Android Central Verdict
Price: $350Bottom line: The Crossfade 2 Codex Edition builds on the standard model by offering AptX and AAC support across all color options. Otherwise, this is the same great headset that V-Moda fans have come to love.
Balanced sound signature
AptX and AAC compatibility
Extraordinary build quality
All-day battery life
Mushy volume controls
Charges over Micro-USB
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V-Moda started out with headphones aimed at DJs and music producers, and got its first break in consumer tech making third-party headphones for iPhones and iPods. Over the years, the brand became associated with flamboyant designs that offered a high degree of customization, and that's the case with its latest product as well.
The Crossfade 2 Codex is an upgraded variant of last year's Crossfade 2 Wireless that offers AptX and AAC codec compatibility as standard. V-Moda is slotting in the headset at the same $350 price point as last year, and V-Moda is kicking off an upgrade program for those looking to make the switch from its earlier products. This is the Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition.
V-Moda Crossfade 2 Codex What I love
As the name suggests, the Crossfade 2 Codex is all about high-fidelity codecs. Unlike the standard Crossfade 2 — which limited AptX compatibility to the rose gold option — all models of the Crossfade 2 Codex feature AptX as well as AAC, bringing improved audio quality to both Android and iOS devices.
When paired with a device that has more than one codec, like the Pixel 2, the headphones will let you choose the codec you'd like to use. And in an event where neither codec is available, the Crossfade 2 Codex will fall back to SBC, the universal Bluetooth streaming codec that's present on all phones.
Unlike V-Moda's earlier offerings, the tonal signature is surprisingly balanced, with a wide soundstage comprising of tight lows, clear mids, and crisp highs. Kavinsky's synthesized vocals in Nightcall are wonderfully detailed, and the bass is powerful while not being too overbearing. Listening to Queen's A Night at the Opera is a delight — there's clear instrument separation, and the headset manages to do a great job capturing Freddie Mercury's remarkable vocal range.
The Crossfade 2 Codex gets incredibly loud — it's one of the loudest headsets I've used — and thankfully the sound doesn't get distorted at high volumes. I haven't faced any issues with Bluetooth connectivity either in the week I used the headset.
As for the design itself, the Crossfade 2 Codex features a metal frame with exposed screws on either ear pad. The headset is one of the most durable you'll find in the market today — it even sports a MIL-STD-810G rating — and it can withstand a lot of abuse. The aluminum frame makes the Codex one of the heavier options in this segment, coming in at 309g.
That said, there's more than adequate padding around the headband, and the ear pads offer memory foam cushioning that provides a comfortable fit. In fact, the Crossfade 2 Codex fits so snug that I didn't face any discomfort even after prolonged listening sessions. V-Moda touts a 14-hour battery life, more than enough to last an entire day. I got well over 12 hours of music playback from a full charge, and the battery life should be more than adequate for most use cases.
A 30-minute charge provides up to four hours' worth of music playback, and a full charge takes a smidgen under three hours. Of course, if you're running low on battery life, you can always plug in the included audio cable and turn the Crossfade 2 Codex into a wired headset. The Codex becomes an even better headset thanks to the improved frequency response.
As the Codex edition is essentially an upgraded variant of the standard Crossfade 2, V-Moda is rolling out a Da Vinci Codex Upgrade Program that lets current Crossfade 2 owners make the switch for just $100. Those rocking a first-gen Crossfade will be able to get their hands on the Crossfade 2 Codex for $150.
V-Moda is also throwing in custom 3D printed or laser-engraved shields — valued at $70 — for free with every purchase of the Crossfade 2 Codex. You'll be able to customize the shields over on V-Moda's website, or walk into a Microsoft or Best Buy Magnolia store to choose from the options on offer.
Talking about customization, there's a whole range of shields available for the Crossfade 2, ranging all the way up to $26,000 for a set of platinum shields. That may be a bit ostentatious on a $350 headset, but the sheer variety of options available means there's something for everyone. The Crossfade 2 Codex comes with a standard one-year warranty, and like other V-Moda gear, it is covered by the brand's Immortal Life program, which offers a 50% discount on a replacement pair should the headset get damaged while out of warranty.
V-Moda Crossfade 2 Codex What needs work
My main issue with the Crossfade 2 Codex is the fact that the music playback and volume buttons aren't tactile enough. The buttons are located at the top of the right ear pad, and the single button that controls music playback is flanked by the volume buttons. The positioning of the buttons as well as their tactile feedback leaves a lot to be desired, and it's the one area where the V-Moda lags behind its competitors.
I used Sony's MDR-1000X for the better part of last year, and its touch-sensitive gesture scheme is still one of the best around. V-Moda could benefit with a similar implementation on upcoming Crossfade models.
Another issue on the Crossfade 2 Codex is that the headset doesn't automatically power down when you end the Bluetooth connection. The power toggle is located at the bottom of the right ear pad, and unlike the MDR-1000X, you have to manually turn off the headset after a listening session. Having failed to do that the first day, I came back to a headset with a fully depleted battery.
I also dislike the fact that the headset charges over Micro-USB, but it looks like it will be another generation before audio manufacturers make the switch to USB-C.
V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition Review
The Crossfade 2 Codex is what the standard model should have been from the beginning. By offering AptX and AAC compatibility, V-Moda is making what is one of the best headsets in this segment even better.
If you already have the rose gold Crossfade 2 and use an Android phone, there's little reason to pick up the Codex edition. But if you're using the variant without AptX or use an iPhone along with Android, the Crossfade 2 Codex becomes a much more attractive option.
4.5 out of 5
The Crossfade 2 Codex is one of the best wireless options available today: it is built to last decades, the sound quality is exceptional, and the inclusion of AptX as well as AAC makes it a great choice for both Android and iOS users.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.
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