The Crossfade LP is V-Moda’s first over-the-ear headphones, branching out from their traditional in-ear headsets they’ve been known for. V-Moda says, at $US250, they’re competing with headphones like Dre’s Monster noise-cancellation set – so that’s what we compared it to.
OK, but not great and not really worth $US250. The Monster Beats Studio might be $US50 more, at $US300, but we can clearly recommend those over the V-Modas.
Muddy and a bit bass heavy is how I’d describe the Crossfade LP’s audio reproduction. And this is even compared to the Beats Studio, which, like Dre himself, emphasise the low-end beats in lieu of a more accurate mid-range. Nobody ever says to Dre, “Hey, take it easy on the bass” and has lived to relay the tale.
What’s this mean for you? You can synthesise this bass-heaviness by taking your favourite song, going into the equaliser of iTunes and shoving up the lowest four dials as far as it’ll go. Sounds pretty awful, right? Unless your favourite song is in the electronic/house category, this is something you’d want to avoid. On the other hand, you can fix this imbalance – to an extent – by tweaking the equaliser, but you can’t fix the muddiness of the sound. For that, you’ll want to imagine the aural equivalent of not washing your car for two years, then using the windshield wipers in wash mode.
Overall the sound quality isn’t horrible, but it is comparatively worse than the Beats Studio. V-Moda’s in-ear headphones weren’t fantastic either, if you’re talking purely quantitatively, but they were fairly cheap, something that the Crossfades can’t claim.
V-Moda obviously designed this for a person with a small-to-normal-sized head, because mine is just big enough that it’s uncomfortable to wear for long periods. Compared to the Monster Beats Studio, the top over-the-head bridge area doesn’t expand wide enough, so the Crossfades are always pinching in on your skull. The ear pads are also just too small that they don’t envelop my ear flaps all the way, unlike the Beats, which cradle them nicely.
The way that they constructed the Crossfades have the ear pads connected by a swivel – a swivel that’s nice looking, but will often pinch your fingers when you’re taking off the headphones. Overall it gets a passing, but mediocre score for wearability.
It sounds like the Monster Beats Studio are a better purchase?
On the whole, yes. For $US50 more, you get noise cancellation, a better fit, foldability when not in use and noticeably better sound. Both pair have microphones, so you can make calls, and both have in-line controls, although the Crossfades have volume as well as song buttons.
While we were looking forward to V-Moda taking their model of providing relatively cheap headphones at a relatively decent price to the over-the-ear space, the Crossfade LP is not the winner that we hoped. We’ll see if subsequent iterations can improve the comfort and sound quality while dropping the cost. [Amazon]