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The Codex edition extends beyond the standard Crossfade 2 Wireless by expanding the bluetooth protocols to include AAC for iOS devices.

V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition

Rating:
4.5/5,
  • V-MODA_CODEX_BLOG.png
    V-Moda has added the Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition model to its suite of wireless offerings. V-Moda introduced its first Crossfade Wireless (CFW1) in 2015 which supported only SBC and it did not have the CliqFold the wired Crossfade M-100 had. In 2017 V-Moda upgraded to the Crossfade 2 Wireless (CF2W Std) which supported AptX in the Rose Gold version for Android users. iOS users who used the CF2W Std were left connected in SBC. The CF2W Std also came with the XL pads by default whereas the older CFW1 had the standard pads that came with the wired Crossfade series.

    In 2018, V-Moda released the Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition which adds the AAC protocol allowing iOS device owners to enjoy the enhanced protocols that Android users had with AptX support on the CF2W Std in the previous year.

Recent Reviews

  1. SoundDouble
    Jewelry for your ears
    Written by SoundDouble
    Published Dec 30, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Durability, Sound, Battery life
    Cons - Short on features, isolation is middle ground (if important to you), Buttons could use more texture, Depending on ear size the cups may touch
    Gold tray Brand.jpg

    Disclamer:
    These headphones were a Christmas gift and I'm doing this review a little on the fly. Lack of free time lately. I am not associated with any company for that matter, including any links in the review. This review is my personal unbiased opinion and keep in mind that these headphones have over 50hrs burn in. I want to thank Head-Fi, for giving the forum to learn and express. Enjoy.

    P.S. I will add another comparison to this review once my Bose qc35 get delivered.

    Box Face.jpg

    Introduction:

    So around the holidays, Nov. and Dec., my close family stops buying things for ourselves (only essentials) and create our Christmas wish list. I had been using some Plantronic Backbeat SE for the past 2 yrs and was in the market for a new bluetooth headset. I decided to go with these without being sure if they were going to fit my specific use or my sound preferences but I am very happy with the choice. My bluetooth music listening is done with my HTC 10 ( aptX ), and wired was done mainly with Cayin N5ii. Most of the phone communications were done with an Iphone 7 via bluetooth, which is why I needed AAC, and the V-Moda Crossfade2 Codex checks all those marks.

    Most of the full sized headphones I have used/owned were bluetooth with wired functionality just in case the battery died. The Codex, to me, are wired headphones with the addition of bluetooth functionality. (This was later verified on the interview between Jude and Val Kolton) Not that the BT is subpar in any way, but the first focus was to make good speakers and headphones. Some other brands focus first on bluetooth connectivity and skimp on the actual speakers. In that case the sound quality is made by adjustments in the built-in amp.

    Packaging and Accessories:

    The unboxing is quite nice. Outside is a six sided box, keeping the same shape as the headphones themselves. There is plenty of information on the sides as you can see from the photos. Forgive me for the quality, as I mentioned it's been a busy month.

    There is ample carved form to protect the headset. Included is the warrenty card, instructions, little advertisement about the replaceable shields, the carrying case and 3.5mm SE cable with mic. The case is very sturdy and with a nice smooth feel. Looking at it reminds me of Batman's costume. I feel like it could take a couple small caliber bullets. Don't try it though.

    The mic/cable that is included has a nice thickness and not too weighty. It is covered in a cloth which doesn't work too good with velcro wraps, but it feels nice. I especially like the seperated mic and button on the cable. The mic is located closer to the hp/mouth, and the button is in the bicep area. This makes the call quality good while still being easy to pause/mute/etcetera.

    Box left.jpg

    Box right.jpg

    Box Back.jpg

    Fitment:
    A few notes, one is that these fit over ear for me, but I can see some people wearing these on-ear, because the size, in which case the comfort would be completely different. The cushions are on the soft side and the clamping force is moderate. After a few hours the cushions compress a little and the tips of my ears barely touch the inside of the hp. I will probably opt for the larger pads they offer later on. Even when the cushions compress the hp is still comfy. Not too much heat is generated, headband doesn't put much pressure on your head. Over all the weight is not felt much either.
    Lastly, for me, when I tilt my head a certain way there is a little gap that allows outside noise in. This doesn't happen often but I noticed it.

    Sound and Build:

    Hinge.jpg

    Unfortunately I don't have experience with the previous V-Moda models, but the csfw2 have been said to be more evenly tuned. In my opinion the overall sound signature is fairly even with a little warmth and some bass increase around the 69-80hz range. Upper bass and lower mids are nicely detailed and not to forward or recessed. Texture on standing bass being bowed is nice to hear.

    Treble extension is very nice. I see no sharpness in the upper mids or treble and a little recessed, but non-fatiguing. Radiohead National Anthem sounds like the drummer is facing away from you. With the drums being a little more forward than the cymbals, but equally detailed. Vocals are nicely staged, a little more forward than the drummer, but not too much. Definitely not in you face vocals.

    Sound stage is more forward than rear, and has average width/height for a closed over-ear. The notes/instruments have a nice combination of body and separation. They can fairly easy to distinguish in the soundstage, and not thin or airy. There is virtually no sound leakage. In order hear something on the outside you have to put your ear up to the vented cup.

    What I like the most is through out the entire freq range the cfw2 are fairly revealing. Smaller background notes and singers seem to be brought out of the shadow.

    Comparison:

    VS. Plantronics Backbeat SE
    (abreviated BBSE)
    First off the plantronics are not audiophile hp, but I am putting them hear for 2 reasons. This was my previous go to at work, and for anyone searching to step into the audiophile segment.

    Downsides are actually very feature rich, and due to the on-ear/more open design give more rear stage. I couldn't count how many times I turned around from my desk because I hear something behind me. Hint...I am the only one in the room. They have automatic pause when you take them off, and ambient listen. So you can hear your surroundings. BT also has a stronger connection. In a direct line of sight(only glass wall) I measured 8ft more.

    Positives are firstly wired connection quality. The wired connection on the BBSE is pretty bad. You lose extension on both bass and treble. Where as the CFW2 is slightly better wired than wireless imo. While we're on the topic, both bt and wired sound is more revealing/detailed with the CFW2. Next the sound isolation on the CFW2 is better. It blocks out more wind noise and rumble despite leaving the vocal range audible. Battery life for both are on par, but the CFW2 supports AAC which the BBSE did not. Lastly is comfort. Being over ear they are much better for longer uses. Even if it warms your ears a little.

    VS. Bose QC35 II

    Downsides: Mainly ANC. When you put the bose on with anc it's like you were taken out of the room. And this is constant 70-90db background noise. ANC on high does give some pressure on my ears, but low is tolerable for long periods of time.

    As for comfort, it may depend on the ear and head shape. I feel the bose have less clamping force, and a slightly bigger diameter ear cushion. For me both cushions cover my ears so there is minimal difference. I wear the Bose a little higher on my head so the cushions don't land on my jaw. The Bose have a little more ear clearance because of the angled drivers. The Bose weigh a little less but I can't really feel the difference in the weight.

    Positives: Firstly, Build. The Bose are mainly plastic which is what makes them weigh less, but at the same time they don't feel sturdy or as high end quality. Next is passive noise isolation. This is a toss up, because i feel the CFW2 blocks more low end frequency, and the Bose blocks more high freq. As far as the connection goes, CFW2 for the win. It stays connected another 6ft. With the Bose I have issues on the opposite side of my work room, where as the CFW2 i can walk the whole room with no problem.

    Lastly is again sound quality. The CFW2 sound more musical compared to the Bose imo. The CFW2 have a slightly more elevated bass with more texture. The bose have a slightly elevated upper mids. Using Hotel California, P.Y.T. and "Ain't Nobody" from Chaka Khan as some examples. The drums sound fuller and more elevated on the CFW2, you can hear the rasp of snares more and the fading of guitars better. On the Bose the guitar sound sharper with more elevation and quicker drop off. The Bose seems to have a slightly bigger soundstage and a little more air, but i give the CFW2 slightly better positioning.

    Of course styling is different, but that's a matter of taste.

    Conclusion:

    Since getting these I have been using them 6+hrs a day at work. No sound leakage is good if the boss walks in on you. Decent sound isolation for background noise at my job, good battery life, and very good sound quality. I would like to see more texture on the buttons to make it easier to locate. Also automatic pausing when removed would be greatly appreciated on bt usage.
  2. AnakChan
    V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition review
    Written by AnakChan
    Published Oct 13, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - iOS device owners can now enjoy the V-Moda house signature with AAC protocols where the former 2017 Crossfade 2 Wireless catered more for the Android users. All the other benefits of CliqFold, V-Moda's infamous durability build continue to stand with the Codex edition.
    Cons - As with other Crossfade headphones, they can get a little warm.
    As with other wireless headphones, wired sounds just a tad cleaner than wireless.
    No LDAC support
    Control buttons are a little flimsy
    Introduction

    AEBGE6833.jpg

    V-Moda is one of the prominent brands on Head-Fi that got into Bluetooth early when audiophiles were still very insistent on on wired. Despite AptX and Kleer proprietary wireless protocols were available, not many brands adopted and stuck to SBC for their consumer-grade models.

    V-Moda released the Crossfade Wireless (CFW1) back in 2015 focused primarily on getting the wired and wireless to sound as close as possible to each other. They did a highly commendable job however the CFW1 were not without some criticism such has no CliqFold (especially when the M100 had had it for a few years effort then), and intermittent disconnect issues from the source phone/device.

    The Crossfade 2 Wireless (CF2W) came in 2017 with AptX support (only with the Rose Gold!) and with the CliqFold. This made quite a few fans happier however iPhone/iPad (iOS) users remained isolated with the lack of AAC support.

    In 2018, V-Moda released the Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition (Codex). This filled in the gap allowing iOS users to enjoy the superiority of AAC protocol over SBC.

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    Construction and Comfort

    P9160002.jpg
    The Codex edition is no different from the CF2W Std from its looks and construction. In fact I needed a way to mark and distinguish between the two (yes I got the same colours, and no, I don't have any customised shields).

    It is beautifully constructed and durable especially the yoke and CliqFold. However there are some weak points in the cups such as the volume and control buttons do feel a little flimsy.

    P9160006.jpg
    Both the Codex and the CF2W differ from the original CFW1 that both newer models have the XL pads by default & CliqFold, whilst the original CFW1 had the standard pads and regular pre-M100 non-CliqFold headband.

    Therefore in terms of how the Codex feels over the head, it's about the same as the CF2W Std. The clamping force is tight with little chance of the headphone falling off from my head. Further with the XL pads, they are a little more comfortable than the CFW1 standard pads.

    This is a full sized superaural headphones however for my ears, they are more supraaural with the earpads sitting on my ears. As such isolation is average. I can definitely hear external ambient noise leaking in however I assume not as much leaks out. I can hear wind noise when I'm walking in the street. It doesn't bother me as much when I'm no the move as I do like to be aware of my surroundings.

    Whist in summer the headphone can feel warm, they make great musical earmuffs during winter.

    Bluetooth Connectivity

    P9160009.jpg
    I've not been able to to find the Bluetooth version yet however I've not had any disconnect issues even with my iPhone X in my back pocket whereas previously with the CFW1 I could get disconnected occasionally depending on how far I place my iPhone from the headphone.

    Codec Comparison with the other V-Moda Wireless

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    Note, the codec connection on iOS can be checked and confirmed via the XCode device logs.

    1) iPhone X - CFW1 SBC vs Codex AAC on FLAC Onkyo Hi-Res Player

    The CFW1 sounded to have a somewhat more mids recessed compared to the Codex. The CFW also has a somewhat more boomy bass. The Codex did sound more airy however. The difference in resolution from the codec differences is quite noticeable. However I feel the tonal difference is primarily due to the difference in earpads between the CFW1 and Codex. A reminder that the CFW1 has the standard pads from M-100 days whilst the Codex has the XL styled pads, and pads do make a difference to frequency response.

    2) iPhone X - CF2W SBC vs Codex AAC on FLAC Onkyo Hi-Res Player

    This is where I think we have a closer comparison since both should essentially be the same except for the difference in codec connection to the iOS device.
    • The Codex had a bigger thump in the bass region.
    • The Codex still seems to sound a little more mid-rich compared to the CF2W, which is a little surprising to me. I did not think a codec difference would have such an effect on tonal response.
    • Percussions are a little more distinctive on the Std (SBC) version, but overall music sounds less smooth (most noticeable in vocals) and more brittle in the treble/percussions, presumably due to the codec differences.
    • The Codex did have an added clarity over the CF2W which is where also where I believe is the difference in codecs.
    3) iPhone X - CF2W SBC vs Codex AAC on 256k AAC lossy Music Player

    Maybe it's me, but with lossy source, it's a little bit more difficult to distinguish between codecs. The difference in codec is still there however not as big compared to lossless.

    4) iMac Pro - CF2W AptX vs Codex AptX on ALAC iTunes

    Remember the Codex still keeps the AptX support therefore in theory there should be no difference between the CF2W AptX vs the Codex AptX however :-
    • There's some kind of channel imbalance on the CF2W with AptX vs the Codex edition with same AptX. Hard to do a comparison with the Std having a slightly lower volume on the left channel vs the right.
    5) Sony NW-WM1Z CF2W AptX vs Codex AptX

    So I was able to use another AptX supported device to compare the CF2 W AptX vs the Codex AptX. I whipped out my Sony NW-WM1Z and paired with both headphones. To my ears, they sound identical.

    6) Codex Wireless vs Wired

    I hear tonal shift where the Codex FR leans more towards a neutral (but not completely neutral) stance compared to wireless AAC. There is a little more upper mids/lower treble presence, and a little added clarity in presentation. Overall though I -think- I hear a slightly more open sounDstage in wired mode.

    Compared to other Bluetooth Headphones

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    Sony WH-1000XM3

    The headphones here are cupped differently. For my ears, the WH-1000XM3 is circumaural whilst the Codex (and other V-Moda full-sized cans) are supraaural.

    The WH-1000XM3 are lighter, have swivel cups, and lighter clamping force. Overall the 1000XM3 feels more comfortable on my head for long term use.

    The WH-1000XM3 has a few other features over the Codex such as LDAC (in addition to AptX and AAC), and noise cancellation (3 mode settings: ambient sound control on, ambient sound control off, noise cancellation).

    Totally they are different. Where the Codex maintain the V-Moda house signature sound, the WH-1000XM3 has a more typical HiFi-ish balanced sound. To me the WH-1000XM3 is a little U-shaped with mellow mids, whilst the Codex has as stronger & clearer mids and neutral treble.

    The WH-1000XM3 midbass seems similar to the Codex, however the Codex has more sub-bass impact.

    The WH-1000XM3 feels more spacious whilst Codex is more holographic headroom wise.

    Master & Dynamic MW50

    Like the Sony the MW50 is circumaural. The sliding cups were really stiff to adjust (maybe it was just with the demo unit I tried). Going back 'n forth between the MW50 and Codex, my first thought was "Where's the bass!?". The MW50 did have nice percussions however.

    Beyerdynamic Aventho

    In Japan the Aventho is like 50% more expensive than the Codex. It's supraaural like the Codex. Tonally, the Aventho sounded a little weird, like the lower mids a little suppressed. Vocals sounded a little nasally.

    B&W PX

    I don’t even want to talk about it...

    Conclusion

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    The Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition is the headphone V-Moda should have released last year as the (almost) all encompassing headphone. It still lacks LDAC however that protocol is not as widely used as AAC and AptX. Regardless, it is finally here and V-Moda has a pair of wireless headphones for both iOS and Android users to enjoy listening at enhanced protocols. It's definitely a welcoming model and for those who don't have a V-Moda wireless but want to enjoy the V-Moda house sound, the Codex is the way to go.

    However if one already has the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless of 2017 with their Android phone, IMHO there is little reason to upgrade unless one intends to support iOS devices too.

    As with all other V-Moda Crossfade headphones, wired or not, the Codex is as sturdy and durable and beautifully finished. Whilst I've not taken advantage of the customised shields, it is comforting to know that aesthetically it can be personalised.

    The Codex is an obvious choice for those who like the V-Moda signature sound.
    1. JoshG1217
      Can you comment on the wired difference between the Crossfade and Crossfade 2? I just bought the the wireless, but was going to get the XL pads and white shields (have the white version), and thought since that closes the price gap between them, I should just get the cf2w. I use in wired mode at the office with a dac/amp connected through my phone running flac files through power amp. Thanks
      JoshG1217, Dec 21, 2018

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