- Powerful sound
- Engaging soundstage
- Customisable design
- Just okay battery life
- No active noise cancellation
- Review Price: £279.99
- 14-hour battery life
- Micro-USB charging
- Steel headband
- Aux wired input
- 50mm 'Japanese' drivers
- On-cup controls
What are the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition?
The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition are high-quality wireless headphones, some of the best-sounding you’ll find in this class.
They’re customisable, too: buy online from V-Moda, and you can choose the colour and material used for the backplate, and even laser-etch a design on the cups.
Slightly behind-the-times tech is the only issue. A battery life of 14 hours can’t compete with the Sony WH-1000XM2 or Bose QuietComfort 35 II, and since the headphones don’t feature active noise cancellation, it can appear that you’ll get more for your money elsewhere.
Those who aren’t too fussed about their ability to cope in loud environments such as tube trains will love the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition, however.
Related: Best Bluetooth headphones
V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition – Design and comfort
The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition look very similar to 2017’s “normal” Crossfade II. They have V-Moda’s signature shield-shaped backs plus full-size cups.
These cups are smaller than those of some of the competition, however. They sit closer to your head, and don’t dominate as much as some other pairs.
This is a positive from a visual perspective; the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition look great. However, since there’s less space inside the cups for your ears, these headphones aren’t as comfortable for, say, a five-hour wear as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
The synthetic leather pads are filled with comfy memory foam, but on removing the units from your head you may discover that parts of your ears ache a little. Whether or not you’re affected will depend on the size of your ears. If they’re on the larger side, these headphones may not be quite right for you.
I’d happily use the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition as my ‘daily’ set of headphones, however.
Customisation is one of the key appeals here. Head to the V-Moda website to make some pretty radical customisations for free, including fibre or aluminium cup shields in an array of finishes from pink to crocodile skin-effect. The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition’s stems also come in rose gold, black and silver.
The screws on the rear of the cans come in silver, black, rose gold and gold too.
If you have a generous budget then you could go all-out, opting for steel backs for $500 (total), brass for $750, 14K gold plating for $1400, or even platinum for an eye-watering $27,000. Of course, it’s the free customisations that matter – and there are plenty of them.
Why aren’t our pair customised? They are, actually – it’s just that my tastes are a little ‘plain’. Here you see a combo of gunmetal grey aluminium shields with black screws.
The upgrades won’t fundamentally change the build quality of the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition, which is excellent. A very sturdy metal hinge enables the cups to fold up into the headband, which is made of steel and designed to withstand plenty of punishment.
V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition – Features and wireless
The Codex Edition’s main functional change isn’t anything too dramatic; it simply refers to the inclusion of support for aptX Bluetooth, a higher-quality wireless streaming codec. All Codex headphones have it.
This situation does highlight that V-Moda is a little behind on the tech, though. AptX HD is now a standard feature of Android 8.0, and as such, it should be that technology that the company should be introducing over the older aptX.
What’s the difference? AptX’s 352kbps emulates CD quality, 44.1kHz and 16-bit. AptX HD has a bit-rate of 576kbps, for 24-bit 48KHz Hi-Res audio.
There is a quality gap, but most people will be hard-pressed to notice it – even in a direct A/B comparison. And if you use Spotify, the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition easily do justice to the service’s best-quality option. Wireless performance is excellent, too. I don’t think I heard a single bit of interference when in reasonable range of my phone.
Battery life: not so great. The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition last around 14 hours between charges, which puts them far behind the competition. Sony’s WH-1000XM2 last for 38 hours, or 30 with active noise cancellation. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II last 20 hours with ANC.
These headphones don’t last as long, and neither do they feature noise cancellation. Out on the street, the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition handle noise just fine, but on a London Tube train, they didn’t hold up anywhere near as well as the Bose or Sony pairs.
You do get a neat semi-hard carry case should you want to take them out in a bag, and an orange cable lets you continue using the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition when the battery runs out. It has a one-button in-line remote.
There are buttons on the headphones themselves, too: a slider for power and three buttons on the top of the right cup for music and call control. They may be in an unusual spot, but are dead easy to use.
V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition – Sound quality
The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition are a mixed bag technically then, lagging behind some headphones that are only slightly more expensive. However, I love their sound.
These headphones don’t have quite the excessive low-end that made previous V-Moda pairs a bass-head favourite, but this makes them better-balanced. The bass is still hard-hitting, particularly the low and sub bass that helps give dance music extra energy.
The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition offer a great combo of high-end characteristics and fun. Their soundstage imaging is great, displaying the sense of ‘3D’ sound that V-Moda promises on its website. And, most impressive, the mid-range texture and detail is great.
Baritone voices sound thick and rich, not because they’re drenched in bass but because of the well-rendered mids.
The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition sound is lively and engaging. Comparing them directly to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, the Bose pair’s dynamics are flatter, the mids more sterile-sounding.
These units are certainly less neutral than the Oppo PM-3, with added bass and mid-bass, which does reduce mid separation a little. Nevertheless, separation is still very good, and most people will find the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition a more exciting listen as a result anyway.
Why buy the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition?
The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition look and sound great – as long as their smaller cups don’t prove uncomfortable for you.
They’re not tech pioneers, mind. For just a little more money, Bowers & Wilkins PX, and Sony/Bose offer far better battery life and active noise cancellation.
However, the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless Codex Edition are up there with the best in terms of sound quality. They have a fun injection of powerful low bass combined with a great soundstage and very good mid-range texture.
High-quality, fun headphones for those for whom active noise cancellation isn’t a priority.