The Skullcandy Skullcrushers headphones are not for the shy. They sport a ferocious name, a choice of loud and outlandish designs and offer a menacing-sounding “Bass amplifier” feature. Combine that with the built-in mini subwoofers, and they are a far cry from the precision, the handcrafted audiophile can we’re more used to.
Design And Features
We usually pay little attention to the packaging of any product, but the skull crushers arrived in a clear, heat-sealed plastic container that seemingly suspended the headphones in mid air. Of course, there’s plenty of mention about the “explosive” bass it’s capable of producing. That said, it is probably a lot easier to open the packaging with explosives rather than a pair of scissors.
The first visible feature of these cans is the inline control box which houses the bass amplifier. The design resembles the noise-cancelling control unit found on many noise-cancelling headphones, but unlike them, the bass speaker is located 30cm from the 3.5mm straight plug. The cord that leads to the headphones from the box is about 120cm, and the cables are thick, a good indication of toughness–and they’re red if you choose to go for the “Abel Money” style option.
Being a full-sized headphone with thick and soft cushions on the ear pad and headband, coupled with a right amount of clamping pressure makes these cans very comfortable to wear. They stay on the head well–only dislodging under sudden movement. The extensions of these headphones are rather limited, which spells bad news if you have a big head. But overall, the comfort and fit are beautiful.
These headphones are also foldable, though we’re not that impressed with the size reduction after folding them up. Another issue that we came across is that the skull crushers starts to feel a bit flimsy after a few weeks of testing, raising questions about the build quality. They don’t handle as tough as they look, but with care, they should last.
Performance And Conclusion
The Skullcrushers run on a single AA battery to power the bass amplifier. We’re thankful Skullcandy included a dial to adjust the “vibration,” because these cans are capable of inducing a massive amount of bass on your ears at maximum setting.
Standard terms we use to describe bass quality are “full,” “dark,” “smooth” and “warm.” For this review, we’ll use “painful.” Yes, the bass on these cans are overpowering at maximum setting–it can be felt as vibrations around the ears. That said, even when there is plenty of basses, it lacks depth and clarity. At minimum setting, everything sounds dull. The mid notes require presence, and the high notes do not project clearly. Of course, you wouldn’t hear these deficiencies when you crank up the vibration control to the mid setting, which provides a rather thumpy bass track that overwhelms everything else. Watching action movies and playing games on these headphones, however, are an odd, yet enjoyable experience as long as the bass is kept below the pain threshold.
Being a closed-back on-ear headphone, the soundstage is boxed in. Noise isolation is rather good for most but the noisiest environments, and we didn’t feel our ears getting hot even after hours of use. We noted that the battery was completely drained after a week of regular listening, which is approximately 35 hours. If you keep your music player in your pocket, the awkward positioning of the bass amplifier box might cause some rage-inducing cable tangle, unless you maintain the box together with your player in the bag.
As a whole, we found the skull crushers to be an average headphone. While its build quality is rather questionable and the audio quality is lacking for the price it commands, it makes up by offering bass levels that are capable of damaging your hearing, as well as a good selection of design styles to choose from.
Are there any gender-specific issues? No, but we’d like to think this is generation-specific. It’s no fine gentleman’s audiophile material, but it would be ideal for a young person who thinks a sub is a sandwich or something that goes into the boot of a car.