Fans of electronic, rock and other harder music genres will take to V-Moda's Crossfade 2 Wireless, as these headphones really crank up the energy levels of such genres.
The American audio company's latest headphones retain the signature warm tone the brand is known for, with a deliciously thick, punchy bass that adds a lot of body and oomph to songs.
It really shines on rock, rap, hip-hop and electronic tracks, which benefit from the added lower register that makes them sound even more powerful and adds greater aural impact.
English rock band Muse's Plug In Baby, for example, was a searing mix of guitar and drums made all the more frantic and exciting by the pronounced background drums.
Instant Crush, by electronic group Daft Punk, was filled with pleasingly resounding drum fills and thumping basslines that seem to fill the entire soundstage.
My personal preference leans towards clearer, more analytical cans, but I absolutely enjoyed the warmth and exuberance the Crossfade 2 brings to my favourite rock and electronic tracks.
The cans really amp up the level of fun and energy to already frenetic tracks, making it impossible not to bop your head or tap your feet to songs played through them.
PRICE: $559 (Matte Black Metal and Matte White, no aptX support) ; $589 (Rose Gold Black, with aptX support)
DRIVER DIAMETER: 50mm
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 5Hz - 40kHz
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
It helps too that the headphones don't go too crazy with the bass, and are actually pretty balanced overall, just with a noticeably thicker sound signature.
Sure, the extra bass sometimes hampered certain indie dream- pop tunes that I enjoy, making them too veiled or muffled than I'm used to. But that doesn't really bother me after repeated listenings and getting used to the Crossfade 2's music personality.
They are hefty headphones, but also very sturdy and well constructed. They certainly make their weight felt when you wear them, and I found myself needing some respite after about an hour of continuous listening.
The sound isolation provided by the thick leather earpads is decent, although I could still make out some background noise and conversation when using them on public transport.
The Crossfade 2's wireless capability is decent, with almost no Bluetooth lag or skipping. But they do sound much better when wired up.
There are actually two versions of the Crossfade 2 - a regular one that comes in a matte black or white colour scheme, and a more expensive rose gold version that also comes with support for the high-resolution audio codec aptX. It's strange that V-Moda restricts support for aptX to one colour, as the rose gold is quite an ostentatious colour that not everyone will take to.
Music lovers should not have to settle for lesser music quality - if they want to use aptX - because of arbitrary aesthetic limitations.
Another consideration that may give pause is the price: $559 for the non-aptX version and $589 for the version with. That's a high price for the mass consumer, but audiophiles who pony up the cash are assured of a pair of fun, punchy and powerful headphones with good build quality and excellent sound.
•Verdict: These are cans for the rock, rap, hip-hop and electronic fans out there, as the signature thumpy and full-bodied bassiness of V-Moda sound returns in full force in the Crossfade 2 Wireless.