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V-Moda Cross Fade LP Headphones [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The V-Moda Cross Fade LP headphones turned out to be a huge surprise for me as not only was using the headphones fun due to the sound quality, but they simply look cool as well.  I’m not the fashionable type that likes to accessorize with headphones, but I was still amazed at the overall quality and design touches of the Cross Fade LP which combined with the perfectly crystal clear sound quality made it hard at times for me to take them off since all I wanted to do was listen to music.  Compared to almost static headphones that look like they were chiseled out of the same bulk of plastic as the hundreds of other products on the market, the Cross Fade LP headphones are the definition of stylish and actually have the tech know how to sound good as well.

The Pros: 

+ The design touches such as the leather patterns and color accents are extremely nice.
+ I loved the durability of the headphones which despite having a steel frame weren’t too rigid or uncomfortable on my ears, even during long listening sessions.
+ Opting not to rely on pushing out heavy bass effects, the sound quality of the Cross Fade LP headphones is stellar and really balanced.
+ The bonus of having a proper hard shell travel/holding case is a nice as is the Kevlar sound chords.

The Cons: 

-  No noise cancelling is a bit of a downer.
-  The sound chord remote for Apple products is a nice idea but the execution is lacking a bit. Rating : 

When it comes to headphones I’ll be honest in saying that I can be an easy guy to please.  For me the most important part about a pair of headphones is whether or not they fit my massive head and ears and that they sound good.  I like to feel comfortable when I listen to my buttery beats or crude jokes on XM Radio so if it’s possible for my ears not to feel crushed when listening to something for extended period of time then I’ll be extremely happy.  With the V-Moda Cross Fade LP headphones the comfort factor is definitely achieved but I was amazed by something else as well: the sound is crisp and these are the most stylish headphones I’ve ever seen.

Maybe I’m late to the party as to when this trend happened, but for some reason it’s fashionable to wear certain types of headphones out in public.  Since everyone and their grandmother has some form of an Apple branded MP3 player it’s fashionable for some folks to go out in public listening to their beats while adorning their expensive designer headphones, whether it’s the Doctor Dre Beats or a faux retro unit of some kind.  In some cases people wearing these “hip” and trendy headphones tend to look absolutely silly in my view since the headphones don’t look good and to me it just boils down to being a hipster fad. But upon opening the box for the Cross Fade LP headphones I was immediately shocked since these things are dead sexy.

I’ll make no bones about it but the Cross Fade LP headphones are in a way directly marketed towards the people who want to wear headphones outside and not look like a doofus in the process.  Yeah on the outside the headphones may look to be too damn trendy since the box design itself is a marvel to look at, but ultimately I was amazed by not only the immediate design and craftsmanship of the headphones but the overall quality of the product.  The V-Moda headphones are traditional cup based headphones but they feature design accents unlike anything I’ve seen. Aside from the very durable steel frame of the headphones the prominent thing about the V-Moda Cross Fade LP is the coloring, which is predominantly black but has shades of purple on the actual part of the headphones that rest on your head along with the sound cable. Having purple on a pair of headphones may not sound too hot unless you’re a fan of the legendary artist Prince, but it does work and it helps to serve as a nice contrast to the crocodile leather style pattern that’s present.  I was genuinely surprised to see the leather design of the V-Moda headphone since it’s not something you see pop up too often.  In one way it may sound like having a faux crocodile skin pattern is too much or makes the headphones seem like they’re geared towards those who like to wear pricey t-shirts from the Armani Exchange, but overall the design is really classy and makes the headphones stick out amongst a market of predominately one-note designed headphones.

The design of the V-Moda headphones definitely justifies the $149 price but the sound quality of the headphones also speaks volumes.  I’ve had the pleasure of using some really high quality headphones in the past two years but I think in some ways the V-Moda Cross Fade LP headphones are the new standard for me when it comes to sound quality. Like most headphones I try out for the first time, it did take me a while to get used to everything since there was a notable sound difference when compared to what I was using previously.  After a couple of minutes my ears finally became acclimated to the smooth beats that were being dished out through the headphones which instantly led to my mind going through a variety of thoughts, the biggest of which centered around how good everything sounded.  Some headphones I’ve tried out have clearly pushed the bass levels far too much but I found that the Cross Fade LP kept everything balanced so when it came to bass heavy tracks, like those found in TRON: Legacy, things weren’t drowned out by an almost thumping bass effect.

The Cross Fade LP headphones are thankfully devoid of the sometimes canned or almost hollow effect that can be present in other headphones which leads to things sounding less than good.  I was able to test out the Cross Fade LP on a variety of platforms such as my Sony Walkman X MP3 player, a few titles on my Sony PSP as well as an iTouch to utilize the bonus control chord that comes with the headphones.  In my testing various types of devices I found that the sound was completely flawless. I never once found myself having to jack up the volume too high in order to hear some of the finer points of the music as every single note is delivered crystal clear in both headphone channels.

If I had one major issue with the V-Moda Cross Fade LP headphones it rests in how there’s no noise cancellation feature.  I tend to like my headphones to completely shut me out from the outside world at times since listening to people talk at airports isn’t something that I take pleasure in.  By no means is it immediately easy for the music to be drowned out easily by outside noise, but it is easy to hear small outside noise elements, whether it’s an air conditioner or even someone talking to you.  The lack of a noise cancellation feature also leads to there being strong outside feedback for the music you’re listening to. By this I mean that you shouldn’t be too surprised if people are giving you angry looks on the train since they will most likely be able to hear the Lady Gaga song you’re listening to at the time.  I was a bit taken aback by how loud the headphones were when on someone’s head even at a moderate listening volume since the whole point of headphones is trying to keep the music to yourself.  So if you opt to pick up the Cross Fade LP headphones then just be ready to receive a few glares here and there if you opt to listen to your music whilst on public transportation.

Since most people these days are part of the Apple cult, V-Moda has included an apple specific chord that includes a small remote control so people can control their music.  The buttons on the device are fine and are responsive when using it with an iTouch or even a Macbook but the positioning of the remote on the chord is odd.  Instead of having the remote appear lower on the chord close to where you’ll plug it into your Apple device, it appears about two inches below the right earphone cup, so the remote would roughly rest around your face/neck area.  Out of the amazing design choices made in the Cross Fade LP I would have to say the remote placement is a major faux pas, or at least it was for me since controlling an iPod’s volume via the remote just wasn’t all that intuitive.

The moderately high price point for the V-Moda Cross Fade LP headphones may seem a bit much but in the end it is ultimately worth it.  From a design standpoint the headphones are just amazing and to me it was clear how much time and effort was put into crafting the headphones. From the almost TRON style carrying case that’s included (the thing seriously looks like it ought to be a TRON costume accessory) to how the rivets on the headphone themselves form a V pattern, the headphones are simply stylish but not to the point where it’s an obvious fashion accessory rather than a worth wild product.  Producing some of the best sound I’ve heard in a pair of headphones, the V-Moda Cross Fade LP headphones are simply divine, even with the exclusion of noise cancelation.  If you’re in need of some stylish headphones that not only sound good but look good and are extremely comfortable to wear, then your best bet is with the Cross Fade LP headphones since I fell in love with them.