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V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones review: Filling a shrinking niche

Published Oct 4th, 2022 10:46PM EDT
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

V-Moda may not be as big of a name as the likes of Apple and Sony, but the company has built some of the most-loved headphones over the past few years, especially in certain audiophile circles. The Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones were heralded for their comfortable fit and excellent audio quality. Now, however, Italian brand V-Moda is back with a third generation — the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones.

The V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones may not reinvent the wheel but they do add a number of new features, like support for the Qualcomm AptX HD audio codec, and support for the AAC codec, which makes them sound better when used with Apple devices.

Do these headphones do enough to warrant their $300 price tag? Or should you go with the likes of Sony? I’ve been using the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones to find out.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless

Rating: 3.5 Stars
BGR may receive a commission

Pros

  • Solid design
  • App works fine
  • Good sound quality
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Slightly small ear cups
  • No ANC

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless design

The last-generation V-Moda Crossfade looked great, and thankfully, they didn’t radically change the look of the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones. The headphones still offer the sleek, angular design, with hexagonal ear cups, along with the power switch (not power button), and the strong metal frame that should ensure the headphones can withstand at least a few years of day-to-day use.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless SideImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

As mentioned, there’s a power switch on the bottom of the right ear cup, which makes it extremely easy to turn the headphones on as you put them on your head. And, there are volume controls and a play/pause button on the top of the ear cup. On the bottom of the ear cup can be found the USB-C charging port.

The left ear cup isn’t quite as packed with controls, but there is a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired listening, which is always nice to have.

Generally, I quite like the overall look of the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones. They have a unique look, while still remaining stylish and sleek.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless CaseImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

You’ll get a solid selection of accessories with the headphones too. There’s the relatively compact carrying case, along with an aux cable for wired listening and a USB-A to USB-C charging cable. I personally would have preferred a USB-C to USB-C cable, though.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless features and battery

Headphones seem to be getting smarter and smarter, but while the likes of Apple and Sony are investing in tech for things like noise cancelation and easier switching, V-Moda is instead putting its money into tech that enhances the audio quality. Thankfully, however, you still get some smart features that make using the headphones a little better. Notably, there’s a new V-Moda app that lets you tweak the EQ, install firmware updates, and more. It’s not the most feature-packed app out there, and it doesn’t have great reviews on the App Store, but it did work fine for me.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless USB-CImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The battery life on the Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones sits at up to 30 hours, according to V-Moda. That’s a solid battery life, and means that you shouldn’t have to charge the headphones too much. It beats out much of the competition, but the very best alternatives, like the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones, pretty much match these.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless comfort

The V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones may be sleek and stylish, but that can impact comfort a little. The ear pads are a little small, and while that doesn’t make them overly uncomfortable, after long listening periods, it can be noticeable. Thankfully, they still use high-end padding and don’t have a clamp that’s too tight, so they’re still generally comfortable — but if you have large or sensitive ears, you might have some issues after listening for a few hours or so.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless sound

The most important consideration to make here is how the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones sound. After all, without the smart features on offer by some other options, you’ll want these $300 headphones to sound good. The headphones offer tech like support for Qualcomm apt-X HD and AAC, which will help ensure they sound great no matter what device you connect them to.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless PadsImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Out of the box, I didn’t love the tuning of these headphones. To me, they sounded a little boxy, and a little overshadowed by the low mids. With a little tuning in the new app, however, I was able to get an excellent sound.

The headphones especially excel at the extremes. They deliver great bass response, with good bass extension. Combined with the good high-end response, you’ll get an exciting sound profile. They can feel a little mid-heavy at times, especially the low mids — but again, that can be tweaked with the app.

Unfortunately, the headphones do not have noise cancelation, which is a bit of a miss. I get that these aren’t targeted at average consumers, on a pair of wireless headphones in this price range, noise cancelation has become a whole lot more important over the past few years. Hopefully, V-Moda will include it next time around.

Conclusions

The V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones have a lot to offer. They’re well-designed, sound great, and offer some smart functionality that can definitely help with the overall listening experience.

But headphones are also getting a whole lot smarter, and for many, the lack of noise cancelation will make these a non-starter. I hope V-Moda adds smart features while ensuring that its future headphones still sound great. As consumer headphones start sounding better and better, the niche of customers who want wireless headphones that don’t offer the complete package is shrinking — and I don’t want V-Moda to be left behind.

The competition

At $300, these directly compete with headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM5 and Bose Headphones 700. Both of those options offer better smart features and excellent noise cancelation. They also sound great — though perhaps not as natural as the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones. If a natural experience is what you’re looking for, then the Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones are the way to go — but if you want a good consumer headphones experience, then it’s worth considering something else.

Should I buy the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones?

Yes, but only if you fall in the niche that these are targeted at.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless

Rating: 3.5 Stars
BGR may receive a commission

Pros

  • Solid design
  • App works fine
  • Good sound quality
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Slightly small ear cups
  • No ANC
Christian de Looper Senior Reviews Editor

Christian de Looper was born in Canberra, Australia, where he lived until the age of 14. After his father got a job in Paris, France, Christian lived there for five years, after which he moved to Minnesota for college. During college, Christian developed a passion for consumer technology by writing for tech blogs. Christian now lives in sunny Santa Cruz, California.