Tiny, barely there Bluetooth earbuds have been all the rage so far this year, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for big, powerful, immersive headphones. Skullcandy asked us to take a look at their new Crusher Wireless headphones, which eschew the skinny in favor of bold, powerful sound. Do they live up their promises?
I am not an audiophile. It’s a disclaimer I try to put in front of every audio review I do because it means my review is coming from a layperson’s view. My hearing isn’t fantastic, and I tend to listen to either podcasts or rock music, so I don’t always appreciate some of the nuances that come from various genres.
So here’s the pitch from Skullcandy:
Fancy marketing for sure, but using the Skullcandy Crusher Wireless Headphones have been a revelation. It’s sort of like when I first got glasses — I finally understood the detail that everyone else already saw. The sound quality is fantastic, they are very comfortable for long periods of time, and they provide the most immersive sound experience I’ve ever had in a pair of headphones.
Everything about the Crushers indicates high quality. The headband is padded, as are the ear cups. The buttons have a nice solid clickiness to them and are large enough to locate easily by feel. The bass slider moves smoothly and is easy to operate. They paired quickly with my phone and tablet (both Android), and I was even able to use it as a hands-free for phone calls, which came through loud and clear.
All this alone would make the Skullcandy Crusher Wireless Headphones a great set, but there were a few additional details that really made them pop. First of all, as I said they’re super comfortable for long periods, which is key. I did have to adjust them to keep my glasses from pinching, but once they were positioned well I was good to go. Second, they came with a really nice carrying bag, a nice touch considering their price, plus they fold nicely to snuggle into their bag and remain safe in a larger bag. Finally, they have the above-mentioned bass slider, allowing you to adjust the music to sound best. This worked great on some songs but didn’t have much of an effect on some genres (punk, for example, doesn’t get a noticeable benefit).
Obviously, due to the style and size, these aren’t designed to be workout headphones. But I did work out with them a few times, and overall they worked out well. They didn’t slide off my head even during ballistic movements, and the sound didn’t cut out as I moved away from my phone at times. One quibble, and again, these weren’t designed for workouts, but they did make my ears get very warm and sweaty. So just make note if you work out wearing them, live in a very hot climate, or wear them near a wood stove (which is where I wrote this review, and it’s distinctly odd to get sweaty ears when it’s 5° Fahrenheit outside.
The Skullcandy Crusher Wireless Headphones are bulky headphones for sure, and at an MSRP of $199, they’re competing with a tremendous number of other Bluetooth headphones. If you favor a more low profile style, these aren’t for you. But if you don’t mind large external ear cups, the Crushers are reasonably priced for the features they offer. They ship with a carry bag as well as a USB cord for charging and an auxiliary cable for wired listening. The sound quality is excellent, and while they don’t block 100% of the noise around you, they definitely reduce it immensely by cutting out most of the background drone. I could still hear if someone walked right up to me and talked, but I didn’t hear my son coming up the stairs while I was wearing them until he spoke.
The audience for the Skullcandy Crusher Wireless Headphones is someone who isn’t interested in shrinking headphones above all else, and who will take some bulk in exchange for a richer sound experience. I prefer external headphones and don’t mind bulk, and these are as close to perfect as I have encountered!
Source: Manufacturer provided review sample
What I Liked: Comfortable headband and cups; sound quality is outstanding; long battery life; works well as a voice headset
What Needs Improvement: Trapped heat after a while; even folded there is still a lot of bulk