V-Moda Crossfade LP
The V-Moda Crossfade LP headphones are listed on its site under the heading “Audio Art”. But does that mean that the cans are more style than substance? We at Pocket-lint gave them a comprehensive going over to find out.
The first thing that you have to say about the V-Moda Crossfade LP 'phones is that they are about as cool a looking pair of cans that you're likely to stumble across. In a mishmash of styles they manage to throw in a bit of urban industrial, hard-core, minimalist and retro all in one. If you think that isn't possible then take a look at the pictures. We defy anyone to not think that these aren't some uber-hip headphones. Whether you want to wear some headphones that scream, “look at me!” is another story - but they definitely have an aura about them.
We looked at the phantom chrome variation, but they also come in white pearl, gunmetal black, nero and rouge. All of the sets come in a rugged, almost Alienware-looking exoskeleton hardened case, that may be a tad bulky to transport, but should keep your Crossfades safe.
They have a unique metal V design, that looks as if it will make the headphones heavy, but is in fact very lightweight - they weigh in at 280g - which is very sleight for a pair of headphones packing fully cushioned ear pieces (with air-cushion memory foam), metal arms holding the cups and a padded headband.
In the case you'll find two detachable, tangle-free, Kevlar reinforced cables. One a 175cm standard cable, and one a 90cm remote and microphone cable with a three button setup. Both have 3.5mm gold-plated jacks on them, but you're also supplied a 7mm gold-plated adaptor as well. Now the spec sheet boasts “universal compatibility” and says “you can adjust the volume, control the playback of your music and video, or record voice memos and answer calls from your iPhone 3GS and more”. However, we tested it on our iPhone 4 and although the headphones and mic worked, the control buttons didn't. It did control our iPad's iTunes though.
The V-Moda Crossfade LP headphones not only look the part, they feel pretty darn comfortable too. The padding on the ear cups and the headband is sufficient, and they manage to feel like super-big cans without being comically high on the head.
On to performance and this is definitely the area where the Crossfade LPs are let down somewhat. We're not saying that the sound quality is poor - far from it, they handle certain music genres (mainly of the dance variety) very well - but for the price-tag we'd have expected them to deal with a more comprehensive music variety.
On guitar heavy music for example, the treble seems a tad wispy - although we did find that maxing out the treble on our device's EQ settings provided a much richer sound. On (extremely) bass heavy music (we tested it on some old hip-hop tunes from back in the day when it was cool to blow your car's speakers) it handled bass very well - the strange phenomenon being that the bass seemed overly apparent on tunes with a lesser bass-line.
But, messing with the EQ settings seemed to sort any problems that we had, although bear in mind that if you buy these cans then you're probably going to have to adjust the settings for every musical genre that you want to listen to.
Overall, the sound quality is very decent indeed, it's just a shame that you have to fiddle about to get to the right level to begin with, and, even with a fair amount of tweaking you still might find the LPs a bit too bassy.
If we were going on looks alone then the Crossfades would be right up there with the very best. We know that we've harped on about their stylish disposition - but come on, look at them, they are an extremely cool looking pair of headphones.
For comfort the Crossfades also score very highly, with just the right amount of padding and a nice light feel when stuck on your bonce. The cups are not overly invasive either, and luckily manage to avoid the unspeakable sweaty-ear problem that a lot of closed headphones can cause.
It's only really the performance that lets the Crossfades down. It's not that the performance is bad - it's very good. It's just not as good as it should be because of (a) the price-tag and (b) the aesthetics of the actual device.