the plates, which can be purchased on V-Moda's site. Believe it or not, you can spend in the neighborhood of $28,000 on Crossfade Wireless configurations including Platinum, Gold, or Silver plates.
While the design of the Crossfade Wireless could draw varying reactions, the quality of the listening experience it puts forward isn't up for much debate. V-Moda's wireless headphones sound awesome. The search for a set of cordless cans that can pump out a palpable amount of bass and an overall gutsy sound is tough, but it just got a little easier for you.
In terms of its music playback capabilities, the Crossfade Wireless shows its chops right away. Though it can handle any genre you enjoy listening to, lovers of bass and the high end will particularly appreciate the sound stage presented inside these over-ear headphones. On the other hand, I found that the mids, my personal favorite slice of the sound profile, lack the level of warmth and clarity that I prefer.
Aside from jamming out, which these do quite well, you can also use the Crossfade Wireless to have a chat on the phone. Answering the phone is simple, with a single click of the play and pause button. The microphone located on the front-facing section of the right earcup has no problem picking up my voice, no matter the volume I'm speaking at.
However you choose to use V-Moda's wireless headphones, you'll be able to do so for up to 12 hours and without any signal drop-out while using Bluetooth. I cycled through the battery's capacity five or more times and the total duration never fell below the advertised 12 hours of battery life. But, if the battery should run out, or if you're just trying to make it last, you can always pop in the included 3.5mm cable to listen, too.
By snipping the wire, Bluetooth headphones have a responsibility to make no-look navigation a cinch. While the controls of the Crossfade Wireless are easy enough to get the hang of, I had a 50/50 success rate every time I tried to skip a song or go back. The buttons don't offer enough of a tactile "click" and, while wearing the headphones, it's especially tough to tell if a press has registered until you find out that it hasn't.
The V-Moda Crossfade Wireless nails the core fundamentals of what I'm looking for in a set of wireless cans. It delivers powerful sound, and the memory foam cushions keep things comfy for a long time. But, its failings lie in the minor details, like the lack of strong mids in the sound profile and the troublesome button tactility.
Also, the design's blend of grunge and gaudy stylings doesn't sit well with my taste. If you're in the same boat, there are some particularly good-looking options in our buying guide for the best wireless headphones.
There are better wireless headphones out there that blend stellar sound with a more agreeable design, like Plantronics' BackBeat Pro. For the same price, these offer the same over-ear design with active noise cancelling and intuitive controls, to boot.
V-Moda's Crossfade Wireless doesn't hit all of the marks, but the entire package is a good value for anyone on the hunt for a bold set of wireless headphones that offer booming sound.