WHEN it comes to wireless headphones, we’re all well and truly spoiled for choice. Whether you just need something while walking to the shops, or you’re looking for high-end audiophile level listening, there’s something for every budget and need.
One of the latest entries into the field are the Skullcandy Crusher Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) headphones, which are launching in Australia on November 30 on skullcandy.com.au and at JB Hi Fi.
As a brand, Skullcandy have been around for about 15 years now, often associated with stylish but affordable products designed to appeal to the youth market.
As their latest product, the Crusher ANC looks to be a signal the company wants to move into the premium space, packing haptic bass, active noise cancelling and the company’s stylish aesthetic into one funky package.
The Skullcandy Crusher headphones are one of the finest bass delivery systems you’re likely to find this side of a Boeing 747 cargo plane full of subwoofers.
In fact, there’s even an adjustment slider on the left hand cup, letting you adjust just how tactile you want your bass experience, from “not very” to “someone at CSIRO is looking at a seismograph and saying ‘No, that can’t be right’.”
If the rest of the package was as impressive as the bass, these would be a clear winner. Sadly, that’s not the case.
For a start, they’re extremely expensive, with an RRP of $599.95.
The noise cancelling in them works but it’s nothing special, and when you’ve got the bass pumping you’re not going to notice any external noise anyway, which makes the whole noise cancelling thing somewhat academic anyway.
The sound quality is also good but not great – its fine for most things, but it’s not at the level you’d normally associate with $600 headsets.
The Skullcandy app allows you to undertake a sort of hearing test to tailor the sound experience to your hearing, but otherwise there’s no way to adjust the EQ, which is an disappointing omission in a premium headset.
From a gaming perspective they worked well, however, given the bass emphasis and my fondness for games with gunfire and explosions in them. They’re not about subtlety and they’re not a dedicated gaming headset, but they do provide a pretty cool action game experience.
According to Skullcandy, the headset should last eight hours off a charge, depending on the standard variables including whether you’ve got ANC activated or not. A 10 minute charge should provide about three hours of playtime if you find yourself in need of a top-up.
One additional useful feature is the Crusher ANCs are Tile-enabled, meaning if you misplace them, you can use the Tile app to try and locate them – and given the price tag, they are something you’re going to want to keep an eye one.
The headset comes in a sturdy carry case which also has room for the USB charging cable and USB-3.5mm connector cable too.
If you’re all about that bass, these are the way to go, but I didn’t think these were $599 headphones in other respects, so if you need noise cancelling more than ear-shaking beats, then these probably shouldn’t be top of your playlist.
However, with some refinement – and a price readjustment – these could be a promising product in future iterations.