One great thing about blogging is to have opportunities to try out hundreds of products. iFactory Asia, the authorised distributor for V-MODA in Singapore, recently asked me if I was keen to try out V-MODA headphones. If you have not heard of them, me too.
The Legacy of V-MODA
V-MODA is founded in 2004 by Val Kolton, a professional DJ and music producer in US. Their headphone products are designed in Italy, with fashion in mind, offering hundreds of accessories to personalise the headphone products, like cables, headphone plates, ear cushions. Their signature product, Crossfade M-100, won high accolades from audiophile sites, achieved 30+ “Editor’s Choice” awards, and is the number one brand on Amazon. August 2016, V-MODA was acquired by Roland, an iconic brand in the music equipment industry, further adding to the brand endorsement.
V-MODA Crossfade Wireless
I never tried the Crossfade M-100, but the Crossfade Wireless is the build-up from the M-100. Here are some features of the Crossfade Wireless:
– Pairs 2 Bluetooth devices
– 12 hours battery life, 30-min quick charge for 3-hour
– Supports direct wired connection which cuts off power to save battery
– 50mm dual-diaphragm driver with inner and outer rings that separates bass from bleeding into the mids and highs
– Minimal sound leakage
– Sleek design frame
– Steelflex headband that can survive bending 10+ times flat
– Durable cable and plug that can withstand bend over 1 million times
– Exoskeleton form-fitting case that is compact for storage yet protects the headphones
The V-MODA Crossfade Wireless feels relatively compact for a wireless over-ear headset. Overall build is good using dense materials without plastic creaks. The headband is wrapped with vegan leather at the outside and breathable foam on the inside.
I like the slim headphones profile, as they do not bulge out excessively.
V-MODA on-ear and over-ear headphones can be personalised by purchasing customised headphone plates, known as shield kits. Customers can also purchase accessories like audio cables with boom mic, earpads with various sizes and colours. If you have relatively big ears like me, you should consider getting a larger earpads. My ears are already touching the interior speaker grille walls and are slightly uncomfortable when wearing for long periods. Other than the earpad size, the headband pressure is adequate.
Audio Quality – Wireless
All these customizing would not mean anything if the audio quality is not up to par. The V-MODA Crossfade Wireless is slightly skewed towards the warm sounding characteristic, not as transparent, but also not as veiled as Master & Dynamic MW60. Suffice to say, bass is full but the sub-bass is not as seismic and heavily impactful. It rumbles and sensurrounds my aural senses instead of hitting in my face. The bass extends upwards to the lower-mids, so the bass notes again spread over the aural space instead of clean and directional. The mids maintain the balance without making the headphones sound too muddy. Overall, enjoyable quality.
The treble is comfortable with enough clarity at moderate levels, especially for modern tracks. If you have high demands for treble, you might not be pleased, as the Crossfade Wireless favours the mid-highs of around 2-4 KHz, which is the range that is most sensitive to the human ears.
Because of the above-described characteristics of a well-spread lows and less-sparkling highs, the Crossfade Wireless does not sound aggressive and forward at moderate levels. When listening outdoors, I have to increase the volume in order to drown the external ambient noise. The drawback is that the 2-4KHz frequency range gets equally boosted, resulting in border-line aural discomfort. Having said, the Crossfade Wireless is pretty good at keeping sounds from leaking out.
Throughout the weeks of reviewing the headphones, I don’t encounter any Bluetooth audio quality issues.
Audio Quality – Wired
The Crossfade Wireless is equally capable with the wired option. When plugged in, the power automatically gets cut off, saving battery. I tested using the LG G5 Hi-Fi Plus by B&O and the overall sound sounds less compressed, the highs slightly more forward, while the lows are less bloated. The single button on the in-line remote works just like the middle button on the headphones: single press is play-pause, while double-press is next track.
Compared to Philips Fidelio X2, the Crossfade Wireless on wire is more close-staged, with the treble details more forward-sounding, allowing me to pick up more instrumental details easily. This experience is characteristic between close-back and open-back, where open-back headphones like Fidelio X2 delivers a more comfortable open sound, where listener can turn up the volume without feeling sound pressure. Close-back headphones like Crossfade Wireless delivers sound tightly but not so enjoyable for long listening at loud volumes.
The V-MODA Crossfade Wireless is a really interesting headphones for me. On one hand, the industrial design and options to personalise seem to appeal to the fashion goers who value individuality. On the other hand, the attention to audio quality favour conventional listeners like myself. Personally, I am rather delighted to own a pair of headphones like this as it allows me the ability to personalise it, much like how we have personalised our smartphones with casings or home screen wallpapers. Audio-wise, I enjoy the tonal balance, where the bass is filling while treble remains enticing.
Selling price for V-MODA Crossfade Wireless headphone is $489 (inclusive of GST) and comes with 1-year local warranty. Customers can buy from iFactory Asia (sole authorised distributor for V-MODA in Singapore & Malaysia) or the authorised resellers, Stereo Electronics, Valentines Music Centre, X-Gear and Decibel. The shield kits – without engraving service – are also available at S$49 at iFactory online site, Stereo Electronics, Valentines Music Centre, and Decibel.
- Headphone Type – Over-Ear Bluetooth Wireless Headphones
- Frequency Response – 5 – 30,000Hz
- Wired Latency – 0ms
- Bluetooth – Low-Power CSR BlueCore featuring Hi-Fi ACC+, ACC, MP3, SBC codecs and OTA Flash ROM upgradeable features
- Battery – Up to 12 hours music playblack (depending on volume/music)
- Sensitivity – 107 dB @ 1kHz 1mW
- Microphone Sensitivity – -42dB @ 1kHz
- Impedance – 30 Ω
- Weight – 292g (with standard aluminum shields)
- Included: Headphones, Exoskeleton carry case, Carabiner clip, Reinforced 1-Button SpeakEasy™ Microphone & Mic cable, Elegant V-Micro USB Cable, V-MODA sticker, Six-Star Service, 1-Year Premier Warranty