Crossfade 2 Wireless Headphones
Crossfade 2 Wireless are specially licensed limited edition over-ear headphones that are designed to offer virtually identical sound in Bluetooth mode or in pure analog wired mode. They are made for audiophiles as well as gamers and music listeners. Pros: Incredible sound quality; comfortable to wear for long periods of time; connect easily to mobile devices; come with a compact carrying case | Cons: Uses Micro USB as its charging interface; a little bit of a tight fit on the ears; ear cushions do cause ears to get warm; start-up sounds are low-quality
- EASE OF USE
- SOUND QUALITY
Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones have a premium sound in a unique package.
I don’t consider myself an audiophile, but I do enjoy a really good set of headphones. For me, headphones need to be comfortable as well as provide excellent sound quality. I also like it when headphones have a unique style to them. When I learned that V-Moda was releasing a special edition set of their Crossfade 2 Wireless, I decided I wanted to give them a try.
What makes the Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones unique?
The Crossfade 2 Wireless Headphones, Rolling Stones Edition are specially licensed limited edition over-ear headphones. Originally announced in January as a part of CES 2022, the V-Moda headphones can be used wirelessly or wired. The headphones are designed to offer virtually identical sound in Bluetooth mode or in pure analog wired mode. They are made for audiophiles as well as gamers and music listeners.
“We are thrilled for the Rolling Stones to partner with V-MODA and Roland in this category as their world-renowned premium product aligns with the world’s most recognized rock and roll band,” says Frank Bartolotta, senior vice president, strategic brand partnerships and licensing, at Bravado.
The Crossfade 2 Wireless can be connected to multiple devices wirelessly and touts 12+ hours of playback time. The battery can be recharged to 100% in 100 minutes. The ear cups feature bigger memory foam cushions and the headband is made with a flexible, but sturdy metal core. And, while the headphones do not feature noise cancellation, they are noise-isolating based on their form and the materials used to make them.
- Speaker driver: 50mm dual-diaphragm driver
- Speaker sensitivity: 100db @ 1kHz 1mW
- Microphone sensitivity: -42dB @ 1kHz
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Type: Over-ear Circumaural
- Cable Length: SpeakEasy 132cm (52”)
- Crossfade 2 Wireless
- Exoskeleton Carry Case
- Carabiner Clip
- Aramid Fiber-Reinforced SpeakEasy™1-Button Microphone Cable
- Micro USB Cable
- Gold Plated 1/4″ Pro Adapter
- 1-Year Warranty
- Immortal Life Replacement Program
Getting started with the Crossfade 2 Wireless
The headphones have a very unique box. The front of it features an image of the headphones, of course, and there are various details about the headphones spread out around the sides and back. The box looks as though it’s an outer sleeve fitted around an inner carton. So I expected the sleeve to lift off the inner box. I was surprised to find that the top lifts up and reveals the contents inside. Once I unfastened the snap on the back of the box, the lid pivoted on its hinge and after lifting out the top piece of foam, I found the headphones’ case inside.
The case is one of the more compact ones I’ve seen for over-ear headphones. The inside of it is orange, which I thought was maybe part of V-Moda’s brand colors, but I don’t see that shade anywhere on their website. As slick as the packaging and style of these headphones are, the orange felt like a missed step. I would have rather seen the interior be red to match the Rolling Stones licensing – or maybe a dark gray. While this might not make a huge difference to some people, I notice it and it did affect my user experience.
On the inside of the headphone case, I noticed there were two elastic bands attached to opposite sides of the case. These are designed to hold the cables for the headphones. One cable is a stereo audio cable and the other is the charging cable.
Unfortunately, I have to pause here to talk about the charging cable. It’s a micro-USB cable. I actually spotted the Micro USB port on the headphones before I saw the cable. This is disappointing to me. I feel that Micro USB is an older technology and should be phased out by newly released products. I don’t know why some product designers are still utilizing the Micro USB connection, but I think it has something to do with cost. I would much rather see USB-C used.
The first thing I did with the headphones was located the power switch. The 3-way power switch is located on the right can toward the bottom. It’s easily accessible and when I switched it to the on position, I was happy to discover there was some power available and that the headphones went directly into pairing mode. My iPhone 12 Pro (my music player of choice) found the Bluetooth connection and connected right away.
How do they look?
While this might seem like an odd question for a set of headphones, I think it’s entirely appropriate for the Crossfade 2 Wireless. They look like a premium set of over-ear studio headphones. What’s cool about these particular headphones is that they are cross-promoted with the Rolling Stones. There are three different designs on the ear cups that highlight the rock icon’s brand – Classic Licks, No Filter, and Tattoo You. I ended up with Tattoo You, which looks absolutely awesome.
To be honest, I usually like my headphones to be on the plain side. Ironically, I think they should be heard, not seen. That said, I really like the look of these headphones. They are classy yet alternative at the same time. The Rolling Stones icon on the ear cups is really eye-catching and stands out on the solid black background of the earpieces. Honestly, the headphones are almost like a piece of art.
How do the Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones sound?
At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect because the alert tone and the connecting tone were both muffled and sounded like old headphones from the 1980s – the ones with foam over the earpieces. I was really hoping that other music and audio didn’t sound the same way. Fortunately, that was just a start-up sound effect. Personally, I think V-Moda should reconsider using those tones because they are misleading. I almost didn’t continue using the headphones when I heard those tones.
I’m very glad that I did continue with my testing because the headphones provided a wonderful listening experience. While I was working, I listened to music on a Pandora station for about an hour before I switched over to Apple Music so that I could listen to music that was compressed with Apple Lossless Audio Compression technology. It’s a comparable option to AAC and typically among the best audio quality, a consumer can experience through streaming. I thought pulling music from that library would be the best possible test of the headphone’s ability. I also put them head-to-head with my Apple AirPods Max.
How did the Crossfade 2 Wireless fare against the Apple AirPods Max?
Full disclosure here – the AirPods Max (APM) are my absolute favorite headphones. That’s why I feel like it’s appropriate to compare new over-ear headphones to them. I will say that the Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones held their own. I don’t know for sure about the technology between the two, but I can tell you how each listening experience made me feel.
I cried. I cried because music has that kind of power. And when you have a set of headphones that enhances that experience, you get emotional. At least, I do. The first time I listened to The Circle of Life on the AirPods Max, it was like I was hearing it for the first time. The Crossfade 2 Wireless actually had the same effect – but it was more like I was seeing The Lion King in the movie theater again for the first time. The Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones are powerful.
Throughout my testing, I switched back and forth between the two sets of headphones, and the differences were apparent.
Isolation: Even though they are not designed to be sound-isolating/reducing/canceling, the Crossfade 2 Wireless do a surprisingly good job blocking out ambient noise just by the way they are designed.
While I was using the headphones, I was typing with a mechanical keyboard and in a room where my fiance was playing a video game on his phone – with the sound turned on. We also have a small dog that barks anytime he thinks anyone is near the house. I could hear that something was going on around me but couldn’t tell what it was.
When I switched to my AirPods Max, which does have ANC built-in, I could still hear ambient noises around me when music hit a low point. The Crossfade 2 wireless headphones had a tighter fit around my ears and I think that is what helped with the isolation.
Volume: I listened to both headphones at 50% volume as shown on my phone and the Crossfade 2 Wireless were discernibly louder that the AirPods Max. In fact, I found myself having to turn them down depending on what I was listening to.
Clarity: the AirPods Max win this category. The Crossfade 2 Wireless is plenty clear, but the AirPod Max just punches the details through a little better. The Crossfade 2 Wireless does have a bit better loud bass depth than the AirPods Max.
Comfort: The Crossfade 2 Wireless is very comfortable. They are lightweight and easy to wear. I will say that even though I didn’t perceive my ears getting warm, the ear cups do fit my ears tighter than the AirPods Max, but they weren’t so tight that they were causing discomfort. I also noticed that my ears were a little warmer with the Crossfades than the APMs. Again, they weren’t uncomfortably hot though and my ears definitely weren’t sweating.
Here is a list of the songs that I used to test the Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones. I have indicated in parentheses if the tracks were in a certain codec or remastered.
- “Circle of Life” from The Lion King (Lossless)
- “In the Air Tonight” by The Protomen (Lossless)
- “Judas” by Fozzy (Lossless, Apple Digital Master)
- “My Shot” from Hamilton (Dolby ATMOS, Lossless, Apple Digital Master)
- “Duel of the Fates” from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace by John Williams (Lossless, Apple Digital Master)
- “Everlong” from The Colour and the Shape by Foo Fighters (Lossless)
- “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones (Hi-res Lossless, Apple Digital Master)
- “Good Morning, Good Morning” from Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles (Dolby ATMOS, Hi-Res Lossless, Apple Digital Master)
The V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless is a really nice option for over-ear headphones. They are comfortable to wear – even for longer periods of time – and they sound spectacular! I do have a couple of things I would like to see improved, but overall, they are a great set of headphones.