V-MODA has a pretty diverse following that has grown over the past few years and their offerings have progressed along the way, positive progression in my opinion. V-MODA is one of the few brands that bridges the gap from commercial appeal to audiophiles.
I really enjoyed the sound of the V-MODA XS but there were some things that I didn’t like, the isolation was poor. Granted it was an on-ear but to me it was even poor by on-ear standards. The second issue was that I couldn’t wear them to the gym because with any quick movement they would shift on my head and I would be staring into an earcup.
The M-100 has been one of their most popular headphones. The M-100 bass has been its long suit but to me it’s loose, uncontrolled bass can become overpowering fast. I really enjoy a warm overall sound and V-MODA has always delivered on that, but I was left wishing for more detail in my listening to go with all that warmth.
I will say, up to this point, the majority of audiophiles that own a V-MODA own them as their fun, non-critical music listening headphone and it is sometimes nice to throw on a pair of headphones without worrying about critical listening for layering, bass extension and rolled off treble. However, I consider myself a critical listener and was never satisfied with that aspect.
I have been hoping for a V-MODA offering that will offer fun, yet controlled bass and give the sound buff in me some satisfaction. Could the latest V-MODA be the one? In a word…YES!
Let’s take a closer look at the best all around headphone, in my opinion, in the V-MODA stable. I am especially curious to hear the first headphone release since Roland has owned a major stake in V-MODA. I introduce you to the V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless.
V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless
-MRSP: $349 Rose Gold apt-X
-MRSP: $329 Matte Black/Matte White
I want to thank Luca at V-MODA for providing me the opportunity to review the Crossfade 2 Wireless. Thumbs up!
Type – Over-Ear Circumaural Bluetooth
Drivers – 50mm Dual-Diaphragm (patent pending)
Frequency Response Wired – 5 – 40,000Hz
Headphone Sensitivity – 100 dB @ 1kHz 1mW
Micropphone Sensitivity – 42dB @ 1kHz
Impedance – 32 Ω
Weight – 309g (with standard aluminum shields)
Battery Capacity – 430mAh (up to 14+ hours music playback)
Cable – 1-Button Reinforced SpeakEasy™ Microphone 3.5mm cable
To me, the name of the product, Crossfade 2 Wireless holds the key to this new offering from V-MODA. They are called the Crossfade 2 Wireless and not the Crossfade Wireless 2. In my opinion the company was trying to produce an excellent wired headphone with the addition of Bluetooth instead of vice versa. To my ears this is one of the first Bluetooth wireless headphones that sound almost equal wired vs.wireless, great job for a Bluetooth headphone.
Below is what you receive for the price of admission when you purchase the Crossfade 2 Wireless. I always enjoy opening a box of headphones from V-MODA, cutting the ribbon makes you feel like the Mayor doing a ribbon cutting at a new Public Recreation Center or something along those lines anyway.
The exoskeleton case is the usual V-MODA fare. Inside they provide strapping for cable storage and the headphones fold to create a small footprint and fit just perfectly in the case. One thing I thought was nice about this case is that there are vents to allow air into the case to assist in drying from sweating, particularly nice for DJ’s and workout buffs. There is also a Carbiner clip attached to the case, another nice touch.
The styling hasn’t changed much from some of the previous V-MODA styles and these are very distinctly V-MODA. All of the usual customizations are available as well through the V-MODA site including the 3D printed shields. I want to add that owning a “Rose Gold” color did not appeal to me at first. Once I saw them, my opinion changed as it would be what I would describe as a deep copper color. I really like it. They also have the CliqFold hinge of the models past to create a small footprint for storage.
The build quality of the headphones and the cables are very good and sturdy and as usual the V-MODA’s are built like a tank. They are a touch heavy at 309g and also sit a bit heavy on the head. Included is a micro VAMP that functions when the headphone is in wireless mode. I am certain that ads a bit to the weight. Let me say that these are a very comfortable headphone, weight aside. The headband comfort has benefited from the five years of comfort research as well as the earpads being exceptionally conforming and comfortable. I easily wear them for my one hour walk in the morning and never feel the need to adjust them. I live in Florida and I do not notice these making my ears sweat any more than any other earpads, it is Florida and it is hot and humid so it is very difficult to not sweat. They are a cushiony memory foam that conforms very well to my ears and I would think to anyone’s ears.
These are not ANC headphones so aside from the isolation inherent in the headphone there is not active noise cancelling to create an artificial buffer. The buffer against outside noise is created by the more than adequate isolation and the solid bass when listening to music. To some it might have been a nice addition but if active noise cancelling is not done right it can change the sound signature of the headphone. The positive here is there is nothing to negatively alter the impressive sound signature. These are Certified Hi-Res Audio (wired mode) but we are seeing that designation more and more.
They say you can expect 14+ hours of battery life. I am not seeing that quite that long, but I do utilize the volume on highest setting and use my cellphone or source to control the listening volume. I also play a lot of FLAC files when utilizing my Opus #2. If you are using the V-MODA REMIX, which I reviewed earlier https://www.head-fi.org/f/showcase/review/18392, it is fully compatible with their, VAMP, internal amp in the REMIX.
I want to address the buttons on the headphones that control the Volume UP, Volume DOWN and Multi – Function button for pausing, answering calls etc. I am in favor of actual push buttons as opposed to touch controls on an earcup as I have found touch controls to be a little inconsistent. However, I am not a big fan of the feel or placement of these buttons. I find them a little difficult to push and to know which button you are pushing when you are feeling blindly above the earcup, with more Bluetooth listening time I am sure I could get used to the function. The function control of say the Sennheiser Momentum 2 is easier to get the hang of.
With regard to the Bluetooth functionality, these paired easily with everything I attempted to pair them with. The Bluetooth functions phenomenally and I have found I can go the 30ft. as advertised without a drop. In fact I cannot recall any drop outs or disruption in sound when using them wirelessly. I have found when talking on the phone while using the Bluetooth, along with the built-in mic, people say they are noisy. Traffic or wind makes it frustrating for the other party. However, with the enclosed cable they are fine for conversation.
Let’s move on to the sound, shall we?
I want to address a couple things from the Head-Fi Crossfade 2 thread. There is a bit of discussion about codecs in the Crossfade 2 Wireless thread. As can be seen from the photos I have a pair of Rose Gold/Black headphones. The Rose Gold/Black offering utilizes apt-X and that is about all I can tell you regarding any other codecs utilized. AAC is the gorilla in the room with some folks and they feel there needs to be more clarification as to its existence. I would say if there isn’t any mention of a specific codec on the box or on the company website, it doesn’t exist in this offering. The only question I have regarding codecs is why all of the color models don’t offer at least apt-X, only the Rose Gold? With apt-X I hear a wee bit more clarity and a little added spaciousness but it really isn’t earth shattering. It is nice to listen using apt-X if your equipment takes advantage of it and I feel it is a nice addition to offer the consumer.
In my opening I briefly said the Crossfade 2 Wireless checked a lot of the sound boxes I have been waiting for from V-MODA. I think we need to discuss the basic V-MODA house sound. V-MODA’s are generally warm, bass tilted, fun headphones. The bass quality is generally impactful but a bit loose and bloomy bleeding into the mids. That said I would take the V-MODA house sound over MOST of the Beats models if I needed a bass fix. I have always thought of the M-100 as a formidable basshead headphone, although it is a little tiring for me at times. There are many reviews out in the wild on those so I am not going to dwell on the M-100.
The overall basic first listen to the CF2W (CF2W for short, because I am tired as hell writing it out), is warm, and has a bass tilt as well, very reminiscent of their house sound. It is with time that you start to realize the nuances between these and other V-MODA offerings. They do have that V-MODA signature house bass, and that is okay, because as you listen the more you realize there is also a refined treble and midrange that is aptly apparent. As mentioned, the M-100 model the bass is so strong and overpowering that it bleeds into the lower midrange and then some. I am not being overly critical I am merely saying the M-100 have a place in fun music listening or if you are DJ, but not the best for detailed, critical listening. The CF2W is the most balanced offering yet from V-MODA. The bass is sculpted differently than in other models and provides bass detail and solid warmth and does not impede the other frequencies. I use these a lot outdoors and the bass is perfect to cover outside noise.
The midrange on CF2W are a little more forward than on previous V-MODA’s and the treble is ever present. The treble is never sharp or harsh and it has great tone and quality. Combine the treble with a more forward upper midrange the overall sensation is that of balance and detail. Given the fact that there is just a slight difference in extension between wired and wireless feel free to cut the cord without loss of sound quality. I do not want to only compare these to prior V-MODA’s, but in general these are an enjoyable listen and best so many other offerings available in the same price range.
In closing, I was pleasantly surprised with the CF2W. I had been a loyal Sennheiser Momentum 2 wireless guy since their release, recall and re-release. I never really cared to venture into the wireless realm with any seriousness. I will say that the CF2W has changed that and I have a new daily go to for my wireless listening.