In a crowded arena, many looking for Bluetooth headphones will gravitate towards the trusted safety of makers like Bose and Sennheiser, but smaller brands can often surprise and delight. We found this true of V-Moda when we tried a wireless version of its DJ favorite, the M-100, in the shape of the Crossfade Wireless headphones. Now the company has announced an upgrade, which brings improved sound, better battery life, more color choices and the much-requested CliqFold hinge.
"Once people own a truly great set of our headphones, they use them constantly in various use cases," says V-Moda's CEO Val Kolton, and we'd agree. Despite holding our QC35s and PXC 550s in high regard, we often find ourselves returning to the stylish Crossfade Wireless cans from 2015. The Crossfade headphones lack the noise cancellation technology employed by Bose and Sennheiser of course, but V-Moda says that it's not necessary and can "pollute pure sound."
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"Although active noise cancellation reduces the perceived background noise, it adds extra sound pressure at the expense of sound quality," the firm explains. "Using larger, deeper cushions with an adjustable Steelflex headband that naturally contours to fit the user's head, Crossfade 2 Wireless keeps the bad noise out and the good noise in."
Kolton described the original Wireless headphones as being cabled models that also happen to be Bluetooth-enabled. We found the sound quality in both modes to be excellent, though there was a noticeable bump when wired up to a source. That difference could be even more pronounced in the new over-ears, which have been treated to newly-developed dual-diaphragm 50 mm drivers that feature high-resolution CCAW coils. This doubtless helped V-Moda snag the Japan Audio Society's Hi-Res Audio stamp of approval in wired mode.
The Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones support playback at up to 24-bit/96 kHz audio resolution, boast a frequency range running from 5 Hz to 40 kHz and are designed around the award-winning signature sound that's attracted a huge army of pro and non-pro users to the V-Moda stable.
They can wirelessly pair with two Bluetooth music sources at the same time, the concealed microphone has been optimized for phone calls and voice recognition and the rose gold flavor rocks the aptX audio codec for CD-quality wireless playback (the original Wireless headphones lacked aptX support, with Kolton adamant that it was an audio technology for the future given a distinct lack of device support at the time).
V-Moda has given the new Crossfades a bigger battery – 15 percent bigger. The Li-ion battery is claimed to offer users more than 14 hours of continued use for every 2.5 hours on charge over USB.
And one feature that was conspicuously missing from the original Wireless headphones was the company's CliqFold hinge mechanism, an omission that caused much disquiet among Crossfade users and resulted in the travel case being quite bulky. This has been rectified in the Crossfade 2 Wireless circumaurals.
The Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones are available now in black or white for US$330 or gold for $350. As with previous models, the shields on the earcups can be swapped out for 3D-printed custom versions.