V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless Review (2024)

The V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones ($299.99) cost slightly less than their predecessors while keeping a similar focus on audio quality; their accurate sound signature presents frequencies with excellent balance in both wireless and wired audio modes. An in-app EQ, AptX HD support (for Android users), and a high-quality travel case are bonuses, though the lack of active noise cancellation (ANC) is a notable drawback at this price. As such, you might prefer the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones, which combine impressive sound quality with top-notch noise cancellation for $399.99. But if you don't need ANC and care most about audio quality, you can save $100 with this V-Moda pair.

Snug Fit and Quality Accessories

Like V-Moda’s other products, the Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones stand out for their stylish design. They are available in matte black, black and bronze, or black and gunmetal; no matter the color, they sport rounded hexagonal contours and have sleek vents on the outer panels. The earpads and headband feature generous memory foam cushioning and faux-leather lining, while a metallic hinge enables the former to fold inward to fit inside the included travel case. Despite the heavy padding, however, we found this pair to be slightly less comfortable for long listening sessions than competitors—the earcups are quite large and apply a little more pressure around the ear than is typical.

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Internally, 50mm dual-diaphragm drivers deliver a frequency range of 5Hz to 40kHz in wired mode with an impedance of 32 ohms. V-Moda doesn't provide a frequency range for wireless mode, but the headphones are compatible with Bluetooth 5.1 and support the AAC, AptX HD, and SBC codecs. AptX HD is nice to see, though the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones have an advantage with support for the higher-bitrate LDAC codec.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless Review (1)

(Credit: Tim Gideon)

The right earcup’s outer panel houses the on-ear controls. You get tactile volume buttons and a multifunction button for managing playback and calls (one press), navigating tracks (two presses for next, three for previous), and summoning your device's voice assistant (press and hold). There’s also a three-way switch for powering the headphones on and off, as well as putting them in pairing mode. A 3.5mm port resides at the base of the right earcup for the included audio cable, while the left one has a USB-C port for the included USB-C-to-USB-A charging cable.

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The zip-up travel case in the box reminds me of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or an armadillo—it is rigid and tough, with a vaguely armored look and a matte rubber build material. It houses the headphones and all their accessories, including the charging cable, the 3.5mm audio cable, and a quater-inch headphone jack adapter for pro gear. A carabiner on the outside enables easy stowing.

V-Moda estimates that the Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones can last roughly 30 hours per charge, but your results will vary based on your volume levels and codec choice.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless App Experience

The V-Moda Headphone Editor app (available for Android and iOS) is very simple in terms of design and features, but we like its ease of use.

On the main screen, you see an image of the headphones, along with a battery life readout and the currently active codec. Further down, there are Sound and Settings tiles—tap the first to access a modest array of EQ presets and create a custom one using five bands that range from 31.5Hz to 8kHz. Meanwhile, the Settings section offers firmware updates, app version information, and options for the auto-off function (30 minutes, three hours, and none).

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless Review (12)

(Credit: V-Moda)

Excellent Audio Balance and Detail

We mostly stuck with the neutral EQ settings for testing the Crossfade 3 Wireless, though we did experiment with the EQ at times (as we note below).

On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the drivers deliver an accurate low-frequency response. The deep bass here sounds full, but not exaggerated, and the overall balance of the mix is strong, with no part of the frequency range dominating another. You don't get substantial low-end rumble, but these elements never sound thin either.

The headphones handle the sub-bass at the 34-second mark of Kendrick Lamar’s “Loyalty” quite well. The synth line descends into seriously deep subwoofer territory, but the drivers mostly reproduce these tones with gusto. The last, lowest note sounds a little less full, but boosting the lowest band of the EQ gives it notably more oomph. Otherwise, the various vocal performances sound crisp, with just a bit of additional sibilance.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless Review (13)

(Credit: Tim Gideon)

Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less deep bass in the mix, better reveals the accurate-leaning signature. The drums on this track sound natural and nowhere near as thunderous as on models with heavy low-end boosting. Callahan’s vocals get plenty of additional low-mid richness, but never sound muddy thanks to the clarity of the high-mids and highs. The mids also get a solid presence, which contributes to the balanced presentation. Of course, if you want to dial in boosting at either end of the frequency range, the in-app EQ can oblige.

On orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, we hear a little bit of extra low-frequency heft, but the effect is relatively subtle. The lower-register instrumentation takes a slight step forward as a result, but the higher-register brass, strings, and vocals still get plenty of detail and crispness.

The mic array offers average intelligibility. We didn't have any trouble understanding every word from a test recording on our iPhone, but the signal was a bit weaker and less bright than on high-end competitors. It should work fine in a pinch, but this is not a selling point.

A Sound Success

We enjoy the accurate-leaning sound signature of the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones, and if you want a transparent audio experience with the ability to tweak via an in-app EQ, they won’t disappoint. But we must consider the competitors in this premium price bracket. The aforementioned Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones, for instance, offer class-leading noise cancellation (something this V-Moda model lacks entirely) and support for the even more audiophile-friendly LDAC codec. The noise-cancelling Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones ($349.95) are also worth considering because of their classy design and robust audio performance. You might find that active noise cancellation (and a slightly more comfortable fit) is worth the extra money, but the Crossfade 3 Wireless should definitely be in the running if your primary concern is sound quality.

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless

4.0

See It$278.74 at Amazon

MSRP $299.99

Pros

  • Accurate, rich, and balanced audio

  • AptX HD support

  • Sharp design

  • Package includes high-quality travel case and accessories

  • Wired and wireless listening modes

ViewMore

Cons

  • Expensive

  • No noise cancellation

  • Earpads exert slightly more pressure than usual

The Bottom Line

The premium V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless headphones look stylish and offer a relatively transparent, balanced audio experience.

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V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless Review (2024)
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