The V-moda Crossfade LPs were designed for people who like their music as loud as their fashion sense. They don't come cheap, but buy this £170 set of headphones and you'll guarantee yourself brutally deep bass and more than a few curious glances from onlookers.
Dude looks like a lady
If the Crossfades were a person, they'd be Elton John, and all other headphones would be America Ferrera's character in Ugly Betty. We're not implying anything about their sexual preference, rather the fact that their design is about as flamboyant as headphones come. V-moda CEO, Val Koulton, wanted the Crossfades to be "as unique as your style and music" and to "feel like you just hit the dance floor of a rocking club in Ibiza". We're not so convinced by that rhetoric, but the hyper-conspicuous blend of leather, shiny metal and matte or gloss plastic means you're sure to get noticed on your travels, regardless of whether you opt for the white pearl, phantom chrome, gunmetal black, nero or rouge models.
Relax, don't do it
The Crossfades are a large set of headphones, but they're deceptively comfortable. Don't be fooled by V-moda's claims that they're lightweight -- they're about as heavy as you'd expect a set of headphones to be. The memory-foam ear cushions feel luxurious and eliminate the pressure you'd otherwise feel from the highly sprung frame. That foam also does a great job of minimising sound leakage. The Crossfades are a loud set of headphones, but unless you take them off, you'll be the only person who ever knows.
Sounds like teen spirit
The sound quality of the Crossfades will divide opinion. Many so-called audiophiles will argue that their sound isn't terribly accurate because they have a definite bias towards the low end of the audio spectrum, which is true. Detail is often lost at the expense of bass trebel that hits you like a sledgehammer.
India Arie's awesome vocals on Brown Skin, for example, are muddied by bass. The mid and high frequencies are almost an afterthought to these cans, which almost spoil the song. Likewise, they made Seal's rich, fulsome voice sound like it was coming from under a duvet, failing to deliver the subtle nuances required to do his vocals justice. It's possible to tweak the graphic equaliser -- if you've got one on the audio device you're using -- to improve the balance of sound, but we really don't want to have to do that for every genre of music we're listening to.