A quick look at the Skullcandy website reveals a rather chatty narrative; the company unafraid to use “we” instead of referring to themselves as the third party. But after sifting through the avalanche of information, it’s apparent that the Skullcandy Crusher is marketed to attract the quintessential club-goer. Because it bears almost the same name with its predecessor, the Skullcrushers, spectators have been saying they are only the Skullcrushers reimagined. Is that true, or is the Crusher a whole new product entirely?
Design and Comfort
The Skullcandy Crusher models a more streamlined look than the Skullcrushers; the unobtrusive hinges connecting the headband to the quadrate ear cups apparent only when you fold them up. The built-in amplifier, bass slider, and cable port look like they belong exactly where they are positioned, which results in a tidy and expensive appearance. Unfortunately, their rather plastic feel dampens the fire somewhat. It’s not the pair you can throw around, but it’s unlikely that normal wear and tear will compromise its integrity.
Skull logos are aplenty, but they don’t come off as too adolescent. The ear cups are padded with high quality synthetic leather that is soft to the touch and feels sinfully welcoming. Being over-ear, though, does mean that your ears will be bathed in sweat past the 1-hour mark. This won’t be a problem if you live in cooler states. The grip that the pair has on your head is also more merciful than the Skullcrushers. Packing up, there’s a microfiber bag included to store the Crusher in. Something more structured would be better, but that’s nitpicking.
The detachable cable may seem like a minor thing, but is actually an important consideration in purchasing a pair of headphones. The Skullcandy Crusher manages to tick this box along with one other: the cable can be used as an AUX cord with other devices. An inline remote and microphone completes the pretty picture. Nevertheless, keep in mind that functionality may vary for devices.
Besides that, the Class D amplifier is built into the ear cup itself, further enhancing the slinky look. It’s powered by an AA battery that you have to put in yourself before using the headphones. A common problem with amplifiers is that the battery drains like a sink when you forget to switch them off. But with the Crusher’s smart circuit, the amp is switched off after 10 seconds when the music stops or when the audio source is removed. The bass slider on the left cup, although not novel, is still pretty neat.
The Crusher’s sound quality is said to mirror that of Beats’, which says a lot for a sub-$100 pair of headphones. Besides its REX40 Driver, the Crusher utilizes a secondary driver claiming to deliver bass you can feel. Surprisingly, this is far from a gimmick. Unlike other headphones that tinker with the bass sonically, what you get from the Crusher is actual vibration. This is a good thing – audio boosting usually muddies up the mid-range – but if you adjust the sensation level way up, expect to be comatose in just a short period of time. It’s easy to see why gaming would be out of this world with this pair.
No one blames you if you expect a more well-rounded performance from the Crusher, but when that expectation isn’t met, you’re not that disappointed. The sound is reasonably crisp if your audio is from a good source. Other times though, the mid-range sounds like it’s pushed to the back, and the distant vocals leave you straining for more. The highs are nothing to rave about as well – mostly sounding a tad imprecise – but they are definitely decent. All this would unquestionably benefit from some amping. The battery powering the amp lasts for nearly a month, and the best part is, you don’t even have to remember to switch the amp off!
At $100, the Skullcandy Crusher packs in more features than its more expensive counterparts. It does what it sets out to do well, and Skullcandy deserves to be commended for stepping outside the box with their interpretation of bass boosting. You won’t slap the audiophile tag on the Crusher anytime soon, but the Skullcandy is undoubtedly a company to keep an eye on. If you love your bass, you won’t regret giving them a try.