V-MODA is always striving to be better in every way, from design to sound to comfort this is a brand that is obsessed with every detail. This past January during the NAMM conference we got an early first look at the new wireless headphones (Crossfade 2 and Forza Metallo wireless) as well as the new REMIX wireless speaker. I was impressed.
Once again V-MODA has stepped up their game and delivered some great products that stay true to the brand's ideals. Although it seems a bit late to the party, the REMIX wireless speaker offers some cool functionality and quirky design options that fans of V-MODA will love.
I finally got my hands on some units to test and here are some thoughts on the latest and greatest from team V-MODA.
The Crossfade Wireless 2 has improved across the board with a new collapsible design, improved comfort, longer battery life, upgraded case ventilation and slightly better sound.
Let's start with the build quality, which is always the same with every V-MODA product; it's rock solid. These guys don't know the meaning of the word flimsy, and every detail is done right from the case to the headband to the ear cups. Nothing to see here, it's the same excellent construction that we are used to.
Comfort wise they have changed up the ear cups a bit to give you some more padding which is nice. The headphones themselves are a little heavy due to the high-quality metal construction so for some the weight might be a bit much to contend with, but for me, it wasn't that much of an issue.
The guts of the headphone have also changed for the better with a new 50mm driver and a bigger battery that will give you roughly 14 hours of battery life. These adjustments only have one downside, they are the reason the headphones are heavier across the board. The extra 17 grams in weight for better sound and a longer battery life seems well worth it though.
If you are leaning more towards an audiophile with your sound sensitivity, then you might notice that the bass has been tightened up a bit on the Crossfade 2. The bass response adds to an overall amazing balance of highs, mids, and lows to create a very vibrant sound that is a pleasure to listen to and great for longer sessions. The bass always seems to be just right and only overpowering when the artist intended it to be, i.e., all bass music producers.
The closest thing in my arsenal to the Crossfade 2's aside from the Crossfade 1 is my Sennheiser PPX 550 which is a bit more spendy at $399 and geared more for traveling. The V-Moda is a more vibrant on the sound profile but loses out in other categories like weight, battery life, and comfort. The PPX 550 can go for almost 30 hours and are just easier to wear for longer periods of time. So if you are a hardcore traveler you might consider these things when looking at the Crossfade 2, otherwise save the $100 if you don't need the more travel-focused features.
The Crossfade 2 just delivers big on sound, both in wireless and wired modes these headphones are a pleasure to listen to with all genres of music. The recent acquisition by Japanese giant Roland has no doubt given V-MODA a new edge both from a materials and engineering perspective as well. In the wired mode the Crossfade 2's now meet the Japan Audio Society standard for Hi-Res Audio which is not easy to do.
This new merger has yielded the best headphone to date from the brand, so no complaints here. The one thing that is important to consider when using these headphones is the quality of music file you are listening to, as the sound quality can be greatly affected by poorly recorded or highly compressed music.
Overall if you are using these for light traveling, commuting, at home or at your desk they are a fantastic value and sound incredible. If you are a serious road warrior and looking for something a little more svelte and travel focused, there are other models that might be a better fit.
Drivers: 50mm Dual-diaphragm (patent pending) Frequency
Response Wired: 5 - 40,000 Hz
Headphone Sensitivity: 100 dB @ 1kHz 1mW
Speaker Sensitivity: 107 dB @ 1kHz 1mW
Microphone Sensitivity: -42 dB @ 1kHz
Impedance: 32 ohm
Weight: 309g (with standard aluminum shields)
Battery capacity: 430mAh (up to 14-plus hours music playback)
Cable: 1-button reinforced SpeakEasy microphone 3.5mm cable
Available in three colors: matte black, matte white and rose gold featuring Qualcomm aptX
Compatible with V-Moda accessories, including 3D printed shields; laser-engraved aluminum shields; BoomPro Mic for gamers, calls and broadcasters; XL cushions; CoilPro cable; 1/3-button SpeakEasy cables; VAMP DAC/AMP; and the newly released Remix headphone amplifier and Bluetooth speaker
V-MODA has finally entered the wireless speaker market, and some might argue that it's too late. The REMIX comes with two big features that fans will probably love, the customizable aspect and the added DAC built in for your headphones which is fantastic for office use. The biggest challenge the REMIX faces is the price point, which comes in around $300.
The REMIX sticks to a fairly conventional design in regards to the size and shape of the unit; it's a rectangle. Where things get exciting are the customization options from materials to the custom stands that you can add to fit your decor or personal taste. For some, the aesthetics are a primary driver for purchasing V-MODA products, and they get that right here in a big way.
All the controls are well placed and simple to use, on the rear of the speaker you will find the USB-C input, VAMP (headphone amp) output for your headphones and a 3.5 mm input for wired connections. This is not the most portable speaker as it's fairly beefy, so I imagine most people will use it in their apartments or on their desks.
The BlueTooth range is pretty standard at about 25' to 30' in total, so it's ideal for a small studio or one bedroom apartment, but you can't lug it too far from the source, or it starts to clip. Where this speaker pulls ahead of the pack is the VAMP offering, a headphone amp that is built right into the speaker to give your sound an extra boost when using cans to listen to your music instead of the speaker.
Unplugged the REMIX gets a pretty standard 10 hours of battery life which is about what I expect from a speaker this size, but other speakers are starting to push the boundaries of battery life and at $300 I was hoping for more here.
The sound of the speaker is excellent, it's not going to bump your house party very well, but it wasn't really designed for that either. This speaker was made for desks, nightstands, or small apartments so if you are looking for loud; this is not your speaker.
The speaker handles highs, mids, and lows quite well for a unit this size. The lows stay pretty clean even with bass heavy types of music like hip hop and techno. The mids and highs work together well, and the sound is clean and balanced which is often not the case for speakers this size which tend to get muddy pretty quickly, especially at higher volumes.
When you want to get a more intense and detailed sound experience, you can simply plug your headphones into the VAMP in the back. The REMIX's headphone amp aka VAMP comes in handy when you want to be quiet or just go deeper with your music.
If you are looking for a speaker that is going to power your studio apartment or work with your desktop computer the REMIX is a safe bet. You can modify it to fit your space perfectly with custom materials and stands, it sounds great for its small size, and it allows you to jack in your headphones for an upgraded and more immersive experience with your music. The price is a little steep, but the quality is there as is the unique customization and VAMP options.
The wireless bud market is saturated with mediocrity, and the V-MODA Forza Metallo Wireless is one of the better products in the under $200 category. They sound great, are comfortable, stay in place well and have a decent battery life. For $169.00 they come in at the higher end of the spectrum for this class but are well worth the extra $30 or so.
The build quality is solid, and the Forzas are sweat proof so that they will stay in good shape through the heaviest of workouts. One of the biggest gripes I have with wireless buds is that they always feel like they are going to fall out, or they actually do. The included fins help the buds stay firmly in place while you are running or doing any other physically intense type of workout.
They are quite comfortable and easy to wear for longer sessions, you almost kind of forget they are there. The only bummer is the longer wires that tend to bow out a little when you are wearing them; this should be addressed on the next iteration as it's a little clunky. The wireless band itself is light and easy to tuck into your shirt collar or just rest on your neck. It's simply a little module rather than a stiff band like other wireless units, which is a lot more discrete and comfortable across the board.
The battery life is pretty standard at 10 hours which works perfectly for multiple gym visits or longer trips.
The sound is nice and crisp and not as bass heavy as I was expecting. These buds also tend to form a tight seal that locks out the ambient noise which I love when I'm at a noisy gym or on a plane. However, this might not be ideal if you are running in traffic or using in areas where you need to be a little more aware of your surroundings.
You can also use the headphones to take calls on, which is nice if you are on the go and in loud environments.
For those of you that are more image and design conscious the Forza Metallos allow you to create custom tips for the buds. This customization option is cool but just seems like a bit of overkill for such a small bud that no one can really see.
If you are looking for a headphone that is versatile, durable and sounds incredible, the Forza Metallo Wireless is worth your consideration. As an iPhone 7+ user wireless headphones are kind of essential due to the lack of a headphone jack and because the cord adapter is just a huge pain in the ass.
V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless
5.8 mm Micro Driver
Qualcomm wireless Bluetooth chipset
Sweat- and weather-resistant nanocoating technology
Four different sizes of Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone (Bliss) 3.0 fittings ensure best fit and optimal sound quality
Detachable ActiveFlex sport fins, in three sizes, ensure stability while running or working out
Lithium-ion battery: up to 10 hours of music playback and ultrafast charging
Noise-cancelling dual microphones for making phone calls
10 meter (32 feet) range and two-device connectivity
iOS battery indicator and widget
Two color options: black or white/silver
MSRP - $170