The V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless is the second product from the company that I’ve gotten my hands on. And, in the process of reviewing it, I can certainly say that this company is nothing if not ambitious.
If you look at the V-Moda Crossfade’s product page, it’s clear that they’re intended for DJs. I have no idea what they have to do with DJs or what they can offer over a pair of wired Sennheiser studio headphones. After all, DJs don’t need headphones with big bass. They, like anyone producing or mixing music, need accurate-sounding headphones.
That said, taking these headphones at face value paints a much, much more positive picture as the rating shows. DJs might not need big bass or good mic quality. And, Bluetooth connectivity is nice until the battery runs out halfway through a set. But, for the average person looking for a good pair of quality headphones, the Crossfade 3 Wireless check a lot of boxes.
If you're after ANC then you won't necessarily get that here, take a look at the best noise-cancelling headphones for that.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: price and release date
V-Moda’s Crossfade 2 Wireless were succeeded by the Crossfade 3 at the beginning of August 2022. While the two headphones look very similar, the Crossfade 3 comes with more than double the battery life and a built-in mic (you need to buy something like V-Moda’s BoomPro mic attachment to use the Crossfade 2 with calls). It’s no wonder then the Crossfade 3 Wireless is a hundred more at $299.99 / £243.49.
Of course, that’s not cheap for a pair of over-ear headphones, even wireless ones. You can get the Jabra 45h for just $99.99 / £99 and it comes with even better battery life, for example. Of course, the Crossfade 3 Wireless offers some nifty personalization that’s actually rather unique as well as a wider Hi-Res frequency response of 5 - 40K Hz compared to the Jabra’s typical 20 - 20K Hz.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: design and features
While maybe not reinventing the wheel, the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless do have a striking, unique look thanks to a few things. Unlike most headphones, a good portion of these are metal from the headband and ear cup hangers to the removable ear cup shields (more on that later).
It comes in three colourways: matte black, gunmetal black, and bronze black. No matter which one you get, you can easily distinguish the metal from plastic even from afar.
The headband is covered in memory foam and leatherette as are the earcups. Though there’s no active noise cancellation, something I would have hoped to see at this price, the earpads form a tight seal to provide pretty solid passive noise cancellation.
The Crossfade 3 Wireless are pretty comfortable to wear thanks to all that padding. While that leatherette isn’t the most breathable, we felt like our ears were well-cushioned. After a while of wearing, however, the headphones can hurt a little due to their 315-gram weight and tight clamping force. Though not egregious, they’re tight enough to hurt after an hour or two of wearing. So, if you do get a pair, you might want to stretch them out first before wearing them for long periods of time.
Considering these are full-size over-ear headphones, it’s surprising how ergonomic they are. They don’t really have any swivel but there’s a lot of height adjustment and the earcups can tilt over 110 degrees, more than any human could ever need. What’s more, the earcups can fold up into the headband, essentially halving its size. Once placed in the included carrying case, the Crossfade 3 Wireless make for a surprisingly portable pair of headphones.
One of the most fun aspects of the Crossfade 3 Wireless is the fact that you can replace the ear cup shields with a whole assortment of colours. You do have to buy them separately from the company’s website, though. So, if you want these headphones but want them in pink, you can buy a pink shield kit from V-Moda for $34.99 / £34.99. You can even get them engraved.
As nice of an addition that is, unlike the V-Moda S80 shields, you have to unscrew the shield and install the new one. While they do provide you with a tiny screwdriver and multiple sets of tiny screws in different colours, I do wish it was a little simpler to swap the shields out.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: performance
The V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless sound very good. They’re not quite audiophile level and you’re not going to get great technical and neutral performance, they’re engaging and fun to listen to which is arguably more important (except for DJs!).
The low-end is very robust without being overwhelming. Unlike some headphones with a prominent low-end, it doesn’t distort either. The mids are clear if slightly recessed. Considering how much bass there is, it works quite well and keeps the soundstage from being crowded. The high-end is boosted here so everything is crisp and fairly detailed but without being harsh.
The soundstage is a little wider than average. More importantly, sound imaging is pretty precise. I’m able to easily place elements within a song whether I’m listening to Charli XCX, Radiohead, or Kamasi Washington.
Again, they are not quite audiophile level (not much is in the wireless headphones realm) but they’re fun to listen to. When connecting these headphones to a source via the 3.5mm cable for analogue use, the story is a little different. The low end and high end are both softer so the music doesn’t hit nearly as hard and the soundstage is a little hazier. It’s far from bad but there’s a clear difference in quality between Bluetooth and analogue. The analogue signal is louder as well though there’s more than enough volume on tap in Bluetooth mode as well.
The Crossfade 3 Wireless also come with a built-in mic. And, even though it’s a new inclusion on this product line, the mic performs fairly well. While it’s not as good as holding the phone up to your mouth, I haven’t found a pair of headphones or earbuds outside of maybe the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro that sound as good.
Your voice will sound a little further away, a little echoey, and won’t be as crisp as when speaking directly into your phone. But, that’s on par or slightly better than most headphones or earbuds. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really have any background noise rejection. So, if there are any DJs reading this, don’t take any calls during a set.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: verdict
While the sound quality does take a dip when wired and there’s no active noise cancellation here, something that’s included on just about all wireless headphones above $100 / £100, the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless still deserve a long look. Not only is its passive noise cancellation strong enough that you won’t miss ANC, but they sound really good.
They may not be the most accurate-sounding headphones out there but they’re fun and engaging and will have you pumping music through them for long periods of time.
They’re also very well built and come with a level of personalization you won't find on headphones outside of DIY mods thanks to the replaceable ear shields. And, while they do require some elbow grease, it’s a great way to make the headphones unique. More importantly, the Crossfade 3 Wireless can fold up to half its size and comes with a carrying case making it surprisingly portable.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: also consider
While the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless are already pretty pricey, if you really want to splurge, consider the Master & Dynamic MW75. They sound excellent and have a soundstage that will stomp most other wireless headphones out there. Of course, they also cost $599/£549. And, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, you might not appreciate the fact that they use lambskin to cover the earpads and headband padding.
For some extra functionality out of your over-ear headphones, you can always check out the V-Moda S-80. Not only do they sound good as headphones (they’re very fun if not that accurate) but you can flip the earcups out, turn up the volume, and use them as a Bluetooth speaker that you can wear around your neck.
Most people want active noise cancellation when they’re considering wireless headphones or earbuds. Fortunately for those people, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless come with the kind of adaptive active noise cancellation to compete with anything else out there. And, like most Sennheiser products, they sound good too.