Editors' note: This review has been updated to reflect improved performance results after extended testing of the headphones.
V-Moda has gained quite a reputation for its stylish, low-profile earbuds, so it's not terribly surprising that the company has decided to dip its toes into the full-size headphone waters. As would be expected, V-Moda's entry into the space is every bit as stylish as its ultraportable siblings. The Crossfade LP headphones run about $250 and feature top-notch construction, plenty of features, and a comfy fit. Unfortunately, sound quality is not consistent across all genres of music, so if you have eclectic taste, these aren't the best option. However, this set does offer great, encompassing audio for club and dance tracks, as well as provide decent response for some midtempo electronica and big pop, which makes them a suitable option for some.
To say that the Crossfade LP headphones are different than the rest of V-Moda's earphones is a bit of an understatement. The Remix line includes only supertiny in-ear models, whereas the Crossfades are monsters by comparison. These are true full-size cans with large, ultracushy padded earcups and a nice, thick padded headband. The result is a comfy fit for nearly every head size and shape, though the 'phones did tend to make our ears slightly sweaty and itchy after extended wear; it wasn't excessive, though.
The style of the Crossfade LP is definitely eye-catching, to the point where one tester didn't feel "hard core" enough to pull them off, where as another was smitten with the urban-industrial design. The headphones come in a choice of three colors--gunmetal black, phantom chrome, or white pearl--and each version features shiny metallic plates fastened on the earcups and headband with mini bolts. The cups are in turn attached to the headband via skeletal metal arms that click satisfyingly when you're adjusting the size of the headphones.
The stylishness extends to the Crossfade LP headphones' detachable cables, which are coated in a patterned gray and black cloth and terminate in what has become V-Moda's signature hose nozzle plug. The cord is extra thick (and reinforced with Kevlar) and the plugs are gold-plated, which adds to the overall feel of high-quality construction. In addition, the package includes a quarter-inch adapter, a carabineer clip, and a heavy-duty hard-sided case. Unfortunately, the Crossfade LP headphones do not fold down at all because of V-Moda's durability concerns, so transporting them is a bulky affair.
Up to the point where we actually started audio tests on the Crossfade LP headphones, they were quite living up to their $250 price tag. Sadly, the sound quality is not as all-encompassing as some other sets in that range are. In fact, our $80 Creative Aurvana Live headphones offer cleaner, more-balanced audio than the Crossfade LPs.
It took us a bit of tinkering to identify the problem, but we initially discovered that the treble in these headphones is repressed. Using the treble boost on our test iPod improved audio considerably, so you may need to play around with the EQ quite a bit to get just the right sound. But there was another quality that we couldn't quite identify during initial testing that eventually became clear: the Crossfade LP sounds as if someone has turned on the Club setting of a Walkman's VPT surround sound feature. The result is that music has an airy and echoy essence that doesn't necessarily lend itself well to all genres. For example, we found that bass sounded slightly deficient for many rock and downtempo tracks, even though the low-end is wholly encompassing for dance tracks. As such, we most enjoyed the headphones for that type of music, and would recommend them to DJs and other clublovers over those who prefer to sit in a quiet den and listen to classical.