Rating: 8/10 ?
  • 1 - Does not work
  • 2 - Barely functional
  • 3 - Severely lacking in most areas
  • 4 - Functions, but has numerous issues
  • 5 - Fine yet leaves a lot to be desired
  • 6 - Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 - Great and worth purchasing
  • 8 - Fantastic, approaching best-in-class
  • 9 - Best-in-class
  • 10 - Borderline perfection
Price: $300
V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless in tree
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

V-Moda’s Crossfade wireless headphones have been well-loved for years, showing that you don’t need noise cancellation to make for a great set of headphones. The company still hasn’t added noise canceling, but the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless aim to be the best iteration of these headphones yet.

As with previous models, V-Moda isn’t shy about saying that the Crossfade 3 Wireless are aimed at DJs and fans of club music. This time around, the company has doubled the battery life over the previous model, improved its Bluetooth audio codecs, and made subtle improvements to the sound signature.

Do these headphones hold up to modern competition? With one notable exception, yes they do.

Here's What We Like

  • Fun sound signature
  • Wired mode for even better sound
  • Wired listening doesn’t require battery
  • Comfortable for hours at a time

And What We Don't

  • Lack noise cancellation 
  • Can be quiet in wired mode

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Design and Comfort

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless in case
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

  • Weight: 315g (11oz)

If you’ve seen the older Crossfade 2, the Crossfade 3 Wireless will look familiar. It’s not that they’re the same, it’s just that V-Moda’s headphones have a fairly unique look, and they haven’t deviated far from that formula with these headphones.

The Crossfade 3 ship with a hardshell carrying case, and it looks somewhat on the small side compared to the headphones. This is because of V-Moda’s CliqFold hinge, which lets them fold down into a more compact than usual package.

I’ve tested older V-Moda headphones and remembered them being comfortable despite the sturdy metal build. This was the case with the Crossfade 3, which were comfortable even after wearing them for hours. The slimmer-than-average fit also makes them easier to move around in without snagging the ear cups.

The headphones come in any color you want, as long as it’s black. Specifically, they come in Matte Black, Gunmetal Black, and Bronze Black. The metal “shields” on the side of the headphones are replaceable and customizable, with V-Moda offering custom shields for a price.

Connectivity and Wireless Performance

V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless handheld
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

  • Bluetooth version: 5.1
  • Audio codecs: AAC, aptX HD, SBC
  • Headphone jack: 3.5mm

The V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless ship with Bluetooth version 5.1. Generally, the Bluetooth version doesn’t have much of an impact on sound. What does have an impact are the audio codecs that headphones use. The Crossfade 3 pair aptX HD and AAC, meaning that whether you use Android (aptX HD) or Apple (AAC) devices, you’ll have great sound, with the standard SBC codec as a fallback.

The headphones include an onboard microphone for calls and video chat. And in case you want to plug in, the Crossfade 3 ship with a cable that allows them to run in wired mode. This cable also includes a built-in microphone and volume control.

Plugging in the cable turns off Bluetooth, as well as the built-in amplifier. This means that you don’t need to use the internal battery, but the headphones will be dramatically quieter depending on what you’re listening to.

V-Moda says using the cable increases the frequency response from 5 Hz to 40 kHz, well beyond the highest frequencies the human ear can hear. This increased resolution does have its benefits in terms of audio headroom, and the Crossfade 3 Wireless are certified for hi-res audio from the Japan Audio Society.

Controls and App

Buttons on the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

The controls on the Crossfade 3 wireless are close to exactly what they were on the previous model, but they work well. You get a multifunction button for playback and calls, plus a pair of buttons to control the volume without reaching for your phone.

Instead of the multifunction button pulling triple-duty, the Crossfade 3 have the same on/off slider that the previous model did. I found this useful and wish more headphones would opt for a slider instead of a power button.

There is a companion app available in the V-Moda Headphone Editor app (available for iPhone and Android). This is mainly what you’ll use to update the onboard firmware, but it has a few other features as well, like adjustable EQ, including a custom mode.

The app is meant for use with the Crossfade 3 and V-Moda’s S-80 headphones, but it seems more essential for the S-80. Using the app with the Crossfade 3, you’ll find noise-canceling features you can’t access.

Sound Quality

Wearing the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

  • Driver: 50mm dual diaphragm
  • Frequency range: 5Hz — 40,000Hz (wired)

V-Moda headphones have a certain type of sound, similar to how other manufacturers have signature sounds. I’ve tested other V-Moda headphones over the years and remember liking the sound quite a bit, and for multiple genres, despite V-Moda’s emphasis on club music.

That sound signature is still here with the Crossfade 3, but it’s evolved, with more detail in the highs and a less pronounced low end. That said, there’s still plenty of bass, and if you liked previous V-Moda headphones, you’ll find something to like here as well.

The overall sound signature is comparatively neutral compared to what you might think, given the club music advertising. There’s a v-shape here, yes, but it’s far more subtle than you may expect.

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Given V-Moda’s focus on club music, I decided to take it in an old-school direction and started off listening to New Order’s “Fine Time.” Despite the song’s age, the ever-present kick was well presented by the Crossfade 3’s 50mm dual-diaphragm drivers.

Listening to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s “Oddlife” shows how impressive the Crossfade 3’s sound stage is for closed-back headphones. There is just the right amount of thump from the bass guitar and kick drum, while the other instruments fill the stereo field.

I noticed while listening to the Crossfade 3 that almost nothing ever came across as harsh or strident sounding. To test this, I listened to “Can You Get To That” by Funkadelic. The acoustic guitar here can sound painful on some headphones, but these took the sharp edge off without making it too dull.

While there is no active noise cancellation (ANC), V-Moda did include noise-canceling mics for the built-in microphone. This means that your voice should come across more clearly when you’re using the headphones for calls.

Voice quality is decent, and the noise cancellation should keep you audible outdoors. That said, simply due to the form factor, this isn’t a headset you’d use to make calls all day.

Microphone Audio Sample – Indoor

Microphone Audio Sample – Outdoor

Battery Life

Ports on the bottom of the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Charging: USB-C

The V-Moda Crossfade 3 wireless offer a maximum battery life of up to 30 hours. Of course, this is at moderate volume, but even if you crank them up, you’re going to get more than the 14-hour maximum battery life of the Crossfade 2 Wireless.

As mentioned above, if you’re using the included cable to listen in wired mode, the headphones will automatically shut off the power. This means that as long as you have the cable, you don’t have to worry about running out of power.

While the older models used micro USB for charging, V-Moda has modernized the Crossfade 3 Wireless with USB-C for charging. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to have shortened the charging time, which remains at about two hours.

Should You Buy the V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless?

The V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless are undoubtedly the best version of V-Moda’s Crossfade headphones yet. Just doubling the battery life of the last generation would have been enough to sell a new model, but the sound improvements and USB-C connectivity do a fantastic job of bringing these headphones into the present.

The one major caveat is the same tradeoff that has been part of these headphones for years: no noise cancellation. That said, the passive noise isolation does a good job of blocking out intrusive sounds without the sometimes unpleasant side effects of ANC.

If you’re a fan of the V-Moda sound signature, the sound, solid construction, and battery life are well worth the tradeoffs.

Rating: 8/10
Price: $300

Here’s What We Like

  • Fun sound signature
  • Wired mode for even better sound
  • Wired listening doesn’t require battery
  • Comfortable for hours at a time

And What We Don't

  • Lack noise cancellation 
  • Can be quiet in wired mode
Profile Photo for Kris Wouk Kris Wouk
Kris Wouk is a freelance tech writer and musician with over 10 years of experience as a writer and a lifetime of experience as a gadget fan. He has also written for Digital Trends, MakeUseOf, Android Authority, and Sound Guys. At MakeUseOf, he was Section Editor in charge of the site's Mac coverage.
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