If you want to make a fashion statement, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need a cool new designer shirt or a pair of skinny jeans – it could just be what you are wearing as a pair of headphones. Yep, headphones, are the new cool when it comes to making a fashion statement. Beats by Dr Dre, Skullcandy, Aerial 7, Sony (yes, even them) have all been pumping out super hip over-the-ear headphones, and now V-Moda has joined the party. V-Moda has been designing fashion inspired earphones for quite sometime. However this is their first foray for them into blown-out headphones – the Crossfade LP.
In development for four years, the Crossfade LP is developed by V-Moda, a company that comes straight out of Hollywood and I even remember one of the company heads being in an episode of Million Dollar listing on Bravo. That’s how Hollywood V-Moda is, and that also exemplifies how glam and stylish these headphones are.
The Crossfade LPs scream rocker chic with a dash of edgy fashion from the headphones to the packaging. There is even a snap on the box to keep it closed – the kind of snap that you would find on a shirt. You can lug these bad boys around in the included Exoskeleton Case that is molded to the shape of the headphones. For the purpose of this review we reviewed the Crossfade LP Phantom Chrome, however there are four other styles – Gunmetal Black, Nero, Rouge (red) and White Pearl. Also included with the Crossfades is a polishing cloth, remote/mic cable, stereo audio cable both covered in luxury gray and black pattern fabric, and lastly, a 1/4 adapter. All the cables have 24k gold-plated plugs. The earcups are padded and very comfortable and so is the headband on the headphones – which is padded and flexible – even more so than the Beats by Dre Studio headphones. However the Crossfade’s do not collapse or fold-in any capacity, hence why the case is molded to the shape of the headphones. So as a travel companion, these headphones may be a challenge to fit into a small bag, however since the case is so tough – a little pushing and shoving shouldn’t hurt it in any way, so at the same time, the case makes it extra sturdy for traveling. The earcups conform to your ears very nicely with the help of memory foam as do the headphones in general. If you need to extend them, the arms of the Crossfades extend out and are made of metal on the Phantom version of the Crossfade LP. Overall the headphones are very sturdy with their tank-like steel frame and are a well made pair of headphones that should handle normal wear and tear very well.
The Crossfade LP features 50mm Dual Diaphragm HD drivers – sounds good no? Well, yes and no. If you are fan of bands like Scissor Sisters, Lady Gaga, Deadmau5, or any dance music – you will love the Crossfade LP’s because they truly enhance the juicy sounds of those types of music. The low-end is super powerful and doesn’t overwhelm the treble too much – as these types of genres tend to be more bass heavy then treble heavy. However with more pop or rock songs, the treble appears and the bass is almost muted or certainly doesn’t thump to the degree it did in those other genres. However if you truly want to experience balanced treble, midrange, and bass you will have to tinker with your devices EQ settings in order to truly unleash what these headphones can do. Unlike the Beats by Dr Dre Studio’s where the Bass was overwhelming to a degree but so was the treble – it at-least gave you a balanced listening experience out of the box. Whereas our out of the box Crossfades don’t, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t perform. The one thing you can’t alter with EQ settings is the feeling you are listening to music in a concert hall. The Crossfades LP gives that sound effect – instead of the music hugging your ears and making you feel it – it’s like its a bit away from you with you trying to grab it and get it in your ear canal. Higher bitrates performed also considerably better than lower ones – but you can’t easily tell the difference either way.
Remote and Mic:
Whether you’re using the included cable or not, the sound quality sounded exactly the same with whatever included audio cable you use, The Remote and Mic cable that is included is certainly helpful, but the controls are oddly positioned on the cable. It’s way to high up near the earcup for you to easily reach the remote, and if you reverse the position it ends up being way to far away from you and nearer to your phone or music player – so it kind of defeats the purpose. The remote and mic did work on both my iPhone 4 and Nexus One. I was able to answer and end calls and play and stop music – as well as lower or raise the volume. However, I was not able to skip to the next song with the remote on my iPhone and the Nexus One. The V-Moda site says that the remote is compatible with the 3G S, we just didn’t have one available for testing. Also, when people spoke to me on the phone, I was able to hear them quite clearly despite any background noise they may have had where they were. However when having conversations, I could hear a slight echo of my own voice. Folks on the other end heard me clearly as well.
The V-Moda Crossfades LP are certainly a very nice looking pair of headphones, so much so that anyone caught wearing them would encourage some oohs and ahhs from onlookers. The headphones are very comfortable and can be worn for long periods of time without giving you a headache. They may not feature active noise cancellation, but that’s not a deal breaker for me as I actually like to hear at-least a little of what is going on around me – still, I found that it’s still pretty difficult for someone next to you – to get your attention while you’re listening to the Crossfade LPs, so they definitely do provide some level noise isolation. It would have been nice if the headphones were a little more portable, and the issues with the balancing of the bass and treble didn’t exist, as well as the concert hall effect of the music. But honestly as much as that would probably annoy Audiophiles – these headphones are not meant to impress those folks – but the ones walking down Sunset Blvd looking for a place to roll for the night or the novice DJ looking to spin some hot jams. The V-Moda Crossfade LP retails for $249.99.
The Good: Comfortable and super hip design. Very sturdy and probably won’t break unless seriously abused. Low end performs really well on Dance or Hip Hop genres. Merges fashion and technology very well with its fashion influenced design down to the box.
The Bad: Low end underwhelms on Rock or Classical music out of the box, it has to be balanced via your device’s EQ settings. Doesn’t collapse for travel. Music sometimes has an airy echo sound effect.