Audio Quality and Comfort
So after going through all of the features of the Crossfade Wireless, I charged it up and loaded up a list of songs, but before I could get to testing I had to get it synced to my PC. The Crossfade Wireless uses Bluetooth so there weren’t any dongles to hook up or anything. I just had to get on my PC and open up my Bluetooth settings and then turn the headset on and then over one more position for two seconds to set the headphones into pairing mode. After about 15 seconds my PC picked it up and I just had to confirm the pair and I was all set. Windows set the new device as my main audio device and I was good to go. I kicked on my playlist and got to work with the music in the background. Now remember I have a set of Crossfades already so I wasn’t really blown away by the audio quality, but that is only because I knew just how good they would be from the start. When flipping between different genres, I never ran into a song that didn’t sound good. It's not a big revelation that a good quality pair of proper headphones perform well, but let's not forget that this is still a wireless headset and doing high quality over wireless is still impressive. I flip back and forth between Bluetooth and wired in my testing and there is a noticeable difference, but mostly due to the Bluetooth having a little less punch not due to audio quality. I did the same testing while watching TV shows, movies, and even gaming and the results were the same over and over. In game the Crossfade Wireless had great clarity to hear footsteps while still having the bass and immersion when something explodes.
I was a little concerned about battery life when I started testing the headphones. Remember I’ve stuck with the SteelSeries H Wireless simply because I never had to plug them in, I just swapped out the batteries when the other died. So having to stop and remember to plug the Crossfade Wireless in was a big concern and I did forget multiple times. It’s a plug I have in every place in the house and in the car but I still would forget to plug it in. That said I never actually killed the battery in one sitting. V-Moda says the headphones have a 12-hour battery life depending on the volume and I went past 7 and 8 hours with the volume up well past what I should have had them without killing the battery, so I think their estimation is about right.
With my issues with plugging the headset in to charge, it is a very good thing that the headset is actually really flexible. You can run wireless or switch to wired at any point. In fact, V-Moda included their BoomPro microphone for gaming and I did enjoy using it. I really wish they had the same microphone that could be run wireless to really turn the headphones into a proper headset. Between the cords and the Bluetooth I could run the headphones with any device in the house including our gaming consoles. I might have to give it a try with the PS VR here soon.
Another concern with the wireless for me was lag and overall range. The overall range was less than my H Wireless but still enough to get around the office, into part of the living room, and to be able to answer the door when getting deliveries. With it running on Bluetooth the range was limited more by the wire rack all around my PC than anything really, not to mention all of the wireless feedback in the house that also limits our wireless internet performance.
Of course, none of this matters if the headphones are uncomfortable after a few minutes of use. So I spent time testing them with both the stock earpads and the XL pads. I also had my wife try them on a few times as well. With the size of the Crossfades coming in smaller than the over the ear headphones that I prefer I was initially concerned (when I got my first pair) that they would be really uncomfortable on my big head. Headbands always push into my head and hurt and small earcups always push on my ears and hurt as well but the Crossfades aren’t bad at all. The stock earcups aren’t too bad, but the XL pads really change the way the headphones feel for me. They go from being slightly on my ears but not hurting to fitting around them, plus the extra padding is nice. The headband with its maybe ¼ inch of padding was also a big concern. If I had the Crossfades on my tightly with the headband pushing against me the padding wouldn’t be enough, but the steel band has the room for me to keep them loose and it isn’t too bad. In the end, I love the fit around the ears and can live with the headband, putting the overall comfort to be above average, but not perfect. A nice suspension headband and an even larger earcup would make these the perfect headphones for me.