V-moda Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones: Exceptionally good cans

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V-moda headphones, a perennial favorite among DJs, are designed in large measure by the company’s founder and CEO, Val Kolton. The all-new Crossfade 2 Wireless are the first over-the-ear headphone to ship since Roland acquired a majority stake in V-moda late last year.

The company sent the rose-gold edition for review, which support the aptX Bluetooth codec and cost $350, a $20 premium over the matte white and matte black models that don’t include aptX support. Going by looks alone, you might conclude Kolton made just a few tweaks to the original design, which I reviewed just last September. You’d be mistaken.

First impressions can be deceiving

The overall design and shape of the new headphones is, for all intents and purposes, identical to the original. The size, look, feel of the headband remains unchanged. Play/Pause and volume tactile controls are still located on the right ear cup. The Bluetooth power and pairing switch is perfectly located where your thumb rests when holding he right ear cup. The bottom of the right ear cup has a 3.5mm input and micro-USB charging port recessed on the bottom of the left ear cup.

Look closely, however, and you’ll notice a few significant cosmetic differences. Most over-the-ear headphones aren’t travel friendly. When they are, the ear cups normally twist to lay flat or partly fold. The Crossfade 2 have a small hinge where the headband and ear cups meet. This CliqFold hinge system folds both ear cups all the way back to touch the back of the headband. The result is a footprint that’s smaller than any other high-end over-the-ear headphone I’ve tested; it’s 35- to 50-percemt smaller than the Beyerdynamic Amiron Home, B&W P7 Wireless, Meze 99 Classics, Oppo PM2, or Sony MDR-1A.

V-Moda's patent-pending hinge design Theo Nicolakis

V-moda’s CliqFold design is a visible distinction between the original Crossfade Wireless (left) and the Crossfade 2 Wireless (right).

The stock ear pads are now memory foam. I compared the previous generation’s foam ear cups to the new Crossfade 2 Wireless memory foam pads, which V-moda affectionately calls “Bliss.” There’s no comparison. The memory foam pads are thicker, slightly deeper, and much more comfortable. This is a very smart upgrade.

V-Moda crossfade wireless compact size Theo Nicolakis

The original Crossfade Wireless (left) didn’t fold like the new Crossfade 2 Wireless (right). The Crossfade 2 Wireless are far more portable than the original.

The original Crossfade delivered excellent battery life, and the new model takes things even a step further. A larger battery provides as much as 15-percent longer battery life for up to 14 hours of music listening. In my tests, I went days without needing to recharge the Crossfade 2.

Customization is one of the other features that sets V-moda headphones apart from the competition: Beyond the base colors, you can order your headphones with different 3D-printed plates for the ear cups: You can choose from custom colors; different materials, including precious metals, fibers, or laser-engraved aluminum; and a variety of monograms, textures, or a custom design that you upload.

Different headphone compact sizes Theo Nicolakis

The V-moda Crossfade 2 (top left) folds to the smallest size of any over-the-ear headphone I’ve ever reviewed. Here’s a quick comparison with JBL, B&W, Oppo, and Meze headphones.

Some customizations come at no additional costs, while others–such as platinum or gold plates–definitely cost extra. You can choose from various accessories, too, including optional microphones and cables. A high-quality case, a cable with an inline microphone, a micro-USB cable, and a 3.5mm-to-1/4-inch headphone adapter are all included.

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