What started as an idea for yet another clothing line based out of LA, V-Moda became a headphone brand when inventor Val Kolton was out sketching designs at a cafe, and noticed that the Achilles heel of a lady passing by dressed in haute couture was the cheap plastic of her iPod headphones. It wasn't just the dated glossy white appearance that was painful to watch, but the fact that after carefully selecting the most exceptional, top of the line pieces, she opted for the absolute bottom of audiophile design and sound. Of course you can't expect the fashion-minded to know what makes a good pair of cans, but you can at least point them in the right direction with a pair that hits all the check marks in build, sound, and style.
The headphone market is flooded with models that can't fill the list. A pair of Beats By Dre look great, but many overlook what's under the hood—meager plastic and sound at an inflated price. Then go for the Sennheiser's if it's about premium sound, but try not to cringe at the dull and lifeless looks. It seems like putting all of your chips on one brand means losing an arm on what others have to offer, and the V-Moda line is trying to put an end to that. The Crossfade LP2 is the brand's crowd-pleasing model—praised and charted on the heads of a wide range of celebrities from stars like Sasha Grey and Laker's shooting guard Kobe Bryant, who appreciate the appeal of custom aesthetics, to recording artist's like Paul Oakenfold, Deadmau5, and Switch, who rely on having to hear the best in audiophile sound because it affects them on the job and out.
CUT TO THE CHASE
The good: Robust construction and sound quality that places itself at the top of its price range. Great isolation and boosted bass frequencies optimal for use as DJ monitors. Subtle branding and interchangeable parts give you room to customize an already sleek design.
The bad: Ear cups have a limited range of motion that you might have to adjust to depending on how you wear your headphones while DJing.
The dealbreaker: Built like a tank from head to toe. The V-Moda Crossfade LP2 has been tested to be beyond military level quality, and you can feel it in the quality parts on the body itself, as well as the Kevlar reinforced cable and molded hard case included. Being a standout for solid construction, V-Moda has not skimped out on sound quality or stylish design making the Crossfade LP2 a well rounded headphone that hits all the points in its price range. Without a doubt, a pair of cans that will withstand the travels of a touring DJ or a seasoned music lover looking to enjoy media on the go.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Whether it be the M-80, or M-100, or Crossfade LP2—set a pair of V-Moda headphones alongside others on the store shelf, and the first thing to catch your eye will be the distinct style the entire line carries. Edgy and metallic, the elongated hexagon shape is quite a diversion from the traditional rounded headphone. The ear cups are flat and slim so they don't bulge out and distort your facial profile. The surface is covered with a metal shield, which can be swapped out and customized to your liking. V-Moda's online shop allows you to customize your over ear shields in a variety of different colours with text and artwork you can upload to the site. Subtle branding throughout makes the LP2 ripe for customization allowing you to really make a pair your own.
The ear cups sport a firm grip, and the leather memory foam padding makes them comfortable for long wearing sessions. The only gripe is the limited mobility of the ear cups, they can only move about 30 degrees up and down, which can be annoying for some that rely on moving the cups front to back when cueing up tracks. The LP2 is most comfortable for DJ monitoring when having one solid cup held to the ear. Sound isolation is excellent, making these headphones perfect for drowning out the crowd during your set, jet engines on the plane ride, and crying babies at home. Minimal sound leakage makes your public commute a lot less awkward, while the 3 button mic cable gives you easy access to calls, music, and volume controls, great for travelers on the go.
Given the polished look and durable design of the exterior, it's difficult not to jump to conclusions and write off the Crossfade LP2 for what you'd expect to be overlooked sound quality. Cross referencing with Sennheiser's HD25 MKII, this is simply not the case. The Crossfade LP2 holds its own and has a noticeable thump in the low-end frequencies, with a punchy bass tuned for tracking the kick while beat matching. None of the frequency bands are particularly dominant, the prominent bass is balanced with a clear high end and mids that manage to place themselves quite nicely in the mix without being overpowered. Point to V-Moda's patent-pending 50mm dual-diaphragm drivers that have inner and outer rings, allowing separation from the bass bleeding into the mid and high frequencies. Good stereo staging makes this headphone fit for studio monitoring, but the tailed high-end should make any producer weary from relying solely on the LP2 to do a headphone mix down of their next release.
A feature that makes the Crossfade LP2 a stand out from the competition is that it's built to last. The back of the box touts "Military Level Quality", but what does it really take to stamp a product as military grade? Looking into the headphone's MIL-STD-810G test results, you'll find that the Crossfade LP2 can survive 70+ drops on concrete from 6 feet (10 times the industry standard), the Steelflex headband can be bent completely flat 10+ times, and the Kevlar reinforced cables can be bent over 1 million times (100 times the industry standard). But that's just talk when you can feel the rigidness of the crafted metal in these headphones, there's not a flimsy part in sight. Not to mention the metal shields and exoskeleton hard case, there's a strict attention to durability and detail nearly everywhere you look. Each pair is backed with a 2 Year Warranty and what V-Moda calls the "Immortal Life Program". Giving you access to a lifetime 50% discount on a new pair of phones if you've managed to smash the old ones in the line of duty. Now try to find a headphone brand offering a guarantee anywhere close to that. It's a testament to detail, and V-Moda has surely paid enough attention to put their money where their mouth is.