When it comes to mainstream wireless headphones, V-Moda is almost a household name. It’s been making great over-ear wireless headphones for years (our first V-Moda review was published way back in 2013!) and it’s back with its latest flagship: the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless. The new model brings back popular features from previous models with an updated tuning and high-res Bluetooth support, double the battery life, app control, and more.
At $299, it’s launching for $50 less than last generation’s model, but does it update enough to justify it’s price? Read on to find out!
- Current Price: $299 (Amazon)
- Type: Over-Ear wireless/wired headphones
- Driver: 50mm dual-diaphragm
- Frequency response: 5 - 40,000 Hz (Wired) / Hi-Res Audio
- Speaker sensitivity: 107 ±3 dB @ 1kHz 1mW
- Microphone sensitivity: -42 ±3 dB @ 1kHz 1mW
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Codecs: Qualcomm apt-X HD, AAC, SBC
- Noise cancelling: Passive
- Bluetooth version: 5.1
- Battery life: 30 hours
- Charging cable: USB-C
- Weight w/o cable: 315g
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless - What Is It?
The Crossfade 3 Wireless is the latest pair of wireless headphones from V-Moda, one of the leading brands in lifestyle audio today. Its headphones emphasize style just as much as sound, which has made them popular among mainstream listeners that want to look good, even while getting lost in their favorite music. The Crossfades are interesting in other ways too, from offering customization options the competition can’t or won’t, to being able to connect with a wire and even completely transform into a gaming headset with the BoomPro microphone accessory. And, of course, that warm, bass-rich sound signature that’s crafted to evoke a club-like listening experience.
The Crossfade 3 Wireless carries through virtually everything that made its predecessors repeated hits. That starts with the look and feel of the headphones. They’re small for over-ears, and slim, so they won’t stick out on your head. The diamond-shaped earcups feature swappable metal plates and are available in bronze, gunmetal, or matte black finishes. The plates can also be fully customized to make them uniquely your own with custom paint jobs and laser engravings at an additional cost. They’re sleek and look good.
Despite the emphasis on aesthetics, the Crossfades are rugged and built to last. The yokes and adjustment band are made from metal and are built to stand up to heavy use. The headband is especially impressive. I gave it a few good, long stretches, and they bounced right back to normal after. The headphones also compress down using metal hinges, so they’re great for travel.
The travel case they come with is equally durable. It’s a semi-hardback case with a tough, rubberized exterior that refuses to crush. They call it an exo-skeleton case and for good reason: it’s not only tough, it’s also small. There’s even a carabiner along the top to easily strap it onto a backpack so you can take your tunes on the go.
Thus far, this has all been true of the Crossfade 2s, which we reviewed back in 2019, so what’s new? For starters, these new cans feature a refined tuning that emphasizes spaciousness and powerful bass. Its dynamic drivers are now flanked with layers of tuning material to enhance reverb and increase the strength of bass hits.
Wireless connectivity has also been improved. This new model uses Bluetooth 5.1 with support for aptX HD (backward compatible with standard aptX for Samsung users), AAC, and SBC. Battery life has been more than doubled, now reaching up to 30 hours on the upper end. The headband now also uses vegan leather for improved comfort and reliability.
Like the Crossfade 2, the Crossfade 3 Wireless supports high-res wired listening too. Plugging in the included analog cable unlocks the full 5 - 40,000Hz frequency response range, ensuring that you’ll hear every note without fear of distortion from the driver being pushed too far.
Analog support also means you can utilize the excellent V-Moda BoomPro microphone cable, which delivers a clear, rich sound that outperforms even high-end gaming headsets. So, if you like the Crossfade 3, it can transform into a gaming head that’s good enough to stream or podcast with.
And that’s really it. This is a refinement of the Crossfade series and not a reinvention. That may be good for sound quality and performance, but after multiple years in development, it would have been nice to see V-Moda push the envelope here. At a glance, you may not even be able to tell the difference between the older models and this new and improved version.
Its most glaring omission is perhaps active noise cancellation. Given the DJ-centric focus of these headphones, it makes a degree of sense that ANC would have been left on the cutting room floor, but the market for great Bluetooth headphones spans much wider than just DJs. ANC for mainstream consumers would have been a nice touch and made these headphones more competitive at their current price.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless - Sound Quality and Daily Use
V-Moda was founded by a DJ, and it makes no bones about it: these are headphones made for DJs and people who crave that “in the club” sound. What that means in practice is that the Crossfade 3 Wireless has a warm, bass-rich sound. So, you don’t need to be a club regular to enjoy them.
In fact, the tuning is very friendly toward modern pop music. Anything that has a lot of bass plays well with the Crossfades. Listening to The Hills by The Weeknd, the bass line sounded more like a genuine subwoofer than any other headphone in recent memory. At the same time, they did a good job of keeping the mids and highs intact.
Intact, but the highs are rolled back.This isn’t a headphone to turn to for an audiophile sound. Cymbals and hi-hat hits come through well, but there’s definitely some lost detail in the highs with the stock tuning.
Thankfully, you don’t have to stick with this sound signature if you’re not in love with it. Using the V-Moda app, you can choose from a selection of genre-based EQ presets, customize them, or create your own with the built-in 5-band EQ. I chose to roll back the mid-bass a bit and turn up the mids and highs to restore some clarity and they responded very well to the new tuning.
For gaming, they work well but aren’t as spacious as a good gaming headset — but are a bit wider than I expected them to sound. Dolby Atmos makes a big difference here. The bass-centric tuning is great for action games, and the rolled-off highs remove some of the sharpness from gunshots which helps for fatigue-free listening.
If you’re planning on using these for gaming, do yourself a favor and pick up the BoomPro. I wasn’t sent on to record a new sample for this review, but you can hear it in action below and see for yourself just how good it is:
The big question is whether the Crossfade 3 Wireless are worth $299. That puts them in competition with the Sony WH-1000XM4s and Bose QC45. Those headphones both offer similar features, great sound, and world-class ANC on top. What they lack is the svelte, stylish design of the V-Modas and the small-but-rugged build quality that makes them feel much higher quality in the hand.
It comes down to what you value most. The Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones offer good sound quality, battery life, and an aesthetic no other headphone competes with. At $299, they feel too expensive to not have ANC, but if you don’t need it, these could still be a solid choice.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Some articles may contain affiliate links and purchases made through this will result in a small commission for the site. Commissions are not directed to the author or related to compensation in any way.