Today's small, light earphones are nice and all. Sometimes, though, you just got to have a nice set of full-size headphones to rock out to.
V-MODA's new Crossfade LP headphones come in three flavors: Phantom Chrome, White Pearl and Gunmetal Black. But do V-MODA's latest full-size headphones deliver full-size performance? Read on for the lowdown on the high-end Crossfade LP.
Excellent sound: The V-MODA Crossfade LP features crisp, clear sound with a healthy sprinkling of bass for folks who like their beats to have some extra oomph. Bass quality is also good as opposed to being muddy, allowing treble and midtones to still shine through without drowning them out. These earphones especially shine when paired with an excellent player that has equalizer options, allowing users to either have bass-thumping settings that can literally massage your head or a more dialed-down low range for those who'd rather not deal with tinnitus later in life.
Snug and comfortable: Anyone who's ever wrestled with poorly fitting headphones know fully well how bad design can make even the best-sounding headphone seem mediocre. Fortunately, fitting isn't an issue with the Crossfade LP. The device can be adjusted to snugly and securely fit various head sizes, and won't easily slide or fall off.
Looks nice and solid: Aesthetics can be a very personal matter but I happen to like the V-MODA Crossfade LP's design. The Crossfade LP eschews the chunky, plastic-heavy design from headphone makers such as Skullcandy and goes for a cleaner, more elegant look that mixes leather, metal and plastic — perfect for more, um, "mature" folk who can no longer get away with wearing flashy, edgier gear. At the same time, the slick metal accents also give the headphones enough edginess so they don't look like earphones designed for granddads. Construction is also solid and doesn't feel cheap.
Handy remote: Folks who use Apple's "i" line of products will get some extra functionality from V-MODA's Crossfade in the form of a mini remote. The remote can play and pause songs, skip forward and backward, and adjust the volume. The remote even works with the iPad, despite the tablet not being included in the list of officially supported devices. Like the V-MODA Remix Remote, volume up or down has its own dedicated buttons while the call button also doubles as a skip button — forward if you click it twice and backward if you click it three times. The remote also houses a mic that works with iPhone 3GS "and newer" devices. Not sure if that means the iPhone 4 as well but I haven't had a chance to test it with one. The mic and call button also works with newer BlackBerry phones.
Extras: The V-MODA Crossfade LP comes with a sturdy case that sports an alligator-patterned shell on the outside and fabric lining on the inside. The device also comes with two detachable, Kevlar reinforced cables that may not stop a bullet but should at least save you from frayed wiring. Included are both a stock-sized connector for MP3 players like the iPod plus a bigger connector for home stereo systems. Neat freaks will also appreciate the accompanying cleaning cloth, especially given how the nice metallic trimming tends to attract fingerprints.
Cable connection: This by far is my only major gripe about what is otherwise an excellent device. I pretty much have to occasionally finagle with the detachable cable and the headphone slot to get an ideal connection, otherwise I end up with really airy music quality with faint vocals. In fact, I thought I had either a defective device or messed up EQ settings at first until I figured out that the cable wasn't connecting properly. Twisting tends to easily fix the problem but it can be mildly annoying and makes me wonder if it will get worse after time.
Non-universal remote: This is more of a minor gripe but the remote doesn't work with all devices such as a Sansa Clip, for example. Then again, the device clearly states that it's made for iPods and iPhones. Also, while the remote may not work with all devices, it still works as a regular headphone — and still sounds good regardless of the device.
Price: At $249.99, the V-MODA Crossfade LP is pretty expensive, though still not quite as pricey as some of the higher-end headphones out there.
When it comes to the most important feature for headphones — sound quality — V-MODA's Crossfade LP definitely delivers. So much so that it will be tough for anyone who uses stock iPod earphones to go back once they've given the Crossfade LP a try.
Obviously, these headphones are aimed toward a higher-end market so that's a key determining factor on whether or not the device is ideal for you. But if you're specifically looking for a high-end performer that sounds great and fits comfortably to boot, then the V-MODA Crossfade is certainly worthy of consideration.
LONG-TERM USE UPDATE
Nearly two years after getting the headphones, the Crossfade LP is still going strong. In addition, the cable issue I mentioned apparently happens when the connection is reversed so connecting the proper end to the headphones rectified the problem. Recently, I've been using the Crossfade in conjunction with an Astro MixAmp 5.8 when watching movies or playing games and it's almost like having a portable surround sound system on your ears. About the only issue I've noticed are some hairline cracks near the inner screws just above the ear cups (where it indicates the left and right markers). Overall, though, the Crossfade has performed great so I am now upgrading my review score from 4 stars to 4.5 stars instead.