Laptop Mag Verdict
The Crossfade 3 Wireless upholds V-Moda’s excellent sound and craftsmanship, becoming the brand’s best offering in quite a while.
Immersive, hi-fi sound
Industrialized design with customizable elements
Solid battery life
Plenty of useful accessories
Strong mic performance for calls and digital assistance
Heavy and uncomfortable
Missing popular modern functions
Companion app offers very few extras
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Continuing their pre-holiday rollout, V-Moda recently launched the newest version of their most popular headphones to date. Introducing the Crossfade 3 Wireless. These headphones blend dual diaphragm 50mm drivers, carefully tuned components, and hi-fi wireless audio into an ultramodern design composed mostly of premium metal and leather.
Colors: Bronze Black; Gunmetal Black; Matte Black
Battery life (rated): 30 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1
Water resistance: None
Size: 7.8 x 5.8 x 3.3 inches
Weight: 11 ounces
- Our expert picks for the best noise cancelling headphones, per budget and style
- Check out our Sony WH-1000XM5 review
- …and our Bose 700 review
Not everything is contemporary on these cans, as exhibited by the lack of popular functions (e.g., quick charging, touch controls) and V-Moda’s feature-limited companion app. The extra weight doesn’t make for great comfort either.
In the end, the Crossfade 3 Wireless overcomes these flaws with remarkable sound and style that very few rivals can match.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: Availability and price
You can purchase the Crossfade 3 Wireless for $299 on V-Moda’s website or at Adorma, where it comes bundled with a BoomPro Microphone at no extra cost. Color options consist of Bronze Black, Gunmetal Black, and Matte Black. Inside the box are a carrying case, carabiner clip, SpeakEasy 1-button cable, ¼-inch pro adapter, USB-C charging cable, and one-year warranty.
These are some of the more expensive wireless headphones out there, priced higher than the stellar $199 Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2, which has more features and longer battery life. They’re also not that far off in price from noise-cancelling favorites such as the $329 Bose QuietComfort 45, $348 Sony WH-1000XM4, and $379 Bose 700.
If you’re looking for something cheaper with reliable sound, battery life, and special features, check out some of the models featured on our best cheap wireless headphones list.
Be sure to bookmark our headphone deals page for the latest sales.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: Design and comfort
The Crossfade 3 Wireless looks no different than its predecessor, and that’s totally fine with V-Moda fans. Returning are the strong, flexible metal headband and memory foam cushions. Signature details like the patented CliqFold hinge remain intact to nestle the headphones into the carrying case. Shield customization is also available to personalize your pair; that service comes at a premium ($25).
V-Moda’s exoskeleton carrying case with carabiner is perfect for travel. It’s compact, light, and can be clipped onto or tossed inside your backpack without taking up too much room. Furthermore, it’s ridiculously durable. You can probably drop a five-pound dumbbell on it and not damage the outer shell or the headphones on the inside. Don’t take that as a challenge.
As with all V-Moda headphones, the use of premium materials adds unwanted weight and creates discomfort. Wearing it for longer than an hour straight becomes fatiguing, especially since the leather on the earcups starts to heat up and the headband applies pressure atop the skull.
Fit is decent. The lengthy extenders accommodate listeners with large heads. Finding the right setting is essential because the slightest bit of looseness will cause the headphones to fall off, and you don’t want to hear these beauties smack the concrete.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: Controls and voice assistant
The Crossfade 3 Wireless physical buttons are sufficient. You’ll get nice tactility with every press to ensure intended functions – playback, call management, and digital assistance – are being met. The embossed logos make locating the buttons easy. There’s also the one-button cable to operate playback and call management when listening in wired mode.
However, touch controls are the more preferrable input method these days. On top of that, it would have been awesome if V-Moda figured out how to optimize their design by either having those gorgeous earcups serve as touch panels or integrate them on the edges.
Another blunder is V-Moda omitting something as common as motion sensors for wear detection. Being able to auto-pause when removing the headphones or resume playback when placing them back on your head is something most wireless headphones offer.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: Audio quality
If there’s one area where V-Moda has never dropped the ball, it’s audio quality. The engineers did a tremendous job tuning the Crossfade 3 Wireless to deliver immersive, depth-filled sound that’s highlighted by robust bass, smooth mids, and striking highs.
The introductory guitar strum on Calvin Harris’ “Feels” feels everlasting, thanks to impeccable reverberation. The bassline also has more bounce and definition to it on the Crossfade 3 Wireless compared to other premium competitors like the Sony WH-1000XM5.
Tracks like Common’s “Resurrection” that blend hip-hop and jazz elements sounded fantastic. The drums knocked hard, and the piano keys rode smoothly over the thumping production. Jazz records were more satisfying. V-Moda’s soundstage reproduced instruments superbly. I loved every cymbal tap, horn blow, and plucked double bass on Charles Mingus’ “Better Git It in Your Soul.” Even more compelling was the crispness from the scat singing and the impact from every hand clap.
I recommend sticking with the default EQ, though you have the option of experimenting with V-Moda’s customizable five-band EQ or presets (Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop, Jazz).
The bundled cable comes with Hi-Res Audio certification and gives audio a massive boost in clarity and sound. I preferred wired mode over wireless for psychedelic rock tracks. Everything on Tame Impala’s “New Person, Same Mistakes” sounded fuller, from the layered harmonies to the synth bass to the guitar strings on the bridge. This was a banger all the way through.
Streaming quality was solid on my MacBook Pro (AAC), and it was much better on my Google Pixel 6 Pro due to aptX HD support. Qualcomm’s hi-res audio codec gave music a cleaner presence and brought out more details in complex recordings.
These headphones passively block out ambient noise at an effective level. Rarely was I distracted by incidental sounds when listening outdoors.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: App and special features
The V-Moda app brings very little to the table. Top features have already been mentioned, those being the manual EQ and presets. All that remains is an auto-off timer, battery level indicator, and firmware updates.
Other sub-$300 wireless headphones come with way more features, or at least a Find My Headphones function. I can forgive V-Moda for not including ANC, but they could have met us halfway with a transparency mode.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: Battery life
Battery life is rated at 30 hours. Some wireless headphones offer more, others offer less, but this is fine when factoring in overall functionality. Having used the headphones for over a week (4 hours daily) with recharging, I still had 30% left in the tank. Remember that high volume and wireless features drain the battery more quickly.
Unfortunately, V-Moda didn’t think it was important to include quick charging, which is bewildering. You’ll have to wait 3 hours for a full charge.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: Call quality and connectivity
The Crossfade 3 Wireless is an adequate calling headset. Clarity is mostly clear, though background noise and wind produce slight muffle. Volume is moderate, which might be an issue for people who speak low, but those on the opposite end of a call will still make out what you’re saying.
Bluetooth 5.0 is 50/50. When it’s on point, the headphones instantly pair to recognized devices and extend up to 85 feet (25 meters) for calls and wireless streaming. Google Fast Pair doesn’t come part of the package, but multipoint technology does, letting you connect to two devices at the same time. This makes switching between your laptop and phone (and vice versa) seamless. However, I noticed two issues with the feature: you can’t access the app when it’s enabled and there’s a bug that continuously pauses Spotify once disconnected from your second audio source.
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless review: Verdict
The Crossfade 3 Wireless feels like a return to form for V-Moda. It doesn’t experiment with gimmicky features like the S-80 or push noise cancellation on you, granted that’s a feature most consumers welcome for the price. Instead, it improves on brand staples such as sound, battery life, and connectivity, while retaining V-Moda’s artsy, high-end craftsmanship. Could it benefit from more features and a less heavy design? Absolutely. That doesn’t take away from its sonic greatness.